Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 110, Dallas Mavericks 96

If the Denver ends up having a relatively successful 2013-14 season, it’s likely that on reflection these two big wins against Dallas will be seen as the turning point. The Nuggets never relinquished their halftime lead, thanks mostly to 13-point quarters (third and fourth, respectively) from both Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson, whose heroics kept the Mavs at bay every time they tried to claw their way back into the game.

Denver Nuggets 110 FinalRecap | Box Score 96 Dallas Mavericks
J.J. Hickson, PF 34 MIN | 8-11 FG | 6-8 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 22 PTS | +19As Dallas buiilt up a 10-point lead midway through the first quarter, disaster was averted largely thanks to Hickson’s 12 points in the period which helped Denver reverse the momentum and establish a lead they wouldn’t give up for the rest of the game. J.J.’s 22 points were his season high.
Kenneth Faried, PF 25 MIN | 4-7 FG | 2-4 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | -6Faried had a relatively quiet double-double in what was a defensively difficult outing for him. He really couldn’t do anything to stop DeJuan Blair in the post, and Shaw apparrently does not trust him enough defensively to let him guard Dirk. But even though this limited his minutes tonight, he still brought the energy and had an efficient offensive game.
Wilson Chandler, SF 19 MIN | 4-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +13What exactly is Chandler’s role on this team? The answer is a tough nut to crack, but “glue guy” seems to be emerging as a leading candidate. So far since his return from injury, he’s making his impact felt more on defense than offense, but he was effective in his limited minutes in this game. It seems that Shaw still has some work to do to figure out how to better integrate Wilson into the flow of the offense. And starting him off defending Nowitzki puts him at a disadvantage out of the gates.
Ty Lawson, PG 30 MIN | 7-11 FG | 3-6 FT | 3 REB | 11 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | 0In the first half Lawson deferred to the frontcourt for the bulk of the scoring, and was most visible when allowing Jose Calderon to drain wide open 3-pointers at will. (The Spaniard shot 3-4 from the arc, all in the first half). But, perhaps sensing an imminent effort by Dallas to erase Denver’s lead, Ty shifted into full-on aggressive mode in the third quarter, using a combination of drives and jumpers to pick apart the Mavs’ zone defense. He didn’t see much playing time in the fourth quarter, but his efforts in the third alone earn him high marks.
Randy Foye, SG 26 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 7 PTS | +1Foye’s shot wasn’t falling in this game like it was two nights ago, which, for the most part, rendered him ineffective on offense. Defensively it was more of a mixed bag. He didn’t do a great job of keeping Monta Ellis out of the paint (not that that’s an easy task), but he did a decent job of chasing him around the court and pestering him enough to inhibit his playmaking and outside shooting, and limit the dimensionality of his game.
Darrell Arthur, PF 27 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +19There hasn’t been a better example yet this season of just how crucial Darrell Arthur’s defense is for the Nuggets. Defending Nowitzki is often an exercise in futility, but Arthur did a fantastic job of it. Dirk still got some shots in (some right in Darrell’s grill), but he had to work hard for all of them, and was never permitted to get into a cozy scoring groove. And although Arthur’s scoring contribution was minimal, his presence on the court helps space the floor for a net positive impact on Denver’s offense.
Jordan Hamilton, SF 18 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | -2Aside from one late game turnover which could have proven costly (but fortunately didn’t), Hamilton had a mostly solid game. His propensity for mistakes is causing Shaw to keep him on a fairly short leash. But it’s easy to see now that he’s becoming more comfortable with his shot and his awareness of the system.
Anthony Randolph, SF 3 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -8With 3;09 remaining in the second quarter, with the Nuggets leading 50-38, Wilson Chandler got into foul trouble and Shaw sent Randolph in. By halftime, Denver’s 12-point lead had shrunk to five, and during that stretch Randolph contributed one missed shot, two fouls and some wretched defense for a -8 in three minutes. I’m not saying that is entirely his fault, but I am saying please, Wilson, stay out of foul trouble in the future.
Timofey Mozgov, C 8 MIN | 1-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 3 PTS | -4It was really surprising and disappointing to see Mozgov have such a bad game against a team whose frontcourt is not very formidable. He was just terrible out there in pretty much every way, and at least on the surface, there doesn’t seem to be any good explanation for it.
Andre Miller, PG 19 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +13While Dre’s stat line doesn’t exactly pop, he did pretty much exactly what he needed to do when he was on the court. His veteran leadership was on display at one point when, after a frenetic stretch of back-and-forth early shot clock 3-pointers by both teams, he calmed everyone down, slowed up the pace, and got things back under control. It’s also worth noting that six rebounds in 19 minutes is not bad for a 37-year-old point guard.
Nate Robinson, PG 24 MIN | 5-9 FG | 4-4 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 17 PTS | +22This was the Nate we’ve been waiting for all season. He absolutely exploded in the fourth quarter, essentially sticking in the dagger and twisting the blade until Dallas’ chances of coming back were all but wiped out. While we all knew from the start that we’d see both “Good Nate” and “Bad Nate” games, the ratio so far has been weighted far too heavily on the latter. Let us hope that tonight’s performance will be the spark that increases the frequency of “Good Nate” appearances.
Evan Fournier, SG 6 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +3It was a tough outing for Fournier, who wasn’t able to do much of anything at all with his six minutes. In their last six games including tonight, Hamilton has averaged roughly 17 minutes per game to Fournier’s 13, and if Shaw ever decides to tighten his rotations (or when Gallinari returns), it would appear that Fournier might, at this point, be the most likely candidate for odd man out.
Brian Shaw
Shaw started the game having Chandler guard Dirk again, with similar results as Nowitzki opened up shooting 3-3 in the first quarter. For this reason alone, I was pretty sure at halftime that I wouldn’t be giving Shaw anything higher than a B grade. But his decisions throughout the game proved to be effective. Both Mozgov and Fournier were in a funk, and he didn’t force the issue with either of them. Arthur’s great defense of Dirk was rewarded with the opportunity to stay in the game and keep at it. (Darrell’s 27 minutes in this game were a season high). Keeping Lawson benched for most of the fourth quarter is dubious on its face, but the Nate train was rolling and Shaw was correct not to derail it.It’s also worth pointing out that the team handled Dallas’ zone defense much more capably, and also did a valiant job of repelling all of their efforts to erase Denver’s lead. Shaw said a couple days ago that consecutive games against the same opponent are good practice runs for the playoffs, and by those standards these wins against a very good Mavericks team are a resounding success for his team, warts and all.

Three Things We Saw

  1. Free throw watch. Missed free throws didn’t undo the Nuggets in this game, but they still shot a sub-par .714, continuing their trend of struggling from the line. Particularly worrisome is Lawson’s poor free throw shooting of late. He shot 11-20 in the two Dallas games, and it can only be hoped that this does not mark the start of a new trend.
  2. The Arthur Effect. In tonight’s game we saw a lot to confirm what Matt recently wrote about in his post The Hidden Impact of Darrell Arthur. If you haven’t yet read it, I’d encourage you to do so now.
  3. 7994. Andre Miller is now just six dimes away from 8000th career.assist.and 972 away from catching Gary Payton at the 8th spot on the NBA career assists list.


You can follow me on Twitter here: @denbutsu


Next up: Wednesday, Nov. 27, 6 p.m. MST at Minnesota. Going to the game? Save money and get cheap Denver Nuggets tickets here.

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Joel is a long time Denver Nuggets (and Broncos) fan from Colorado who's been living in Japan since the mid-90s, and blogging about the Nuggets since 2008. You can contact and follow him on Twitter: @denbutsu.
  • Poz303

    Andre Miller is an offensive rebounding machine!

    And Nate was on fire, Great all round performance.

  • Scott

    Lol Vince Carter is old

  • Cory

    ty has been balling all year how does it look because I have not seen it yet. shouts out to Jordan Hamilton the most productive 9 minutes I’ve ever seen!

  • herpderpnuggets

    Really solid performance from just about everybody tonight…random q, any idea when javale is gonna be back?

  • Cory

    What is the quality of Dallas’ defense?

    • heykyleinsf

      Shidt quality. BUT.. they were also 9-4 before they
      saw us coming. Don’t be a downer.. this was a great win.
      we won on the road and played a complete game.

      • Cory

        Oh not a downer. Just was wondering how the start line looked based on the defense we were playing. Was rocking my nuggets cap after we won!

  • heykyleinsf

    Gallo and Javale coming back in.
    Once again.. we’re the team nobody wants to play!

  • alex47666

    Kept a team who scores 104 in their building under 100 and scored over 110 on the road, great win

  • heykyleinsf

    All of 9 comments by 7 people an hour after our biggest win of the season. Do people only want to be bitches? I guess so. Sad.

  • Andrew

    My understanding is that the Nuggets own both their own 1st round pick next year, plus the Knick’s, and they only have to give up the lower/worse of the two picks to Orlando. Assuming that’s right, how great would it be if the Nuggs get into the playoffs, get an upset over GS and Iguatraitor in the first round, give up their first rounder to Orlando…while Knicks completely tank, draw the first pick and have to watch the Nuggets pluck Wiggins in the draft! Ha ha. I think I just made my night thinking of that dream scenario.

    • Scott

      This could actually turn into a dream season for us if the Knicks keep it up. Any of Wiggins, Parker, or Randle would be especially lethal on a nuggets squad. (Preferably Parker/Randle)

      • Andrew

        No doubt. Also, it’s still early and there’s no telling how this team will turn out, but for whatever reason, I like this team better than last year’s at this point. Even though they have the same record…Maybe it’s having Shaw, maybe it’s that will still don’t even have Gallo back…I just feel better about this team.

      • Kody R

        Oh damn! I forgot we get the higher pick from them

    • Sharkboy242

      I’ve been keeping up with the Knicks for this very reason… Theyre playing in LA against the clippers and then Denver. Its looking prettty good right now 😀

  • J Platt

    great win tonight boys. thats exactly the reason nate rob was brought in. instant offense is something this team has been missing since jr was here. hes a much smarte player than jr. jj and faried starting seems to be the best even when mcgee comes back. question is when this team is healthy I see a ton of talent at 1 3 and 4 but huge holes at the 2 and 5. there has to be some moves made if this team will realize its potential. foye is ok but is just meh. mcgee and mozzy have potential but we’ve been saying this for how many years. I really hope that mcgees contract doesnt handicap us or were screwed.

  • Scott

    In regards to Ty’s FT shooting %: I don’t think it should be worrisome as it was said that he had sprained his shooting hand pinky. When that is all healed and he adjusts to shooting on it his shots should start dropping again.

  • Charliemyboy

    I can see Shaw playing more to our strengths with his substitutions. When he doesn’t need Chandler or Ty, he lets the others flourish, as long as they keep his schemes in mind and are thinking (poor Randall). He plays matchups which Karl lacked sometimes. And Shaw isn’t afraid to sit people no matter who they are. If, if, he can continue to improve JJ, control Kenneth, and develop McGee, I see some good times. Every player is starting to feel their responsibilities, and Ty is accepting his leadership roll; he now has the confidence to take over when he needs to, no matter who we are playing. Awesome. Can we win this next week with so much road? What will our record be in 10 days?

  • Marv

    Seems like this team is starting to gel. Don’t forget, Gallo is coming back soon!!!

  • Marv

    At this point, do we want McGee back as a starter? Is he disrupting this offense? Seems like ever since he went out, our offense has looked drastically better.

    • Branden Gloudeman

      He was injured dude!