The Nuggets starters were outscored 82-36 by the Jazz starters and despite a valiant attempt from the bench unit Denver lost to Utah 103-93.
|J.J. Hickson, PF 21 MIN | 4-9 FG | 4-7 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | -20
As always the story is the same for Hickson. He is a great pick-and-roll partner for Ty Lawson and it showed early in the game. But he is also not at all close to average defensively, which becomes and even bigger problem when paired with Kenneth Faried.
|Kenneth Faried, PF 18 MIN | 3-7 FG | 1-4 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | -13
The trade rumors are going to be back very soon. For the third time in five games Faried failed to reach the 20 minute mark as his defense makes him borderline unplayable at times. I looked at two-man lineup defensive data recently (not perfect but it shows some interesting trends) and four of the five lineups that allowed opponents to shoot over 49 percent included Faried. He is a massive, massive liability on that end and recently he hasn’t been active enough offensively or on the glass to make it worth playing him.
|Wilson Chandler, SF 33 MIN | 7-16 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | -20
Chandler started the game a ball of energy and points but ultimately, as it has happened so often lately, he disappeared for most of the rest of the game. It seemed like he had figured things out in Washington but then he clearly took a step back.
|Ty Lawson, PG 27 MIN | 0-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | -30
Lawson played so I have to grade him as if he was healthy enough to be a factor. And he wasn’t. This team needs Lawson to be dynamic to be at their best and tonight he was reduced at points to be a spot up shooter. Defensively, Trey Burke had open shots all night and just missed them while also creating a ton for teammates off dribble penetration. If Lawson isn’t 100 percent he probably needs to sit for more games, this team just isn’t the same without him dominating.
|Randy Foye, SG 15 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -13
Foye shouldn’t be asked to be a defensive stopper and too often this year he has been asked to be just that. It continued tonight as he had no answer for Gordon Hayward. If he isn’t making shots he is not worth minutes and tonight that happened.
|Darrell Arthur, PF 23 MIN | 4-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +17
In a trend from all year, the game started to turn around in both halves after Arthur and Mozgov entered the game for the starting bigs and actually, you know, protected the paint. He struggled a bit at first on the defensive glass, allowing at least two offensive rebounds to Jeremy Evans because he didn’t box out, but Denver isn’t in this game without him.
|Jordan Hamilton, SF 25 MIN | 6-8 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 17 PTS | -2
Hamilton can shoot. He can’t stop anyone, but man can he shoot. He caught fire in the fourth and it looked like it would help Denver escape with a win but ultimately it wasn’t enough, thanks in part to his biting on a pump fake that allowed Richard Jefferson to get to the rim and finish an and-one.
|Timofey Mozgov, C 25 MIN | 6-11 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 13 PTS | +8
Mozgov did was Mozgov does. He made a post hook, blocked a few shots, rebounded the ball, and generally made a difference. But he also missed a few easy looks after contact, including a blown dunk after he was fouled. It is time for the big Russian to start. Actually it is way past time.
|Andre Miller, PG 28 MIN | 3-5 FG | 5-6 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 11 PTS | +15
Miller was the most effective Denver point guard on the night. He scored a bit for himself, created looks for others and drew some fouls. He also was a negative on defense as an individual but the bench lineup he often plays with somehow makes it work.
|Nate Robinson, PG 27 MIN | 3-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | +8
Tonight was a cold Nate night. Unfortunately for Denver with Lawson and Foye laying eggs Nate had to play almost 30 minutes.
I was not a fan of many of Shaw’s decisions tonight but my biggest problem came with the way he used the bigs in the 4th. It was very clear that the Mozgov/Arthur combination was the best way the Nuggets could have gone yet Hickson, Faried and Chandler all saw minutes at either the 4 or 5 before Mozgov returned with 3:05 left. It was just not a good night for Shaw.
Five Things We Saw
- Matt Moore tweeted after the game that Shaw hinted at making a change in the starting lineup. It is beyond time. Denver gave up 18 points in the first 4:33 of the game. This is a reoccurring problem as teams get to the rim at will against Lawson and Foye and once they get there, there is often not rim protection to meet them there. Utah was hot from three tonight, especially early, but that is a product of late rotations or rotations that aren’t made. My guess is we see Mozgov moved into the starting lineup for Faried but only time will tell.
- Ty Lawson didn’t do normal Ty Lawson things and yet again Denver struggled to score, shooting just 42 percent from the field. In fact the starting lineup shot just 34 percent on their 41 shots. If Lawson isn’t doing things neither is the Denver offense. Hopefully he gets healthy and back to normal soon.
- This was a really bad loss. Denver has now matched the total number of home losses from last season after losing to a team that entered the game 2-10 on the road this season. This wasn’t the second game of a back-to-back or another type of schedule loss that a team can live with, Denver was rested. I keep harping on this point but in a tough Western Conference Denver has to take care of business in games like this. Any distance the Nuggets can put between themselves and teams like the Mavericks, Warriors, Pelicans and Timberwolves is incredibly important. This can come back and really hurt late in the season.
- Speaking of late in the season, Denver can’t keep playing the just wait for Gallo game. He just started running in straight lines, meaning he still has a way to go before he returns to practice and after that games. After that he will be returning late in the season, in very important games, off an injury that kept him off the floor for somewhere between a half to full year. History has shown us guys don’t return to normal right away on either end. Anything Denver gets from him this season is probably a bonus, not something they can count on to help make a playoff push.
- Keep an eye out at RMC tomorrow morning for a story from the Pepsi Center from David.
Next Up: Sunday, 6 PM MST vs. New Orleans. Going to the game? Save money and get cheap Denver Nuggets tickets here.
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