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.
|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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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