After winning five games in a row the Nuggets must have thought they were automatically exempt from playing NBA-caliber teams for the rest of the season, because that’s how they played tonight against the Jazz. It was embarrassing, for everyone involved — bust mostly the players and coaches.
|J.J. Hickson, PF 31 MIN | 8-9 FG | 5-6 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 21 PTS | -8
Hickson did a nice job of rolling to the basket. He also displayed some great footwork down low and operated well in the post. But outside of a few big dunks I could hardly tell he was even in the game. Hickson is the only player I’ve ever watched who’s stats ostensibly translate into nothing positive. I don’t get it. It’s also worth noting that his interior defense was awful and he did not box out very often.
|Kenneth Faried, PF 33 MIN | 5-7 FG | 1-4 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | -9
Faried’s defense was a hot topic on Twitter. People seem to be fed up with his lackadaisical positioning and late rotations. I agree that his defense was awful (especially his closeouts), but it’s not as if he didn’t try. I couldn’t even tell you how many times I saw him contest shots and rotate, but because of his stature he wasn’t able to affect shots. That’s just the life of a 6-7 power forward in the NBA.
|Quincy Miller, SF 21 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -15
Although he came out of the gates guns a blazin’, Miller quickly cooled after the first quarter. The highlight of his night was a poster dunk on a few of the Jazz’s big men.
|Ty Lawson, PG 44 MIN | 6-18 FG | 11-15 FT | 2 REB | 11 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 23 PTS | -15
Lawson did what we’ve come to expect. He had a really impressive game, not only because of his aggressiveness, but because he was diving for lose balls and rebounds, doing all the little things to try and help his team win.
|Randy Foye, SG 18 MIN | 4-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | -10
I ask yet again: Do the Nuggets go as Foye goes? Look at his numbers over his recent hot streak and compare them to the Nuggets’ wins over that span. There is a pattern. The Nuggets need 3-point shooting to win just like every team in the NBA needs 3-point shooting to win. Foye has been their most prolific long-distance threat of the season. And as we’ve said many times here at RMC, when he’s not hitting his shots, he’s not helping his team very much. Sad but true.
|Wilson Chandler, SF 21 MIN | 4-10 FG | 2-3 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | -4
It took him a while to get going but once he knocked a few down Chandler was a positive asset to his team. However, his lack of aggression is still manifested almost every game.
|Timofey Mozgov, C 19 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -16
This was unfortunate for Mozgov. He was not on his game at all and the Nuggets desperately needed him. He was the only frontcourt player who could even mildly contain the Jazz big men. This was just one of those games where he couldn’t catch anything or score on anybody. That said, he should have logged more than 19 minutes. It’s hard to understand why Faried and Hickson both logged at least 12 more minutes than he did.
|Nate Robinson, PG 17 MIN | 1-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 3 PTS | +3
Awful shots all around. It’s great when Nate’s on, but when he’s off, he’s really, really off.
|Evan Fournier, SG 37 MIN | 6-15 FG | 1-3 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 16 PTS | -1
Fournier had an insane dunk in the third quarter. I almost couldn’t believe it was real. I didn’t know he had that type of hops. Outside of that, he hit some threes and had some decent drives to the basket, but he also had some rookie turnovers that were pretty frustrating. I still think 37 minutes was a bit much for him.
I don’t hand out F grades that often, but I feel Shaw deserves it this time. This is the second game this season where the Nuggets have totally overlooked the Jazz. They should have learned the first time. Shaw should have known this was a potential trap game. Yet, the Nuggets weren’t even remotely interested in playing basketball for three quarters. That’s inexcusable. Also, his time distribution continues to be erratic and nonsensical. How exactly does Fournier log nearly 40 minutes this game and Foye only 18? Foye was still hot last I checked. And the Faried-Hickson frontcourt finally cost the Nuggets a game. Shaw has been playing with fire the entire season and it finally caught up with him. Let’s just hope he’s not a glutton for punishment and will learn from this burn.
Three Things We Saw
- The Nuggets missed Darrell Arthur tonight — a lot. Faried and Hickson were a joke defensively. There was no such thing as help defense in this game from the Nuggets’ standpoint. And the problem was that almost all the Nuggets’ downfalls were a direct result of their interior defense. Because the Nuggets couldn’t defend inside, guards were sucking in to help, which made them late on their rotations, which left guys wide open for threes, which allowed the Jazz to get good positioning inside, which resulted in more rebounds and made buckets for the Jazz in the end. The Nuggets got behind by not being prepared, but they lost because they couldn’t defend down low.
- This was the epitome of a “bad” loss. This was the very definition of it. Everything you need to have for a bad loss was present tonight for the Nuggets. And as is often the case with bad losses, what hurts most is the fact the Nuggets lost this game before it even started. The Nuggets thought they were big, bad sonsabitches because they won five games in a row — never mind the fact they lost eight straight before that. From the minute this game started you could tell the Nuggets were not in Utah, but on the plane, or in Oakland, or back at home — anywhere but Utah. A win against Golden State would help to mitigate this loss, but at the end of the year, if the Nuggets miss the playoffs by a game, remember this one.
- The Hickson vs. Faried debate could not be any livelier. I know it probably seems trivial to some fans being they both are remarkably similar and play the same position on the same team, but these are the debates that form the backbone of a true sports fan. It’s fun to argue over whom you like more and why. Unfortunately for the Nuggets, both of these players have flaws that are costing this team games. I guess the ultimate question then becomes: Who is flawed less? Feel free to weigh in on this debate in the comments section below.
Next up: Wednesday, Jan. 15, 8:30 p.m. (MST) @ Golden State. Going to the game? Save money and get cheap Denver Nuggets tickets here.
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