The Nuggets played with heart and gave a valiant effort, however the Heat proved to be too much to handle in the end. This is the seventh game in a row the Nuggets have lost. They are now two games below .500.
|J.J. Hickson, PF 36 MIN | 5-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 11 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | -17
Hickson had a prototypical Hickson game. He grabbed just enough boards and scored just enough points to secure the double-double, but it was his botched in-bounds throw at the end of the game that will be remembered most.
|Kenneth Faried, PF 22 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -16
Faried started off with tons of energy and hauled in some impressive boards but totally disappeared in the second half. It’s sort of hard to fathom why Hickson received 14 more minutes than Faried when Faried was outplaying him in the first half.
|Wilson Chandler, SF 41 MIN | 6-17 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | -8
Given 41 minutes of playing time you’d expect Chandler to have more of an impact on offense, but his defense on LeBron and the rest of the Heat players was admirable.
|Jordan Hamilton, SF 10 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -13
It’s hard to quantify Hamilton’s impact this game. He had a brief stint in the first quarter where he took a few threes and grabbed some nice boards but Shaw was ultimately disappointed with something he did and benched him the rest of the game.
|Ty Lawson, PG 40 MIN | 8-15 FG | 5-6 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 26 PTS | -10
People say the Nuggets go as Ty does, and this game certainly did nothing to disprove that theory. Ty was aggressive the entire night, scoring in the lane and from long range, and not coincidentally the Nuggets played well as a unit. Outside of being a little too hesitant to penetrate at times, I can’t find fault with anything Lawson did.
|Darrell Arthur, PF 25 MIN | 6-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | +17
This was one of Arthur’s best games as a Nugget, maybe his best, mostly because he didn’t just shoot long twos. Arthur scored in a variety of ways, including rolling to the basket which he doesn’t do enough.
|Timofey Mozgov, C 12 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +14
Mozgov didn’t have a huge impact but the baskets he did score were impressive. If he can be more confident every time he gets the ball in the post (as opposed to 50 percent of the time) it would do wonders to his stats.
|Andre Miller, PG 10 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | -4
Miller exited the game early with an injury. Hopefully it’s nothing serious.
|Nate Robinson, PG 11 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | +5
Robinson didn’t do much at all. Really, I don’t think he did anything.
|Randy Foye, SG 34 MIN | 4-6 FG | 3-3 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +17
This is the role Foye should be playing. Though it was odd he played the number of minutes he did after being moved to the bench, you can’t complain about tonight’s performance. His ball movement in particular was impressive.
The Nuggets played with lots of energy tonight. They ran, got into the lane and scored in the paint. That’s what they need to do to be successful. Though things didn’t fall the Nuggets way in the end, this was still one of their better games in recent memory in terms of effort and execution. Shaw deserves credit for designing this gameplan and giving the defending champs a run for their money.
- I’m having a very hard time analyzing this team. Yes, the Nuggets are losing a lot right now. They’re playing pretty bad basketball and it’s hard to imagine them amounting to much this season. But that’s just how things seem right now, at this moment. We have to remember that it’s still early, there’s still lots of basketball to be played, the Nuggets have had a lot of injuries and Shaw deserves the benefit of the doubt as a first-time head coach. So please forgive me if I don’t demand Shaw’s head 30 games into the season.
- That said, what worries me about this team is the ostensible lack of urgency when it comes to winning basketball games. It’s as if this team knows it has a long leash. The line between winning and losing isn’t as definitive as it should be. You almost get the feeling that losing is OK, because this team is young and in the midst of a transitional period. This, obviously, is not OK. This is the type of mentality that losing basketball teams have, and it just so happens that the Nuggets are a losing basketball team as we speak.
- In my recent “Five Denver Nuggets New Year’s resolutions” article, I mentioned the Nuggets’ awful play in the opening and closing segments of quarters. This game was a perfect example of what I was talking about. After dominating the first half the Nuggets allowed the Heat to open up the second half on a 13-0 scoring run, which totally changed the momentum and outcome of the game. Shaw obviously comes from the Phil Jackson School of Zen and believes in a calm demeanor, but it might be time he considers a different and more assertive approach to addressing his players, as his current one doesn’t seem to be working all that well.
Next up: Wednesday, Jan. 1, @ 7 p.m. MST vs. Philadelphia. Going to the game? Save money and get cheap Denver Nuggets tickets here.
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