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.
|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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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