Denver had control of the game for three quarters and just let go of the rope in the fourth. The offense stalled in the half court (hey, that sounds familiar) and the defense that was bending all game finally snapped. In the slog that is going to be this first month and a half of this season, there was progress made here but ultimately this game serves as yet another sign that there is a ton of work to be done on every aspect of this team.
|Kenneth Faried, SF 28 MIN | 7-14 FG | 1-2 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | +1
Faried finally reclaimed his spot in the starting lineup and submitted a typical Manimal-like game. He played with ferocity, sacrificed his body for rebounds, played poor defense, and suffered as much in the half court as he thrived in transition. At this point you can’t really expect anything more or less from him, but I think it was enough to keep a leg up on Hickson.
|Jordan Hamilton, SF 23 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 11 PTS | -6
Amidst a disappointing game, J-Ham’s play shown as a lone bright spot. He served as a comparable floor spacer desperately needed on the wing and did a solid job spacing the floor by always rotating to the weak side corner whenever the ball handler got into the paint.
|JaVale McGee, C 21 MIN | 4-11 FG | 1-1 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 5 TO | 9 PTS | +1
The defense is just not there and we’re getting to the point where it may never be. He is borderline unplayable with any other big with defensive issue, which is basically all Denver has on its roster right now. He showed some offensive flashes in the pick and roll but the half court offense died whenever it went to him in the post.
|Ty Lawson, PG 37 MIN | 6-17 FG | 7-9 FT | 2 REB | 8 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 20 PTS | -6
Ty pushed the pace for three quarters and despite a poor shooting night still got into the paint and forced the defense to make tough decisions. The offense is almost entirely reliant on him playing at maximum and whenever he sits or trails off for a bit, like he did in the fourth quarter, the offense craters.
|Randy Foye, SG 28 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +5
This is what Randy Foye is paid to do. Spot up behind the line and shoot open threes and he did that as well as you could’ve hoped tonight.
|Darrell Arthur, PF 8 MIN | 0-0 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -9
I don’t know why he played at all if he was only going to get eight minutes, or why he was out there in relative crunch time anchoring the front court with J.J. Hickson.
|J.J. Hickson, PF 17 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 4 PTS | -8
It is so frustrating to watch this guy. He helps space the offense with his jumper but other than that I can’t see any value he has brought to the team thus far. His defense is horrific, he doesn’t rebound like he should, and he never seems to be in the right position in the pick and roll.
|Timofey Mozgov, C 21 MIN | 4-6 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 11 PTS | -4
It’s becoming more and more clear that Mozzy is Denver’s anchor at center and I can’t really tell if that revelation is comforting or not. He is “Koufosian” in how solid he’s been on both sides of the ball but he is clearly not ready to handle an increased minutes load.
|Andre Miller, PG 29 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -12
Dre hit two threes and attempted to lead a fast break at one point, so that was fun. That’s all I got.
|Nate Robinson, PG 19 MIN | 2-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 5 PTS | -1
This is the roller coaster that is NateRob, these are usually the types of games that follow explosions like the one versus Portland. He knows his role on this team and sometimes he’s going to be on and sometimes he’s gong to do this. You just have to accept that.
|Evan Fournier, SG 9 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -1
Evan had three fouls in three minutes and pretty much sabotaged any rhythm he might have had from that point on. He didn’t even attempt a shot on offense and defensively he didn’t really contribute a ton either. A somewhat invisible game from the Frenchman.
Well, points for starting Jordan Hamilton! All told, the offense fell apart in the fourth quarter when the game bogged down and he probably left Hickson and Arthur out there for too long. The defense is still a mess and the tendency for the offense to go through isolation post sets in the half court is beyond frustrating. Shaw seems to be trying to shove a square peg system into a round hole roster.
Three Things We Saw
- Denver is missing two of their three best players and at this point they’re really just scrambling to find something that works. There are going to be five man rotations in the front court and the starting unit is probably going to be a fluid situation as well, filling holes that guys like Gallo and Chandler leave is not an easy thing.
- Denver probably should have put the Spurs away sooner but truth be told this game could have been a blowout in San Antonio’s favor much sooner if they had just hit their open shots. The Spurs are the embodiment of “The Process” and they really didn’t do anything different in the fourth quarter than the first, they just started to hit their threes and watched Denver miss theirs.
- The defensive scheme looks to be in flux as well. After two games of watching the bigs drop back on the pick and roll, suddenly they started to trap the ball handler. It came and went in spurts so it’s hard to say if it was the beginning phase of a new system or if that was just the way Shaw wanted them to defend Tony Parker. Interesting to see where the pick and roll defense goes from here.
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