Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 111-Houston Rockets 122

The Nuggets trailed by double digits most of the night, including falling behind by 20, and ultimately fell to the Rockets 122-111.

The defense was invisible most of the night as the Rockets paraded to the rim, ultimately shooting 50.6 percent from the field. But don’t worry, I found all the D hiding in the grades.

Denver Nuggets 111 FinalRecap | Box Score 122 Houston Rockets
J.J. Hickson, PF 27 MIN | 7-12 FG | 0-1 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | -2

The offensive line looks good but a few of those makes were late buckets when the Rockets didn’t even pretend to try and play defense. Hickson was again awful on the defensive end of the floor where he failed to rotate over and over and over again.

Kenneth Faried, PF 25 MIN | 4-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -8

Tonight was one of those nights where the questions about Faired’s future in Denver make sense. Offensively he took all but one of his 11 shots inside the paint. He made four. Faried developing a great offensive game is a dead idea at this point, or at least it should be, but he needs to start finishing better than that. Defensively he failed to make rotations and constantly was beaten off the dribble by Jones. It was ugly.

Jordan Hamilton, SF 14 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -10

Denver got off to a slow start in large part because of Hamilton, who was absolutely abused by Chandler Parsons in the game’s first few possessions. Hamilton also failed to rebound as he has been which meant his only production came from a few open looks he knocked down. It was clearly his worst game since becoming a starter.

Ty Lawson, PG 39 MIN | 11-19 FG | 4-6 FT | 2 REB | 17 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 5 TO | 28 PTS | -5

Lawson was great at the end of the game but part of that was when the game was out of hand, despite Brian Shaw’s attempt at getting back into things via Hack-A-Howard. Offensively the Nuggets are a mess without Lawson but his defense has been awful this year and it continued tonight. When Lawson was tasked with guarding Jeremy Lin, Lin abused him. Hence the B instead of an A.

Randy Foye, SG 25 MIN | 2-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -14

Foye shot terribly, which is the one thing he was brought in to do. Not sure why he played 25 minutes.

Darrell Arthur, PF 13 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | -7

The Nuggets best defensive stretch continues to come with Arthur in the game. He even knocked down his open jumpers tonight. There is really no excuse he played only 13 minutes with the way Faried played.

Wilson Chandler, SF 29 MIN | 5-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | +2

Chandler played ok in his minutes. He clearly was missing his legs as almost all of his three pointers came up short but to see him be able to play 30 minutes in the second game of a back-to-back was a good sign for Denver.

Timofey Mozgov, C 17 MIN | 3-6 FG | 3-4 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +1

Mozgov did an ok job on offense, minus the missed dunk but his defense was ugly all night because of the match-ups he was presented with. Both Dwight Howard and Donatas Motiejunas were too quick for Mozzy and it showed as he got blown by a few times. He had a nice block on some help but overall he seemed rough on the defensive end tonight.

Andre Miller, PG 16 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | -8

If Dre doesn’t make shots he is almost useless. Tonight he didn’t.

Nate Robinson, PG 12 MIN | 1-2 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -5

This signing looks like it failed badly.

Evan Fournier, SG 21 MIN | 4-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | -3

Fournier was ok. He had some nice moments on defense but for the most part struggled. Offensively he got some good looks but didn’t convert enough of them. The confidence seems to be returning for Fournier which is good, but he needs to start knocking down some of these shots to earn more time and potentially the starting shooting guard spot.

Brian Shaw

Dwight Howard went 14/20 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. Hack-A-Howard clearly wasn’t working yet Brian Shaw kept going to it, essentially eliminating any slim chance the Nuggets had of getting back into the game. He also left his best defensive big on the bench as the Rockets got shot after shot at the rim. It was a bad night for the young coach.

Two Things We Saw

  1. Tonight was the first team in a few games that has made a point of getting to the rim against the Nuggets. It worked. Houston shot 50.6 percent from the field tonight and drew 15 non-Dwight Howard and James Harden free throws. The JJ Hickson/Kenneth Faried combination is a defensive abomination most of the time and really needs to stop soon. It is no coincidence the Nuggets defense almost always picks way up when Mozgov and Arthur check into the game.
  2. Yes, this was the second game of a back-to-back but it shouldn’t excuse the Nuggets effort. The offense being short on jumpers all night is understandable but the endless parade of Rockets to the rim because rotations were never being make is inexcusable. Playing on the road and in back-to-backs is hard but it shouldn’t lead to the amount of defensive breakdowns that we saw all night from Denver. And it wasn’t like it was Dwight Howard or James Harden hurting Denver the most. Jones was 6-11 from the field. Chandler Parsons was 8-13. Lin was 6-11. It was really bad.

Next up: Monday, Nov. 18, 7 p.m. (MST) @ OKC. Going to the game? Save money and get cheap Denver Nuggets tickets here.

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  • Poz303

    Some of the worst D I have seen played by a Nuggets team.

  • MMZ

    Had a feeling they would get torched tonight… sucks when the feeling is right

  • herpderpnuggets

    i didnt expect a win from the nuggets tonight, but if they actually wanted to play defense tonight, they couldve. i also was really confused at the excessive use of the Hack-a Dwight strategy, sucks they lost, but i have faith in this team

    • Poz303

      Minus some bad turnovers, Ty was Tynomite…28 points, 17 assists. But his D was so poor at times. Lin was getting past him at will.

      • herpderpnuggets

        yeah ty has been pretty solid this year, if he wouldve played like this last year…..

  • Scott

    Sad that we absolutely blew one of Ty’s best games ever (28 pts 17 ast). One thing is for sure this year with all the uncertainty this team faces; Ty Lawson is a BEAST. No question he is considered an “elite” point guard and easily arguable that he’s top 10. (Probably even 7th best PG in the league in my opinion. We really need to surround him with the talent that can help him succeed in his patented drive and kick out style of play. IE: pick and pop shooters and big men that can create space down low. If he does not represent the Nuggets as an all-star, then the NBA and voters are biased against overrated guys like Curry and Lillard. (Good players, but babied and overhyped by the NBA).

    Also, this was a statement game for Fournier. He didn’t have the best stats and did make some mistakes, but he played HARD. Foye did absolutely nothing for the last few games. He is way too one dimensional to be good. Evan has shown he can hit the 3 and make his own offense for himself. He should start.

    Finally, i don’t know about anyone else, but I noticed and kinda think that the Rockets have some pretty terrible fans. They have an all star squad, yet the arena was only around half-3 quarters full. They have been pretty blessed with some great players over the last decade and I feel that they don’t deserve them the way they act. Just like last years all star game with how dead the crowd was.

  • googergieger

    Yeah pretty much all that has been said about this team’s problems has been said already. Especially in regards to Shaw. I get that it takes time to adjust to a new system and what have you, but you figure that if he is going to play as many players as he does, he’ll stick with the ones that are playing well for him. And sit the ones that are clearly hurting the team.

  • heykyleinsf

    Wow those are some pretty rough grades Matt!! They did fight back, and played a damn good team hard. sure there problems.. but FWIW IMHO.. that’s a little too pessimistic. They fought back, and having a little fire makes me feel good on the road against (IMHO) one of the NBA’s elite.

    • Robin GRAVES

      Until I see Houston manage to play some defense I can’t consider them an “elite” team.. but agree with you on the rest though.

  • Len Nunes

    Here’s what I saw:

    1st Quarter Prediction for the Future

    Jordan Hamilton has started his last game for the Nuggets after
    Chandler Parsons embarrassed him mercilessly for the 2:20 seconds he was
    on the floor.

    1st Quarter Smiles

    JJ Hickson and Kenneth Faried combined to score the first
    12 points by the Denver Nuggets. Lawson with two assists, Hickson with
    an assist and an easy bucket off a Faried miss. Faried with 6 points.

    Darrell Arthur and Evan Fournier both went 2 for 2 in the quarter. If only Fournier’s defence was near as solid as Arthur’s defence.

    1st Quarter Frowns

    Both Hickson and Faried inexplicably tried shots from beyond the free throw line.

    Randy Foye held scoreless again and Wilson Chandler invisible on offence.

    1st Quarter Captain Obvious

    Whenever it takes Ty Lawson 10:12 to score a basket, the Nuggets are losing the quarter.

    2nd Quarter Streak(s)

    JJ Hickson continues his season long streak of being stuffed at
    the offensive rim. Granted it was the Dwightmare this time who blocked

    Timmy Mozgov has now gone consecutive games missing dunks.

    Who Needs a Small Forward?

    From 7:24 remaining to 5:15 remaining in the second quarter, Denver ran
    with a lineup that consisted of: Lawson, Robinson, A Miller, Faried and
    Hickson. Does that make Andre Miller the small forward? For what it’s worth, the Nugs outscored the Rockets 4-3 during this span.

    2nd Quarter Smile

    The Houston announcers on League Pass established that the Denver Nuggets are better “lobbers” than the Houston Rockets. The Ty Lawson/JJ Hickson lob cemented the fact.

    2nd Quarter Frowns

    Darrel Arthur had his worst stretch of the season to open the
    quarter. Two unnecessary defensive fouls, he missed his shot and had a
    turnover on a bad pass.

    When the Dwightmare gets his third foul of the game and you SIGH because his backup is picking your defense apart.

    Then you SIGH again when you remember that 63 points against is NOT the
    most the Nuggets have allowed in a half (twice Denver has given up 64
    points in a half)

    3rd Quarter Hold Your Breathe Moment

    With 1:41 remaining Wilson Chandler goes for a jumper and comes
    up limping. He made his two free throws and seemed to shake off the
    injury playing out the quarter with good hustle.

    3rd Quarter Small Ball

    From 7:12 remaining to 3:56 remaining Coach Shaw decided that
    with Howard on the bench for Houston that he would put out a lineup of:
    Lawson, Foye, Hamilton, Chandler, Faried. Halfway through this stretch
    Shaw would swap out Foye and Faried for Andre Miller and Evan Fournier.

    I don’t understand this logic since last night the Nugs beat the Wolves
    because they attacked the weakness of Wolves, why tonight play into the
    Rockets game instead of trying to make them adjust to our size? For the
    record, Houston outscored the Nugs 11-4 during this stretch.

    3rd Quarter Effort Awards

    Randy Foye did everything he could to try to pull the Nuggets
    back into the game coming out of the half and deserves recognition
    despite falling short. Foye is known for this three point shooting, it
    took him three tries but he finally got one. He continues to try to
    drive the lane and fell short in his attempt and his defence has
    continued to better than I expected.

    Jordan Hamilton was given the opportunity to atone for his
    terrible start and helped erase some of that bad memory. His three
    point shot was not working but he found ways to contribute four points
    which is equal to the amount of points his defence cost the team.

    Evan Fournier twice strips James Harden of the ball only to be
    stripped himself later in the possession. Fournier shot 2-4 in his
    5:38, one of the shots being a three pointer, and was 1 of 2 from the
    free throw line. He also collected an offensive rebound.

    Effort Award Translation

    You know what you get when you have a team full of “effort awards” and minimal results – – a non-playoff team.

    The worst part is that the guy most known for his “effort” Kenneth Faried failed to box out his guy on a missed free throw giving Houston another possession.

    4th Quarter Smile

    Quincy Miller got 1:06 of playing time and drained his only shot, a three pointer!

    4th Quarter Reminder

    The NBA needs to find a way to ban “hack-a-dwight”.

    The Game In One Simple Cliche

    The better team won tonight.

  • slugdugg

    I don’t know… Houston starts the best center and best 2 guard in the league, that’s pretty tough. Sure our defense is crap, and our offense is often crap… but we have shown improvement and I won’t despair. At least we aren’t paying Jeremy Lin $25MM for 3 yrs.

    • theweatherman53

      You do realize we’re paying Javale $40 over 4 years I’m not sure that’s any better.

      • gimpcom187

        Or JJ hickson 3 years and 18. Jeremy Lin is already an average starting point guard and depending on how his 3 point shot develops he could be above average which is 10-12 million per year territory.

  • azab

    I understand that his defense was poor for the most part, but how Hickson only got a D+ given his FG% and how active he was on the offensive glass is beyond me.

  • BigDubz

    I have to say these grades are pretty harsh. They didn’t play great, no doubt. But until Shaw employed the ‘hack a dwight’, I thought they were fighting back. BTW, was I not the only one baffled by his continued use considering Howard was 14-20 during that stretch? I’ve been incredibly unimpressed by Shaw, but I’m not gona really use judgement till midway through the season. Anyway, this team has been playing better I just can’t decide if it has to do with the removal of McGee or the addition of Chandler. I imagine it’s both, but not watching McGee has been lovely to say the least. He hurts my eyes.

  • Cory

    Our team needs players to fit this new system. When we figure out who fits and what we need then we should be good. But for now all I want to see is progression. Ty Lawson is ballin’ and that’s good to see, just can’t wait til Gallo gets back.