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.
|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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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