Timofey Mozgov. Domination. Calamity. Explosions. Bazookas. Lasers. Apocalypse. Superhero. Awesomeness. What do all these words have in common? They’re all nouns and verbs and things that describe Mozgov’s upcoming Russian action-hero movie where he completely destroys all opponents in his path. But until then he’s still a basketball player for the Denver Nuggets. Confused? You should be. Read on for further explanation…
|J.J. Hickson, PF 16 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-2 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +4
Hickson was pedestrian. He did nothing to jump off the TV screen, but he had some nice dunks and several jumpers.
|Kenneth Faried, PF 25 MIN | 6-11 FG | 3-6 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +10
Faried played with enthusiasm all night but it was his offense that really impressed. He hit some hooks and displayed footwork in the post that we don’t often see from him. As is often the case, Faried was everywhere and had a very positive impact on his team as a whole.
|Wilson Chandler, SF 26 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | +10
Chandler was AWOL most of the evening. He had some nice defensive stints but hardly worked at all for his shot. This was yet another game where you’re left wondering just how much he wants to push himself to be the scorer he’s capable of becoming.
|Ty Lawson, PG 27 MIN | 4-8 FG | 5-7 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | +9
Lawson turned the ball over one too many times but I loved his aggression. He made some pretty incredible buckets and controlled the pace of the game like a true point guard should. He’s finally taking that next step in his game that we all knew he could get to, specifically by using his dribble to access different areas of the floor and create opportunities for his teammates.
|Randy Foye, SG 21 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | +7
Foye’s two back-to-back 3-pointers in the third quarter were what blew this game open. The value of his long-distance shooting cannot be overstated. He also played solid defense throughout and had some nice assists.
|Darrell Arthur, PF 17 MIN | 4-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | +15
Arthur was all over the place early on, especially on defense. Then as the game unfurled his shot began to fall. He hit midrange jumpers from all over the place and once again gave the Nuggets that deep 2-point threat they had been missing for the last few years.
|Jordan Hamilton, SF 17 MIN | 6-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | +18
I sometimes don’t even know if Hamilton’s operating in the same dimension as we are. He’s like a video-game caricature. The shots he makes are ridiculous. The shots he misses are grotesque. He’s the new J.R. Smith, just not quite as talented. He hit all kinds of feathery floaters and tough jump shots against the Nets. He also had his fair share of boneheaded mistakes. That’s what you get with Hamilton. That’s what you will always get with Hamilton.
|Quincy Miller, SF 6 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -2
Put the “garbage” in garbage time.
|Anthony Randolph, SF 7 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 3 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -1
Actually played really well in garbage time.
|Timofey Mozgov, C 31 MIN | 6-9 FG | 5-5 FT | 20 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | +18
Never, never, never in a million years did I think I’d see the day Mozgov would flirt with a 20-20 game. Seriously. That is not hyperbole. I really don’t know how to describe what I just saw. The rebounds were insane, yes, but Brooklyn was awful on the glass. What really impressed me about Mozgov this game was how he finally put it all together for one single, dominating performance. Outside of a few bad fouls and fumbled passes early on, Mozgov was outstanding in every aspect of the game. He had a left-handed bank hook early on that I almost dropped my jaw at. His energy was palpable. His passes were crisp and well thought out. His blocks were powerful and perfectly timed. He finally played like a real, legitimate, starting NBA center. And for that, I owe him a big apology for never believing in him. Good stuff Mozzy, good stuff.
|Andre Miller, PG 22 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | +15
Miller was all about distributing, which is exactly the role he needs to play for the Nuggets this season. He’s not trying to go one on five anymore. He’s exercising his vision and intelligence for the greater good of the team. This is good.
|Nate Robinson, PG 20 MIN | 3-9 FG | 3-4 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +18
Nate played with lots of energy. He took some ill-advised shots but not too many of them. If he can continue to limit his bad shots he’ll prove to be a valuable asset off the bench.
|Evan Fournier, SG 6 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -1
I’d missed the last few games being on vacation, and man how things have changed! This was impressive. This was the type of win — even though it came against a bad team — that gives you faith. You can feel this type of win in your gut. Everything was clicking for this team. Everyone was playing as a unit, thinking as one. This brand of basketball is promising. It’s not a gimmick. Shaw’s system is finally paying off in the form of impressive, quality, convincing wins. That’s something worth cheering for.
Three Things We Saw
- The Nuggets are scoring in so many different ways. Under George Karl there was one way to score the basketball: run. Under Shaw the Nuggets can run, they can also slow the game down, they can run plays and they can improvise when all else fails. And they do it on a consistent basis. It’s how they play. It’s in their DNA. Again, this is what gives me faith as a fan. It’s not only fun to watch, but incredibly refreshing after nearly a decade of the same old humdrum brand of basketball.
- One thing I’ve noticed this year is how the Nuggets are playing with a collective gusto. Everyone hustles, everyone dives for loose balls, everyone rebounds, everyone plays with their heart. This was on display against the Nets. Yes, the Nuggets are a much better team than the Nets, but they played with much more passion than the Nets did. That’s what broke the game open and ultimately sealed the deal for the Nuggets.
- Had the Nuggets not strangled the Nets in the third quarter you have to wonder if Evan Fournier would have seen minutes this game. It would have been his first DNP-CD of the season, yet even without that nominal box-score designation his absence from the rotation seems to be a portent for upcoming games. With Nate Robinson and Jordan Hamilton playing well, Fournier seems to be on the outside looking in. This is a very interesting development given how popular he was to supplant Foye as the starting shooting guard in the beginning of the year.
Next up: Wednesday, 5 p.m. MST at Cleveland. Going to the game? Save money and get cheap Denver Nuggets tickets here.
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