Rapid Reaction: Utah Jazz 118, Denver Nuggets 103

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.

Denver Nuggets 103 Final

Recap | Box Score

118 Utah Jazz
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.

Brian Shaw

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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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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.

Latest posts by Kalen Deremo (see all)

  • herpderpnuggets

    Any progress made on that winning streak just got thrown down the drain. Foye looked horrible and Faried was daydreaming on defense….and we play GSW next

  • heykyleinsf

    Is Gallo coming back this year? I know I ask this every day.. but no progress report ever. Mysterious.

    • Poz303

      He was with the team in Utah and is running in the background while team is at shoot around at the Jazz


      • heykyleinsf

        that makes my day considerably brighter.. thanks

        • MattRMC

          (Not trying to ruin things just providing a bit of clarity). According to Chris Dempsy Gallo is still an indefinite amount of time away. The running and things are nice but he still has to start going up and down and playing basketball until he feels comfortable. My completely unmedically educated guess is we don’t see him on the floor in uniform before the end of February at least.

          • heykyleinsf

            thanks for checking in with that Matt.
            I am not down about it..
            that’s still plenty of season left
            hope you are on target with that.

  • LBJ

    Another ass kicking from a team that is tanking – time to aim for the lottery.

  • googergieger

    Still a very immature team. Like last year they act like they’ve won a title already and certain teams aren’t in their league. Shaw was a bit too hands off in the first half which was just awful to watch back and forth. Foul called every other second. Team still has a lot of growing up to do, and I think they clearly need a vocal leader that will force them to do just that.Think for this team it has to be the coach.

    • CoryW

      I agree even with a superstar your coach has to have his reigns on the team. I can’t deny I got caught up in the win streak not realizing that our team isn’t as good as it may look sometimes. We’re capable of playing off the charts but the ineptness on defense combined with missing shots causes us to look lottery bound so this year is more of an evaluation of talent because that’s all we have.

  • Ckwizard

    DA is a vital part of any defensive success this team hopes to have.

    • Poz303

      DA couldnt fix what happened tonight.

      Their guards outplayed our guards again tonight (like the first meeting).

      • Ckwizard

        Actually our poor guard play is exactly why DA is so valuable and why KK was our best defensive big last year. Proper defensive positioning and help defense go along way to cover the weak spots. Faried can’t guard his man and doesn’t do much to help the Guards after they get beat lose lose

  • Andrew

    So, I read that the Knicks are interested in Miller. What about some sort of trade that involves Miller and gets the Nuggets K Mart? I know he is old (like Miller), but at least we’d finally have a PF that can guard big PFs and play interior D. IThe salaries don’t work (K Mart makes less than a million), but maybe we include Hickson and get Shumpert, as well? I heard Knicks do not want to give up Shumpert, but they are also a horribly bad reboundign team, so Hickson could help them there. Shumpert is erratic, but he can at least play d. I’m just throwing things out. I haven’t checked any of the other salaries.

    • LBJ

      Shumpert, yes. K Mart – not just no, but hell no.

  • The Truth

    I didn’t see it but glad the CU kid got off, who was holding him? Could of used Dre Miller to switch the vibe. I kid. Shaw didn’t trust Mozzy to bang all night with favors? J Ham doesn’t get a chance to play? Nate only 15 mins? I been rooting for Evan to play for a while but 36 mins? Ty 43 mins? I’m telling you, sticking to a 9 man rotation like its some kind of religion is dumb. Dogma. If you have a system your able to play everybody, especially when its apparent your squad needs something extra (at least on back to backs, I know this wasn’t). instead, coaches run guys into the ground. Youth needs rest too. Utah played ten.

    I still have faith, good division game wake up call. Jazz been playing hard all year, just no wins to show for it. Favors eats us up. Can’t believe Burks did all that with no 3’s. He showed us why they let go of Foye, he’ll bounce back. Foye and JJ been embarrassed at their old spots, this should be a good thing before its over. The NW division is no punk, all decent home teams.

  • Nugman

    Kalen I believe Foye sat so much because he was in foul trouble all night. I also wonder why JJ got a b plus when he didn’t play D or block out. I agree our bigs killed us tonight. I think there may be a new fondness for JaVale when he returns. We haven’t been able to replace his length. We need him to block and alter shots inside. Our other bigs can’t do that. Faried has the ability to change a game in a positive way with his energy and JJ hasn’t shown the ability to effect a game like that so you keep Faried

  • Josh Chin

    You can’t blame shaw for only playing Foye 19 minutes… he had foul trouble

  • Richard Pesicka

    U G L Y ball. The Nuggets showed us how bad they can be. Not even close. This is where you see the Rookie coach at his worst. Even the coach needs to step up.

  • Thomas

    Yawn. This is a mediocre team that is going nowhere, with or without Gallo. Bad coach makes it even less encouraging – don’t waste your time.

    I mean, they are so bad that the FO can’t even trade Andre Miller when they have to. What bad luck, I thought we finally got rid of him…

    I’d have Ty-Fournier-Hamilton-Faried-Mozgov playing the majority of minutes and would give Quincy leftovers to find out what he can become (if anything). I’d trade everyone else for a bag of chips, particularly Chandler who doesn’t care about winning and is a complete waste considering his talent. Heck, even consider trading Ty if the right deal comes along – not sure if he is interested in doing more than collecting checks as he fluctuates between quite good and below standard all the time.

    • David Shaw

      Sure, just blow it all up. That will make everything perfect again, when exactly? How do you know Wilson Chandler doesn’t care? “Heck, even consider trading Ty…” for what exactly?
      It was a poor effort in a perfect trap game, but that’s what it was and all it was. 1 game in 82. Frustrating to watch, for sure. But, please…come on now.

      • Thomas

        Look at Chandler’s career numbers and the number of games he misses based on a variety of never ending injuries… he’s just not worth it as his numbers are just average and god awful in the playoffs.

        You can keep watching and remain a “loyal” fan. I like good basketball, hence I have better things to do than watch what in my opinion will never be a good team as currently construed and coached.

        Ty right now is probably at his highest market value for a trade. He is not going to get any better than what he is right now. No knock on him, he is a good PG, but it’s doing nothing for us right now.

        We need better defense out of our back court.

        I still think Faried is a special player. Regretfully, it’s probably in his best interest to play elsewhere as he is going to waste his best years should our path continue downhill.

      • gimpcom187

        I agree with Thomas. I barely even pay attention to when they are playing let alone watch a full game. Last year I probably watched half their games full through and at least a quarter or so in 20 others. Ive gone to 3-5 games every season including at least 1 playoff game for the last 6 years. I won’t be going to any this year. Their style isn’t fun to watch and they don’t have a shot to be anything beyond a road bump for a top 2 seed in the west. I guess if you want to watch a team be slightly above average that’s cool. I find it boring. Luckily for me Im a denver transplant so they are my “B” team and I follow another team that knows what they are doing.

        It was just fun getting to watch a very good squad and go to numerous games a season with a positive attitude. A basketball team isn’t a family member. You don’t just support and encourage and think about them idealistically. When they suck or even worse are mediocre borderline playoff team you want the team to do things to make it change and you are blunt about it. I won’t waste hours a week watching them or money on a team that looks mediocre now with limited expectation of improvement. (Gallo won’t add much this season and I think we’ve all figured out that Mcgee is who he is. A backup center who has great athleticism and size and a few skills but not the right mind/attitude for the game. He won’t add much either)

        In terms of Ty: I think Milwaukee is the target. Get their pick unprotected and maybe make a swap of Henson for Faried and that could work at the trade deadline. I say Milwaukee because they have maybe the worst starting point guard in the league and a GM and owner looking to win Now. Anything outside of a top 7 pick in this draft and Im not interested in trading Ty. I’d also make an attempt to trade Chandler and a piece to the Bobcats for their rights to the Detroit pick. This is CLEARLY a rebuild team though unless you are happy with a 40ish win team for the next 3-5 years.

        AND this hope that the knicks pick would turn into an amazing pick. Forget that one folks. They’re already in the 8th seed with 15-22 record. I thought this might happen but assumed it would take until at least March for it to look likely. The nugs pick is going to be their pick unless Melo or Tyson Chandler get hurt for another long stretch.

  • slugdugg

    Faried’s defensive liabilities are really getting me down. It was ok that he was limited on offense as his rebounding and putbacks made up for it. His defense just gets more and more painful to watch, as he is unbelievably bad both on the ball, on help, and on pick and rolls. I’m to the point now where i would be fine if we packaged him in a trade if we can get good value back

    • Thomas

      Yeah, keep JJ Hickson and Darrell Arthur and you will see how many wins this team gets…

      Put Faried with a serviceable defensive center (Koufos) and guards that can play defense and you have a heck of a team.

      You can’t teach effort, attitude and winning. Exhibit A: JJ Hickson