BIG RUNS ARE CAUS­ING COACH STRESS

The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

It wasn’t sup­posed to be a stress­ful fi­nal 12 min­utes in In­di­anapo­lis for the Nuggets on Fri­day night.

Den­ver held a 94-75 lead over the In­di­ana Pac­ers head­ing into the fourth quar­ter. The Nuggets to that point had lim­ited In­di­ana to 45 per­cent shoot­ing from the field, in­clud­ing 5-of13 from 3-point range.

But in the fourth quar­ter, the Pac­ers scored 42 points and hit eight 3point­ers, clos­ing a 23point lead to just five in the fi­nal min­utes be­fore the Nuggets held on.

The Nuggets are 26-8 this sea­son when lead­ing at half­time, but they’ve seen large leads come per­ilously close to slip­ping away sev­eral times re­cently. Big runs are part of the NBA game, of course, but coach Michael Malone said there are things the Nuggets must do to limit the im­pact of such stretches.

“Of­fen­sively, it’s stay­ing ag­gres­sive and not play­ing ten­ta­tively,” Malone said. “You still want to play the way that got you the lead — but within that you also want to be dis­ci­plined and not be fool­hardy with turnovers and poor shot se­lec­tion.

“De­fen­sively, you can’t just play the score­board. You saw that the other night. You know a team is go­ing to make a come­back or a run at some point, but we just let them do what­ever they wanted and made too many mis­takes down the stretch that you don’t want to see right now.”

Big-men ex­per­i­ment.

The first of three chances over the next two weeks for the Nuggets to

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