Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 96, Chicago Bulls 85

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.

Chicago Bulls 87 Final

Recap | Box Score

97 Denver Nuggets
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.

Brian Shaw

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

  1. 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…
  2. 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.
  3. 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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Kalen Deremo

Kalen was born in Durango, CO, in 1988 and graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2013 with a degree in journalism. He's now an itinerant hoping to travel as much as possible before eventually succumbing to the "real world." Aside from writing Kalen likes movies, music, spicy food and the great outdoors. Edward Abbey is his current idol.

Latest posts by Kalen Deremo (see all)

  • trank

    that’s nice

  • Colin

    This team is DEEP. When Gallinari gets backs it’s gonna be even tougher to distribute the minutes on a given night…That being said, I like where were at; we can afford to experiment and let the rest of the season play out and then maybe make a move going into the All-Star break. I wish we could somehow get rid of Javale but thats not gonna happen :( Still, we have enough pieces to make a move, and worse case scenario we pick up Dinwiddie mid to late first round :) perfect replacement for Andre Miller

    • trank

      if you’re hurt you might as well be best dressed and javale was that

      • Colin

        His sideline game is top notch and has earned my respect. Unfortunately it doesn’t always translate onto the court…

  • Scott

    So sick of hearing “OH MY GOD ROSEEEEEEEE NOAHHHHHH BOOZZERRRR” after every time they touch the ball and hit a wide open layup.

    Reggie Miller is the man though. Classy and unbiased commentating.

    • Colin

      Reggie Miller is indeed the man and that piece at the end with him and Nate really made my night lol

  • Cullen

    Trust me, I understand a lot of the negativity surrounding the Nuggets.

    I agree with the criticism of Shaw playing too many people and too many rotations to be able to build chemistry, but I think has provided them with great depth. There are times where the rotations make no sense, but having enough players to have as many rotations as they do is impressive and will benefit them when Gallanari gets back.

    I also understand the criticism of fourth quarter performance, and agree. They have played poorly down the critical stretches of games that have cost them games. But… Shaw is young and closing up games can be tough, so I give him some benefit of the doubt.

    I would like to see all the haters that would not get off Shaw’s back that claimed we would start 3-13, etc etc and how they feel about the Nuggets who have played great basketball the last several weeks. They have beat winning playoff teams and the games they have lost have been competitive.

    This year they not be hell bent on heading towards the lottery.. just saying.

    • Charliemyboy

      What do you mean haters? How about speculators based on facts and trends. When they were totally discombobulated early on, what other conclusion could we make? Especially on what was happening and what most prognosticators predicted. I am hoping this trend turns into a good year. I still don’t like to watch losses during the regular season. So you are saying they will be better than last year? Really? You think Shaw is better than Karl?

      • Cullen

        No, clearly not. I’m not saying, hey I guarantee they will be better than last years squad, what I am saying is that everyone who called them a lock lottery team were probably wrong. Everyone was being way too premature about the first few games of the season and treated Shaw like he had already failed, which is wrong. No, at this point he is obviously not better than Karl, but he has the boys playing well lately, and you have to respect that.

        • LBJ

          The West is really tough and I still say our chances to make the playoffs are remote. We are in a 3 way tie for 10th in the conference, with the Lakers a half game behind. I don’t see us finishing ahead of any the 8 teams in the playoff slots (Dallas is the weakest). I even question whether we can finish ahead of Minnesota.

          • matymaddog

            I think they have the potential to grab the 6th seed but would likely be battling for 7 or 8 but I think they could pull it off. It depends on how the next 15 games go. They’ve grown each game. If that continues then it’s possible.

      • BigDubz

        I’m so tired of people asking if Shaw is better than Karl. They’re completely different coaches and it’s too soon to make any sort of comparisons considering Karl’s storied career and Shaw’s 11 games as HC. Shaw has frustrated me at times like everyone else, but it was time for Karl to go. Period. End of story. He wasn’t going to take this team any further than he did. As a Nuggets fan I will always be thankful for what Karl did for the Nuggets but Karl was trying to run the organization single handedly and was no longer on the same page as the FO (this includes Masai). Let’s give Shaw some time to build a team.

    • gimpcom187

      I think it is fair to say shaw has had the team ready to play the last 6 games or so. The defense has looked poor against the 3 pt shooting teams and solid against the shooting deprived teams. I think Shaw has shown enough that it’s clear he is probably an average coach and certainly will not be horrible or “lose” the team. He also made a quick move back to emulating Karl’s style of attempting to push the ball for quick shots after slowing it down initially.

      Most people on here, even after the atrocious start, were suggesting this team is about a .500 ball club (which is a big fall from a 57 win team). It looks like that now. The question asked was does it make more sense to be a 37-44 win team and hope you are at 44 wins and get the 7th seed for a 5 game whoopin’. Or find a way to get a shot at a top 5 pick with the huge talent coming into the draft this year. Unless they firesale it’s a moot point, but It is still a valid question. I doubt the knicks are this bad, but hopefully they find a way to be one of the worst 7 teams and it doesn’t really matter what the nugs do for the purposes of the draft.

  • David Acker

    I think Shaw is learning but he still plays way too many for my tastes. It’s nice to see Foye and Nate shooting the three which will only get better when Gallo comes back. Good to see Arthur on the pick and pop as well. The Nuggets have pieces if they wan to make a move which in my opinion they need to do eve if it’s just to get a higher pick in next years draft. Good win but the 4th quarter fadeouts are a concern..

  • nathan iskra

    Is there anything more excruciating than watching Faried take those jumpshots!! Whoever told him they were a good idea is in need of serious help.

  • Richard Pesicka

    Benching Fournier made no sense to me. Maybe Shaw wanted to keep the game close. When a player is hitting his shots, you reward them by benching them. His defense was okay. Rebonding and he was hustling after loose balls. A great way to strip confidence from a player who wants to win. Oh, I might be onto something. If you continue to win, no lottery pick..Hmmmm

    • LBJ

      Exactly, I thought we had to fire Karl because he “wasn’t developing young talent, like Fournier.” Yet, Shaw gives big minutes to some old midget that shoots nonstop instead of Fournier.

  • Ghostface Killah

    i couldn’t disagree more about Lawson’s grade. Chicago is one of the most difficult teams to penetrate the paint against as they have Noah, Gibson and even Boozer to an extent down there. Instead of taking it in and getting blocked Ty set up his teammates all game long. just because he doesn’t score 20 points in a game doesn’t mean he had a bad game. he didn’t need to score in this one and realized he was better helping the team by distributing the ball.

    faried needs to learn how to shoot. he has no midrange jumper at all and cannot score when facing the basket. he really only gets his points off of rebounds and put backs. his energy is great but we really need big men who can create their own shots.

    also disagreed with arthurs grade. that midrange jump shot of his is a thing of beauty and he knocked down some big shots in the second half.

    i wish mozgov had better hands but he is hands down our best defensive big. i hope he doesn’t see his minutes decrease when javale comes back. i think he is a better fit for this team than mcgee is.

    • herpderpnuggets

      yeah i was a little sad with mozzy tonight, missed some easy ones with some bad hands but i dont think javale couldve done better

  • ny nugs fan

    even though they won, man that was hard to watch

    since i’ve been watching the nugs going back to old mcnichols we’ve never been a bad free throw shooting team so just when i thought last years atrocity from the line was the outlier in nugs history, this years team comes along and seems to be worse

    and man that’s just not nuggets basketball

    #focusonfreethrows

    • Beefy

      Uhhhhhh what? The last time the Nuggets shot better than 80% from the
      line was the Doug Moe coached Nuggets in 1987-1988. In fact the Nuggets
      have never really been a great team at shooting FTs. The team has
      steadily declined from their recent peak in 2009 (77%) to 70% today.

  • heykyleinsf

    any updated timeline on Gallo and Javale?

  • Vitor Lago

    It wouldn’t hurt to get rid of Miller would it? Robinson and Fournier could handle the backup role at PG. When Gallo comes back there shouldn’t be any reason to have 3 guards on the floor ever. Just think we have 1 too many guards for everyone to get the playing time they deserve and Miller would be the easiest to let go.

  • kwelitysoul

    this squad feels like an elite college program…great players from their respective areas/teams but haven’t had time to mesh and become one unit. Will time tell with this as to what their potential is? I think so. Over team we’ll really see each player find their niche and ways to contribute (they’re NBA players after all right?!). I sure hope Coach Shaw has what it takes to bring it all together…