Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 116-Los Angeles Clippers 115

Thanks to a career night from Kenneth Faried and a crazy, broken play three pointer at the buzzer from Randy Foye the Nuggets won a really fun back and forth contest against the Clippers 116-115. Blake Griffin did all he could to help the Clippers leave Denver victorious, finishing with 36 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal but the Manimal matched him step for step, finishing with a career high 28 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks and a steal to pace the Nuggets.

Grades are after the jump.

Los Angeles Clippers 115 Final

Recap | Box Score

116 Denver Nuggets
Kenneth Faried, PF 31 MIN | 11-13 FG | 6-9 FT | 11 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 28 PTS | +16

I wish I could give Faried a higher grade than just an A plus. He was terrific tonight in very Kenneth Faried ways. He made a living working the baseline for cuts and offensive rebounding chances and scored when he got his hands on the ball in those situations. He also made life tougher on Blake Griffin than just about any defender that Denver threw at him tonight. Combine the offensive impact with that defensive effort and his pure energy and you have the best game Faried has played all season, and maybe in his entire career.

Wilson Chandler, SF 33 MIN | 3-8 FG | 7-8 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | +3

Getting to the line so often, especially a few late free throws in the fourth saved Chandler from a C. Other than that he made some questionable decisions on both ends and unlike many nights didn’t really help on the glass.

J.J. Hickson, C 35 MIN | 7-12 FG | 3-6 FT | 12 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 17 PTS | +8

Hickson may be terrible at a lot of things on the basketball court, especially on the defensive end, but he is actually a fairly good finisher in the paint. Tonight he stayed under control for the most part on offense and finished most of the chances he got. It worked well enough to mitigate the damage he did on the other end and allow Denver a chance to win.

Ty Lawson, PG 45 MIN | 10-19 FG | 6-8 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 27 PTS | +10

Early on Ty looked hesitant to shoot when he got into the paint and actually turned the ball over a few times because of it. It may have been the shoulder injury or just Ty settling into the game but it had a chance to really hurt the Nuggets. Then the final three quarters happened and Ty was great on offense. He still doesn’t fight hard enough over screens but his offense is so valuable on most nights it is hard to knock his grade too much.

Randy Foye, SG 40 MIN | 4-11 FG | 4-5 FT | 7 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 4 TO | 14 PTS | +9

He didn’t shoot well most of the night but he hit the tough one. That counts for something.7 rebounds from your undersized shooting guard is nice too.

Darrell Arthur, PF 14 MIN | 1-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -7

The shooting wasn’t good but Arthur did an admirable job on Blake Griffin when given the chance. Once he gets back in the groove after missing so many games he should start knocking down more shots.

Quincy Miller, SF 16 MIN | 3-6 FG | 2-4 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | -4

The only part of Quincy’s night I didn’t like was the attempted spin in traffic where he lost the ball leading to his only turnover of the night. He was active on defense, on the boards and even hit a three. Nice flashes from Q.

Timofey Mozgov, C 17 MIN | 1-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 4 PTS | -15

Tonight was the type of game that Mozzy struggles in. The Clippers are full of athletes in the front court and those long springy players tend to make Mozgov rush things and struggle to be quick enough to impact things on defense, especially when he is put in the pick-and-roll. He should bounce back soon. The airballed hook was ugly though.

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

Fournier just isn’t a point guard. Shaw gave him a few minutes without Lawson to run the offense in the first half and the offense immediately let to a bunch of mid-range jumpers. This wasn’t anything new either as the past two games without Lawson or Robinson, Randy Foye tended to run things and make the offense look better than Fournier. That isn’t to say Fournier can’t be good, just that it is more likely if he is it will be at shooting guard.

Brian Shaw

The last play wasn’t well drawn up, Shaw just got bailed out by a luck shot from Randy Foye but he had a fairly good game anyway. Denver showed multiple different looks defending Blake Griffin, from playing behind him to fronting him to three-quartering him, and he played his rotations well enough to get a fresh Manimal on the floor late. Just has to sure up those late game out-of-bounds plays.

Three Things We Saw

  1. Lawson and Foye combined for 85 minutes which is an absurd amount for two guys to be playing at this point in the season with 5 games being played in the eight game stretch from today until next Monday. It was Denver’s only real chance to win the game but was it really worth the health risk for a team going nowhere even if they do make the eight seed? At this rate Lawson is going to be really worn down by the end of the year, a problem for a team that asks him to do everything.
  2. That was just a really fun game to watch. There were lobs, dunks, blocks, great passes, just about everything someone could ask for. If Denver could play more games like that it would be ok with me.
  3. It seems lie there are only two ways for Wednesday’s game against the Bucks to play out after tonight. The Nuggets go in and blow out the Bucks like they should or they lose a game that makes no sense. These are the 2013-2014 Nuggets, things are just weird and nonsensical so expect something to fit that mold, which means we have no idea what is coming.

Next up: Wednesday, February 5, 7 p.m. (MST) vs Milwaukee. Going to the game? Save money and get cheap Denver Nuggets tickets here.

  • Branden Gloudeman

    FOYE BOYYYYYYYYYY

  • Richard Pesicka

    Wow..What a fun game to watch.

  • Evan Woodruff

    Damn, I wish I watched it. What did I miss?

  • googergieger

    Yay.

  • nathan iskra

    We should play Championship contenders every game! Wins vs GSW, Indiana and LAC in like 2 weeks, yet losses against Raptors, Bobcats and other smelly teams in the same period. I don’t get it!

    I hope Griffin cried after this game. Can’t stand that knobhead.

  • heykyleinsf

    So we’re not going to win a title this year.
    SO WHAT.
    We’ve now had a few games like this to celebrate.
    There’s a lot of people here that hate it.
    GOOD.
    Because you suck.

    • heykyleinsf

      truth hurts doesn’t it.

  • Nugman

    Nice win, but once again Shaw refuses to make situational substitutions in key situations. Why were Faried and JJ even on the court for the last play? Like a smart coach Rivers had his 5 defenders guard the other 3 Nuggets and leave Faried and JJ to pass each other the ball. Shaw got bailed out with a lucky shot, but he should’ve had his 5 best scores on the floor!

    On a positive note, Shaw did run several plays for Will down the stretch and it paid off. Will can get in the paint and shoot over people, so he needs to be the go to guy. It also appears the defensive rotations are getting better. It’s even fun to watch the Nugs hustle on their rotations.

    Now we need to trade Foye, Dre and JJ for a good shooting guard. Foye hits a game winner and scores 33 so his stock has gone up on the trade market. The three of them should get a good 2.

    Final thoughts: every one handed pass we threw resulted in a turnover, pass with two hands! Ty is really good when he doesn’t pick up his dribble until he’s ready to pass or shoot (watch Tony Parker, Steve Nash, etc) Q probably won’t pass, Foye trails every cutter he defends (bad) and Will hustles at both ends (awesome)

  • Cullen

    That was exactly what we needed after last night. <3

    • heykyleinsf

      The Avs kicked ass tonight too!
      tied it late in the 3rd and won in OT!
      Homeostasis kicking in…

  • Poz303

    Wooooooo…what a last shot…I have lost my voice…was at the game…can tell you the crowd went wild with that win. A lot of fun and I think there was a lot of frustration let out when that when in. Faried was a beast. JJ played well. Ty was tynomite and Foye was the hero in the end.

    Man… so glad I went to the game…needed this win.

  • Erlingur Grétar Einarsson

    This should get their spirits going for a while! Now, let’s get a swingman/backup pg/mascot goldfish/used toaster for YMCAndre and continue developing this team for the rest of the season. They’ll get an 8-spot at best, so the more important thing from here on out is to allow Shaw to find and instil his style and philosophy, and finding out which 6-8 players should make up the core of the team going forward and which 4-6 players are tradable this summer.

  • Russell Hamilton

    Matt, watch the last play again. The play was drawn up very well; the execution was a bit lacking from JJ, though. It was designed for Ty to free up Wil under the basket with a back screen on the weak side. Wil was completely wide open on the play, but JJ didn’t throw the pass (to be fair, Jordan had sagged a bit into the lane, and JJ may have thought it too tight a window to throw the pass). The secondary action of the play was for Foye getting it just above the break and using the JJ pick for the three…pretty much what happened.

    • MattRMC

      As a counterpoint: Any play that purposely leaves JJ Hickson holding the ball above the three point line and having to make a decision as time ticks down probably could be either designed better or there could be better players in the game to execute it. Also I thought the secondary action was Ty and Foye confirmed it (said he was third option after Wil/Ty) after the game. Nuggets got bailed out by Foye breaking back to the ball quick enough. Either way it worked.

      • Russell Hamilton

        Hehe…good point on JJ (although he did lead the team in assists last night :p). I missed Foye’s interview, and was going by what Shaw stated in his interview.

      • Nugman

        JJ and Faried shouldn’t have even been in the game. Shaw should’ve had his 5 best shooters in the game. Shaw just doesn’t get the right players on the court in critical situations. Will was open on the cut for a second, but it would’ve been a risky pass because Jordan sagged. If it had been say Evan with the ball Jordan couldn’t have sagged and Will would’ve got the layup. The play didn’t work because Shaw had the wrong guys on the court.

        • Erlingur Grétar Einarsson

          I’d argue that Faried is important in situations like this purely for his offensive rebounding ability.

        • The Truth

          You’re reaching. The play was designed to go inside for a quick two, we needed rebounders for a possible put back. You expect J Ham to come off the bench after not playing all game and join a slumping Evan for the last play? What shooters?

        • Nugman

          Faried catches the ball 17 feet from the bucket with 6 seconds remaining, passes it to JJ 18 feet from the bucket and you guys are going to suggest they are there to rebound? Come on Truth! Even if JJ shoots the ball takes too long to fly through the air. There would only be a rebound if the ball was shot immediately and thank God Faried didn’t. How are they going to rebound on the parameter? If they were in there to rebound they would have been around the bucket. But then they would have been in the way of baseline cut by Will. So you either have to run a different play or have different players on the court. And the odds are a cold JHam or Evan would have a better chance making that 17 foot jumper than Faried or JJ. Shaw once again did not have right players on the court for the situation or the play he ran. He has done this all season. Heck, he had Nate on the court when we had a 3 point lead with 3 Seconds left against Memphis. Nate ain’t going to block a 3. But I guess you guys would say he was in to steal the ball?

          • The Truth

            Depends on who was supposed to feed Will. If it was either Faried or JJ, the other can crash in the process. If JJ had time to wait for Foye to circle around, there was time to crash to the boards and get a put back.

            I’m not saying Shaw isn’t learning. But do you not see more X’s and O’s on out of bound plays than we saw under all of GK’s tenure? I just don’t see who you’d rather have in. I don’t see why J Ham has been banished to lose confidence in the first place. He would of been another shooter, but to come in after not playing? Evan has shown no ability to hit a hurried three, he’s a set shot guy.

  • John

    give foye an A after that shot.

  • Furious_Stylez

    Great win. As many always cry about trading Faried, last night proved why you don’t. As I’ve posted before: There is not a player in the NBA that the Nuggets could trade for can match Faried’s production at $1.4m. He’s a limited PF, but when he’s playing well, there are only a handful of PFs better ( and they all make $8m+).

    Big ups to Foye. I criticize him a lot, but he really came through last night and over the last month or so.

    Matt, get over your hatred of Hickson. The dude puts up 17-12-5-1-1 line with a +8 in a win against one of the best back courts in the league and he still only gets a B-? Meanwhile, Chandler puts up a pedestrian 14-2-1 with a +3 and gets a B? Pretty dumb, no matter the reasoning. Give the dude props when he earns it.

    • Nugman

      Foye is an average SG. His defense is still bad and shot pretty bad until the last shot. We should trade him while he’s hot.

      JJ makes too many stupid mistakes like not blocking out on free throws, bad outlets, bad rotations, etc. those mistakes are a big reason we loose close games. You don’t see the Spurs or Thunder make those mistakes.

      • Furious_Stylez

        That’s a fair assessment. However, they won the game and Hickson had a very good performance playing against Deandre Jordan (not an easy task). I’m not saying JJ is a Superstar and deserves respect, but give credit when credit is due.

  • Thomas

    Zach Lowe suggested a trade where the Nuggets send Dre, Chandler and JJ to Brooklin for Pierce and his expiring contract. This is a deal Masai would pull in a second – addition by subtraction.

    • Nugman

      Disagree. Masai wouldn’t trade Will. Throw Foye in for Will and he’d do it in a second

      • Thomas

        Wilson Chandler: injury prone, check collecting, average player who is not improving and has not improved during his 6 year NBA career. A quick glimpse over his career stats shows what is clear to anyone who has been watching his game for the last 3+ years already nows – barely average.

    • The Truth

      What in the world is pierce going to do for this team? Get to the free throw line is about it. This can’t be much of salary dump, just a player dump?

    • LBJ

      Brooklyn isn’t trading Pierce. They are going to be in the playoffs.

  • COfoEVA

    With all the injuries and pretty much no hope for this season a trade needs to be made, and rebuilding needs to begin. Unless the Knicks continue to tank we will find ourselves in a very bad position to lose out on an amazing draft class.