Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 110-Milwaukee Bucks 100

It wasn’t pretty but thanks to six late points from Wilson Chandler the Nuggets beat a bad Milwaukee Bucks team 110-100. Denver led by 15 in the fourth but thanks to turnovers and a lot of jumpers they didn’t close things out until the final two minutes when Chandler got into the lane twice and got a nice bounce off the top of the backboard on a jumper to end the Milwaukee comeback.

Grades are below the jump.

Milwaukee Bucks 100 Final

Recap | Box Score

110 Denver Nuggets
Kenneth Faried, PF 32 MIN | 4-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | +9

Faried does two things on a basketball court well. Rebound and finish close shots. Against the type of length the Bucks have he did neither of those things that well, which is the problem with Faried as he moves forward and into the next contract he is due to receive. When the athleticism starts to go and he becomes more grounded can he be effective? The weak side block he had on Brandon Knight was really nice and probably game saving though.

Wilson Chandler, SF 35 MIN | 11-19 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 24 PTS | +15

When Chandler dribbles a ball for six seconds in the same spot and hoists a contested three pointer like he did in the second quarter he really limits himself. When he attacks the rim like he did late and uses his length and athleticism to get easy baskets and free throws he becomes a much more dangerous player and the Nuggets become a much more dangerous team. He kind of got torched by Kris Middleton on the other end of the floor too, hence the B.

J.J. Hickson, C 35 MIN | 7-11 FG | 5-6 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | +9

I feel like I can copy and paste most of Hickson’s grade explanation most nights. He runs a nice pick-and-roll. He can’ t defend. Tonight he, along with Faried, also got absolutely destroyed on the defensive glass as Larry Sanders was credited with eight offensive rebounds and it felt like he got his hands on at least 15 Bucks misses. Hickson is essentially a neutral at best most nights. He gives you some good on offense but gives it all back on the other end.

Ty Lawson, PG 37 MIN | 6-14 FG | 5-6 FT | 7 REB | 13 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 18 PTS | +14

Ty continues to be really good. He was a big part of the Nuggets getting out to that 15 point second half lead as he got more aggressive on the offensive end which is always when the Nuggets are most dangerous. The seven rebounds were a nice touch as well.

Randy Foye, SG 44 MIN | 5-14 FG | 5-5 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 4 BLK | 3 TO | 20 PTS | +13

Foye was brought in to be a floor stretching shooter that made life easier for Ty Lawson by opening up the floor. Instead he has become part shooter, part point guard, part best defensive guard and tonight part rim protector. And outside of that stretch in December he has done it admirably.

Darrell Arthur, PF 7 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -3

I have no idea what Brian Shaw is doing with the big man rotation. I don’t remember anything good or bad Arthur did in his seven minutes, all of which came in the first half.

Quincy Miller, SF 13 MIN | 4-8 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | -5

Another nice night from Quincy. He is staying within himself on offense (for the most part) and the last few games he has even been ok from three, even if he did bank in his one tonight. If he can stretch the floor he becomes a stud off the bench for Denver.

Anthony Randolph, SF 10 MIN | 0-1 FG | 3-4 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | -1

Much like Kenneth Faried, Anthony Randolph isn’t good at basketball things. But man does he play hard and now much like Faried that energy is turning into positive production.

I know. It confuses me too.

Timofey Mozgov, C 12 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 0 PTS | +4

He battled but three fouls in four minutes isn’t good. The rivalry he had with Zaza Pachulia was really weird too but it led to some fun, physical moments between the two.

Evan Fournier, SG 15 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 6 PTS | -5

When he catches and shoots Evan is a really good player. When he dribbles more than four or five times he becomes much less effective. The most telling part of the three games since Nate Robinson got injured is that Shaw has left the primary point guard duties when Ty Lawson leaves the floor to Randy Foye. That may not bode well for Fournier if Qunicy Miller keeps improving and Denver suddenly has to find minutes for Miller, Chandler, Gallo and Foye.

Brian Shaw

The Nuggets came out slow against a bad team, then turned things up after halftime, then turned it back down late before pulling out a win. Part of that is on the coach and part is on the players. Nothing else that happened stood out as Shaw’s doing.

Three Things We Saw

  1. The Nuggets won the game because the Bucks are a bad team. There wasn’t anything impressive about the victory and outside of the continuing problems on the defensive glass nothing terrible either. It was just a weird, confusing game.
  2. Every single starting big man in the game led a fast break and almost none of them ended well. In fact I believe I totaled two that Hickson ran and four that Faried led. The two Denver bigs have a weird fascination with pushing the ball up the court which is weird for two players who don’t handle, pass or shoot all that well. Not surprisingly the tactic fails more often than it succeeds but at least it is entertaining.
  3. Another night another heavy minutes total for a starting guard. Tonight it was Randy Foye’s turn to play over 40 minutes. As I said the other night this is a recipe for disaster. It is time for either Shaw to trust Fournier more or the Nuggets to go find a player he can trust. Otherwise Foye and Lawson are going to be too worn out to be effective late in the season when Dener need them most.

Next up: Friday, February 7, 5:30 p.m. (MST) @ New York. Going to the game? Save money and get cheap Denver Nuggets tickets here.

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  • heykyleinsf

    For losing two starters all year and two point guards.. I can’t complain about how this team is doing.

    • Nugman

      They are playing okay under the conditions and they do seem to be improving individually and as a team, but I still wish they’d make a trade to try and upgrade the SG position. That is going to be their weak spot when Gallo and McGee return next year. I understand everyone is anointing Foye as savior because his recent success, but he isn’t the SG answer and Evan is still a big question mark

  • Sócrates Manzoni

    Two ugly wins agaisnt two meandering teams in a row… I feel Shaw did a better job tonight though. These last two games would’ve losses last month so there’s not much reason to criticize them when they win anyways.

    • COfoEVA

      Clippers a meandering team? ok…

      • AmLowLife

        It would be cool if the Nuggets could meander to a 34-18 record at this point, wouldn’t it?

        • COfoEVA

          I would be pretty stoked!

  • LBJ

    When did Milwaukee drop to the D League?

  • Nugman

    Q gets an A when he has a minus 5 in a 10 point win? I think you’re missing the negative things that are happening when he’s on the court.

    And Foye is our “best defensive guard”? You have to be kidding! He seldom hustles back in transition and he trails every cutter he defends. He seems to think being behind or beside his man is good defensive position. If he’s our best defensive guard it explains why we give up so many points. It also shows how bad we need to trade for a quality SG.

    Will needs to be our go to guy down the stretch and fortunately he has been the last two games. I commend Shaw for calling Will’s number late in the last couple games. Hopefully, he continues to do it.

  • Furious_Stylez

    Once again Matt, your Hickson hate makes no sense and is starting to come off as he wronged you somehow in life.

    Hickson: 19 and 10 with 2 steals and 2 blocks = C+
    Mozgov: 0 points, 2 rebounds, 1 block, 3 TO = C+

    The guy averages nearly a double-double every night, leads the team many nights in rebounds, is usually the second highest scorer, and is an incredible value for $5m, yet you crush him every game? I understand he lacks defense and doesn’t always make the play he should, but he helps the team win and without him, this team would have more losses.

    • MattRMC

      JJ Hickson was responsibly for Larry Sanders tonight. Larry finished with 25 points on 12/19 shooting and had 8 offensive rebounds and countless other plays where he tipped the ball loose and saved the Bucks possessions. As many readers know I am a Bucks fan, so trust me when I say Larry Sanders isn’t that good of an offensive player. On many plays JJ didn’t even try to get a body on him. Mozgov was bad in his first stint but did a much better job keeping people off the offensive glass in his second one.

      Yes JJ does all those things you mentioned but this year the Nuggets offense is points per 100 possessions better when he sits and the defense is is 7.6 points per 100 possessions better when he sits, which adds up to the Nuggets being This is the second straight year a points per 100 possessions better total when JJ Hickson sits then when he plays. He is the master of the deceiving stat line much.

      • Nugman

        So why does Shaw keep playing him so much? He has to know these stats and know Moz is more efficient. Shaw preaches all this defense stuff, yet he plays the ones who don’t play much D.

    • steve

      Honestly, i agree with matt. I hated the JJ signing from the beginning. I follow a ton of bball being such a huge fantasy fan. He puts up solid numbers but i just can’t stand Hickson. I hated paying him 5 mill per year over 3 years. He would be the 1st guy i’d trade due to his style of play and his contract. Numbers are deceiving.We are +.08 as a team on the year, yet in JJ Hickson’s 28 minutes per night, we are -1.8. that almost a 3 point swing from when he’s on the court and off of it with us. other notable Denver players… lawson -.2, faried +1.3, mozgov +2.2 and chandler -.6, arthur +2.2 So JJ is 1.2 less than any other player that gets legit minutes. THIS TELLS ME ALOT!!! He stinks.

      • steve

        and another thing…Blazers basically let hickson go and got average Robin Lopez to replace him, and they have more wins this year than all of last year lol. Yes they added a bench piece or 2 with mo williams, but still. Hickson was their weakest link, and now he’s ours.

        • LBJ

          and likely will continue to be our weak link for the remainder of his contract, as no other team in the NBA wants the guy.

          • Erlingur Grétar Einarsson

            This is a league that selected Hasheem Thabeet at #2 in the draft and pays Kendrick Perkins $9 million a year. Trust me, somewhere in this league, we can find a taker for $5 mil a year for an empty-stat stuffer.

            • LBJ

              Had anyone wanted him, they might have pursued him in the offseason. The only way to get rid of him is to take someone equally worthless.

    • Stunt55378008

      Another problem with the Hickson signing is that we let players go for financial reasons, chiefly Corey Brewer. Now, keeping CB may have required a minor overpay, but as far as I’m concerned, $5m a year for Brewer would be much easier to swallow than watching JJ’s defensive lapses.

      • LBJ

        Especially considering JJ is quite similar to an existing player on our roster – the Manimal.

  • heykyleinsf

    It’s amazing. How much hate the Nuggets get from their “fans”. They seem happier when they lose. There’s got to be something Freudian working here…

    • COfoEVA

      We beat the Bucks, excuse me if I don’t do any cartwheels.

  • COfoEVA

    Moral of the story, at least we are not the Bucks. Its time for this team to make a big trade and begin rebuilding. The sooner it happens the sooner we can regain our form from last years regular season. We can be a contender but it starts with the front office making some sly moves. This season is meaningless at this point, even if we sneak into the playoffs. We all need to start watching Knicks games and cheering for the other team!

    • LBJ

      At least the Bucks have a plan — secure a top 3 pick in one of the deepest drafts in years. The Nuggets plan is to flounder around in mediocrity – doing nothing to compete now or in the future.

  • disqus_Zof8sHWvOp

    Horrible grader