Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 113 – 115 Oklahoma City Thunder

Well, it was a fun game with a boring and, ultimately, painful ending. Or as I like to call it, just another typical #THUNDERNUGGETS game.

Denver Nuggets 113 FinalRecap | Box Score 115 Oklahoma City Thunder
J.J. Hickson, PF 33 MIN | 7-14 FG | 4-8 FT | 19 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 18 PTS | -4
This game was the cherry on top of a pretty nice looking cake Hickson has been making over the last four games. His offense is slowly rounding into form as he has started integrating transition buckets and pick and rolls with Ty Lawson into his game, and cutting down on all those icky post ups. Even better was his defense, he constantly made the right rotation and his coverage on the pick and roll wasn’t disastrous, which is an enormous upgrade.
Kenneth Faried, PF 26 MIN | 2-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | 0
Faried’s bad game was magnified by all the minutes Shaw gave to him over more deserving players, which wasn’t really Faried’s fault. That said, Ibaka demolished him on the glass and the his rim-runs were few and far between.. Without those two things, Faried is essentially useless on the court, and it showed.
Wilson Chandler, SF 32 MIN | 3-12 FG | 1-3 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | -3
Chandler started the game great, showing off an improved handle as he sliced his way into the lane and provided a pressure valve for Ty Lawson with a couple jumpers. And then he went cold, and the bad shots started compounding upon the good ones that he was just missing. His defense on Durant was not great but you can’t really blame him for that, and he did well elsewhere. I get why Shaw kept him out there so long, the Thunder still respected his shot, right up until the end, and that gave him some use.
Ty Lawson, PG 37 MIN | 9-17 FG | 10-12 FT | 4 REB | 8 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 29 PTS | -4
Lawson was playing on the same level as he was all season, which has been at an All-star level, through the first three quarters. But in the fourth quarter he consistently passed up open shots in favor of ill-advised passes and it wasn’t until Denver absolutely needed a bucket that he took control. The offense cannot function with him off the court and stints in the fourth quarter, where for a good majority of the time he didn’t attempt a shot, can’t happen. It’s a tough burden, but them’s the breaks for a lonely star on a middling team.
Randy Foye, SG 29 MIN | 4-8 FG | 1-3 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +11
Foye did his job and he did it well. As long as they don’t ask him to do much other than spot up and cut baseline, he’ll be a fine rotation player for the Nuggets.
Darrell Arthur, PF 15 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | +4
The “Shaw has it out for Darrell Arthur” conspiracy theory (that I just made up right now) gained real traction with this game. How in the hell did he only get 15 minutes? He defended Durant the best out of anyone else on the team, his offense was clicking, he’s been a 70-plus percent free throw shooter the last two years, he only had one foul…..And Shaw LOVES the Arthur-Hickson front-court to end games! I don’t have an explanation here.
Jordan Hamilton, SF 16 MIN | 2-6 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -9
Hamilton is the mini-Chandler of this team, just minus the defense. And that’s the biggest reason why he didn’t see more minutes.
Timofey Mozgov, C 15 MIN | 3-4 FG | 1-4 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | +2
He started out well, when Kendrick Perkins was his assignment and when the Thunder weren’t blitzkrieging the rim like they did in the fourth, but once Serge Ibaka grabbed a hold of him, that ended quickly.
Andre Miller, PG 11 MIN | 0-1 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 1 PTS | +2
Not much to say here, Dre’s command of the offense when Lawson is out has taken a nose dive from last year and his defense certainly isn’t getting him any playing time.
Nate Robinson, PG 9 MIN | 3-5 FG | 3-4 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | -3
This is what Nate Robinson is paid to do. So far this season, the offense has sunk to unspeakable depths when Lawson sits and stretches like Robinson had in the second quarter are a must when he’s out there alone. Problem is, when Lawson comes back in, NateRob doesn’t always want to relinquish that responsibility.
Evan Fournier, SG 17 MIN | 4-7 FG | 2-4 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | -6
Shaw stuck Fournier on KD in the post all game so we now have definitive evidence he has it out for Evan. Actually, that worked a lot more than it should have and on the offensive end Fournier was fantastic. Why he wasn’t out there to close the game over Chandler? The world may never know….
Brian Shaw
Rotations were good, the offense was running smoothly, the defense was playing alright and then….the fourth quarter happened. It’s not Shaw’s fault that one of the best teams in the country decided to turn up the gears late in the game, but it is his fault for putting a clearly struggling Faried back in the game over Fournier or Arthur and it was his fault that his out of timeout plays at the end of the game were…..simplistic to put it kindly.

Four Things We Saw

  1. What in hell was that last play call. A clear out for the lob????? TO MOZGOV???? Shaw struggled mightily with the set plays to close out the game, at one point Denver ran an isolation play to get Faried the ball in the post. It ended predictably. If you’re not going to run a play, at least not run a play with the ball in Ty Lawson’s hands.
  2. The Westbrook-Durant pick and roll is deadly and Denver’s strategy to switch every time the Thunder rolled it out ended pretty poorly. Foye spent more time bodying up Durant than maybe anyone else on the team, which is not ideal.
  3. While it may not look that way now (or from reading this clearly embittered recap), this was a solid performance for the Nuggets. Their offense is rounding into form and while the defense is bordering on beyond help, we knew that going into the season. Like the Rockets before them, the Thunder are a much better team then Denver and it showed in the fourth quarter.
  4. Another note on Shaw, I learned from Marc Jackson of Golden State never again to judge a first-time head coach in his first year in a bad situation. This team is still missing its second best player and the roster is clearly not finely tuned to the system he is trying to instill. But that’s fine, just as we are with rookie players, patience is required in judging the merits of Brian Shaw.
  • herpderpnuggets

    I’m so god damned tired this nba officiating bullshit. The game is getting ruined with the babying o stars. That being said I thought OUR free throws would’ve gotten better, but I guess not. So drained on basketball already this year.

    • Scott

      About to say the exact same thing. The NBA couldn’t make it any more obvious that they are padding their superstars stats. It’s so disgusting to see Durant shoot with GOOD DEFENSE and there is a delayed call about a good 3 seconds late. And shouldn’t it be 2 shots and the ball when Westbrick fouled Ty?!! I mean the same exact thing happened a couple games ago against nate. It’s an insane double standard.

      That being said, we should have won. Offensive rebounds, giving up 3s, and missing our free throws.

      • herpderpnuggets

        No doubt nuggets should’ve won, but until the nuggets get a star I won’t know what it’s like to get all the whistles that count. Sucks to lose like that but the nuggets exceeded expectations for me tonight.

    • gimpcom187

      Youre aware the nuggets shot 11 MORE free throws in this game?

      • herpderpnuggets

        Yes I am aware. Free throws although a good indicator, not always the best representation of the officiating.

        • gimpcom187

          So random (clearly biased) assessment that runs counter to the statistics where the nuggets got 33% MORE FT is a better indicator. Ty gets lots of free throws because of his speed , athleticism and he is willing to take contact. Same with Westbrook. Durant has decent dribbling and is an amazing shooter with amazing length. He gets free throws like crazy because he is almost impossible to guard without getting into his space. That leaves you vulnerable to fouls from the defender. Prime Dirk was similar except he is a below average dribbler.

  • Poz303

    Prediction. JJ Hickson gets a “D” grade.

    But seriously 58% FTs, missed 17. And defensive rebounds killed us.

  • Poz303

    Oh, and bear hugs are apparently allowed in the NBA off in bounds passes.

    • herpderpnuggets

      What the hell?!!!! C’mon NBA at least get my hopes up and call it then give KD more free throws to make me sad again.

    • Branden Gloudeman

      Serge ibaka gets away with punching dudes in the nuts remember?

  • googergieger

    If we make our free throws, if they don’t make tough three’s, if Shaw doesn’t go with his magic eight ball line ups, if Durant doesn’t get an unacceptable amount of free throws, etc…

    We SHOULD have won this game. That isn’t good enough though. This type of win would have done wonders for the morale of the team and fan base. Oh wells. At least Ty will deserve to make it to the all star team this year. Probably won’t make it though.

  • Josh Chin

    Lawson didn’t do anything in the 4th

    • Scott

      Except keep us in it during the last 2 minutes…

    • heykyleinsf

      Seriously?
      Of all things tonight?
      Calling out Lawson?
      Really?

    • Branden Gloudeman

      He didn’t have much rest……

  • heykyleinsf

    I’m fairly sure few people are going to be positive and patient.
    But screw it. I’m happy. We got Gallo coming back around the corner.
    Nobody is going to see us coming.
    I believe in this team.. if nothing else.. that they will fight.
    That’s good enough for right now.. they keep doing it..
    we’ll be ok.

    • heykyleinsf

      Lawson deserves to be an all-star right now.

      • Scott

        If we had the pacers record he would be in MVP talks right now. No one else is putting up numbers like him.

        • theweatherman53

          Chris Paul, Steph Curry… I know we’re all fans and Lawson is having a great season, but let’s be realistic.

          • googergieger

            Lawson is putting up better numbers than Curry? Paul is clearly ahead of him though. Still Lawson has been one of the best players in this early season, and he doesn’t get the super star calls to help him out.

            • theweatherman53

              Curry is scoring more and the assist numbers are pretty even and Curry requires more attention from opposing defenses.

              • googergieger

                So the assist numbers are kind of even despite the fact people leave players wide open for Curry and play Lawson straight up? This is what you are saying? In this short season, Lawson is the better player. End of.

              • John

                curry is the nba’s trendy player right now . hes way overrated.

              • gimpcom187

                Sample size obviously as Curry was this good most of last year and Ty is outplaying last year. His February was Very similar to this current month. The differences I see in his offensive game are that he is not settling for the inefficient 18 foot jumper as much and going to the rim for FT better. The other difference is that he has improved his PnR passing especially the little pocket pass to the Screen and Roll guy. That’s the argument for him taking a step forward. I assumed he would make those adjustments last year and when he did not assumed he was incapable of making them. It’s a year too late but nice to see.

  • Sharkboy242

    The Nuggets fought hard and I loved the effort. Their missed free throws was what lead to their ultimate demise though.

    In before Hickson gets a D

  • Poz303

    Also want to call out Durant. Thought that was a dirty play stepping under Nate and hitting him with the hip while Nate was in the air.

    • Branden Gloudeman

      Another no call lovely right?

    • googergieger

      Durant is a premadonna, that plays dirty, whines all the time that he gets fouled, thinks he never commits a foul, and has become the most manufactured superstar in the game.

      • Branden Gloudeman

        Couldn’t agree more

      • Scott

        His game is just so overrated. He gets like half his points from gifted free throws. Also, I’m pretty sure Mozgov is a better dunker than him.

        • Poz303

          Ha, you had me till you vastly overstated Mozgod’s dunking prowess :)

          • Scott

            All I’m saying is Durant is a weaaaaaaaak dunker.

  • Beefy

    thunderdefense.jpg

    • googergieger

      Shaw and the Denver brass should complain, publicly. At least get a public acknowledge from the league, the refs effed up. A few times.

      • Poz303

        This, and then Shaw should apologize publicly for trying to run this play :)

        • Beefy

          The Nuggets lost the game on this play, but the game was over a lot earlier after their 10th missed FT

        • googergieger

          Shaw should apologize for a few things.

  • DavidRMC

    Forgot to mention the free throws. So yeah, Denver sucks at free throw shooting.

    • Poz303

      Sucks was not even in the ball park tonight. 58% FT, missed 17.

  • nathan iskra

    What happened to this team in the 4th? Gave up that lead with hardly any resistance (which was helped by the NBA durant love). It was just so disappointing after the dominant first 3/4. Does the team have a plan for 4th quarter buckets apart from when Ty decides to score?

    • pgwarner

      They shot over 60% first three quarters. Then like 29% in the forth. They shot way over their ability, well except at the line, in the first three. Then just a case of reverting to the mean. These guys are not jump shooters. They just get streaky is all. They need to play at the rim. Same as its always been. That fool Karl is laughing. Shaw can’t win dumping the ball in the post and he can’t win with a jump shooting hurry up half court.

  • pgwarner

    Shaw and his “system”! He was going to bring defense back to Denver! Lets see they are now 27th in points allowed. Their last three games they gave up 113, 122 and 115. He started out blaming his players for not trying hard enough and not listening. Now who knows what is going on. This is the worst defense for this team since Doug Moe TOLD his team NOT to play defense.
    We can keep blaming the players and say they “don’t” fit but I think Shaw needs to catch a clue. He has players who want to win and will try anything but this is silly stupid.
    If we are going to try to out shoot people we better hope we get Kiki and David Thompson back along with Gallo cause our streaky crew ain’t gonna cut it.These guys are not jump shooters.
    I have been saying this same thing since the first game.Its Shaw who needs to prove himself. So far whats he been doing? He has let them run again and go for the rim. Let them go for the quick drive and cut. That is a positive. But that is it. And its only because Josh’s new post up toy Javale is hurt.
    God I feel for these players. I love them but Shaw’s pushing and pulling them is crushing them.

  • Thomas

    I hope Ty can continue to play like this. If he does, don’t be surprise if he ends up getting traded…

    One way of looking into our situation is thinking ” we are on the right path, let this team “gel” together and we can go places…

    Another one is “this team is neither high or low, middle ground bound with pieces that don’t fit well and a serious lack of having a reliable crunch time scorer and a defensive stopper”.

    Call me cynical or objective, but after seeing our group of players through their last 3 years, the new additions, and the level of competition they face, I don’t see any way in which this team can become anything more than just decent.

    I wonder in what camp our front office is in. Sure, they will say all the right things, but that doesn’t mean they like what they see or that they don’t have different plans.

    Come January, if our record is below .500 and Ty is playing at this level, I think there is a good chance our front office makes big moves.

    The best time to sell something is when it’s price is at its highest. This may be the case with Lawson this season. We also have several players with trade value, a potentially highly valuable Knicks draft pick and possibly our own draft pick, in the year with excellent draft prospects. The front office can shape a new team for Shaw, one with potential for top-20 talent and with pieces that fit together cohesively.

    Personally, I’d take that route. Most here will think that is blasphemy – I think it is the logical thing to do. I’d try to get Rondo for PG – right now we have the currency to get him and he has what Ty cannot give us – great defending from the point, along with top-notch passing for easy baskets. We can get the shooting elsewhere (although Rondo is a much better shooter nowadays than earlier in his career).

  • Richard Pesicka

    No one mentioned the fact that Lawson only got to the line when he was fouled really hard. Unlike the Manufactured KD who gets fouls for a touch, Lawson got clobbered many times with no calls. It seems to me every year it’s okay to foul a nugget with no call. Must be an unwritten rule. With 2.8 seconds left you swing the ball outside and take the shot. Under the basket they could have body slammed Mozy and no calls would have been made.

  • TRU

    Blaming the officials is the lamest excuse in sports people, fuckin stop it already, its pathetic. This game was lost on the ft line btw, like a lot of nuggs games. We got the fuckin calls… cant make the shots.

    • Richard Pesicka

      Well you would have to be an official to know when an official makes a bad call. I’ll give you that. Oh, I’m an official. I did see bad calls both ways. I think the officials for the most part do the best they can. There’s an old saying, When you’ve reached the level of you’re incompetence, you’ve reached it. And this forum discusses all aspects of the game. Live with it.

      • TRU

        haha.. “I’m an offical…” Ok dude. We have all played/refereed games before, I’m sure you have even been a ref at a high level. Its a lame excuse, still. I know a bad call when i see one too, but its part of the game and you play through it. Bring some actual depth to the discussion.

        Players determine the outcome of games. Nuggets JV shooting?58% at the line on 43 attempts. OKC? 81% on only 32 attempts.

        Theres plenty of other things to point to other than blaming the refs. Again fuckin lamest excuse ever

  • Chris

    This season has showed me one thing thus far. Shaw has no idea how to coach a game through to the end. Kings, Sprus, Thunder, and giving Howard 17 pts on free throws in a 10 point loss is rediculious. There is 3 potentially 4 more wins if this sorry sob knew how to coach a game to the end…

  • KW

    Foye with INC isn’t fair. Loved seeing him diving on the floor for lose balls. At one point in the first half, Chris said, “Nuggets are carving up the Thunder’s half court defense.” I don’t think that’s been said about any Nuggets team in years. I knew that KD and Worstbrook would assert themselves and we would have no answer but it seemed as if they were playing as a team for a few minutes there. That was nice.

  • COfoEVA

    FREE THROWS!!! I was pulling my hair out last night. We win that game easily if we even hit half of the ones we missed. Ugh…