The destruction continues. We knew this would be a difficult stretch of games, but losing Gerald Wallace turned the road trip into a disaster. Defeating the Lakers has been the only saving grace, but that was a Pyrrhic victory if ever there was one. Losing to the Nuggets fit the script.
The score doesn't do justice to the beatdown Denver gave Charlotte. Much like the Portland game that preceded it, the contest was never really in doubt. Nene dominated on the block. Kleiza embarrassed the Bobcats' bench. And Chris Andersen looked like a Defensive POY candidate. Raja Bell dropped a game-high 27, and Boris Diaw put up 16, but no one else stepped up to fill the void Gerald's injury created.
I suppose this is both the blessing and the curse of constructing a roster with talent spread evenly. In theory, if a player goes down, someone could step in and get closer to replicating his production than if an All Star caliber player goes down. However, with talent spread throughout the roster, every player becomes a more important piece of the puzzle, and if he can't be replaced, the losses are greater than if, say, the Magic were to lose their starting two guard and defensive stopper.
When Mickael Pietrus went down, everything was still okay, because even though he's clearly better than Courtney Lee, his replacement, Howard, Turkoglu, Nelson, and Lewis are the most important members of that team, roughly in that order, with Howard magnitudes more important than the others. Lee has performed admirably in Pietrus's absence, but his production, just like Pietrus's, is almost entirely gravy in context of that team.
So, what now? The Jazz will be a stiff test, but looking beyond Monday's game, it's looking like a struggle for survival until Gerald gets back. Unfortunately, unless Cartier Martin is the answer, we're stuck with an overmatched Adam Morrison at the three, or playing a lineup bigger than we really want with Diaw at the three.