Denver Nuggets: Squad faces drought conditions in Game 2

The Denver Nuggets opened the month of May with a downright frigid shooting performance in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals.

Denver Nuggets fans residing in the Mile High City, you’ve seen it before. Drought conditions are not unfamiliar to longtime residents of the greater Denver area.

Remember back in 2013 when certain minor, annoying restrictions came about? Mandates such as limited hours for sprinkler usage, and government pamphlets encouraging shorter showers?"}” data-ad-type=”connatix_inline_nba__desktop__tablet” data-ad-vendor=”connatix”/>

Well, that spell was nothing compared to the Nuggets’ Game 2 shooting. The squad brought severe drought conditions right back into the Mile High with their horrible misfires, cashing in on a measly 20.7 percent of their 3-point field goal attempts in Game 2.

In a matchup that saw the Portland Trail Blazers make multiple defensive adjustments, the Nuggets received wide open looks galore. Unfortunately, the story became a musical chairs-like rotation of different Nuggets clunking them.

They didn’t just brick from deep, either. The team missed from mid-range, point blank and at the charity stripe. Some players even missed the locker room door wide left as they retreated for the halftime break.

Just how bad was the shooting? It hurts to even write this.


The Nuggets shot an icy 34.7 percent from the field, while draining only 6-of-29 looks from deep. They hit just 61.5 percent of their attempts from the free-throw line…you know, the spot third grade coaches characterize as free points?

The Nuggets missed eight straight field goal attempts to close the second quarter, before struggling through a 1-for-8 stretch in the third. They weren’t done in the fourth, as they posted a 1-for-7 stint, followed closely by a 1-of-9 segment.

Individually, Malik Beasley generated eight free-throw attempts … but sank just three of them. Jamal Murray and Gary Harris combined to shoot 10-of-30 from the field, while Will Barton and Monte Morris joined forces to hit just 2-of-14. Four Nuggets were 50 percent or less from the free throw line.

Anybody feeling the dry heat yet? Well, there’s more.

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Gary Harris hoisted five 3-point attempts and made exactly zero. Monte Morris also blanked on his three downtown attempts, joining up with Harris to produce an 0-for-8 tandem. Meanwhile, Jamal Murray splashed just 2-of-8 from distance.

One sequence saw Denver miss four layups on one possession, before Will Barton drew a foul on the team’s fifth attempt, finally putting the play out of its misery.

The Nuggets have won five playoff games to date, proving themselves less fraudulent than the league believes them to be. Yet, imagine if they knocked down some shots on Wednesday.

The Nuggets lost Game 2 by a measly seven points. Shooting 6-of-29 from deep is a significant error margin. If the squad had splashed even a sub-mediocre 9-of-29, they win the game. Or if they’d hit slightly more than 16 of their 26 free throw attempts? The Nuggets didn’t lose Game 2 due to lack of opportunity, you know.

It was disappointing to see Denver go away from its Game 1 interior scoring, where Jokic and Millsap bullied Portland all game. Game 2 revolved around finding open shots, which works better when they’re going down. Jokic opened the game in facilitator mode, scoring just eight points through his first three quarters. It’s playoff time — go score, big fella!

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The Nuggets won the offensive rebounding battle 23-7 in Game 2, showing just how significantly they dominate the Blazers on the block. Denver should better capitalize on the low-post mismatches, especially considering Portland’s thin frontcourt D. Credit the Blazers for a decent job doubling Jokic and forcing the Nuggets to the 3-point line, however.

In its worst shooting game of the playoffs, Denver dropped a winnable Game 2 at home. Hopefully Friday’s Game 3 will be better, as the playoffs are a terrible time for a drought.


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