Preseason Game 5: Nuggets 111-Clippers 118

The shorthanded Nuggets pushed the Clippers all night long before finally dropping the game in overtime 118-111. Some thoughts on the game:

Things I liked:

  • Quincy Miller had some really good defensive moments tonight. With his length he could cause a lot of problems for people if he is able to stay in front of small forwards. Offensively, he even hit a three which is important if he wants consistent minutes as a wing player. I am all for Miller getting regular season minutes spelling Wilson Chandler.
  • Evan Fournier was incredible. He started the game with a few catch-and-shoot jumpers and started to cook from there. Fournier hit a few step back jumpers and slashed inside to create some looks at the rim. He also added seven rebounds. Brian Shaw said the other day Randy Foye was basically entrenched as a starter but Fournier showed tonight he can provide valuable bench scoring.
  • The Nuggets really competed down a lot of rotation players. Without Nate Robison, Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler and Danillo Gallinari the Nuggets really could have packed things in and taken a loss in a preseason game that really doesn’t matter. Instead they competed all night, with most of the minutes being filled by projected bench players like Fournier, Mozgov, Andre Miller and Miller. That matters.
  • Andre Miller played well and was the point guard on the floor when the Nuggets got back into the game. The slower paced system may fit Miller better than anyone else on the roster and it showed. The two point guard lineups are probably going to be important for Denver this season as it gets two of their best three playmakers and passers on the floor together. To see Miller play this well is a good sign.
  • The Nuggets execution overall was really good. They got open looks from all over the floor and for a lot of different players. It was encouraging to see after a few tough games of it.

 

Things I didn’t like:

  • JaVale McGee again looked smooth in the post, making moves with a purpose and quickly, but at some point the shots need to drop. If the Nuggets are going to play through the post often, and make no mistake Brian Shaw has made it clear they will, someone needs to be efficient there. McGee also had a few late fouls that were just silly. It wasn’t his finest night.
  • Defensively the Nuggets are going to continue to struggle defending the pick-and-roll when McGee’s man sets the screen. McGee just hangs deep into the lane, giving up open foul line jumpers. With the size of the Nuggets guards that is going to lead to way to many points as the guards are going to get caught on screens and not be able to contest shots if they do get through.
  • Chris Paul and Darren Collison torched the Nugget point guards. It is preseason and all, but Lawson had five fouls in 16 minutes and Miller wasn’t much better on that end. Nate Robinson won’t help things with his size. Paul is the best point guard in the NBA so giving up a big night to him isn’t as big a deal but Collison was 10-13 from the field and got to the line 5 times for a total of 27 points. In total the two point guards combined for 66 points on 23-34 shooting and 15-17 from the line. That isn’t good. After getting torched for 36 points by Kevin Durant in the last game Denver can’t be all that confident with the early perimeter defense even without Wilson Chandler and Danillo Gallinari.
  • I know Anthony Randolph had some really good moments in this game but I can’t see why he shoots so many jumpers. He doesn’t consistently make them enough for it to be a real weapon and a lot of times his misses aren’t even close. A guy with his length and athleticism needs to attack the basket more, not spot up for long jumpers he almost never makes.
  • Jordan Hamilton’s job is in jeopardy if the Nuggets are willing to eat the money he is still owed. Hamilton has a reputation as a shooter but it has never really translated into games. He hit nothing but air with his first two shots tonight and never saw the court in the second and fourth quarters or overtime. He isn’t a good defender so to earn playing time he needed to prove he can make shots, which he hasn’t done at all this preseason. On the bright side for him Damion James didn’t really see the floor either and that seems to be who he is battling for his roster spot.
  • Randy Foye also continued to struggle shooting the ball and was forced into ball handling duties in the first half. Foye will start shooting better at some point as he has proven the past few years but he becomes a liability anytime he puts the ball on the floor.

Other thoughts:

  • JJ Hickson was invisible for most the game despite having a chance to set himself apart in the battle for the starting power forward job with Kenneth Faried sidelined. Then Antawn Jamison started to cover him and like most people when Antawn Jamison starts to cover them Hickson came alive. If Hickson can at the very least take advantage of mismatches like that one he will help the Nuggets offense in an important way.
  • The last play of regulation was ugly but I kind of expected it. Brian Shaw wasn’t going to draw up a real play and give away something he can save for a key regular season moment. So instead we got whatever Denver actually did.

Please leave your thoughts below.

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  • Fraser Nixon

    Highlight for me was Quincy- most points he’s scored as a nugget… expanding on his last game. Seems to be getting more confident with taking shots and being a bit aggressive. Looks good defensively too, hope he gets some rotation minutes.

    I also like Fournier starting ahead of Foye, I think Foye hasn’t shown any real reason to be placed above Fournier. I mean sure Foye is a good shooter (It would be easier to believe if he made his shots, but benefit of doubt to him), but Fournier is also an excellent shooter and is more capable at putting the ball on the floor.

  • gallogallo88

    why was nate not around? fournier has promise, i’m ok with him off the bench as the playmaker… also, what happened to lawson? he is not having a good pre-season.. i’m worried …

  • Robert Dinsmore

    1). I love Javale but toward the end of the game he looked like he was finished playing WHGILE on the court. He was mentally out of the game and unaware.
    2). I thought that Randolph earned more time at the end. They removed him from the lineup at a time when he just could not miss a shot. I don’t think he ever returned until there was minute remaining. At that time I thought that he looked irritated and was probably thinking…”I was on fire and you removed me only to dis me by sending me in with 1 minute remaining and no chance to win”.
    3). Ty was out of his element. He was not aggressive and did not show leadership tonight.
    4). I am not an Andre fan based on attitude, off season workout intensity/prep, and team unity. However, he was significantly better than Ty tonight and made the team look legit. I just do not like the pace and style of play.
    5). I hate the cocky, cry baby act by Chris Paul and wish he would get a few more techs. Late in the game he complains that he did not receive a call when a few minutes prior, he fouled on a 3 point shot and was not called. SHUT UP and play.
    6). I am still not a Mozgov fan for that many minutes.
    7). Final thoughts…This was like a regular season game and was actually very entertaining. The fact that we were missing 3 starters and our sixth man gives me high hopes.

    • dynamo.joe

      Re: JaVale; I think it’s on the coach to understand when to pull JaVale and so far Shaw has shown a Karl-like inability to know when to put a fork in him.

  • Charliemyboy

    Didn’t feel as bad about this game as the others. They are learning. Fournier was the best Nugget. Paul is a BB genius who will dismantle anybody. Should have put James or Fournier on him as Ty was cooked… his butt was cooked. Javale needs to stick his butt in the other center and play underneath like a center, not a forward. He needs one fake, then do his jump shot; don’t go directly up. Moz needs 100 balls thrown high speed at his head. He needs a catcher’s mitt. The centers need to practice passing first immediately then getting it back. Randolph is a keeper and Shaw knows that. High potential with minutes on both sides of the floor. JJ plays hard and should be center at times. Overall, somewhat impressed with desire and a little better cohesiveness and defensive focus. It looks like Shaw is starting to get something out of the team, sans Ty… he seems lost, but I think will adjust. He is like that. And look, we had 4 starting NBA players not playing, and still could have won that game on a top 5 or 8 team! Thank goodness… I was giving up! Now I’m just a little bit excited.

    • eman

      Ty woke a sleeping giant. It was Ty’s trash talk that lit a fire under CP3. And to add injury to insult Ty then gets into early foul trouble and goes into his famous shell.

      Evan and J.J. showed the unique ability to create their own shot which was eye opening especially J.J. doing it during crunch time.

      No Chandler, no Faried, no Arthur or Robinson and no Gallinari for the foreseeable future and no problem. Getting quality minutes and production from Anthony Randolph and Quincy Miller two players that many people would consider to be end of the bench players shows you just how deep the Denver Nuggets are. They may not have a star but their depth is beyond question. Now what they do with it is the million dollar question.

      • Charliemyboy

        Didn’t feel as bad about this game as the others. They are learning. Fournier was the best Nugget. Paul is a BB genius who will dismantle anybody. Should have put James or Fournier on him as Ty was cooked… his butt was cooked. Javale needs to stick his butt in the other center and play underneath like a center, not a forward. He needs one fake, then do his jump shot; don’t go directly up. Moz needs 100 balls thrown high speed at his head. He needs a catcher’s mitt. The centers need to practice passing first immediately then getting it back. Randolph is a keeper and Shaw knows that. High potential with minutes on both sides of the floor. JJ plays hard and should be center at times. Overall, somewhat impressed with desire and a little better cohesiveness and defensive focus. It looks like Shaw is starting to get something out of the team, sans Ty… he seems lost, but I think will adjust. He is like that. And look, we had 4 starting NBA players not playing, and still could have won that game on a top 5 or 8 team! Thank goodness… I was giving up! Now I’m just a little bit excited.

  • Len Nunes

    once again only watched the first half, here’s my thoughts:
    1) sort of a blessing in disguise that the team had to play with such a short bench
    2) our guards ranked from first to worst – – Fournier, A Mil, Foye, Lawson. Three times I saw Lawson run straight into the Clipper setting a pick like a brick wall…umm I understand losing your man due to a pick but running into the guy like you had no idea he was there is worrisome. Foye was absolutely terrible in the first quarter but recovered nicely in the 2nd quarter.
    3) The score with Griffin & CP3 on the floor – – 41-27 LAC
    The score without Griffin & CP3 on the floor – – 20-5 DEN
    For as decent as Randolph looked guarding Jamison he was atrocious covering Griffin.
    Hickson looked quite good defensively in the first quarter when he was manning Griffin.
    4) When CP3 and the Clip picked up the tempo, Denver’s defense had absolutely no answers. Scared the hell out of me watching the Clippers beating us soundly at George Karl’s game.
    5) Mozgov is a poor man’s Koufos with a rich mans contract. I’m struggling to see him grow into the contract.
    6) I’m beginning to see Quincy Miller grow into a guaranteed contract. I’m beginning see the end of JHam’s tenure in Denver (not because of James but because Q Mil’s defense> JHam’s offense)
    7) Randolph, had a good game but add back the four healthy bodies, he’s still a mop up minutes guy in the regular season. It’s a scary thought that the Nugs may need Chandler to play a minimum of 35 minutes a game.

  • Bainy Zhang

    Randolph hit 50% of his jumpers this game and you’re still not satisfied? Everyone thinks he’s trash now but give the man credit where credit is due.