Rapid Reaction: Phoenix Suns 103 – Denver Nuggets 99

In a game Denver lead by as much as 21 points, the Nuggets succumbed to the perpetuating issues that have plagued the team all season.

Phoenix Suns 103 FinalRecap | Box Score 99 Denver Nuggets
J.J. Hickson, PF 28 MIN | 6-10 FG | 1-1 FT | 14 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | -12Markieff Morris torched Hickson in the post, absolutely torched him. Hickson seems wholly consumed with gobbling rebounds and slamming the ball as hard as humanely possible through the net and….little else. He’s a power forward masquerading as a center and until he is continuously put in positions to fail, through both his own doing and through Shaw’s, it’s hard to glean anything positive out of his production.
Kenneth Faried, PF 21 MIN | 5-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | +7Faried was chained to the bench for much of the second half, his inability to fully blanket stretch fours was being put on a painful loop and Shaw made the correct choice to play Arthur over the Manimal down the stretch. Getting benched for Anthony Randolph though…..that’s another story.
Wilson Chandler, SF 32 MIN | 5-14 FG | 3-4 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | -7Chandler was great in the first half, putting the entire repertoire on display with three point shooting and a deceptive off the dribble game. The second half, as it was to must of the Nuggets, was not very kind. The defense waned as the shots stopped falling and an air ball in the fourth aptly capped what began as such a promising start.
Ty Lawson, PG 34 MIN | 3-11 FG | 7-8 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 13 PTS | -3Lawson has the stomach issue to fall back on but it is somewhat worrying that he’s had but one game back from the hamstring injury where he looked like any modicum of himself. Denver’s offense is predicated on Ty’s drive and they just have not been there on the consistent basis that they once were. The team will go as far as Lawson takes them and, much like his dribble drives of late, that may very well be much shorter then it should be.
Randy Foye, SG 30 MIN | 6-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | +1Denver ran a decoy pick and roll for Lawson on their final meaningful possession wherein Foye came off a double screen for a wide open look. The shot barely grazed the rim. That pretty much sums up his past month of shooting the ball. Foye’s taking the right shots, he’s just not hitting them.
Darrell Arthur, PF 22 MIN | 4-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 10 PTS | -5As promised on twitter a gave Darrell an A, partly to annoy people, but mostly because he once again shone brightest among a beleaguered group of Nuggets. The gap between Arthur and any of his front court mates sans Mozgov in overall effectiveness is starting to become uncomfortably large. His jump shot has had a rough couple of weeks but teams are still guarding him like it’s going in and his defense remains the best on the team. As Matt wrote a couple day ago, it may be time for a change.
Anthony Randolph, SF 19 MIN | 1-4 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -2Randolph had a solid first half, he was a plus-13 in 9 minutes at one point, but then his inherent Anthony Randolph-ness drug him cruelly back to earth. He lost his man both in transition and in the half court half a dozen times, he cramped the offensive spacing, and turned and-ones into two free throws one too many times. Still, he’s trying, so that counts for something. It’s not his fault Jordan Hamilton wasn’t there to soak up minutes he should never have played.
Timofey Mozgov, C 13 MIN | 0-3 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 3 PTS | +3Mozgov was generally unusable in a game wherein the majority of the time Phoenix played without a real center. The Nuggets were playing a perpetual 4-on-5 when Mozgov was on the court, he just couldn’t keep up with the blazing Suns.
Andre Miller, PG 17 MIN | 1-1 FG | 4-4 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -5Honestly it was difficult to remember what, if any, impact Dre had on this game. I’ll take that as a net positive.
Nate Robinson, PG 15 MIN | 2-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -1Mid-way though the third the Nuggets put forth a lineup of Miller-Robinson-Arthur-Randolph-Arthur-Mozgov that literally had no hope of scoring. In the moment Denver needed NATEROB the most, Robinson decided to take the magnanimous route and pass the ball within the flow of the offense. Unfortunately the flow of the offense of that lineup was akin to a lawnmower spewing miniature boulders from an ill-placed rock garden straight through the neighbors windows.
Evan Fournier, SG 9 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +4Slowly but surely he’s looking more and more like an NBA-caliber player. Unfortunately this is a team that doesn’t have time for projects, wins have taken ultimate precedence. Hmmmm, that sound familiar doesn’t it?
Brian Shaw
Shaw began his post game presser by assuming the entirety of the responsibility for the loss. Usually when a team loses foothold of such an enormous lead, blame is assigned to not just one player but the team as a collective, and nothing personifies the face of the collective team like a coach. In reality, Shaw is as much to blame as the players who let the lead slip away, and the Phoenix team who kind of just hit the same shot they were missing in the first half. (Whoops grade got screwed up should be a C, but hey, Shaw’s had a tough week, maybe we should just leave the A+ up for confidence sake).

One Thing We Saw

  1. It’s hard to imagine looking back to the start of the season but the Suns are a better team then Denver. They’re better coached, better run, and (unbelievably) they have better players. If there is no better feeling then having your expectations enormously exceeded, as is the case with the Suns, there is probably none worse then having initially cynical expectations confirmed, or even worse, unmet. Denver’s in a precarious pendulum of oscillating expectations, from the middling ones at the start of the year, to the dirt low ones the rough start spawned, to the faintly hopeful ones the seven-game winning streak inspired. Now we’ve circled all the way back to the beginning, coming to terms with the fact that this is a middling team in a loaded West, and one that will need luck as much as anything to sneak into the playoffs. And yet, in this moment, it feels as though this clairvoyance is but a lament for a path long familiar to this franchise, one that leads nowhere but the depressingly annular cul de sac of the middle.

Next up: Monday, Dec. 21, 8:30 p.m. (MST) @ Los Angeles. Going to the game? Save money and get cheap Denver Nuggets tickets here.

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David Walker

Freshman at FSU. Love the Nuggets, the beach, and the game that involves a ball that occasionally goes into the hoop.
  • Richard Pesicka

    I think they lost this game as a team. Coach was no better than the sum of the whole. Better count on the lottery to be your friend.

  • herpderpnuggets

    i think we just became the Detroit Lions of the NBA…..we have the talent, but dammit we will find ways to lose. I also want to let everyone know that everytime one of the morris twins makes a 3 another child becomes an orphan and i die a little bit inside

  • Nathan Jansen

    Well, that sucked. I’m kinda mad, kinda sad, really embarrassed.

  • LBJ

    Time to abandon this experiment of trying to win with a slew of mediocre players. Start dealing – and let’s get to the lottery.

  • googergieger

    Too many cool/nice guys on this team. Too much log jam at certain positions. And a coach who seems a bit too overwhelmed at times, and needs some help from the front office. Honestly the biggest thing with this team, well not the biggest, but one problem is that it still has no leader. No one that won’t let this team fail. That will make sure everyone will compete all game. Put teams away early when they clearly should. Just a real a-hole, you’ll probably hate more often than not. But he’ll make sure you always give the best effort, and will help you win games. Or at least know the games you lost, you lost because the other team out and out beat you.

  • Ckwizard

    I am starting to see the problems with the Coach maybe it is a first year thing and because he does have too much talent on the roster but c’mon on coach Shaw you need to have a plan for your rotations AND your players need to know what they are responsible for at all times. If your players don’t know their responsibilities how can you hold them accountable… It is becoming obvious that these lineups are evolving with out a plan and based on in game performance, well this is ending up with bad chemistry on the court and players having to change responsibilities depending on who is on the court, I mean who the hell is the point guard when Nate, Ty , and Miller are on the Court at the same time… Well heck which one is the small forward.

    Almost everything made sense in the first half and then the second half completely different substitutions and rotations and vastly different lineups, This game is on Shaw not sticking to a game plan that was working or rather not operating with a plan in the first place.

  • Richard Pesicka

    Just imagine if we had a fast guard that could drive to the lane in the game. Oh wait, Nate was on the bench most of the game. Was he hurt? Isn’t he a spark for this team? Watching the rotation of players off the bench, I’m more confused than ever. I actually get dizzy trying to figure out what the hell Shaw is trying to do. When Chandler was hot, you yanked him out until he was ice cold. I give up. I just really give up. Is there a school for coaching.

  • heykyleinsf

    yes terrible loss
    Gallo coming back
    A long way until April
    I refuse to freak out.

  • trank

    fournier looked really torqued walking off

  • JED89

    Unfortunately this team isn’t built to win and it isn’t built to lose. we need a solid 9 man rotation with a coherent starting 5 and a reliable bench. Everyone on this team can go for 20 or 2 on any given night and it needs to end. Ty should be taking more shots and Wilson has to establish himself as a primary option. Gallo isn’t coming back too soon and he will take a while to get in rythm once we do so don’t count on him saving the season. Right now this team is in danger of missing the playoffs, we need to buckle down and get back to aggresive basketball. I love Faried, but his limits are as apparent as ever, a more traditional PF would do wonders to this team. Guys like David West are so underrated in this league but how many guys can give you 15, rebound, defend and hit FT’s? not many at the PF.

    • Richard Pesicka

      Words of wisdow. Agreed.

  • Paul Griggs

    Another bad, bad loss. I know we lost some talent and the coach is getting his feet wet and that Phoenix is no longer a joke but we had this team put away and end up losing at home.

    • Richard Pesicka

      Most team losses can be blamed on multiple factors. But I agree with your thoughts. When up by 21, and lose by 4. That’s a 25 point turnaround. Unacceptable in the NBA by a team with this kind of payroll. Notice I didn’t say talent. But that was supposed to be a given!

  • Darius

    START MOZGOV! Hickson is the same player as Faried but doesn’t have an inside game!! We need a big presence right out of the gates and when Faried is tired throw Hickson in for 20 minutes a night. In my opinion Shaw deserves an F little loan an A+.. Dude blew a 21 point lead!

  • Nathan Jansen

    The A- for Arthur isn’t annoying, it’s hilarious. I had forgotten why I stopped reading this site, thanks for the reminder. What is it about Arthur’s defensive lapses that is invisible to people? Arthur committed a stupid foul on a pick and roll (his strong suit, right?) which gave the Suns the lead for good. Oh, wait, was that the minus in his A- rating?

  • The Truth

    Not sure why dre miller got what seemed to be Fournier’s or Nate’s time in the second half. If Mozzy is too slow for a team, so is Dre.

    When you develop overnight chemistry, you can lose it overnight. All in all, I’m more worried about the confidence of the team and the coach. Ill Will needed to take over late with drives and trips to the line, he’ll get it another opportunity. I’m gonna say it, we’re missing JaVale.