Denver bounced back from the tough loss to Utah on Friday to defeat a tough New Orleans Pelicans team 102-93, thanks to solid efforts from a lot of different places including Nate Robinson, Ty Lawson and Wilson Chandler. Please post your thoughts on the game while the grades are prepared (after David finishes up in the locker room.)
|J.J. Hickson, PF 29 MIN | 8-12 FG | 3-6 FT | 11 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | +3I don’t think there is another player in the league who makes you look down at the stat sheet and elicits a “HE PUT UP WHAT??!?!?!” more then JJ Hickson does. Overall he had a pretty solid game, and having to fight Ryan Anderson for rebounds as opposed to Derrick Favors helps a ton. When the jumper is falling and he’s rolling in the pick and roll as opposed to posting up, he can be a productive player. The defense though, is looking like an eternally sunk cost.|
|Kenneth Faried, PF 28 MIN | 5-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | +10Faried’s stat line, on the other hand, probably undersells what he did in his time. He was there where he needed to be on cuts, he positioned himself well when Hickson was rolling to the basket, and, while being torched by Ryan Anderson (as stretch fours tend to do to Faried), his team defense was solid.|
|Wilson Chandler, SF 32 MIN | 7-14 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 19 PTS | +6Chandler didn’t really play outside himself on offense and he was well rewarded with 19 points. The offense uses Chandler as merely an extension, a secondary counter teams must watch for whether he be spotting up or taking his man off the dribble, and when accepts that role, good things happen.|
|Ty Lawson, PG 33 MIN | 4-9 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 8 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +11Lawson still doesn’t look completely right, he played more off ball then he usually does and his drives, in the rare times they occurred, were often pulled up shorter then they should’ve been. Still, he looked better then he did in the Utah game and a 75 percent Ty Lawson is enough to keep the offense flowing correctly.|
|Randy Foye, SG 21 MIN | 2-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | +4Foye’s lack of minutes in the second half could be attributed to a rolled ankle but, according to Shaw, he was getting caught up in screens far too often. The Pelican’s weak side shooter seemed eternally open because Foye kept getting caught up in surprise flare screens and his three point shot was not falling enough to make up the distance.|
|Darrell Arthur, PF 11 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -2Arthur continues to put up less than pedestrian stats while playing extremely solid games. His rotations were always on point and his inherent floor spacing opened up passing lanes for driving wings and guards. If you factor in his criminal lack of minutes he’s basically the anti-Hickson of this team|
|Jordan Hamilton, SF 27 MIN | 1-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | +5Hamilton took a couple bad shoots but his offensive performance was not as bad as his 1-8 shooting implies. He had the same issue as Foye when it came to dealing with flare screen and the like but he did a fair enough job of fighting through them to earn him more burn in the game.|
|Timofey Mozgov, C 17 MIN | 0-2 FG | 6-8 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 6 PTS | +5Mozgov was left dejectedly without the ball far too often for the amount of times he had his man sealed in the paint. Still, his presence was felt on defense once again when the Pelicans ran out a traditional lineup and that’s really his most integral function on the team.|
|Andre Miller, PG 16 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | -2Dre Miller did his usual Dre Miller things, passing a ball behind his head after head-faking his way into the paint, throwing lobs two paces in from half court, hitting a three pointer (something that’s inexplicably become a thing this year), and overall just controlling the pace of the game when it was called for and backing away when it wasn’t.|
|Nate Robinson, PG 27 MIN | 5-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +5NateRob has been a sensation this year on both ends of the court. The offensive theatrics gets all the notice, deservedly so, but his defense has been on a next level. The two blocks are nice icings on what overall was a great performance in the team defense sense. He made the right rotations, he battled through ill-matched switches, and he was a hounding pest for any Pelican guard handling the ball.|
After making a bold statement about changes needing to be made about the starting lineup following the Utah game, and then having those changes equate to a mixed-up warm-up routine, Shaw followed that up with a very solid game. He staggered the bench’s minutes among the starters in an attempt to mitigate that latter’s inability to defend and to a large extent it worked. When the Pelicans went small with Ryan Anderson at center, Shaw obliged by going small as well and it turned out to be the right call.
Three Things We Saw
- Nate Robinson is the best. Within moments of the reporters shuffling into the locker room, Nate is blasting music, dancing, and toying playfully with teammates. And when it’s time to talk to the media, he’s as engaging and intelligent as you could hope an NBA player to be.
- Jump shooting bigs give this team problems and if it wasn’t for the ridiculous amount of wide open threes Ryan Anderson missed this game might’ve been quite a bit closer. Through the entirety of the first half the Pelicans either ran a simple pick and pop with Jason Smith (an excellent mid-range shooter) or a dribble handoff with him at the elbow and Denver had no answers for it. It wasn’t until Mozgov provided some hesitancy for the driving guards and Smith’s cooling off in the second half that Denver found some breathing room.
- The night-and-day aspect of this win standing in stark contrast to Friday night’s loss to Utah can somewhat be explained by Ty Lawson. As the east-coast road trip sans Ty showed, this team is not close to its peak when he is either absent or limited and he looked far more like himself in this game then he did versus the Jazz. A little Ty goes a long way in Denver.
Next up: Tuesday, Dec. 17, 7 p.m. MST vs. Oklahoma City. Going to the game? Save money and get cheap Denver Nuggets tickets here.
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