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News » Shoot first, lose later Denver has 11 assists, two in the second half, and looked out of place in a discouraging loss. BOBCATS 1


Shoot first, lose later Denver has 11 assists, two in the second half, and looked out of place in a discouraging loss. BOBCATS 1


Shoot first, lose later Denver has 11 assists, two in the second half, and looked out of place in a discouraging loss. BOBCATS 1CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The play sure looked promising when, somehow, Charlotte center Tyson Chandler ended up guarding Chauncey Billups on the left perimeter, Chandler's ankles just begging to break.

But Billups was the one looking out of place. With his Denver teammates moving as slow as the shot clock did fast, the flustered Billups tossed the ball to center Nene, who hoisted a 3-pointer with three seconds on the shot clock.

Air ball.

Such was Tuesday night for Denver in its 107-95 loss, in which the Nuggets looked discombobulated against the Bobcats (9-11).

The Nuggets (16-6) tallied only 11 assists, just two in the second half. Two. That's normally how many Billups gets during the national anthem. Instead, Denver's point guard finished the night with one assist and five turnovers, one fewer assist and turnover than Carmelo Anthony logged.

"We looked a little tired offensively," said Denver coach George Karl, whose team won an emotional game the night before in Philadelphia. "We didn't pass enough to be good enough. My gut would say that defensively we didn't create a lot of good opportunities, and when we did pass the ball, we didn't finish. And we were probably a little too one-on-one oriented."

It's pretty simple. Pass more, win more. That's what Karl has preached all season. Be it fatigue, lack of motivation, egos, what have you, the Nuggets , on occasion, just don't pass a lot. For the season, Denver entered Tuesday with 22.5 assists per game, sixth in the NBA behind the Mavericks, Suns, Lakers, Celtics and Jazz, an encouraging quintet. But in the Nuggets' six losses, they averaged just 16.3, which is New Jersey territory; moreover, four of the six losses came to teams with losing records.

Now, the Bobcats aren't that bad. Seriously. The perennial losers are now 8-3 at home this season, and if the season ended today, they would actually be in the playoffs. And consider that the Bobcats entered Tuesday allowing an NBA-stingiest 90.4 points per game. But the Nuggets , winners of four straight on the road, were the NBA's leading scorers. Against Charlotte, only three players scored in double figures.

Yes, Anthony bounced back from his 14-point Monday with a game-high 34 on Tuesday, but "we didn't let the other guys get involved or get going," said Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace, a stingy defender who scored 25 points with 16 rebounds. "We were able to limit them to contested shots."

Anthony's offensive numbers sparkled - 12-for-22 from the field, 10-for-11 from the line - but he didn't take over the game as the numbers suggested.

And with Denver down four with 2:17 left, Anthony didn't attempt another shot all night. He did pick up two personal fouls in that time span, as well as a technical foul for arguing a call with 52.6 seconds left. With Denver down nine with 35.8 left, Billups also was called for a technical foul, and the Time Warner Cable Arena rocked as the raucous crowd realized their Bobcats had sealed a win against one of the NBA's best teams (that is, when that team passes).

Benjamin Hochman: 303-954-1294 or bhochman@denverpost.com


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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 10, 2009

 

 
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