Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 88, Cleveland Cavaliers 98

The Denver Nuggets came up short on the tail end of a back-to-back, dropping a 10-point game to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Denver Nuggets 88 Final

Recap | Box Score

98 Cleveland Cavaliers
J.J. Hickson, PF 26 MIN | 7-13 FG | 1-2 FT | 11 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | -3Hickson had a tough matchup against Andrew Bynum. The Cavs’ center had no trouble pushing JJ around and establishing deep post position. That being said, Hickson was very active on the offensive end and just about the only Nuggets big man who actually hustled for rebounds, putting up a solid line in his 26 minutes.
Kenneth Faried, PF 19 MIN | 3-6 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | -5Faried picked up two early fouls and looked outmatched against Tristan Thompson during the first half. He didn’t have a great game overall and his minutes were limited. The Manimal was simply not a factor on the offensive glass like he usually is and lost out on a lot of the 50-50 balls his frantic energy usually tips in his favor.
Wilson Chandler, SF 33 MIN | 5-13 FG | 1-1 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 13 PTS | -2Chandler started the game with a strong cut to the basket finishing on an and-1, but other than that he wasn’t that big of a factor. He has simply not looked like the reliable second scoring option he is supposed to be for this team and it doesn’t seem like he demands the ball enough. He was decent defensively and did make a couple of shots late in the game.
Ty Lawson, PG 35 MIN | 1-13 FG | 2-3 FT | 2 REB | 11 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 4 PTS | -3Lawson did a great job finding teammates early on, feeding the bigs in the post and getting the ball to open shooters. However, his first points of the game came with 31 seconds to go in the second quarter. The grade might be a bit harsh, considering he did dish out 11 assists, but he also put up his lowest scoring game of the season and shot just 1-13 from the field.
Randy Foye, SG 26 MIN | 4-8 FG | 5-5 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 16 PTS | +3Foye made a crucial three to end the first half, which got the Nuggets within four points going into the break. He was solid from beyond the arc and was overall one of the better Denver players on a tough night. His scoring opportunities came few and far between but he usually converted.
Darrell Arthur, PF 26 MIN | 4-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | -2After a couple good performances, you could certainly tell that Brian Shaw gave Arthur the green light to shoot in this game. Most of his shots were decent looks but just wouldn’t fall tonight. He managed to have an impact on the game in some other ways, and played an overall acceptable game.
Jordan Hamilton, SF 10 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 3 PTS | -7J-Ham made a three. He had some good sequences on the defensive end, especially harassing Anthony Bennett. That’s about it.
Timofey Mozgov, C 17 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | -8Well, it was time to come back to earth. Mozgov was limited to just 17 minutes with four fouls on the night, as Shaw opted to go back to Hickson in the fourth. Moz did play some good defense on Andrew Bynum though, and was pretty much the only Denver big man who Bynum couldn’t just shove out of his way.
Andre Miller, PG 17 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -10I had no notes on Miller after this game. He wasn’t particularly visible on either end of the floor, and it’s a shame he didn’t try to score a bit more, especially in the post.
Nate Robinson, PG 27 MIN | 7-15 FG | 0-1 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | -12Robinson continues to establish himself as a more consistent energy guy off the bench. He gave the team a huge boost early in the game. When everyone else looked tired and slow, Nate came in with a lot of energy and sparked the offense with some impressive plays. He got to close out the game and made some more shots down the stretch, but it wasn’t enough.
Evan Fournier, SG 5 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -1N/A
Brian Shaw
You can’t really blame Shaw too much for this loss. Just about every Nuggets player looked lethargic, so it was hard to construct a consistent lineup on a night like this. Shaw was slightly slow reacting on bad matchups, but he eventually ended up putting Mozgov on Bynum. Other than that, it’s hard to find any critical errors. The Nuggets half-court offense created a lot of good looks, especially early in the game, but the players simply couldn’t knock the shots down.

Two Things We Saw

  1. The Nuggets rank fourth in the league in rebounding. The Cavaliers are 17th. It didn’t matter Wednesday night, as the Cavs crushed Denver on the glass 58-43. Denver’s big men didn’t box out properly, which is reflected in Tristan Thompson’s nine offensive rebounds and a career-high 21 rebounds in total.
  2. Back-to-backs are tough. Especially on the road. The Nuggets simply couldn’t create any offense. They didn’t run enough and there wasn’t enough movement in the half-court sets to make the Cavaliers work. You could tell that the Nuggets didn’t quite have their feet under them.

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  • Poz303

    Very poor shooting night from the Nuggets but our defensive rebounding killed us. Thought Shaw did a mediocre job tonight with match-ups. Faried, arguably our best rebounder didn’t play in the fourth qtr.

    • matymaddog

      I’m not sure how I felt about the match-ups either.

      Number of factors contributed to this loss. Cleveland got 48 minutes out of there Centers (Bynum and Varajao) while we got 30 minutes less with Moz getting 17 (Had 4 fouls, 3 turnovers and just looked soft tonight in the paint). We got out-rebounded all game. (Cleveland:58 Denver: 43). Mozgov played a total :38 seconds in the 4th while we had Foye, Lawson, Nate, and Miller play for a combined 32:45 minutes. Ty had an absolutely terrible night trying to get baskets going 1-13 while leading our team in minutes. We had 11 fouls to Clevelands 3 fouls in the 4th quarter alone which really made it difficult to make that end game push despite only being down 6 points heading into the 4th. Went 6 for 23 from downtown. 3rd consecutive road game on a back to back playing in Brooklyn last night and Clevo tonight, they just looked tired. They looked tired at the beginning of the season and they looked tired tonight. Shaw is rotating these guys constantly with exception of Lawson. I think they need to get their conditioning up, it’s a long season.

      I think there is still going to be a lot of early season growing pains with this team because Shaw is still figuring them out. For example, Faried got 7 minutes less than Hickson and Arthur tonight. We’ve seen how all of our bigs minutes have fluctuated. The only minutes consistently handed out are to the smallest guys on the court (Our 3 oldest players and our best player).

  • googergieger

    22 to 10

    • Darren

      How did I know without looking at the box score that you were talking about fouls? Tired team after last night going to Kyrie “Golden Boy” Irving’s house? Yeah, let it rain whistles.

    • COfoEVA

      Ya the NBA is still trying to apologize on James behalf by giving Irving every foul.

    • gimpcom187

      This game wasn’t on the refs. The team was lethargic the entire second half. It happens to every team not named the 1996 Bulls. Oh well.

  • herpderpnuggets

    Sucks to lose to a ba team like that but it was on a back to back and they couldn’t have shot any worse or played any poorer defense. I’m confident they can beat Boston and Philly though.

  • toluene hawk

    Abandon ship – I think we have seen enough to blow this team up and start apologizing to GK.

    • Scott

      Lol

    • trank

      yup. i’m glad i held off one more day before apologizing for giving up on them at the beginning of the season.

  • David Acker

    As Ty goes so The Nuggets go!

  • heykyleinsf

    Fournier is the one guy I guess I’m most disappointed in this year.
    I’m hoping he gets his confidence and his groove back..
    I thought I saw good energy from him at the end of last year..
    weird that this year has seemed to be particularly rough for him.

    • matymaddog

      He struggled the entire preseason and didn’t make the French national squad either.

      • heykyleinsf

        I didn’t know about the French team.
        Thanks for updating me.
        I hope he can turn it around.

  • heykyleinsf

    The “laughing stock of the NBA” are possibly going to reward us with.. IMHO.. the best fit for this team. It’s early.. But I would love to reel in Jabari Parker.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1875141-jabari-parkers-post-game-makes-him-most-complete-2014-nba-draft-prospect

    • alex47666

      Hell no, Parker jesus christ I dont want melo 2.o on our team

      • heykyleinsf

        IDK what you are talking about.. could you elaborate?

        • LBJ

          While I would love to add Jabari Parker to the Nuggets – I would point out that the knuckleheads are only 3 games out of first in the Atlantic division. With 3 teams tanking and the Nets sucking even worse the Knicks – it may only take about 35 wins to make the playoffs in this horrendous division.

          • Ernie

            Yep, that’s the problem. Big hope is they stay bad for a few more weeks and try to trade Carmelo for picks. But a good two week stretch and they are leading the division.

            • LBJ

              Unfortunately, the Knicks are like the Yankees – they don’t rebuild, they just buy a new batch of players. I’m afraid that to get in the lottery – we will have to get their ourselves.

    • Cullen

      Why exactly would a 11-7 team be the biggest laughing stock?

      • Scott

        He means the Knicks silly

        • Cullen

          That would explain a lot… I was a little lost. Good call.

  • alex47666

    Im not really to worried, if we had at least 1 day of rest we would have won. But to face a team that has had 3 days of rest while we had to face them on a back to back is questionable. But oh well hope mcgee is healthy when we play the cavs in denver. SO he can dominate him again

    • gimpcom187

      I would hope for the opposite on Mcgee. That guy’s injury occurred EXACTLY when the team started playing well. I don’t think it is a coincidence.

      • alex47666

        There is no way we can play Bynum without mcgee, and honestly Just cause mcgee was out doenst mean he is hurting the team. Foye and nate since mcgee got injured are now shooting 40 % from 3, and ty is averaging almost 10 assist a game and the bench is scoring over 50 points a game. None of that was happening while mcgee was healthy, so to say the team is playing better without mcgee can only mean the nuggets will play better with him

        • BigDubz

          I strongly disagree with your last statement. When McGee returns, he will be taking minutes away from someone who’s earned those minutes during this 10-3 run in which he’s been injured. They were 1-4 while he was playing. I know he’s not responsible for the 1-4 record, and Chandler has since returned in addition to the improved play of a number of other players, but to me that’s more than coincidence. Shaw has even said McGee will have to earn his minutes when he returns. One thing I can say is McGee was a big part of the problem during the 1-4 run. He was playing really poorly with the exception of the Hawks game. I think Mozgov has been a far more useful center than McGee and I believe he will continue to be a far more useful center than McGee for the rest of the season.

  • Berdj Rassam

    The Nuggets just don’t have enough horses on the team – they need to add quality to compete with the elite; heck they are having a tough enough time with teams like the Cavs.

    • TRU

      Nuggs have some quality ” horses,” they are just injured and sitting in the stable: Mcdoof and the stallion. Give it time.

      • Berdj Rassam

        Good point!

  • BigDubz

    These away B2B’s are when I’d like to see Shaw go deeper in his bench and let his young guys get some burn. I’m not saying you suddenly play Q. Miller 25 mins, but guys like Fournier and Hamilton should play at least 15 mins each if not more. Fournier isn’t going to get out of his slump by sitting at the end of the bench. I think he possess talents right now that could be very useful for the Nuggets. Foye is playing well at the moment, but he’s very streaky and he’ll go through similar stretches of games where his shot isn’t falling. He needs to be more of a 20 mpg guy. Fournier is long, athletic, and possess great body control while attacking the rim. Hamilton could also use all the experience he can get right now. I’ve already seen a great deal of improvement in his game since he’s started to receive minutes this season. Obviously I don’t want to throw games away, but these are the types of games in which you might sacrifice a win or 2 for future development.