Denver Nuggets: Shut Down Durant so the Next Game Isn't Decided by Blown Call

Vaden ChandlerCorrespondent IApril 19, 2011

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 17: Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder celebrates a three-point shot against the Denver Nuggets in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 17, 2011 at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Last Sunday, the Denver Nuggets were defeated by the Oklahoma City Thunder 107-103 in round one of the NBA playoffs. Unfortunately, the momentum changed on a poor call (or non-call) of goaltending. The play in question occurred with 1:05 left in the game and the Thunder's Kendrick Perkins was credited with the tip-in, =when video of the action appeared to show him interfering with the basket and tapping the ball in.

According to NBA rules, a play is considered goal-tending when the player attempts to "touch the ball at any time with a hand when the ball is through the basket ring." (http://www.nba.com/analysis/rules_11.html)

Even though the NBA agreed with this turn of events and even issued a statement that the poor play-calling at the end played a role in Denver's defeat, there are other areas where the team dropped the ball. Nuggets Coach George Karl would agree.

"I think I made a mistake by not calling time-out and letting our mental state settle down," he said. 

One of the things that could be added is to shut down the stellar play of Kevin Durant. From an X's and O's standpoint, the Nuggets need to figure out how to hold Durant at bay better in game two, because if they hold Durant to even 37 points, then this game has a totally different dynamic in the waning minutes. 

Wait, you say, just how would Denver do that? How does one shut down a player that can score 41 points seemingly at will in an NBA game? One way would be to simply double-team him more and force others to make the shots.

A lot of players on the Denver side have expressed frustration at the strategy involving Durant as well. "Make him pass it to someone else," Kenyon Martin said. "We don't let Kobe play one-on-one when we play him, so why let Durant play one-on-one."

The Nuggets have got to figure out how to contain Durant or they just might have a first-round exit on their hands, whether they agree with the officiating or not.