For the second time this season the Nuggets held their opponent to under 90 points and secured a big win against a talented opponent in the process. Jordan Hamilton shined while Ty Lawson struggled, and to nobody’s surprise Nate Robinson took a lot of shots and missed a lot of shots.
|J.J. Hickson, PF 29 MIN | 6-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | -4
Hickson’s starting to play better — not so erratic, wild, undisciplined — and he’s actually looking like a real basketball player in the process. His defense isn’t stellar, but it exists. He’s not gonna make the All-Star team anytime soon, yet he had some nice post moves and passes in the paint that helped promote good ball movement for the Nuggets.
|Kenneth Faried, PF 30 MIN | 5-9 FG | 2-6 FT | 11 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +5
Faried had great energy but got dominated on the offensive glass by the Bulls. He’s never been particularly deft at boxing out, but he took it to another level this game. Aside from that he had a good game with lots of high-flying rebounds and dunks.
|Wilson Chandler, SF 27 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | -4
Chandler didn’t take a shot till the 2:30 mark of the second quarter, but he really didn’t need to at that point. The Nuggets had no problem scoring in the first half, so more forced jumpers wouldn’t have done the team any good. Still, Chandler never got into a groove. He was aloof the entire game. He’s had plenty of these types of performances as a Nugget, but I don’t know if he’s ever had one this bad. His defense alone prevents him from getting flunked this game.
|Ty Lawson, PG 35 MIN | 3-9 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 10 PTS | -3
Lawson got torched by Rose in the first half and didn’t make up for it on offense. Ty is fast, but he ain’t D-Rose fast. You could tell he was struggling with Rose’s athleticism all game. Also, he’s been getting totally decimated by screens lately. Part of this can be attributed to bad communication on his forward’s part, but Ty needs to keep his head on a swivel and know when and where picks are coming.
|Randy Foye, SG 13 MIN | 5-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +7
Foye didn’t play much but he made a lot out of the time he was allotted. His shot was on and it played a major role in helping the Nuggets compile momentum for a much-needed win.
|Darrell Arthur, PF 17 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +9
Arthur took one too many 18-foot jumpers in the first half but knocked down quite a few in the second. His defense was solid, as usual, but he should try and figure out other ways to be effective on the offensive side of the ball besides the one-dimensional (and often inefficient) mid-range jump shot. Instead of popping after every pick, he should roll every now and then to throw the defense off.
|Jordan Hamilton, SF 22 MIN | 6-12 FG | 2-3 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | +10
Hamilton has scored north of 15 points a few times in his young career. It seems every time he does we declare it his best game. That trend won’t change now, as I felt THIS was his best game as a Nugget. Why? Because he didn’t take a lot of bad shots. He hardly took any, actually. And he scored in a variety of ways and made threes when they mattered most. Additionally, he played pretty solid defense. When J-Ham plays like this, he’s truly a joy to watch.
|Timofey Mozgov, C 19 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 3 TO | 4 PTS | +14
Mozgov had some nice post moves early — really nice, in fact. He was mindful, deliberate and calculated, which is a huge development from how he’s played the last few years. But Mozgov is still getting whistled for elementary mistakes, like moving screens, and is constantly committing rookie mistakes, like fumbling passes and jumping too early to collect a rebound. I’m starting to wonder if, not when, Mozgov will ever learn from these types of blunders.
|Andre Miller, PG 14 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | +7
It’s hard for Miller to control the game like he’s used to doing with this amount of playing time.
|Nate Robinson, PG 24 MIN | 3-13 FG | 3-3 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +9
Of all the players who’ve logged serious minutes this season, Robinson has been the worst by far — yet he was the first one off the bench tonight. This, I do not understand. Robinson took two awful shots within the first two minutes of entering the game and continued this trend for his full 24 minutes of action. He hit two big threes in the third quarter which were far outweighed by his other 10 misses. I’m baffled at how Brian Shaw — and most fans — reward him for getting lucky and hitting a few ill-advised jumpers when the majority of his attempts are repugnant.
|Evan Fournier, SG 10 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | 0
While Robinson jacks up one terrible shot after another, Fournier does the opposite, yet he somehow gets punished. Fournier missed a few shots early on but showed great fortitude by coming back even more aggressive and making some nice buckets as a result. Fournier was bubbling with confidence and enthusiasm before Shaw sat him the entire second half — which made about as much sense as Howard Beale’s pulpit speeches in Network.
Had the Bulls been able to hit the broad side of a barn in the second half, this game would have been an entirely different story. But credit goes to Shaw for having his team prepared to take care of business at home. The Nuggets started fast and never let up. Though I still don’t understand his rotations I can’t ignore how the Nuggets are improving. The offense is starting to look really good and as soon as the defense catches up, the Nuggets could turn into quite a fun team to watch.
Three Things We Saw
- Free-throw shooting is once again killing the Nuggets. They shot 22 tonight but only made 12. This downfall already bit them in the ass once against the Thunder, and it doesn’t take a genius to realize that it’s gonna happen again. Let’s just hope it doesn’t cost the Nuggets a playoff spot…
- The Nuggets need to work on closing out quarters better. They often start quarters teeming with energy, but close them out lethargically. I’m pretty sure Phil Jackson was a stickler for closing out quarters well, so I’m unsure where the disconnect is between him and Shaw.
- The Nuggets miss JaVale McGee. This might sound obvious to some and inconceivable to others, but it’s true. His length bothers the opposition’s guards and gives the Nuggets interior defense and shot blocking that they otherwise do not possess. Godspeed on the recovery JaVale, godspeed.
Next up: Saturday, Nov. 23, 7 p.m. MST vs. Dallas. Going to the game? Save money and get cheap Denver Nuggets tickets here.
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