Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 97, New York Knicks 95

At the buzzer, Randy Foye blocked Carmelo Anthony’s fadeaway jumper and denied Denver’s former star his first win as a Knick in his old stomping grounds. The Nuggets won their fifth straight game, and are officially on a roll, having won eight of their last ten.

New York Knicks 95 Final

Recap | Box Score

97 Denver Nuggets
J.J. Hickson, PF 32 MIN | 4-9 FG | 5-10 FT | 11 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | +6Hickson had a big impact early in the game, scoring nine of his 13 points and pulling down seven of his 11 rebounds in the first half. But in the second half he did something between mostly disappearing and turning into a liability as he missed four of his eight free throw attempts in the fourth quarter, helping the Knicks to stay in the game down the strretch. He also did practically nothing defensively to stop Andrea Bargnani, who scored 22 points on 11 shots.
Kenneth Faried, PF 21 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +12Faried was injured in the second quarter, and had to leave the game in the third due to what was reported as a right quadricep contusion. But even before getting hurt, he really wasn’t very effective in this game. Hopefully his injury will prove not to be too severe and he won’t miss any games, but given how badly he was limping in the second quarter, the decision by the training staff to allow him to continue playing seems questionable.
Wilson Chandler, SF 33 MIN | 4-9 FG | 3-4 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | +6Chandler had a fairly efficient but quiet game on offense, but did a commendable job of defending Melo, who ended up shoooting 8-22 and did more of his damage when being guarded by Arthur. It still appears that his role is less clearly defined than that of most of his teammates, and that could be limiting his touches and his impact.
Ty Lawson, PG 36 MIN | 5-10 FG | 10-12 FT | 3 REB | 8 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 22 PTS | +6In the first half, Lawson was having his way with the Knicks, aggressively attacking the rim and basically executing in any way he desired. Later in the game, however, Mike Woodson made an adjustment and put Iman Shumpert on him, which successfully impeded the damage Ty was able to do. On the defensive end, he was completely unable to keep Raymond Felton out of the paint. The Knicks really took it to Lawson and Hickson with Felton-Bargnani pick-and-rolls they couldn’t find answers for, and although Felton only scored eight points, he created many more off his repeated drives to the paint. Most of his seven assists were dished out there, and not showing up in the stat line are all the free throws resulting from his passes down low. Lawson did make a couple pretty great defensive plays in the second half, but moving forward the Nuggets will either need to find a way to help him get better or hide him on defense.
Randy Foye, SG 30 MIN | 5-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 17 PTS | +4Randy Foye’s block on Melo was the play of the night, but not to be overlooked is the fact that he played a very solid all-around game, including a few big 3-pointers. Foye does not escape culpability for allowing Felton into the paint as well, but his game-winning play makes it hard to drop his grade.
Darrell Arthur, PF 15 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -4Arthur struggled defending Carmelo. He has the size and strength to face him up, but just not the lateral quickness to stay with him, and Melo exploited that mismatch to the fullest extent possible, burning Darrell with crossovers and spin moves that left him little resort but to foul. Being forced to defend out of position is not, of course, entirely his fault, but he wasn’t able to contribute much on offense, either.
Jordan Hamilton, SF 14 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | -8J-Ham followed up a couple of solid outings with a disappointing performance tonight. Part of the reason Arthur ended up spending so much time defending Melo was that when Shaw sent Hamilton in to give it a go, it ended about as disastrously as might be expected. To make matters worse, he couldn’t get his shot falling either, and was essentially a liability in this game. He has been plagued by inconsistency this season, but the one exception to that – and perhaps the brightest silver lining here – is his rebounding.
Timofey Mozgov, C 16 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -3It continues to defy logic how unaware Mogov seems to be of his own size and strength. Against a team like the Tyson Chandler-less Knicks, with no real presense in the middle to speak of, it would be hoped that Timo might try to play more aggressively and throw his weight around a little more. But instead he found a way to make himself — the biggest guy on the floor — fade into the backdrop and disappear, with the exception of a few blocks. In the first five games with JaVale McGee, Mozgov averaged 17 minutes per game, and in the five after that, 19.2. In the latest five, however, his playing time has slipped down to just 15.7 mpg on a team in which he’s the only true center available. What looked like a promising start to the season for Mozgov is now looking more concerning.
Andre Miller, PG 20 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 7 PTS | -5Miller didn’t do a whole lot of good or bad in this game, but his minus-5 tonight could have been much worse if more of the open shots he gave to J.R. Smith had been dropping. Luckily, that wasn’t the case, however. Miller also extended his “hot 3-point shooting” (scare quotes intentional) by hitting his one attempt tonight, a buzzer beater at the end of the first quarter. He is now 7-9 from the arc (.778) this season.
Nate Robinson, PG 18 MIN | 6-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | -3Robinson scored the first ten points of the second quarter, single-handedly keeping the Nuggets afloat, and had a similar scoring spurt in the second half. Nate has really ratcheted up his performance lately (more on that below), and now appears to be the clear leading sixth man for the Nuggets. And while, like Lawson and Foye, he shares blame for not guarding the perimeter very well, he was the guy who kept Denver ahead when Lawson was resting on the bench.
Evan Fournier, SG 5 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -1If you didn’t even notice that Fournier played five minutes in this game, you probably were not alone. If he wants to earn more playing time, it specifically is on nights like these when J-Ham is struggling that he needs to make the most of his chances. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to do much in this game. When it comes to Fournier, I’m like Fox Mulder with UFOs: I want to believe. But at this point it seems more likely that Shaw could cut him out of the rotation than that he’ll suddenly turn it around. I hope not, but it seems that that’s where things could be heading.
Brian Shaw
Shaw was faced with one very difficult decision before this game even tipped off: Who will guard Melo? It was a night when we could see clearly just how much this team misses Gallinari, and Shaw didn’t really have a lot of great options. But his team at the very least kept Melo’s game on the inefficient side.

What wasn’t there at all was defending the pick-and-roll and 3-pointers. The Knicks quite easily sliced up Denver’s defense (especially with the above-mentioned Felton and Bargs) by repeatedly running P&R’s at them, and if J.R. Smith and Felton hadn’t been ice cold from the arc, thus missing the many wide open looks they got there, the Nuggets would have lost this game.

Woodson clearly made the better halftime adjustments, and along with the defensive issues there were some other sketchy decisions made by Shaw, including some outright terrible inbound plays which could have cost the game, and the way things were going, if Anthony had sent the game into overtime, the Knicks would have had the momentum. It’s hard to downgrade a coach when he gets a win, but the grade shouldn’t necessarily get a bump when he just gets kind of lucky, either.

Three Things We Saw

  1. State of Nate. Nate Robinson has finally found his groove. Through Denver’s current five-game winning streak, he is averaging 12.6 points per game, compared with 6.6 in the previous ten games, and is getting those points more efficiently in every way possible. His percentages are all up (.444 FG%, .524 3pt% and .923 FT% in the last five compared to .324, .364 and .778 before that, respectively), his shot selection has become more efficient (.467 3-point attempt rate in the last five compared to .324 in the first ten), and he’s getting to the line more frequently (.289 free throw rate in the last five compared to .132 before). If history is any indication, we will see some more inconsistency from Nate through the course of the season. But if he can deliver “Good Nate” performance the majority of the time, it will be a great boon for the Nuggets.
  2. No Melo drama. As the course of the game went on, it seemed that the intensity and volume of Nuggets fans booing Carmelo tapered off. The boos will always continue, I’m sure (as they have with Kobe), but it sounded to me like when it comes to the trade and Melo’s dissing of Denver, people are pretty much over it. But hopefully they’re keeping a healthy stock of boos in reserve for the return of The Mole on Dec. 23.
  3. Eastbound. The Nuggets are heading east for a six-game road trip that includes a 4-in-5 in the middle. The schedule will be hectic, but all the teams they’re facing are ostensibly beatable: Toronto, .Brooklyn, Cleveland, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington all have losing records. Exhaustion may be Denver’s biggest impediment to success on this trip, but Shaw has a deep bench to lean on, and if they can win a blowout or two they can get extra rest for their starters. Also, please be advised of the early game time this Sunday (see details below).


You can follow me on Twitter here: @denbutsu


Next up: Sunday, 11 a.m. MST at Toronto. 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.
  • Sharkboy242

    In before Robinson gets an F

    • random900

      It seems like a lot of the new writers on RMC are extra tough on the new players for some reason. Joel’s grading tonight so we’ll see.

  • Scott

    Ty’s 22 on 10 shots>>>>>>> Melos 27 on 8-22

  • nachoplease

    the only sad part about beating the knicks is remembering how good masai was… that trade was genius. especially for a guy that was in a contract year and wouda signed with NY regardless

    • Daniel McDonald

      Great trade but a lot of questionable moves later on considering Javale’s contract and the Iggy trade. Would love to have Afflalo on this team right now. And Nene.

      • Tyler Stevens

        We do have Knicks 2014 & 2016 unprotected first round picks. So I’ll take it. #Jabari2Denver.

      • alex47666

        No I dont want Nene, that contract was a joke faried was outplaying him for less money. that was a great trade

        • Daniel McDonald

          Dumping his contract was a good move. Right until we poured that money back into Javale.

        • alex47666

          Yeah, but Javel contract is still better than Nene was

          • gimpcom187

            Its 3 mil less per year for a backup center. Nene has his injury issues but hes avlegit 3rd best player on a championship type team (see 2009 playoffs) and is versatile enough to play pf/c. Afflalo/iggy trade is rolling the dice to upgrade and it didnt work out long term.

          • Daniel McDonald

            That’s debatable. I’d love for Javale to prove me wrong, to breakout and take advantage of all his potential, but except for a stretch right after we got him and in a handful of isolated games since, I haven’t seen it. Meanwhile Nene is a solid starter at both ends, though again I do realize that his propensity for injuries lowers his value.

      • googergieger

        Afflalo and Harrington were overpaid and it was the right trade to do. The draft pick on the other hand is arguable. Nene’s contract is pretty bad as well. Javale is still a question mark. Wasted years in Washington hurt, and then Karl arguably holding him down as well hurt too. Unfortunately him getting injured as fast as he did under Shaw, while Shaw is still working out the kinks didn’t help matters. Only questionable move Masai has made is opting to go for Toronto, but seeing as he probably has full control over there, makes sense. Hope he doesn’t pull a Gallo for Rudy trade on us, like a lot of people around here wanted way back when…

        • Daniel McDonald

          Harrington yes, but Afflalo is averaging close to 20/5/5 this year and is an unquestionably better shooting guard than anybody we have now. Nene is also having a good year, although his injury problems have and always will make him a dangerous bet. But I watch him with Washington this year and I know that, when he’s healthy, we could sure as hell use him. As for Javale, seems like a whole lot of excuses for a guy who’s had years to prove people wrong and instead has stubbornly failed to be anything but underwhelming. I’m just saying that the Masai as a flawless magic-man thing is not entirely accurate.

          • googergieger

            I think you think you have an argument captain hindsight. Never the less, Masai did make the right moves at the time.

            I mean again last year even when McGee played great and playing him meant the win, Karl would still not play him. Afflalo is putting up great numbers on the Magic and is still over paid all said and done. Nene would be a great fit for the team we have now, but again, hindsight. Though you didn’t need hindsight to tell you three point guards, and three power forwards is a stupid move to make, in regards to this new front office.

            • Daniel McDonald

              No need to get pissy, friend. Just a difference of opinion.

              • googergieger

                Sorry if it came off that way, it is just you know, hindsight. Not so much an argument as you know, well, hindsight.

              • Daniel McDonald

                So then, how are decisions supposed to be judged? I can choose to eat Arby’s right now. I’m hungry. Seems like a great idea. Five minutes after eating, I feel great. Hunger abated. Ten minutes later, still great, although my stomach’s rumbling. Thirty minutes after that and I begin an important night-long meeting with the toilet. Hindsight says I shouldn’t have eaten at Arby’s, but that’s because it takes time for the value of any decision to bear out. Your argument that my argument is bunk because it is made with the benefit of hindsight is itself a bad argument, and therefore bunk.

              • googergieger

                That is a horrible analogy.

                Masai put together a team for Karl. You are now saying, Nene a player that would fit great on a new team with a new coach, shouldn’t have originally been traded because, well, hindsight.

                Your argument isn’t an argument, and I’m simply telling you it isn’t one.

              • Daniel McDonald

                Forgive my adolescent analogy. What I originally wrote was that Javale’s contract was a poor decision. I also think Nene would be a good addition to this team, as well as to last year’s team, and the year before that. I know for a fact that George Karl would agree with that. I also think that trading Afflalo for a player with a free-agent option after one year, who didn’t like Denver, while a solid gambit, was not an unequivocally brilliant decision. These are opinions and observations used to forward the argument that Masai, who I believe was a good GM, did not at all times make the best decisions for this organization. I don’t think that’s a terribly controversial argument to make, but if you’d like to counter it, rather than deny it’s status as an argument, we might have the makings of a conversation.

              • googergieger

                Trading Nene opened up money to resign Chandler long term, and McGee showed up big in the playoffs against the Lakers, where once again starting Koufos against a big physical center cost us. McGee had/has potential. His contract is somewhat reasonable considering that. Don’t think anyone can honestly argue Karl gave the kid a chance. If they saw the games with unbiased eyes anyways. McGee hasn’t shown up in this early season even before the injury however. Then again beyond Lawson every Nugget has taken their time to get into things. Shaw especially. Afflallo and Harrington for Iggy(really it was known he didn’t like Denver? Surprised no one mentioned this when the trade happened) was a great move at the time. Two over priced players, one of which regressed severely on defense which was his biggest strength for who is still arguably the best perimeter defender in the game was a great move. If the Nuggets moved past the first round which is another argument, and Masai would have stuck around who is to say what Iggy would have done. Though seeing how chummy he was with the other team and their hypocrite coach, who knows. Never the less, Iggy gone still left us with some money and a trade exemption at least. Unfortunately the new front office went with Nate and Hickson who seem a waste if you are going to keep Miller and Faried or Arthur, respectively.

                As far as Karl goes, he wanted a fast team that played tough defense. Andre Miller was his mvp.

              • Daniel McDonald

                There you go. Now you’re communicating! McGee’s potential is a tired story until it pans out, in which case hindsight will tell us that signing him to a big contract was the correct decision. I strongly disagree with the assertion that McGee was some kind of oppressed wunderkind last season, bullied by an unfair incompetent of a coach who still managed to squeeze 57 wins out of his team, but we’ll see I suppose. Iguodala was, at best, guarded when it came to his feelings regarding the trade. He bashed Philly (never a good sign – he ended up doing the same to us) on his way out but was extremely noncommittal when it came to his new surroundings. You’re absolutely right in saying that things could have turned out differently, but if hindsight is bogus then “could’ve been” is doubly so. Past that it seems as though your point is turning into “Masai good; Connelly bad” which is a different discussion entirely. Nevertheless, I’m pleased that you managed to try out a respectful conversation. Thanks.

              • googergieger

                57 wins was probably an under achievement honestly. Considering how many games we should have won. I could think of at least two where not playing McGee more cost us the W. I mean not for nothing but it took injuries for Karl to even give Faried a shot.

                And this is the problem when your argument is, well, hindsight. Only real discussions and arguments that can be had on the matter are hypothetical. You can talk about the bad Masai did, where at the end of the day we still have a good and very young team. I can judge Connelly on the now however. Hickson, Faried, and Arthur? Ty, Dre, and Nate? Just effin pointless really. Granted you expect a trade to happen eventually with some of those names, but still. While Shaw hasn’t impressed much in his young career, a bit of a cluster F you’ve given him as far as a roster goes.

              • Daniel McDonald

                Dude, your argument against arguments just plain does not make sense. If your point was valid then history would not exist as a topic. Past events can be analyzed and opinions can be made and argued based on those events. Period.

              • googergieger

                That is if you agree literally everything is the same. Which I don’t. You can’t compare food to a general manager building a team for a specific style a specific coach wanted to play.

                Past events CAN be analyzed. With context. Not with, “how dare someone not look into the future and act accordingly” which was the original problem.

              • gimpcom187

                not even close to true on 57 an underachievement. They didn’t have ONE top 30 ballplayer in the league. ONE. (Every team that won more games last year had two top 15 players, Miami, OKC and San Antone)Ty has played like a top 30 this season so far, but of course sample size and he has changed his method of passing in the PnR this season and shot less long/mid-range jumpers (obviously if you payed any attention Karl HATES long/mid-range jumpers intead of in the paint shots or 3s.) An ESPN guy did a study suggesting Karl’s teams outdid their statistical prediction based on individual player statistics on a regular basis and was one of the top 3 coaches of the last 10 years.

              • gimpcom187

                They signed Nene with the intention of moving him along at the time. They waited to see if they could poach Demarcus Cousins and just decided to pull the trigger on Mcgee. Mcgee is as physically gifted a center as the league has seen since Shaq/Dwight. He even has some in isolation skills (dribbling). He played like a 6th grader at the time and the HOPE was that it was Wizards fault and he could be taught to think the game a little better. The Nugs at the time were obviously either a top 10ish ballplayer or 2 top 30ish type ballplayer upgrades from making a REAL run at a championship. Ujiri decided to take the shot on Mcgee and hope they could develop his game to the point he could use his tremendous physical skills to the point he would be an upgrade over Nene. It hasn’t worked out and Mcgee is significantly less valuable than Nene. The difference in Salary is like 2 million per season. It’s not significant given they weren’t getting UNDER the Cap. It wasn’t a BAD trade, but the potential problems with it were predictable and came to fruition. It isn’t hindsight. It

              • Daniel McDonald

                Thank you. You put that much better than I could have.

              • gimpcom187

                you’re still OBSESSED with Karl. I hope he has a restraining order on you.

              • Evan Woodruff

                That was beautiful. Love ya goog but you lost this one. sorry.

              • http://americablog.com magster

                Javale = Arby’s beef n’ cheddar! It all makes sense now.

          • David Acker

            AA was a good defender but not a reliable jump shooter. I actually am liking Foye at the 2 he really helps spread the floor and he is not the worst defender in the league. He provides good balance.

            • Daniel McDonald

              I’ve liked Foye too, especially in the last few games. Gotta love his D on Melo at the end tonight. Forced him into a tough shot and got the win.

        • Russell Hamilton

          If you’re going to say AAA was overpaid and Nene’s contract was pretty bad as well, then you also have to acknowledge who signed those players to those contracts…Masai.

          I love what Masai did for this team, but the over the top worship of his every move is just that – over the top.

          • googergieger

            Yup, he gave them those contracts, and then he got rid of them.

            • Daniel Shaw

              googergieger i’ve seen you on bleacherreport before, your arguments are so horrible and you always make denver fans look so bad with how biased you are. i’m really sad that you’re a denver fan tbh because i’m usually proud that we don’t have fans like the heat or the lakers, yet somehow you manage to still make us look bad

  • Daniel McDonald

    Frustrating final quarter but a good win. Great D by Foye at the end. Gotta love Ty’s efficiency: 22 pts on ten shots vs Melo’s 27 pts on 22 shots.

  • Tyler Stevens

    Tywon Ronell Lawson.

  • Tyler Stevens

    Tywon Ronell Lawson. Elite.

  • alex47666

    A win against the knikcs is good, you know Melo JR and Kmart would love to beat us. Glad to see us pull out the win

  • Darren

    5 straight W’s seem to have slowed the trade rumors… I still can’t help but think of what this lineup will be like when Gallo and (Eventually) Javale come back. If we’re already having a difficult time finding minutes for everyone, it’s not going to get any easier without a trade. Limiting minutes on 12 different players in a rotation is a lot to ask for from a first year coach. This is a great team to watch, but that bench might get a little too deep here in a couple months. Just in time for the deadline…

  • herpderpnuggets

    A little too close for comfort but nice to get the win. And see the players we got in return for the trade, beat the alleged “stars”

  • random900

    I almost feel bad for Melo. Damn that organization from top to bottom is awful!

  • Charliemyboy

    Who let’s these people give grades? First, the game tenure completely changed without Faried’s presence. You can’t see the whole picture! The evaluator gets the D+.

  • alex47666

    Dont worry we didnt waste all the Boo’s on Melo, honestly I think we like melo more now after what iggy did to us.

    • NuggZeit

      Agree Melo exit >>>> Iggy exit – Iggy punked us – could have gotten more money in a sign n trade but wanted to leave us with nothing

      • TomRMC

        Iggy actually did sign and trade, which allowed the Nuggets to pick up Foye and a $9 mil trade exception.

        • Poz303

          Only after crying about it on twitter and claiming motivation when Nuggets originally declined the sign-and-trade.

          In any case, there are plenty of boos ready for Iggy “the Mole”. Hoping Pepsi center will be louder than when Westbrook blocked Rocky’s half court shot.

    • Cullen

      I am not so sure I agree with you. Sure, I hate Iggy as much as the next person… and there shall be a lot of boos reserved for him… but do you not remember how the whole Melo fiasco went down? Melo cried for a trade for basically his whole last season here… he was divisive and poisoned chemistry for much of that season as well. Sure, what Iggy did was messed up… but remember when he left? The state the team was in and the uncertainty surrounding the team? I def still blame him… but I think his move is more understandable/less despicable than Melo’s. An d like was mentioned, we still got some stuff back for Iggy, too.

      • alex47666

        No I remember the whole Melo drama, demanding a trade and all. But at lest he came out and said hey I dont want to be her I want to go play for the team I have always wanted to play for. Melo at least didnt become a mole for the other team during the playoffs any of his years here, and certainly got a much better trade then we got for iggy. Who signed with the warriors, and the nuggets were lucky that the FA date hadnet started yet or we wouldnt have Foye on the team

  • heykyleinsf

    Closing in on the 1/4 mark on this season.. Portland is legit.. tied for the 3rd best record in the NBA at 13-3. That loss looked real bad the third game of the year.. but at this point.. Funny how things change. Also, the Warriors last 0.1 second hearbreak sunk them to 10th place in the west.

  • Evan Woodruff