Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 125-Sacramento Kings 117

The Nuggets went into Sleep Train Arena the night after knocking off the NBA best Indiana Pacers and took advantage of a few key Sacramento injuries to defeat the Kings 125-117.

Ty Lawson led six Denver players with double digit points with 27 points while Nate Robinson contributed 12 points and eight assists to lead the bench.

Grades are after the jump.

Denver Nuggets 125 Final

Recap | Box Score

117 Sacramento Kings
Kenneth Faried, PF 34 MIN | 7-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 11 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +5

Faried did what Faried does and was very effective tonight. He ran the floor when he got the chance, which was often as Denver racked up 33 fast break points, and generally flew around the floor. The energy was apparent early and contagious as Denver never really seemed like they were on the second game of a back-to-back.

Wilson Chandler, SF 34 MIN | 6-16 FG | 5-6 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | +3

Chandler continued his recent trend of not settling for just three pointers and again was very effective. He has started to consistently provide that secondary scorer to back Ty Lawson, which makes life a lot easier for the Nuggets.

J.J. Hickson, C 33 MIN | 2-4 FG | 4-8 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | +4

The Hickson/Lawson pick-and-roll is just about the only good thing that comes from JJ Hickson most nights. It continues to be inexplicable why he closes games instead of Timofey Mozgov.

Ty Lawson, PG 35 MIN | 9-15 FG | 8-10 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 27 PTS | +2

Lawson again gets penalized a bit for his defense. Isaiah Thomas isn’t an easy cover by any means but Lawson almost refuses to stay in front of his man despite his speed and athleticism. Luckily for Denver his offense makes up for it most nights.

Randy Foye, SG 26 MIN | 4-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | +3

It was a rough night shooting for Foye which can be expected on the second game of a back-to-back.

Quincy Miller, SF 14 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +5

Miller always plays hard and makes a few things happen during his minutes but tonight he actually hit two threes. If that shot ever becomes a consistent weapon, a very big question at this point, the Nuggets may have something in the youngster.

Timofey Mozgov, C 24 MIN | 5-5 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +6

The game completely changed in the third quarter once Mozgov entered the game. The Kings were in the middle of a huge run (I believe 13 or 15 to 2) when the big Russian entered and things immediately changed. Mozgov scored on his first offensive touch after entering and continued to make an impact until he was taken out with 3:45 left in the fourth quarter right after he blocked a Marcus Thornton layup in the middle of another Kings run. He continues to be a consistent force that needs to be starting, or at least finishing, games.

Nate Robinson, PG 24 MIN | 4-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 1 REB | 8 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +8

Outside of a forced jumper or two Nate was in complete control tonight. He found open teammates as evidence by his season high eight assists and knocked down a few important jumpers when Denver needed them. It showed just how useful and important Nate can be, even without massive scoring outbursts.

Evan Fournier, SG 15 MIN | 2-4 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +4

Fournier was fine, nothing too great or too bad. He did make a play that shows flashes of his potential when he made a great backdoor cut to get free in the lane and finished the play with a nice floater. While he doesn’t have flashy athleticism or anything it showed the type of basketball IQ that should allow Fournier to be a pretty good player in the future for the Nuggets.

Brian Shaw

Shaw gets credit for getting his team to play with energy and enthusiasm a night after getting a very nice win over the Pacers. But I will continuously dock him for closing games with JJ Hickson instead of Timofey Mozgov, especially on nights like tonight (and really most nights) when Mozgov is clearly playing the better game.

Three Things We Saw

  1. We saw a Hack-A-Hickson for the first time this season in the fourth quarter and I would expect to see it more often now. Hickson is shooting just 55.8 percent from the line this season and is constantly on the floor for Denver late in games so it will probably be a smart move from most teams. The Nuggets have a perfect counter to the tactic in Mozgov who shoots 73.3 percent from the line and again is the better player anyway.
  2. People joke plenty about JJ Hickson stealing rebounds from teammates (I meant to keep a counter tonight and forgot) but tonight Kenneth Faried tried to steal one from Hickson. Instead the two collided and the ball squirted loose and Aaron Gray picked it up. Both guys have a tendency to do this so I think the situation will repeat itself again at some point this year.
  3. As much as last night’s win was a schedule win (and it was, especially with the Pacers coming off an OT game the night before) tonight had a chance to be a schedule loss. But Denver took advantage of the fact that the Kings were missing two of their three best players and stole a win that can be vitally important later this season as they fight for the eighth seed.

Next up: Wednesday Jan. 29, 7 p.m. (MST) vs. Charlotte. Going to the game? Save money and get cheap Denver Nuggets tickets here.

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  • Scott

    Isaiah Thomas wishes he was as good as Nate.

  • Sócrates Manzoni

    Sleep train arena sounds quite odd for a basketball arena.

    • heykyleinsf

      Even worse of a name for the place I saw Iron Maiden play north of Sacramento… “Sleep Train Ampitheater”… great name for a heavy metal venue. Nothing is sacred any more.

  • CoryW

    Nice to see aggressive Lawson and Chandler to go with a passing Nate Robinson. That’s probably due to the injuries and overall lack of defense Sacramento plays. Two game winning streak wooo!

  • Poz303

    Well, there was pretty poor D from both teams but Nuggets managed to get the victory.

    Was nice to see Foye and Ty dunk!

    • Tyler Stevens

      Oh yes it was, I didn’t even know Foye had hops

  • CoryW

    Still rocking my throwback nuggets cap proudly!

  • CoryW

    I personally like the docking of grade that comes with our defense or poor decisions. Oh and before I forget to ask you Matt. Is there a bright future for Milwaukee seeing they are headed for a first place finish for last this season?

    • MattRMC

      I wish I could say there was but I’m not 100 percent sure. The front office has a history of mortgaging the future for mild success in the present so even with one of the big 3 at the top of the draft to add to the few promising youngsters (Larry, Henson and Giannis) I’m not super confident they let them have the time they will need to grow. A product of “having to make the playoffs” for some reason.

  • Nugman

    I also can’t figure out why Mozzy isn’t getting more minutes. It just makes no sense when his size advantage is so apparent. Faried and JJ constantly look out matched, yet Shaw continues to play them both over Mozzy. Even the hack a JJ didn’t deter Shaw from staying with JJ. I wish I understood.

    Q gets an A, but he missed Mozzy 3 or 4 times when the big fella had good position inside. Mozzy was working his butt off for position and Q doesn’t even look at him. He needs to learn to look inside and make the pass. Also, once Evan was posting up Jimmer and Q wouldn’t pass him the ball. He passed it to Faried at the elbow and Faried fed Evan on the block. It was a bad play by Q. He should get a B for missing his teammates so much

  • David Acker

    Didn’t get to see the game but I agree that Mozgov should be starting

  • Richard Pesicka

    The old saying is, If It isn’t broke, don’t fix it. But the Nuggets got lucky. Sac missed some shots down the stretch. Have to pick up the guys faster on switches and screen rubs. The Nuggets have to help each other out. No easy layups. No open middles.

  • heykyleinsf

    A solid win on the road with this team showing great energy and teamwork.
    Win lose or draw.. if they give me that night to night…
    I love it.

  • The Truth

    Good to see the bench step up on a back to back. Q Miller and Evan both ended a little slide, and held this game down in the second half. Evan can’t be happy with his POR performance. Nate did his thing. Mozzy is just a different player. His improvement alone will solidify Shaw’s position as coach for a little while. Nate and Moz’s chemistry is a bonus, good as Ty and JJ’s. Moz looks for Nate too, his passing is top notch for a big, if he could just catch it with the same ease.

    • Nugman

      Moz does fumble a lot of passes, but I wish Shaw would stick to his word and give him a bigger role. Shaw wants a low post threat and he has one in Moz, yet he won’t hardly even use it. Moz should get twice as many touches in the post as he’s getting. He can either score down there or make the right pass. And once he becomes a low post force he will draw double teams and that will open up all the 3 point shooters. Isn’t this the inside out game Shaw wants? Well, he’s got it right on the bench and he won’t even use it! Can anyone explain why Shaw says one thing and does a other?

      • The Truth

        Shaw is learning that the ability and game plan for the post season doesn’t mean nothing if you don’t make it. He had to scratch his plans and compromise based on team strengths. With that said, they do play inside out more than we’ve seen and I see more of a consistent post present – even more then when we used to feed Nene. I’d still like them to be more judicious and slow down a bit, but that is on Ty’s game compass which is still developing. I don’t think he wants to feature Moz until he absolutely has to.

  • CoryW

    Shaw’s style im sure works in the NBA, why not make some trades that fit the team he can coach and build around rather than forcing this run and gun style on him. He is making mistakes, repeatedly I might add but it’s apart of taking some lumps as a first year had coach. If only we had a low post presence or just even a go to scorer to make coaching easier instead of this putrid defense that has infected all but a couple of nuggets this year.

    • The Truth

      I think he’ll be able to marry the best of GK with traditional ball. Not sure he needs new personnel to do that.

      • Andrew

        I agree, but in order to be a contender they need an A-lister in the PF position and a starter in the SG position. Just my opinion.