Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 105-Portland Trailblazers 110

Denver had absolutely no answer for LaMarcus Aldridge who scored 44 points, including the last 15 for Portland, while Ty Lawson was scoreless in the second half and the Nuggets blew a 15 point second half lead to fall in Portland 110-105.

Denver now moves to 20-21 on the season with a game looming against the NBA best Indiana Pacers on Saturday in Denver. So expect them to win that game because nothing this team does makes any sense. Game to game or half to half.

Grades are after the jump.

Denver Nuggets 105 Final

Recap | Box Score

110 Portland Trail Blazers
Kenneth Faried, PF 21 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | 0

Faried was ok in his 21 minutes but he never really made any plays that reminded you he was a player Denver had high hopes for as a part of their future core. He continued to struggle doing anything besides scoring on offensive rebounds or baseline cuts as at one point he caught a pass in a pick-and-roll and couldn’t slow himself down leading to an awkward floater that missed and Faried offensive goal tended to make matters worse. He fits a very specific style and roster and the Brian Shaw Nuggets are not that.

Wilson Chandler, SF 33 MIN | 7-11 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 18 PTS | -5

Chandler attacked the basket all night taking just two threes and he was incredibly effective. Nights like tonight remind you how good he can be when he isn’t shooting 12 threes a game. He kept Denver alive without Lawson in the second half.

J.J. Hickson, C 37 MIN | 6-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | 0


Ty Lawson, PG 38 MIN | 3-11 FG | 7-9 FT | 2 REB | 11 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | +1

Ty was dynamite in the first half, entering halftime with 13 points on 3-6 shooting and nine assists. He ended the game with 13 points on 3-11 shooting and 11 assists. That can’t happen if Denver wants to win games.

Randy Foye, SG 27 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | -12

He got hot when the Nuggets raced out to the 15 point lead before cooling off as they blew the lead and ultimately the game. When he cools down spacing shrinks and Lawson’s job becomes much harder.

Quincy Miller, SF 14 MIN | 1-2 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 3 PTS | +5

Five rebounds in 14 minutes is nice for Miller but outside of a nice transition and-one it is hard to remember anything he did, positive or negative.

Anthony Randolph, SF 16 MIN | 4-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | -1

He was really good in the first half which included an awesome block of a Joel Freeland dunk. It marked the third straight half that he had outplayed Kenneth Faried. That is more of a problem for Denver than a good thing though.

Timofey Mozgov, C 21 MIN | 3-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -5

Mozgov was better than his line shows. With the bench unit the offense ran through him in the high post and it worked effectively. He hit a nice hook shot in the lane late in the game to give Denver the lead and fought Robin Lopez all night. The highlight was a terrific bounce pass to Wilson Chandler but the night in general just added fuel to the start Mozzy fire.

Nate Robinson, PG 20 MIN | 4-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | -7

Nate and Ty basically had the same game tonight; great in the first half, invisible in the second. Denver can’t win that way. He gets a bump because he fought with Wes Matthews in the post all night which was harder than anything Ty had to do on defense.

Evan Fournier, SG 14 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -1

Completely invisible. I don’t remember a single thing he did well.

Darrell Arthur, PF DNP HIP STRAIN MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS |

Please come back soon Darrell.

Brian Shaw

Shaw should have tried something besides JJ Hickson one-on-one vs. LaMarcus Aldridge as Aldridge burned the Nuggets to the ground. Shaw should have played Mozgov and Fournier more to at least offset the huge size difference the Blazers exploited all night. Shaw should have done something besides draw up Randy Foye isolations at the end of a close game. Shaw was bad tonight, no way around it.

Four Things We Saw

  1. Oh, look another big man who can shoot jumpers killed Denver. Maybe they can figure out how to stop it before David West comes to town on Saturday. If not get ready for another game of getting killed inside by a massive team and seeing a big man drain 15 to 18 footers all night because the Pacers will do it.
  2. Terry Stotts made a great adjustment in the second half by putting Nic Batum on Ty Lawson. The longer Batum took Lawson out of everything and Denver couldn’t produce consistent offense because of it. They score 38 points in the second half and 14 in the 4th quarter. That won’t win many games.
  3. JJ Hickson is awful. He doesn’t rebound well, he commits boneheaded fouls on a nightly basis and he really isn’t that good on offense. But Brian Shaw continues to play him 30 plus minutes a night and Timofey Mozgov 20 or so. It makes no sense.
  4. Ty Lawson played another 38 minutes. For a small guy it is asking a lot of him to control the offense while being run into the ground. Or Denver win games. But Shaw keeps doing it.

Next up: Saturday, Jan. 25, 7:00 p.m. (MST) vs. Indiana. Going to the game? Save money and get cheap Denver Nuggets tickets here.

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  • Sharkboy242

    The Nuggets had no business keeping that game as close as it was. Turnover after turnover after turnover. I’m surprised it came down to the last minute.

    • googergieger

      Not to mention free throws after free throws after free throws for them.

  • Branden Gloudeman

    Well offensive rebound after offensive rebound….. boxing out isn’t in our guys vocabulary…. 2nd half adjustment by Stotts was to put Batum on Lawson and u saw what happened. ……. If Hickson is gonna get murdered like that we shoulda tried Faried and Randolph on Aldridge they did a much better job….. Shaw was also very late on those timeouts when they went on a run.. give credit to portland tho they came out the 2nd half and locked down on defense especially in the 4th….. they were denying the ball the whole time on our guards smh

  • Evan Fiala

    that was our game to lose and surprise, we lost it. i’m not even mad – we wouldn’t have deserved that win anyways. terrible fourth quarter.

    sometimes i’m upset that lawson has been getting snubbed for the all star game then he plays like did in the second half and I feel guilty for even thinking that. ugh.

  • heykyleinsf

    Welp… 14 points for another spectacular 4th quarter effort. TY so much Nuggies. Aaaannd we’re back below .500 … probably from here on out.

  • Shannon Smith

    Either make a trade(s) and get better or make a trade(s) and head full steam for the lottery while blooding the younger guys. The “Wait-Until-Gallo-Gets-Back” excuse does apply anymore. I’m getting tired of watching this mediocre team that isn’t going anywhere.

  • googergieger

    Yeah I know I and others said Shaw should get a pass for this year but the guy is just a bad coach. Horrible when it comes to calling time outs. Horrible at managing minutes. Horrible at recognizing match ups.

    Mozgov plays twenty minutes. Robin Lopez plays thirty nine. How many were played with both of them on the court together? Lawson and the starting line up play damn hear the whole third quarter. An exhausted Lawson picks up his fourth foul late in that quarter. Matthews a big two guard takes advantage of our small guards. If only we had a big two guard as well who could match up well with him. Someone french maybe?

    Ignoring the horrible refs, who, wow. I mean the push called on Mozgov that gave the Blazers that win, when not one minute before Lillard gets away with a push on Foye that gave us a turn over was just, well horrible. And Ignoring the fact that yet again Shaw(outside of the one time which was meaningless then) does nothing in regards to working the refs for his team.

    We should have won this game. We over achieved from beyond the arc and they under achieved. We went up a good amount. When it stopped working, time for substitutions maybe? For your dead tired starters? If nothing else, call a time out when the lead starts going down fast. Not when they get the lead finally. This has happened a lot this season too. His problems. With this front office of ours, and this coach who should know better by now, makes me wish I was an effin fan of football or at least not a fan of basketball. But what are you going to do? Except have an aneurysm over this team probably.

    • Branden Gloudeman

      Ur way to negative on this site lol…..

      • Ryan Chalstrom

        No he is just realistic and not living in a fantasy-land like you

        • Branden Gloudeman

          Yet I just pointed out all our negatives but whatever floats ur boat haha

          • Ryan Chalstrom

            You criticized the coach and the officials – our negatives go way beyond just coaching and officiating right now. Although I will agree with you that Shaw is a joke. Where all the Karl haters at now?

            • googergieger

              Still here. It was time for him to go.

    • heykyleinsf

      I agree Goog. And the 4th quarter seems to be our groundhog day recurring nightmare. I wish the hell that Shaw could figure that out.

    • Thomas

      Agree, horrible coaching. Thinks JJ is better than Faried…enough said.

      Can’t believe you guys still watch this team – unwatchable. I wait for hopefully one day waking up and hearing that trades were made, people were fired.

    • gimpcom187

      He is average. This is what you get with averagish talent and an average coach. It was predictable because myself and a few others predicted it while the second guessing of karl went on last year. And the witch hunt after the gsw series. Youve earned EVERY minute of this mediocrity for the next few seasons. At least own it.

      • googergieger

        Yeah it was time for Karl to go. I agree on that. Shaw is an unproven coach, and the front office deserves most of the blame for this season. In any case, first round out doesn’t scream over achievers. Screams mediocrity pretty much. So no idea what your point was there.

        • gimpcom187

          Last season is the only you can honestly suggest the nugs underacheived and after taking into account return of bogut and curry and loss of gallo AND if you watched gsw vs. Spurs someone who understands basketball gets that it wasnt much of an underacheivement. We agree you dont understand because you are better at whining and ridiculing coaches than understanding nba basketball. Im sure your response will be: so youre saying nothing I dont understand.” Feel free to bust out a dictionary. :-)

          • googergieger

            What? I got that you think I whine, which I mean, literally all you have been doing this season, innit? Besides stalking/trolling me anyways.

            • gimpcom187

              Whined about what? Ive called this team a 38-47 win team all season. Said that is what the talent and average coach gets you. I said id be calling out the people on this site who trashed karl because I understand what this team was with karl and what it is now. Its not called whining. Its called your comeuppance. Hence my original post: this mediocrity is what you asked for because you didnt understand the talent on this team and chose to believe a fairy tale that they had something approximating championship calliber talent.

    • Nugman

      I’m not sure about the horrible refs comment, but the rest is pretty accurate. Why Shaw sticks with the small line up when we are getting killed inside is unbelievable. You would think he could see that JJ and Faried are simply too small to compete against big front lines. He has to have Mozzy on the floor when I guy like Lopez is on the floor. Yet game after game Shaw refuses to match up with size. It lost us this game.

      Shaw has a terrible time making adjustments. Even if Evan wasn’t hitting his shots, he should stayed on the court to defend Mathews. But Shaw constantly leaves Nate on the floor when defensive circumstances call for a change. And the he calls himself a defensive coach? It would be funny if I wasn’t such a huge Nuggets fan.

      The half court plays out of timeouts have been terrible all year. Shaw said he was going to bring structure to the half court offense, but when need we need it most at end of games it’s terrible. If the other team denies the first option the offense breaks down. News to Shaw, any good team is going to deny the first option!!! That is why good coaches plan on the second or third option working.

  • http://Twitter.com/A_Rodriguez8 D3Ntilthe3ND

    if you think the Nuggets should tank this season, go ahead & stop watching basketball. the only way they would get their pick is if they finish below the knicks, otherwise Orlando gets it & I’m almost certain it isn’t protected. so you want to tank so we can give Orlando a good pick? the amount of over-reaction by people on this site is almost disgusting.

    • LBJ

      You act like it is a give that the Knicks won’t make the playoffs. They are 3 games behind Charlotte (2 in the loss column). It should be clear to that they have a much better shot than we do. For this team to have a future, we need to make sure we get a decent player in this draft – one of the deepest in a decade.

    • Ryan Chalstrom

      A wise man once said think before you speak. LBJ is exactly right, the knicks are still right in the thick of the playoff race. The ignorance of people on this site is what is truly disgusting. Get your facts straight before you speak!

  • Brian

    mozgov A+-uuuh, what? Moz was pretty terrible in the 4th besides that one hook shot. Invisible on offense and couldn’t get a rebound all quarter.

    • Nugman

      I agree. He almost seemed scared in the 4th. If he would’ve got aggressive he might have made the difference. I was shocked how Lopez pushed him around. In fact, all the Nuggets acted tentative late.

  • Kyle Wurtz

    “JJ Hickson is awful. He doesn’t rebound well…”

    I’m not a JJ Hickson fan by any means, but I think one thing he does a pretty good job of is rebound. He’s grabbing 62% of available rebounds, which is highest on the team by a decent margin (Faried, 58%). Maybe the reason it seems he’s not great is that he struggles more in contested rebounds (thus, the perception that his rebounds are “empty”). He’s only gathering 36% of these, compared to Faried’s 40%. That’s still third on the team, though, which isn’t bad for a severely undersized center.

    • googergieger

      He wrestles a lot of rebounds away from team mates.

      • Kyle Wurtz

        Yeah that’s a fair point. That sort of behavior that stems from a hunger for the ball is kind of a hallmark of all good/great rebounders, though. Plus it’s hard to tell to what extent he “steals” rebounds from others on his team…

        Via nbawowy, the team’s rebounding rate with Hickson on the floor is 1.8% worse than it is when he’s off the floor (50.9% with him on vs. 52.7% with him off). While this may seem to support the claim that he “doesn’t rebound well”, it’s really hard to tell with how much correlation there is with other players in HIckson’s rotation and the types of players that Hickson’s crew matches up with. Interestingly, the team’s rebounding rates split by Faried being on/off the court is 52.5% when he’s on and 51% when he’s off.

        Long story short, yeah I think there’s something to him stealing rebounds from his teammates, and yeah I think his stats are a little padded and he appears to help the team more than he actually does based on rudimentary box score analysis, but there’s really nothing to indicate that he’s a BAD rebounder…and I’d go so far as to say there’s nothing to indicate that he’s anything worse than an above average rebounder.

        • googergieger

          I think by bad rebounder, Matt meant he doesn’t box out. Which could be said about Faried as well, really.

          • Nugman

            The worst thing is that he doesn’t box out late in games. He didn’t box out when Mozzy got the foul for the shove and he didn’t box out Alridge on the late put back. You would think he would figure out by the end of the game he better box out guys bigger than him.

  • Richard Pesicka

    The realization is, Denver is just a so so team. Don’t look for anything else. We don’t have a guy who can score 44 points, We don’t have any that can score even 30 points in a game. And there lies the problem. We need help. And I don’t see where any help is on the way. Bad refs, bad coaching. Bad decisions. Hey, it’s why the Nuggets are below .500.

  • alex47666

    To give Hickson a F, and faried a C is a joke. Im tired of nugget fans making excuses or trying to protect faried. He needs to go, honestly when he got benched by randolph should tell you something

    • It’s Constanbul

      In DDL last night, Matt said he was going to give Hickson an ‘F’ for the half-court foul. And so he did! Man of his word.

  • alex47666

    and LOL thomas Hickson is better than faried. Thats why I cant wait till faried is traded and gone

    • Guest

      In DDL last night, Matt said he was going to give JJ an ‘F’ for the half-court foul. And so he did!

      • Poz303

        Well, thats real professional. I come hear to read an alternate view of how others perceived the performance of the Nuggets. I dont much enjoy someone giving an F to a player for a questionable ref call that really should not have been made. If I want over the top and biased opinions I could just read the comments on just about any blog/forum.

        • MattRMC

          I mean what should Hickson have gotten? He put himself in position to get the foul which was F worthy enough but he was also the primary defender on LMA when Aldridge was scoring the last 15 points of the game for the Blazers, got sealed inside by LMA on a defensive rebound attempt causing Mozgov to foul Aldridge in a scrum for the ball leading to two free throws, traveled on a key possession in the fourth quarter, stood and watched as Robin Lopez grabbed an important late defensive rebound and again was beaten soundly for 15 straight points late in the fourth quarter of a close game. He surely didn’t play well no matter what his box score says.

          • Poz303

            You get no argument from me on your points. All valid. Hickson certainly didnt have a great game and, i believe, has not been put in a position to succeed by Shaw. I think Mozgov should be starting as he is the only healthy “true” center and would have matched up much better on Lopez. JJ was signed with the promise of more time at PF.
            LMA is an all-star and was scoring on everyone last night.

            The foul at half time was partially his fault (he should not have even gotten close enough to challenge the shot) but disagree on the ref call and I would disagree that that alone merits an F.

          • googergieger

            He also tried to run the break a few times that lead to one awful turn over, and awful decision making in general.

          • heykyleinsf

            Fouling at half court is enough to get benched in middle school BB.. let alone the NBA. Made me nostalgic for Javale.

        • Nugman

          JJ is just not very good fundamental basketball player and late in games you need sound fundamental players on the court. Of course, Faried isn’t any better fundamentally. In fact, as much as I hate to say it, Randolph is probably the best of the three in that regards. And he has really had an impact in the last couple games. His length also makes a big difference. You could argue that he should have been guarding Aldridge late. That length makes the shot tougher.

          I think we are really seeing JJ and Farieds limitations. Their size hurts rebounding and defending shots as well as defending the bucket. And when you add in their bad fundamentals it gets pretty bad.

  • disqus_Zof8sHWvOp

    all negative grades and player bashing from you now Matt

  • disqus_Zof8sHWvOp

    Faried is liability on Defense every night his hustle makes up for it some nights.
    let the cat out of the bag neither McGee nor Darrell will be returning this season

  • disqus_Zof8sHWvOp

    every knew Gallo wasn’t returning this season but the people on this site the nuggets rejected several trades already this season involving Faried

  • Furious_Stylez

    I’m starting to sour on Faried. He’s a slightly above average player. He’s terrible on defense and totally useless when more than 5 feet from the hoop. He’s a decent rebounder and is a good when facing the basket, but his game has not progressed at all. Faried is too short to guard true PFs/Cs and has zero back-to-the-basket skills. Outside of a run and gun offense, he’s a bench guy worthy of 10 minutes a game.

    That being said, trading him would be a gigantic mistake. Faried’s production is incredible when you look at his salary. Guys with his production make $5m to $10m…and Faried only makes $1.36m. Since trades have to match in salaries, there isn’t a trade that would come anywhere close to replacing his production. Keep him until his rookie contact is up and make a fair offer (around $5m per season).

    If the Miller for Thompson deal is still available, make the deal. This team needs paint protection in the worst way. I wanted the Thornton deal, but it’s become apparent that the front court sucks and needs some new blood.

  • Tyler Stevens

    “He continued to struggle doing anything besides scoring on offensive rebounds” He hit 3/4 mid range jumpers…


    “He gets a bump because he fought with Wes Matthews in the post all night which was harder than anything Ty had to do on defense.” Cmon…. Because guarding Damian Lillard is SUCH an easy task…

    “Shaw should have done something besides draw up Randy Foye isolations at the end of a close game.” Well Foye was the hottest player in the 2nd half. Wilson did most of his damage in that first half.

    • Nugman

      But he won’t shoot 3/4 on mid range jumpers very often

      It may not have been a foul, but JJ can’t put himself so close the ref can make that mistake. That’s what made the play so bad

      Ty had his hands full with Lillard and Nate shouldn’t have even been on the court to get the “bump”, but of course Shaw refuses to adjust to mismatches.

      The last few Nugget possessions after timeouts were pretty weak. If you want to get Foye the shot then run him off some screens or something. His strength isn’t creating for himself off the dribble. And contested 27 ft jump shots aren’t very good shots.

      • Tyler Stevens

        He has been making mid-range shots more often than not lately and that’s just the truth

        You’re right he shouldn’t be there. But it still isn’t a foul, you can’t punish JJ for something that’s not in his control.

        That still doesn’t make up for the fact Ty didn’t have a hard-ass job. The Dude is 5’11” guarding one of the hotest point guards in the game the past 2 years.

        True, but we’ve seen Foye hit a lot of shots that you just can’t help but think, FOYE WTF DONT PULL UP FROM 30, but then he drains it. He makes 27 footers more than he really should so it’s better than forcing the ball to somewhere else and a turnover anyways.

  • Stunt55378008

    There’s a lot of differences between this team and last year’s, but the key similarity is that the coach seems to make mistakes tied to the disjointed roster. Hickson is a complete disaster, but signing him was such an insane thing to do in the first place. He’s no frontcourt Andre Miller. No more, no less. I have some hope for Shaw, but first, we need to make a couple low-impact moves that put the right pieces into his system. A team can get away with having two minus-defenders and three solid ones, but if those numbers flip, bad things happen. Especially with the size of our guards (something that doesn’t have to be a huge liability, given the proper support), we can’t be trotting out one dimensional post players. Will NEVER work.

    • Nugman

      Agree. We don’t have to make a blockbuster trade, but at least one or two that give us more versatility. JJ and Faried are just too similar. If one doesn’t matchup in a game the other doesn’t either. Not that Shaw would make the proper move. I think the same can be said for our backcourt.

  • Nugman

    I can’t figure out why the FO won’t make a move. Andre is ready to go and it seems they could package him with one or two others to a least get someone who will give us another dimension. It’s very frustrating they aren’t doing anything to try and upgrade the team. Watching the same guys make the same mistakes over and over is no fun at all!