Rapid Reaction: Golden State Warriors 89, Denver Nuggets 81

The Nuggets came out lethargic in the first quarter, made a comeback in the second quarter, pulled ahead in the third quarter, then completely crashed and burned in the fourth quarter to lose the game. So, pretty much the same thing they’ve been doing for the past two weeks. More analysis inside…

Golden State Warriors 89 FinalRecap | Box Score 81 Denver Nuggets
J.J. Hickson, PF 26 MIN | 3-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | -3

Hickson rebounded well in the first half but played soft defense on David Lee. He was almost nonexistent in the second half.

Wilson Chandler, SF 33 MIN | 4-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 10 PTS | -11

Chandler didn’t shoot well, didn’t rebound and didn’t do much else besides score 10 points in the game. Almost half of his shots came from beyond the arc and almost none of them were good. Chandler doesn’t have to be a scoring machine every night but he does need to be held accountable for his shot selection.

Timofey Mozgov, C 32 MIN | 6-11 FG | 2-4 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | -7

In a game where almost nobody played well, Mozgov actually showed up. He did everything he was supposed to: He rebounded well, had some big dunks and he played solid post defense. If Mozgov plays this well every time he starts, perhaps Shaw should consider moving him to the starting lineup for every game and not just one.

Ty Lawson, PG 37 MIN | 5-14 FG | 5-5 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 5 TO | 16 PTS | -6

Lawson was aggressive for most of the game but couldn’t get his shot to fall late in the fourth quarter. He took too many midrange jumpers and didn’t penetrate the way he’s capable of. It’s tough to put too much blame on him, however, as he was clearly trying to make something happen.

Randy Foye, SG 10 MIN | 0-5 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 1 PTS | -3

Foye took five shots. Foye missed five shots. At least three of those were long two pointers. Unfortunately for Foye, he’s an all-or-nothing long-distance shooter who’s been more “nothing” than “all” lately.

Darrell Arthur, PF 22 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | -1

Arthur must be graded differently from other players. He’s not on the team to score. He’s on the team to do all the things his teammates don’t usually do, like play defense, mostly. In this regard Arthur played well. His defensive intensity was superb. However, his offense was not there this game.

Anthony Randolph, SF 15 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | 0

Randolph played a big role in sparking the Nuggets to a mini comeback in the first half. Like Lawson, his effort was undoubtedly there, especially on defense which is where his team needed it most. It’s good to see Randolph contributing in a positive manner. He’s really not that bad. Really.

Jordan Hamilton, SF 19 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -6

Again, this is where grading is tough. I thought Hamilton played great. His offense was nowhere to be found, but his defense was the best I’ve seen since he’s been with the Nuggets. He had two blocks and a nice chase-down of Curry that saved a potential layup. If he plays like this every game and hits a few threes, he’ll be heaven sent from here on out.

Andre Miller, PG 30 MIN | 6-8 FG | 2-3 FT | 4 REB | 8 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | -3

Miller was the best player on the floor for the Nuggets. His shots were falling, his passes were visionary and on point, his effort on both ends of the floor was top notch. Miller is just too good to take a back seat all the time. The Nuggets need more outings like this from him.

Nate Robinson, PG 17 MIN | 4-9 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 13 PTS | 0

It’s hard to knock a guy who scores 13 points in 17 minutes and plays with as much heart as Nate does. Therefore, I will not knock him. His second-half energy nearly won the game for the Nuggets if not for… well, whatever the hell happened in the fourth quarter.

Brian Shaw

This one all comes down to how the Nuggets played in the fourth quarter. The Nuggets came out as flat as we’ve seen all season in the first quarter, but pulled it together and made the Warriors work for the win. However, this game was winnable. The Nuggets had momentum in the fourth and let it completely slip away. This is becoming a sickening trend and Shaw is the one overseeing it.

Three Things We Saw

  1. Once again the Nuggets folded like origami in the fourth quarter and lost a very winnable game. As I mentioned above, this is becoming a trend. Right now the Nuggets are playing to not lose instead of fighting to win. The 2013-14 Denver Nuggets are not fostering a winning culture. This falls on Shaw. Granted, he doesn’t exactly have a roster tailor made to fit his style, but his lineups and offensive sets simply aren’t clicking right now.
  2. The Nuggets are perhaps the most cringe-worthy professional sports team I’ve followed in my entire life. It’s weird saying that because they’re still a team operating above .500. But man, there are at least three to four times each game that I find myself screaming at the television, slapping my hands against my face or just exhaling a long breath in an attempt to avoid Nuggets-related stress. It’s everything from fumbled passes to missed dunks, botched fastbreak attempts to offensive sets that end in contested, fadeaway, two-point jumpers. At some point this team has to make life easier on itself. I just have no idea when that point will come.
  3. After winning seven games in a row the Nuggets are now 3-7 in their last 10 games. The good news is that the NBA regular season is long and the Nuggets have plenty of time to correct their mistakes. The bad news is that Brian Shaw and his team have showed no inclination in wanting to truly right the ship. The Nuggets are on a path toward destruction right now. Whatever they’re doing isn’t working. If lineups aren’t truncated, if defense isn’t intensified, if other players don’t step up to help Ty Lawson out, things aren’t going to improve. As of now, the ball’s in Shaw’s court. Only time will tell how good of a coach he really is.

Next up: Friday, Dec. 27, 6 p.m. (MST) @ New Orleans. Going to the game? Save money and get cheap Denver Nuggets tickets here.

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Kalen Deremo

Kalen was born in Durango, CO, in 1988 and graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2013 with a degree in journalism. He's now an itinerant hoping to travel as much as possible before eventually succumbing to the "real world." Aside from writing Kalen likes movies, music, spicy food and the great outdoors. Edward Abbey is his current idol.

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  • Sharkboy242

    If Ty Lawson isn’t going to score any points in the 4th quarter then who is?

    This team is just built to lose. The announcers mentioned that only one Nugget has scored over 25 points this season… That sounds like a good formula for a tanking team.

  • LBJ

    What is the front office waiting for to start fixing this roster? We are setting around doing nothing – while Ujiri is dealing away dead weight and positioning the Raptors for a sweet lottery pick.

  • David Acker

    Didn’t see the game but what the Hell has happened to Foye? Time to sit me thinks! Give Evan his minutes he can’t do any worse……..

    • Sharkboy242

      Forced shots and missed them all. You know, Foye-like things.

    • Evan Fiala

      seriously. fournier almost deserves to start over foye by default at this point.

  • Darius


  • Dan Sivertson

    This all boils down to decisions made by Josh Kroenke this past summer. The bottom-line is that George Karl has forgotten more basketball than Josh Kroenke will ever learn. Getting rid of Karl was a very large mistake. The 38-3 home record from last year is looking very special right now. I have gone from a huge Nuggets fan to one who can’t even watch the games anymore – it’s just too painful.

    • Branden Gloudeman

      U just basically called yourself a band wagon NICE

      • Dan Sivertson

        I held off on that comment for a long time. We are well into the season now. We should be gelling and not falling apart.

        • Branden Gloudeman

          What do u expect? Ty has superstar ability but he’s to passive so when the game gets close who do they go to? No gallo As well…. We Have Got A coach Who Wants To Run A Set Half Court O Teams Don Just Switch How They Play For Years On In In Just A Couple months… patience Is a virtue

  • alex47666

    Well the nuggets started off bad to the season, then played good now suck. so are we tanking or not cause for sure I know without javel and gallo this team isnt going no where

    • Dan Sivertson

      I think George Karl understood Javale McGee very well – his strengths and his weaknesses both mentally and physically. He got a lot of good play out of Javale last year, even though his minutes were very limited. Perhaps George limited Javale’s minutes some to avoid physical stress and injury. The NBA is a very physical league – perhaps the toughest pro sport of all for overall athleticism. NBA players that are built like tanks (e.g., Charles Barkley) tend to last longer have have a large impact on the game.

  • heykyleinsf

    Von Miller tears ACL, Nuggets collapse in epic fashion… Avalanche lead with 20 seconds left and find a way to lose.
    This day in Colorado sports sucks.

  • Cullen

    I’ve dipped of the message boards for quite a while and I came back tonight to catch up on the discussions… and I don”t even wanna share. It’s sad that everyone is so fair weather these days. Beginning of the year: Shaw sucks and Karl is the best ever. After a few weeks: Shaw is the best and Karl was a joke. Now: back to the beginning. News flash: Karl isn’t coming back. So every time you complain about him it literally does nothing. Sure, the Nuggets have struggled this season, but I would be SHOCKED if Karl had this team playing ANY better. Please, tell me how he would have changed any of these games… you will be hard pressed to come up with a coherent explanation. Shaw has our boys playing defense and playing offense. Sure, there are a lot faults and a lack of talent… but Shaw’s style of ball will play well after he gets a full off season to put together a team and a season to jell all of this together. Nuggets will still be a playoff team and we will have a lottery pick from the Knicks, future is bright.

    • David Acker

      Love the cup is half full attitude. My only thing is that the trend with this line up is going the wrong way. If he was truly trying to find the right formula then why not start Mozgov over Hickson? Why not start Evan over Foye? Or even Miller over Foye? I don’t think Shaw is a bad coach but these guys aren’t buying what he is selling. I thought that this team was a 4 or 5 seed but now I am not sure. The defense is a lot better but why the big drop on O. It’s a worry but I’m still on board. Not to mention that the teams biggest strength is their depth which has been tested because of injury. Would Karl have a better record than Shaw in my mind yes he would. Would Karl’s system work in the playoffs more than likely not. What Shaw is installing will hold up in the playoffs the question is can they make it??????

      • LBJ

        It should be becoming obvious that Karl milked far more out of our roster last year than anyone possibly anticipated. His style of play made several players appear far better than their actual skills (Faried, C-Brew, Ty, McGee, Chandler). Attempting to play the same style as other teams in the league has exposed a lot of these guys. Joshy’s bungling of the offseason has set this franchise back years.

        • David Acker

          I agree with you about Karl but Shaw’s system will hold up in the playoffs. As good of a coach as Karl is the run and gun and dribble drive got exposed when it mattered most. I hope that Kronke and Co have another move up their sleeve. I predict Faried and Hamilton will be traded while their value is still high enough to get someone decent

          • LBJ

            Karl’s running offense never got a real shot. We only ran the up tempo for 2.5 years – after unloading our ball stoppers. Losing to OKC in 5 (after a horrible call cost us a game) and losing to the lakers in 7 with an improving team. Last year was lost after Gallo went down.

            • David Acker

              We agree to disagree. I would say 2.5 years is a real shot. I loved watching that team but close doesn’t count. The warriors lost Lee and the carried on without him. This team is banged up and has an odd mixture of talent but this system will hold up in the playoffs. Now what we need is a healthy Gallo and a post up player!

              • Ghostface Killah

                How exactly is the offense going to hold up in the playoffs? Are we watching the same games? Our offense doesn’t even hold up against Utah at home during the regular season. Do you really think the system and players are all of a sudden going to show up against better competition in a playoff type environment? Just because we play more half court now?

              • David Acker

                The system will hold up. The nuggets are in desperate need of a post up player to be more effective with Shaw’s system. I think the front office realize that while Karl got more out of his teams than most other coaches could, his system was never going to win a championship(why else would you fire the NBA coach of the year). Find the right coach the right system and then the right players. Lots of moveable parts on this roster and I’ve been saying it for awhile Faried is their most tradeable asset. Move him now while his value is high maybe even with Jham and get a post up player.

                By the way we are watching the same games. They are painfully hard to watch. I’m thinking long term. Short term, this team is a mess with injuries and mis-matched parts. I have to believe it won’t stay that way

        • Dan Sivertson

          Excellent opinion LBJ, I completely agree. Last year’s team overachieved and it was incredible to witness that overachievement.

    • Dan Sivertson

      I see little reason to support the team. Agreed Karl is not coming back. I’m not down on Shaw, he’s doing his best. I’m down on the ownership for making bad decisions. Karl’s brand of basketball was very entertaining and very successful in my humble opinion. It’s gone now. Too bad for Denver fans.

      • David Acker

        One reason to support the team……….. You are a true fan.
        Being a true fan is almost like being married. In good times and bad.
        Just sayin……..

  • Richard Pesicka

    Out played, Out classed, Out coached.

  • Evan Woodruff

    Go Nuggets! We’ll get the next one!

  • Darius

    Bring in a scorer! I don’t think we can last much longer without Gallo!

  • Ghostface Killah

    Kroenke really screwed up this offseason. This falls on him. He probably figured that he had Iguodala in the bag for an extension. He fires Karl in a power move and then falls flat on his face when Iguodala TAKES LESS MONEY to play somewhere else. Do you realize how out of the ordinary that was? NBA players don’t leave money on the table unless they really want out of a situation. We can hate Iguodala all we want but he saw what was going on behind the scenes when Josh fired Karl. Kroenke then panics and makes a bunch of rash signings (Foye and Hickson in particular) to try and salvage something. I dont blame Shaw for any of this. He is doing the best he can with the hand he has been dealt.

    For those of you that say that this team wouldn’t be playing any better under Karl, why has every player from last year regressed besides Ty? And he hasn’t looked that much improved other than the first month of the season. Faried, McGee, Fournier, Chandler all look worse then last year. Mozgov probably has exceeded expectations but thats more as a result of increased playing time with Koufos no longer on the team. Andre is Andre and plays the same no matter who is in charge.

    This team took a big step back before we even played one game this year and its because Josh Kroenke’s ego got involved. Obviously Gallo will help tremendously. Hopefully we get it together. Go Nuggets.