Before I get into this post, lemme quote myself from yesterday’s Karl watch:
The Nuggets play a Rondo-less Celtics tomorrow. I’m kind of sad because I’m going to predict a combination of Karl’s bad rotations, the game being away, and the game being a back to back will help extend Boston’s win streak. This means I’ll have to hear how Boston is a good team without Rondo. Sigh. Stay tuned!
And, I get to be right. Let’s be clear, on the whole the Celtics did not play a good game. And as we know, with 3 OTs, the Nuggets had three shots to win and failed. Let’s go through the wreckage and see what happened.
As always, this is impossible without the amazing work of PopcornMachine.net, seriously a requirement for any boxscore geek.
Karl loves Lawson, Miller, Brewer, Chandler and McGee. Quick review using Points over Par (PoP) per 48 minutes. Easy way to explain PoP is the margin we’d expect a team to win by. E.G. a player with a +1.0 PoP48 would give their team a 1 point margin in the win if they played the whole game.
- Ty Lawson as PG: -0.6 PoP48
- Andre Miller as SG: 2.2 PoP48
- Corey Brewer as SF: -1.6 PoP48
- Wilson Chandler as PF: -3.7 PoP48
- JaVale McGee as C: 1.7 PoP48
- Total: -2.0 PoP48
This is a terrible lineup. Yes, part of that is that Lawson is still below average. There’s another problem. While Brewer and Chandler are not good players, this lineup forces them to “play bigger”. Guess what? To play bigger requires better stats! It’s so weird that I hear the logic that McGee and Koufos couldn’t play together and yet it’s fine to play two PGs together, two SFs together and it’s fine. As always, there is not an inherent value in playing smallball. The KEY to that is having Kevin Durant or LeBron James on your team and Brewer and Chandler are nowhere close. Here’s hoping Chandler gets traded.
Now, Karl shocks me in the 4th by actually playing a center. Of course, he sticks with small ball for five minutes but thank goodness he ends the 4th quarter with a big lineup. And he also does the same in the first OT. Sure, I’m not happy with Andre Miller and Ty Lawson but with Iguodala out with injury, I’d rather have Miller than Brewer or Chandler. The 2nd and 3rd OT though is where things fall apart. He takes out Faried. Why? It’s OT, that’s sudden death! He keeps McGee and I’m happy but then he pulls him and replaces him with Faried. And somehow Koufos, who is the only one shooting well, is most of the game.
A fun note too, Miller played pretty bad this game, including a three point attempt with 4 seconds left in the 3rd OT to try and win. Why, oh man, why? But I noted yesterday that Karl played Miller all of the 4th quarter. With players like McGee we hear that Karl is limiting his minutes with good reasons. Except, when he does minute allocation like this, it’s hard to buy that Karl is putting any intelligence into limiting minutes. Rather, he is trying to play “crafty lineups”, which instead wind up putting our teams at a disadvantage. Sigh.
As I said on Twitter, Nuggets fans do not get to console themselves with losing a back to back game away. No, this game was entirely winnable and it was coached away. This roster is almost idiot proof, but Karl is showing he’s just the person to somehow screw it up. As long as he’s in control, I can’t believe we stand a chance of advancing in the playoffs.