The Denver Nuggets find themselves soul-searching after Wednesday night’s 106-89 shellacking in Oklahoma City, where they fell to 0-2 in the best-of-seven playoff series. And JR Smith isn’t liking what he sees. “It was just frustration. Just really didn’t have any life in there today,” Smith told reporters after a team meeting yesterday at the Pepsi Center (Associated Press). “Nobody was really into it, from what it seemed. Just out of it.” Smith may be biased, though, as coach George Karl singled him out after the big loss. Smith has taken the criticism to heart and says he doesn’t plan on re-signing with the Nuggets after his contract expires this summer (Denver Post).
Considering Smith’s occasional offensive genius on the floor, this could be a problem for Denver, but the team has more immediate concerns. Saturday night they’ll be back in front of a friendly crowd, but they’re battling a team that has dominated them throughout the season. Irreverent sports blog Deadspin uses one of the Nuggets’ defensive failings from Wednesday night in an effort to draw a comparison between the Thunder as an elite team and the Nuggets as, well, not so elite. While we hate to count Denver out, even Nuggets faithful—like Denver Stiffs—aren’t confident Karl can piece together a lineup that will be able to hang with the Thunder.