I'll lead in with one of my favorite quotes about the postseason. "When a team loses in the playoffs, it looks like they'll never win again. When a team wins in the playoffs, it looks like they'll never lose again." Before getting into the analysis, it's important to keep that in mind. With all the energy, emotion, and intensity of the postseason, situations often seem larger than they are. The whole series could be flipped on its head with a New Orleans win in Game 2.
Of course, there are some serious issues to take into consideration. Let's list them one by one:
Kenyon Martin Owned David West
I'm assuming Byron Scott does not want to hurt David West's pride, and thus, will go to him many times in Game 2. From what I saw in Game 1, the West-Martin matchup has no chance of success. Whatsover. Zero. That's how amazing Martin's defense was on West. He bodied him out of position, forced him out to 15 feet on every play, and made him take horrific fadeaways. West generally doesn't like to pass unless he's doubled, and Denver took full advantage of this. DX turned into an offensive black hole and got dominated by Kenyon Martin. I don't see it changing. If West is going to produce anything on Wednesday, it will be through Chris Paul's creation.
Tyson Chandler is nowhere close to Tyson Chandler
He's not going for rebounds, he's not going for blocks, he's not playing good defense on Nene. There is something seriously wrong with his leg/ankle/whatever else. The more I think about it, the more that rescinded OKC trade makes sense. I mean think about it. An OKC physician literally put his career on the line by calling off the trade. There's no way he does that without serious, legitimate concerns; I don't buy that a physician puts his career on the line just to take the fall for a front office with cold feet. Well, anyways, it doesn't look like we'll have the real Tyson Chandler for the rest of this series.
The Bench is Horrible
We can't sugarcoat it any longer, the bench is terrible. We can't hold out hope that the bench will magically become good in the playoffs because, well, here's the playoffs, and they still suck. Hilton looks scared on the floor, Julian Wright's confidence looks shot from his undefined role, Devin Brown is Devin Brown, and Sean Marks is Sean Marks. Daniels is the only competent guy on the unit, and by competent, I mean league average.
Those are three serious, serious issues. They are issues which, if they are not fixed, could portend a Denver sweep. The onus is on Byron Scott to find different ways to utilize West, and creative ways to use Marks and Ely (?).
Of course, there are some major regressions to be expected. Chauncey Billups was super lucky. He's a very good player, but he got a ridiculous number of shots to drop tonight. David West was very unlucky on non-1on1 situations. He bricked a ton of wide open looks from very easy locations. Those two regressions alone should put us back in the thick of things. When we return home, we'll ideally get a few more close calls going our way. But unless we fix at least one of the three big issues, it's going to be tough for us to pull this series out.
We got smacked in the mouth. Hard. The Nuggets could make this a quick fight by delivering a second beat down. If we want to extend this thing, we'll need better energy, better effort, and better execution. The Hornets are a seriously flawed team, but a 30 point loss in Game 1 doesn't mean we're done. We'll see if the Hornets can show us something on Wednesday.