Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 117 – 113 Minnesota Timberwolves

The Denver Nuggets pulled out a hard-fought victory at home Friday evening over the Minnesota Timberwolves, winning the game 117-113.

You can find the game grades below.

Minnesota Timberwolves 113 FinalRecap | Box Score 117 Denver Nuggets
J.J. Hickson, PF 30 MIN | 5-11 FG | 2-3 FT | 11 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | -1

Hickson had a great first half and was very effective in the pick-and-roll with Ty Lawson, but went 0-5 in the second half. His defense wasn’t inspiring, as per usual, and Pekovic could do whatever he wanted when Hickson was on him.

Kenneth Faried, PF 30 MIN | 8-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | +2

Faried continues to fend off trade rumors. He came out to play tonight and was hustling for rebounds and pouring in second-chance points early. His defense was very up-and-down, but he did force Kevin Love into some tough shots in the second half. He also made a couple of nice late-game blocks in the final moments of the game.

Jordan Hamilton, SF 16 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | -2

Hamilton had a pretty solid game. He only played 16 minutes, but was relatively effective on both ends of the floor. He started the third quarter off well, hitting a couple of shots and initiating the offense. Not really enough playing time to warrant a very high grade though.

Ty Lawson, PG 35 MIN | 6-16 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 10 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 6 TO | 14 PTS | +8

Lawson was amazing in the first quarter, finding open teammates all over the floor. He finished the game with a double-double, despite only shooting 6-16 from the floor. The offense really struggles to get going when Ty is off the floor.

Randy Foye, SG 20 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -3

Just not a very good game for Foye. His shot wasn’t going and he was practically invisible on offense.

Darrell Arthur, PF 18 MIN | 3-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +2

Arthur played well in his 18 minutes. He made some nice plays on offense and the Nuggets were great defensively when DA and Mozgov shared the floor. But more on that further down.

Wilson Chandler, SF 22 MIN | 6-9 FG | 4-6 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | +4

Well, it looks like he has shaken the rust off. Very efficient 22 minutes for Chandler. He made some huge shots down the stretch and was mostly very solid defensively. The Nuggets have really missed a wing who can stretch the floor and Chandler coming back is huge.

Timofey Mozgov, C 17 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +3

Not quite as flashy numbers as we saw in his career-night in the previous game, but Mozgov had a decent game. As soon as he entered the game, his teammates were actively looking to find him and he scored a couple of nice baskets in the post.

Andre Miller, PG 21 MIN | 4-8 FG | 3-5 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | -6

Miller was the only player that played all 12 minutes in the fourth quarter and he made a lot of game-changing plays. He was active in the post and even forced Minnesota to double-team him, after which he made an amazing crosscourt pass right into Chandler’s pocket.

Nate Robinson, PG 18 MIN | 3-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +6

Just a terrible game for Nate overall. He missed two open threes early, after Lawson found him open on the perimeter, yet he continued forcing the issue and took bad shots throughout the game.

Evan Fournier, SG 13 MIN | 4-7 FG | 1-1 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | +7

Fournier’s confidence seems a bit shaky and at one point he gave up a completely open three to drive down the lane where Pekovic was waiting. He had some nice drives to the basket in the second half and scored in double-digits despite only playing 13 minutes.

Brian Shaw

Shaw had a decent game. He continues to start JJ Hickson, which proved to be a good idea in the first quarter. Anthony Randolph didn’t see the floor, so that’s always a plus. I do feel like he should have pulled the plug on Foye and especially Robinson earlier. He also left Faried in the game when Denver was trying to inbound the ball in the concluding moments of the game, which could have led to a five second violation and crucial turnover.

Four Things We Saw

  1. Ty Lawson and JJ Hickson were terrific in the pick-and-roll. In the first quarter especially, this was the Nuggets’ go-to play. Lawson did a great job kicking the ball out to the perimeter, but he mostly focused on finding Hickson rolling to the basket. JJ also did a good job making himself available and finishing well around the basket.
  2. The Nuggets REALLY struggle to create offense without Lawson. Without Ty’s drive-and-kick game, the Nuggets really don’t have a consistent go-to guy and often settled for bad shots. The off-ball movement all-around also slows down when Lawson is off the floor.
  3. Mozgov and Arthur are the two best defensive big men on the Nuggets right now and it shows. The two players shared the floor for around six to seven minutes in the third quarter. Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic were kept to 2-10 shooting in that period and Minnesota’s offense was heavily dependent on their guard play for a while.
  4. The Nuggets won the rebounding battle 46-42 against arguably the best rebounding frontcourt in the NBA. Great collective hustle on the boards by the whole team.

You can follow Vytis on Twitter: @VytisLasaitis

Next up: Saturday, Nov. 16, 8 PM ET @ Houston. Going to the game? Save money and get cheap Denver Nuggets tickets here.

  • Poz303

    I think we should trade Faried…NOT!!!

    • Branden Gloudeman

      I mad the mistake of thinking it 2…. If his defense improves I hope to god we never trade him

  • Greg Boyarko

    I’m really liking Arthur. He played solid defense on Love and can hit mid range jumpers. I think the Koufos trade actually may not have been a bad idea after all.

    • Dikembe

      totally agree. Arthur can actually shoot a mid range jump-shot!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not bad on defense either helps space the team out a little more. Also thank god we have are Veteran Miller, he is so dam sneaky.

      • Branden Gloudeman

        What’s gonna happen when mcgee gets back is arthur gonna ride the pine again? I HOPE NOT his defense is the best on the team by far

        • Dikembe

          Yea Shaw should realize at this point that Arthur helps the team immensely defensively and offensively he should be getting some more minuets in the games to come.

        • David Acker

          Start Mozgov with Faried and let Arthur play with McGhee off the bench.. Team would be better defensively

          • Branden Gloudeman

            I luv that idea…. but now what about hickson?

            • David Acker

              Yeah it’s a problem I forsee a trade soon

  • evan

    Mozgov looked pissed after the game.

  • gallogallo88

    3 wins in a row! is it more because javale’s gone or wilson’s back?

    • http://americablog.com magster

      The latter I suspect, though I fear the former has merit too.

  • Ckwizard

    It was nice to see Brewer leaving his man open for the corner three!

  • Branden Gloudeman

    Great great great team win…. how about or defense in the 3rd?!?!?!

  • Vitor Lago

    Mozgod, Arthur and Chandler is a nice defensive front court for stretches of the game. I almost think Fournier should be starting over Foye. Fournier can run the pick n roll well and can finish near the rim, If Foye isn’t making 3s he’s really useless. Good win though.

    • Branden Gloudeman

      It’s rare foye misses his shots like that tho… Kevin Martin was covering him very well!

    • Dikembe

      Fournier is killer on offense and i think need utilized more. but defensively he needs some improvement, muscle to get through screens or something is needed his man is always too open.

      • david

        He is pretty small. Adding some muscle would help a lot

  • http://americablog.com magster

    For the first time this season… OPTIMISM. I credit the return of Wilson Chandler.

  • heykyleinsf

    It was sweet to see Corey give Faried a big hug after the game. I sure liked cBrew..

  • http://americablog.com magster

    A little harsh on Hickson’s and Nate’s grades. I’d give Hickson a B, just because he was one of our best players in first half, and I’d give Nate a D, because he made a couple of shots and rebounds. F grades really need to be earned by comically bad play. Nate just mostly sucked.

    • Dikembe

      Thank you i agree so much. It seems our newest players get much harsher grades than others not sure why. If anything they should be getting more of a break for being new to everything. Hickson really wasn’t too bad tonight he got a double double and was taking good shots for the most part they were just not falling in the second half.

    • Poz303

      I have to agree with you too. How many players get a double-double and get a “C” grade? I feel there is a little bias in the grades this season.

  • Richard Pesicka

    I said it before and I’ll say it again, the owners will sell off players. It’s just like selling tickets. There is no human element involved. It’s a business..

  • Andrew

    Really nice win. Anyone have any idea, though, why Moz and Arthur aren’t getting a few more minutes?

    • http://americablog.com magster

      Still trying to figure out Shaw’s rotations. My faulty memory tells me small ball was on court for our runs, so that would be an explanation tonight.

      • Andrew

        Yeah, ok. I think I do not really have a problem now with Shaw experimenting with rotations and giving out minutes to everyone, it just seems like he would have given Moz/Art a little more play tonight for their stellar d.

        • Dikembe

          Agreed they earned it.

  • Darren

    Manimal strikes again! If we can defend the interior like we did tonight, I’m not rushing Gallinari back any quicker than he’s ready. Guards are still going to burn us HARD in the 4th when Ty’s tired and Andre is… Andre. When Danilo does come back, we could realistically play a Ty-Wilson-Gallo-Arthur-Mozgov lineup to completely lock down the defense. That may have been one of the bigger problems last year: We could start a run anytime, but we could never stop an opposing run, especially on their court. That kind of defensive set could be the difference maker in those key road games.

  • Daniel McDonald

    Caught the second half. Solid game against a talented team. The last few minutes were disappointing as it would have been nice to see the nuggets stay consistent even after it looked like they had the win, but then again Minnesota had the best player (or two, even three players) in the game out there. At any rate it’s good to see that these nuggets have some fight in them.

  • jessica collins

    This was a great win for the nuggets. I was little bit scared at the end when Minnesota made their last run. Credit k love for the manning esque fake handoff for a three. B Shaw is still trying find his rotation. Everybody is getting at least 15 minutes a game but he getting close to have his rotation down. Anthony Randolph is already out of the rotation. He hasn’t played in the last two games. When galliniri comes back Jordan hanilton going to be out of the rotation, so he better get all he can right now. I believe foye is going to find his shot and ill will has been on fire since he came back from injury. Nate rob is going to get going one of these days and his game going to take off from there. So thats Lawson miller Nate at pg (all three can play together), foye Fournier at the 2, Chandler galliniri Hamilton at the 3, Faried darell arthur Anthony randoph at the 4, mcgee mozgov jj hickson at the 5. We need to keep faried, he brings a lot the team. If a trade does happen, I see either Randolph or Hamilton or both.

  • Darius

    Listen to this trade between the Knicks, Cavs and Nuggets: Knicks get Tyler Zeller and Anthony Randolph, Cavaliers get Kenneth Faried, Iman Shumpert, Beno Udrih and Jordan Hamilton, Nuggets get Anthony Bennett and The Cavs 2014 First Rounder (Top 5 Protected). I think it makes sense for everyone! Any comments?

    • Ban Johnson

      Knicks need frontcourt help, but aren’t going to squander their only real asset for Zeller and Randolph — those guys just aren’t good enough.

      I’m all for the Nuggets heading to tank city if the right move is there, however. This team just isn’t a playoff team.

  • theweatherman53

    Mozgov and Arthur are the two best bigs on our team for Shaw’s system. They are good defensively and have more traditional offensive talents. We need to start thinning that ridiculous depth in the frontcourt. Ideally we’d be able to trade Javale, but his contract is just a giant cancer at this point (Thanks a lot Masai). But getting rid of Hickson and Randolph might be a decent idea and I also think we can still get decent value out of Nate despite his bad start. I say maybe we package those three together for a pick and a decent traditional big or a good defensive 2 guard.

    • nachoplease

      Hickson and Randolph have no trade value with their contracts

      • theweatherman53

        Hickson averaged a double-double last season $5m a year is hardly outrageous and I still think Randolph has plenty of value. His size and athleticism alone would make him interesting to a team that needs front court depth. Nate’s the one that probably has very little value left. He had a career year last year and led his team to the playoffs and still only got $2m and didn’t seem to have many suitors.