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.
|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
HE FOULED A GUY SHOOTING A HALF COURT SHOT TO END THE FIRST HALF. A GUY SHOOTING FROM HALF COURT. HE FOULED THEM. Just terrible.
|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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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