Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 102 Dallas Mavericks 100

The Nuggets withstand a furious second-half comeback from Dallas and grind out a two-point win to move back to .500 on the season. It wasn’t pretty but the Nuggets put six scorers in double figures and make just enough plays to escape with a win, their fifth in a row at the Pepsi Center.

Dallas Mavericks 100 Final
Recap | Box Score
102 Denver Nuggets
J.J. Hickson, PF 29 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | -11

JJ is usually pretty reliable on the defensive glass but he didn’t show up there tonight against one of the worst rebounding teams in the league. Hickson is also becoming a ballstopper on offense as he now has 20 turnovers to just 8 assists on the season. Against a perimeter-oriented team like Dallas he doesn’t bring much to the table defensively and he was only effective for a short opening stint against Dalembert, who doesn’t need to be guarded.

Kenneth Faried, PF 31 MIN | 7-7 FG | 4-6 FT | 14 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 18 PTS | +2

Faried’s relentless energy earns him the only A of the night. It wasn’t perfect nor pretty as Kenneth consistently missed rotations on the perimeter, but he was the least up-and-down of all the rotation players and his constant presence on the boards is probably the biggest reason the Nuggets escaped with a win.

Wilson Chandler, SF 21 MIN | 4-15 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -7

Brian Shaw followed through on his plan to get Chandler more involved on offense and the results were pretty brutal to watch. As the screener Wilson was content to stand still and hoist perimeter shots early and often. Force-feeding him touches took Lawson out of the pick and roll game with everyone else and hurt the offense in general. I do give him a lot of credit for being extremely active on defense. His versatility was on display as he provided solid perimeter defense as a small ball 4.

Ty Lawson, PG 38 MIN | 5-10 FG | 8-14 FT | 3 REB | 9 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 20 PTS | +4

The numbers are gaudy and would have been even better had Ty not missed nearly half of his 14 free throw attempts. However Lawson just played a passive game and failed to provide sustained energy and leadership throughout. The Nuggets were reliant on garbage buckets and transition offense the entire second half. It seems harsh but the brutal offense in crunch time and inability to properly execute largely falls on him.

Randy Foye, SG 29 MIN | 5-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 17 PTS | +2

Foye sank the biggest shot of the night and generally stuck to what he does best: spotting up for threes.

Darrell Arthur, PF 16 MIN | 4-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | +4

It really is baffling he could not get more minutes in a game like this. Arthur had the hot hand and naturally was the perfect counter against the Mavs, who are not going to pound it inside and wanted to force Denver’s offense to run through the perimeter. Dallas was small most of the game and I don’t understand why Shaw continues to treat Arthur as if he’s on some kind of medical minutes restriction.

Jordan Hamilton, SF 12 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +10

Vince Carter was a -27 in the first half, before a three-point barrage in the third brought Dallas all the way back into the game. Hamilton just didn’t pay attention to his assignment and his +10 in limited minutes is the most misleading stat of the night.

Timofey Mozgov, C 13 MIN | 1-2 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 6 PTS | +4

The plodding 7-footer was manhandled by the 6-7 DeJuan Blair and just looked a step slow the entire night. The Mavs weren’t running anything through the post and didn’t play a traditional center, so I have to wonder why Denver needed the poor rebounding and stone hands of Mozgov on the floor for 13 minutes.

Andre Miller, PG 14 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +4

It’s tempting to give Miller an incomplete, but he moved into ninth place on the all-time assist list and used his veteran savvy to draw a few doubles and create open looks. On a night the Nuggets were struggling to execute on offense Andre did what he could. Miller really isn’t getting enough burn to properly judge his play though.

Nate Robinson, PG 26 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | -2

Nate made his threes and didn’t get into trouble with his shot selection. He is kind of an odd fit to be playing off the ball so much and that is what makes his performances pretty tough to judge. Overall his impact has been hard to notice, not just tonight but throughout the entire season.

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

Fournier is not getting enough time to properly judge and assess his contributions. He is playing well but without more guidance on his role and what is expected of him it’s hard to understand where he’s at or what’s going on here.

Brian Shaw

I thought Shaw should have called a timeout up one with the ball and around 40 seconds left. For the first time in years the Nuggets have an offense with set plays and it was the perfect opportunity to run one. Instead the Nuggets looked confused at how to manage the clock and won the game crashing the boards for hustle points. Shaw made some great adjustments like speeding things up against the zone and yanking Hamilton, but he curiously stuck with a struggling Hickson and Mozgov for far too long. It’s been tough to assess Shaw all season because he has generally followed a script of playing 11 guys with very minor adjustments night-to-night.

Two Things We Saw

  1. Lawson’s struggles aside, the Nuggets actually made free throws tonight. Denver was 13-16 from the line not considering Ty’s uncharacteristic 8-14 performance. I’ll take a bad night at the line from Lawson if he earns 14 trips. Denver improved in this area of emphasis even though it doesn’t look like it and that’s one of the few positives on the night.
  2. The Nuggets scored just 37 points in the second half and narrowly avoided what would have easily been the worst loss of the season. They are a .500 team once again but have missed multiple opportunities to prove to themselves and others that they are getting rid of some of the habits that make the Nuggets appear like one of the most decidedly average teams in the league.
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Charlie Yao

Contributor at Roundball Mining Company since 2010. Unhealthily obsessed with Nuggets basketball since 2002. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram at the links on the left.

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  • Sharkboy242

    Monta Ellis have it all

    I wish the Nuggets could have signed him – he’s doing awesome in Dallas.

    • Scott

      I don’t think he would do awesome on this team however…

      • kwelitysoul

        never know, the job of GM is becoming harder and harder…

    • Paul Griggs

      Great, you want to bring on another non-team player?!

      • Sharkboy242

        He’s averaging 5+ assists a game on 47% shooting. Don’t be such a goddamn hater. All Monta needed was some damn structure which he obviously wasn’t getting in Milwaukee

        • Paul Griggs

          Sharkboy, you should consider a George Costanza strategy–figure out what you think is right and do the exact opposite. Ellis is a mediocre player and would go against a team-first approach that wins championships.

          • Sharkboy242

            I didn’t know averaging 20+ points and 5+ assists is mediocre. LOL

            • Paul Griggs

              You just don’t get it, do you. When he’s on the court, his team gets outscored and they lose! -6 Last night was a good game for him!

              • Sharkboy242

                He averages 32 minutes a game. There are 48 minutes a game. Dallas is 10-6. What was their record last year?

                There’s no arguing with a hater.

  • Darren

    Foye and Chandler guarding Nowitzki down the stretch… uh… What? There’s a reason Chandler was -7 tonight. It’s the same reason we should send in Arthur when we’re up in the 4th quarter. You can have two different closing lineups. (It’s a crazy concept, I know.) When Dirk starts hitting 18 footers, it’s hard for anyone to stop him, but it’s simply unfair to expect Chandler or Foye to do that. We need to be able to lock down the big shooter on the other team in the 4th. I think Arthur gives us the best chance at a stop against a big man. Hot guards? I guess put Ty on him and hope he goes cold… (Not saying we should pull the trigger on a Shumpert trade, but when we have to play Foye or Fournier on guys like Steph or Harden, it will be game over.)

    Clutch D hurt us last year, and I’m worried it will be a problem again unless we start seeing some changes.

    • David Acker

      I didn’t think Chandler was a bad option but Foye??? I am really starting to like Arthur on both ends as long as he plays within himself. Nice win but the 4th quarter fadeouts are a worry!

      • kwelitysoul

        Is Arthur a poor man’s David West? Wishful thinking?

        • David Acker

          Yeah really poor as in homeless lol

      • Josh G

        Foye wasn’t ever assigned to guard Dirk. He was on Dirk at times when Dirk would make a pick for Ellis (who Foye would be originally guarding) and he and Chandler, or whoever was guarding Dirk, would switch. They were switching because they did not want to give Dirk any space to pick and pop and it makes it harder for Ellis to drive. The downfall, however, is having a guard defend Dirk like you said

        • evan

          Foye actually played really good defense on him near the end. contested every shot as good as any and caused him to miss a few.

          #waittillgaloisback

  • BigDubz

    I think Chandler actually did a pretty good job on Dirk. Dirk shooting 9/22 is a number I’ll take any night, especially when he’s not hitting 3’s. He’s going to get his FT’s so statistically he still had a descent game, but he gets superstar calls (which he’s earned 100%)
    Chandler still looks a half step slow to me, but I think a lot of it is in his head. Hamstring’s are very temperamental and I think he’s just trying to not re-injure it. I still firmly believe that in his current role, he could become a 18 pt 6 rbs type player for the Nuggets. Shaw clearly has faith in him for he has stuck with him during his cold stretches which is very good to see.
    This Nuggets team doesn’t always look pretty, but there was no way all that talent was going to be MIA for the duration of the season. Good win boys.

  • heykyleinsf

    Andre Miller nearing 8K assists. Hate all you conveniently want, but that’s pretty damn impressive to me.

  • David Acker

    Anyone else out there think either Jham or Evan should get those minutes not both of them?

    • Kody R

      I agree, it seems like Shaw is just going with whoever is playing better that night. Unfortunately that makes it difficult for either of them to get consistant. I like what Hamilton has been giving us the past few games

    • Josh G

      Yeah it’s crazy that he is playing 11 guys. One person needs to be dropped from the rotation, no doubt. I think it’s gotta be nate or miller. you can’t take hamilton out of the rotation yet because of the size issue it would create. I would hate to see miller playing the three

  • Adam

    It’s worth noting that Ty injured a finger on his shooting hand. Probably would explain the poor shooting at the FT line and overall not aggressive play down the stretch.

    • evan

      when did he hurt it and what happened?

  • Fingolfin

    In Nuggets we trust….

    Ps Dirk historically has problem when a taller guy is on his

  • Richard Pesicka

    Inconsistent coach = Inconsistent players.

    • Ckwizard

      GK is gone? What you talking about Willis?