Unable to overcome the absence of every remaining point guard on the roster, a severely thinned-out Nuggets squad suffered yet another ugly loss at home. The Raptors cruised to an easy win while the Nuggets continued to struggle offensively, committing 26 turnovers and notching just 6 fast break points. The worst news of the night however came early in the first quarter when the Nuggets announced that Nate Robinson is out for the season after undergoing surgery for a torn ACL.
|Kenneth Faried, PF 32 MIN | 6-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 4 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | +12
Although his numbers were bolstered by a fourth quarter surge in garbage time, Faried did come through with one of his more energetic outings in quite some time. He was active around the rim but once again allowed another average offensive team to get into the paint at will. He had some nice blocks and contested a lot inside but his weaknesses are a big reason why Denver can’t rely on their inside presence to win games.
|Wilson Chandler, SF 34 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -9
After a solid start in January, Wilson has reverted to his Mr. Average persona. A perfectly average night from a veteran who increasingly looks like the most average player in the league. It wasn’t terrible but after the last two games you’d be hard pressed to find anything that separates Chandler from any other small forward in the league. He’s okay but he’s just… there.
|J.J. Hickson, C 30 MIN | 7-10 FG | 4-8 FT | 13 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 18 PTS | +13
Hickson suffered from the same stuff as Faried. Although he played one of his better games and turned up the intensity late, it wasn’t enough to overcome all the things that make Hickson exactly who he is. Ironically, had they gotten the same inside help Mozgov had been providing pretty consistently, Hickson and Faried’s big nights might have translated into actual impact.
|Randy Foye, SG 43 MIN | 4-13 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 16 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 8 TO | 10 PTS | -5
Foye looked like the one guard on the roster who actually understood the gravity of every single point guard being out. His shot wasn’t falling but he made a conscious decision to distribute and, for the most part, the Nuggets got good shots with him directing the flow. Unfortunately his shot wasn’t falling tonight.
|Evan Fournier, SG 39 MIN | 7-20 FG | 1-1 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 7 TO | 18 PTS | +1
An awful follow-up to his encouraging 19-point outburst against the Bobcats. Fournier should have known he was going to be expected to establish tempo and distribute the ball. Instead he played a pretty selfish game, forcing a ton of aimless drives into traffic and finishing with 7 turnovers to a whopping zero assists.
|Darrell Arthur, PF 13 MIN | 1-2 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -13
Although he’s still working his way back into form Arthur picked a bad game to lay an egg at the same time as the usually solid Mozgov. The Nuggets badly needed his help controlling Toronto’s guard penetration and Arthur wasn’t providing it. I do find it odd and a little unwarranted that he was benched almost the entire second half.
|Quincy Miller, SF 15 MIN | 3-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | -4
Quincy is another hard grade. I wasn’t thrilled with his shot selection but he was aggressive on a night where the rest of the bench was a total dud. The one thing Quincy has to do is be able to guard the perimeter if he wants a bigger role. His team-high 10 points off the bench were nice but it’s hard to trust him with more minutes until he develops some more control especially on the defensive end.
|Jordan Hamilton, SF 11 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -13
Shaw said before the game he was looking for a scorer to step up into Evan’s old role with both Foye and Fournier assuming all of the primary playmaking duties. It seemed like a clear challenge to Hamilton who is failing to show he deserves any minutes. It’s a tough deal for Hamilton who hasn’t played much but he is in a role where he has to be aggressive and have an immediate impact upon entering the game.
|Anthony Randolph, SF 5 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -9
Mozgov and Arthur were struggling in the second half and Shaw decided to try Randolph for a short stint as a result. It didn’t help.
|Timofey Mozgov, C 18 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -23
It seems generous to give Mozgov even a semi-passing grade. He has done great work this season and made a convincing case for more minutes, but games like this cast serious doubt over just how much room he has to grow. He was a defensive sieve against the likes of Chuck Hayes and Patrick Patterson and became unplayable in the second half. Had he just rebounded and done anything right in that abysmal second half, Mozgov could have made a difference. The Nuggets certainly needed it.
Shaw looks like he’s running out of answers as his team sinks deeper and deeper into a state of mediocrity. Effort was low across the board and no one except Randy Foye seemed to have much of a role. Shaw is keeping his best remaining players on unusually short leashes while curiously letting Chandler and Fournier do whatever. It didn’t seem like Shaw had any sort of cohesive plan to get the Nuggets out of their current malaise.
One Thing We Saw
- Nate Robinson is lost for the year with a torn ACL and the Nuggets find themselves facing a big dilemma in terms of how to replace him. With Lawson ailing the Nuggets probably need guard help, but they must create a roster spot via trade to bring in another PG. Andre Miller is a virtual lock to be traded and whatever the Nuggets do now could say a lot about the future direction of the team. It seems likely the Nuggets either make a sideways move for mid-tier help in a bid for the 8th seed, or they finally go young and shed some long-term salary while opening things up for player development. Either way, expect a move soon.