Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets107-Phoenix Suns 112

Thanks to some technical difficulties with my DVR I missed the majority of the first quarter but the Nuggets fought back from an early deficit to put themselves in position to finally defeat the Suns this season. Up five with under a minute left all Denver had to do was hang out but they were unable to thanks to problems generating good looks on offense and grabbing rebounds on defense.

In overtime Denver continued to struggle offensively and ultimately JJ HICKSON SHOT A THREE TO TRY AND TIE THE GAME WITH 5 SECONDS LEFT and they fell 112-107.

Grades are after the jump and please before you yell about Hickson’s grade read the comments. Please.

Phoenix Suns 112 Final

Recap | Box Score

107 Denver Nuggets
Kenneth Faried, PF 35 MIN | 7-15 FG | 7-9 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 21 PTS | -13

Tonight was a night where Faried clearly decided to do his JJ Hickson impression. At one point in the third quarter Faried had missed six straight shots. The worst part of that isn’t that he missed that many shots in a row but that Kenneth Faried took six shots in a quarter for an NBA team. He was also on the floor for the late defensive and rebounding breakdown when he decided he wasn’t going to actually box anyone out. But his box score looked nice.

Wilson Chandler, SF 37 MIN | 4-15 FG | 5-8 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | -21

Gerald Green scored 36 points in 30 minutes. Wilson Chandler was responsible for him. Chandler also missed 11 shots in a game where I guess he was the main offensive option by default. Oh, and he threw away an inbounds pass in overtime. It wasn’t a good night.

Jordan Hamilton, SF 26 MIN | 3-7 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | -8

The latest dart thrown at the starting shooting guard spot with Ty Lawson out Hamilton wasn’t awful. He wasn’t good, but he wasn’t awful.

J.J. Hickson, C 33 MIN | 4-12 FG | 3-6 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 11 PTS | -30

JJ HICKSON SHOT A THREE POINTER WITH FIVE SECONDS LEFT TO TIE A GAME IN OVERTIME! He gets an A+ for the amount it made me laugh. For his actual basketball play though he gets an F. He stinks. At everything. In fact tonight he wasn’t even able to make his stat line look good.

Randy Foye, SG 40 MIN | 3-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 5 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -18

Poor Randy Foye. Foye signed with Denver this offseason to be a spot up shooter around Ty Lawson. When he gets to do that the results have been good. When he has to play point guard for 40 minutes they haven’t. It really isn’t fair to try and grade him on that, so I won’t.

Darrell Arthur, PF 19 MIN | 3-7 FG | 2-4 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +15

Faried’s box score looks better than Arthur’s tonight but it is hard to ignore the fact that Denver made their second half run with Mozgov and Arthur on the floor and started the free fall that led to the defeat once they both left it.

Anthony Randolph, SF 24 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +13

Poor Anthony Randolph. At least three times that I saw one of the Morris brothers just knocked Randolph right to the floor with ease. He plays hard but all that does is make the mistakes he makes by not being good at basketball happen more often.

Timofey Mozgov, C 19 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | +24

There isn’t much more to say at this point. Mozgov is the best big man on the roster. Tonight he wasn’t even in foul trouble. I have no idea why he played just 19 minutes. He deserved more.

Evan Fournier, SG 33 MIN | 8-19 FG | 6-7 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 25 PTS | +13

I have been hard on Fournier recently as he has been fairly bad to awful in since Nate Robinson went down. But tonight he stayed within himself by taking mostly spot up jumpers or transition opportunities. When he does that he is clearly a useful player. He even supplemented it tonight with a few nice drives. It was nice to see from a guy I was high on before the season.

Brian Shaw

The play that Shaw drew up to get Wilson Chandler a shot to win the game was great, even if it was literally the same play he used against the Clippers earlier this month. But after Mozgov and Arthur were on the floor for almost anything Denver did well in the second half he removed them and went with Hickson and Faried to close regulation and play all of overtime. At some point the blind trust for Hickson has to stop.

Four Things We Saw

  1. Defensive rebounding has been a problem for Denver all season but many of their problems tonight came from the fact that they just didn’t box out. This has always been a problem for Kenneth Faried and it hurts extra hard on long jumpers that typically lead to longer rebounds. The inability to get a big defensive rebound cost Denver the game.
  2. This team has a very low collective basketball IQ and tonight it was again on display. First they couldn’t adjust to the constant long rebounds. Then they somehow allowed a run out on a jump ball that took place on their end of the floor. Then Chandler turned the ball over on the inbounds. Then in a situation where the Suns could have fouled up three they inbounded the ball to Kenneth Faried. Good teams don’t make constant mental mistakes. For Denver they happen too often.
  3. This was Denver’s final game before the trade deadline so things may be a bit different soon. But be ready for another game without a point guard that night against the Bucks. I don’t expect Lawson to be ready by then and any trade will probably take a few days to get the players eligible to play with physicals and travel and such. It should be interesting.
  4. I don’t like single game plus/minus because of the noise that always effects it too much. So yes I know Randolph was plus 13. But he wasn’t good, he got thrown to the ground with ease and he shot pull-up threes in transition. But man JJ Hickson’s -30 is hysterical and amazing and actually kind of representative of his performance.

Next up: Thursday, Feb. 21, 7 p.m. (MST) @ MIL. Going to the game? Save money and get cheap Denver Nuggets tickets here.

  • Chris Barnewall

    hahahahahhahahahahahahahahahaha JJ Hickson shot a 3

  • Richard Pesicka

    With Mozzy on the bench and a problem with rebounds, I fail to see why you wouldn’t have him in the game. I looked and he had one foul. As long as Shaw is the coach, expect more losses.

  • heykyleinsf

    Props to Fours and Manimal for gutsy performances. Not bummed overall, but wish Chandler could pass the ball a little more on night like this. Geesh.. stop shooting dude.. it’s not your night.

    • alex47666

      LOL really foye sucks now, I wonder what would be causing him to play bad. Maybe its him trying to play out of position, or he is trying to be a PG and pass the ball and not just be a shooter.

      • Nugman

        That excuse doesn’t work for his terrible defense and lack of hustle in transition. Foye watches more of the game standing on the court than I do sitting in the stands. How much does he have to pay for that ticket?

  • Shannon Smith

    Pretty unlucky at the end of regulation time with the Suns getting those offensive rebounds. Too bad we don’t have a player that is 7’1″, perhaps even of Russian origin, that could have had a chance to grab them.

  • Richard Pesicka

    Nuggets have lost faith in their coach. So has the fans. The camera caught many fans just shaking heads. It’s time to trade and dump. Include the coach.

  • Kody R

    JJ.. why

  • googergieger

    I decided to watch The Killing on Netflix instead of the game to see what all the hubbub was about. Looks like I made the right choice.

  • LBJ

    I thought for a minute that we were heading for a bad win – but Shaw came to his senses and benched Mozzy. We are lottery bound!

    • JED89

      have you seen the knicks record?

      • LBJ

        Yes. Why do you ask?

  • gallogallo88

    I think it was good considering Ty was out

  • LBJ

    What is with these starting lineups? JHam over Fours? JJ over Mozzy? I guess that helps us get down by double digits early.

  • Darian Williams

    good to see fournier step up but thats pretty much it. I don’t like to judge shaw with such little to judge off of but this was some high school coaching tonight. Why mozzy wasn’t in at the end of the fourth is unknown to anyone. Why shaw didn’t know they would just foul at the end of overtime is a mystery too. Don’t pass the ball in to one of your worst free throw shooters in Faried, either shoot off a screen or pass it into fournier or foye so they can get fouled. Somehow shaw thinks JJ is a star since he was only the second option on the last play. No one on the team cares and i don’t blame them. New coach and a top 5 pick please

    • Nugman

      I’ve seen high school coaches do much better

  • Pickles1731

    Well, with the way the Nuggs and Knicks are playing it looks like we could have both those picks in the lottery. If just one of them lands in the top 3 that would be amazing. Being guaranteed Embiid, Wiggins, or Jabari does not come along every year. (And yes, I do know that we have the better of ours and the Knicks)

  • The Truth

    Season ending dagger. Chandler should buy lunch for Turner the rest of the year – dude showed him what a hustling pro is all about. I knew it was looking bad when all the starters came back in. Foye showed up for his coach, Chandler didn’t. Shaw has to have faith in his bench, especially when you wouldn’t even be in the game without them. Too much old school in that young coach, he needs to throw that tradition ish aside.

    • Nugman

      Foye let’s Everyman he guards dribble right around him. Help has to come and the other team gets a wide open shot. Don’t all you Foye lovers watch his terrible defense? He’s pathetic! Watch the tape and you’ll see how many times our defensive breakdowns start with Foye getting beat. Did you see the replay when PHX got the offensive rebound to tie the game? Hasting mentioned how 4 Nugs went in the paint. But not Foye he just stood on the outside and watch the entire play. Watch it again and you’ll see him just standing there. The other 4 should’ve boxed out, but at least they were trying to get the ball!

      • The Truth

        Foye doesn’t have the stamina to play these kind of minutes, especially at point. Dude is gassed, and probably the main cat who needs to change his diet. He’s a good one on one defender in spurts. I thought J Ham or Evan should of started on Dragic. I’ve been a fan of Chandler. I still am, but he let Turner (who was involved in all the crucial hustle plays) win this game. Chandler is part of the frontcourt that let too many offensive boards fall in the Sun’s hands. Foye (and JJ) made what should of been the game winning bucket. He had a bad game overall but stepped up in the end to represent his coaches decision to put him back in, Chandler didn’t. Moz, AR, DA or JHam should of had half if not all of Chandler’s fourth quarter minutes. Shaw was loyal to a fault concerning Will in this game.

  • The Truth

    Good to see Evan and J Ham play together. Somebody is listening to the truth.

  • Darian Williams

    and as frustrated and annoyed everyone is with this team, at least we’re tanking nicely

  • CD Pascual

    JJ…. get out of Denver

    That is all

  • Nugman

    It has become apparent that Shaw is not very good at game management. He may be okay as a practice coach, but he struggles during game situations. All season he has failed in special situations at end of games, he has substituted poorly, he has used his players in the wrong situations and basically failed at game management. Tonight’s loss was 100 percent on Shaw he does not deserve a C. He should get lower than F!

    It was clear to anyone watching the game that the second group was clearly out playing the starters. The starters got an early 11 point deficit that the second group came in and made up led by Moz and Evan. It was so clear the subs were playing better that I expected Shaw to adjust his rotation in the second half to get the 2nd group more minutes. I thought he might even start some of the 2nd group. But not Shaw. He did the total opposite! He played the starters 9 minutes in the 3rd qrt which goes beyond all logic. ( JJ stayed on the floor for 9 minutes despite multiple mistakes at both ends) The starters created another double digit deficit, but Shaw left them in. When he finally sent the second group in, they regained control of the game and got the lead back. The problem was Shaw had made the subs so late in the 3rd that they couldn’t finish the game without a rest. So the starters went back in to finish the game and predictably we lost. It was amazing how bad he used his rotations in the 2nd half. But that only the start! What did he do down the stretch?

    With 50 seconds left and us up by 2 and PHX has the ball he leaves Faried and JJ in the game for defense after a timeout. What about Moz and Arthur?

    With 17 seconds left with us by 2 and PHX with the ball he leaves Faried and JJ to play D after a timeout. Yes, PHX got the rebound and tied the game.

    With 15 seconds left and the game and Nugs down by 4 he leaves JJ and Faried in to play offense after a timeout

    With 8 seconds left us down by 3 and our ball he leaves JJ and Faried on the court.

    With 6 seconds left and down by 3 after a timeout our ball and JJ is on the floor. Guess who PHX let’s shoot? Pop would not have had Duncan on the floor in that situation! But I guess JJ is better than Duncan.

    In the last 3 minutes and overtime the only subs Shaw made were AR for Faried when we had to foul and JHam and AR on the last play. Does that sound like NBA coaching? That doesn’t even work in high school coaching. Shaw is just not able to manage things during the heat of the game. How does the HC not see that a guy is a minus 30 and keeps playing him? He’s blind to what’s going on around him.

    • Furious_Stylez

      Wooden, Auerbach, Jackson, or Karl couldn’t coach this squad any better. The talent just isn’t there without Gallo and Ty. When Nate went down and AMiller wasn’t moved ASAP, the season was over. Have you checked out the bench recently? It’s a DLeague squad. Shaw came from LA and Indiana, where the rosters went 9-10 deep. It’s way easier to coach with that much talent. In Denver, he has 5 good players and 3 of them are injured. The rest are scrubs. What’s Shaw to do with this shitty roster?

      • LBJ

        While I agree our roster has several guys that aren’t very good – a lot of posters here were complaining that Karl wasn’t playing these same guys last year (AR, J Ham).

        Phoenix’s bench sucks too (their second unit guards suck) – and Hornacek is winning with them.

      • Nugman

        The head coach is in charge of substitutions and if you think Shaw made the proper substitutions (or lack there of) down the stretch and in OT, then you don’t know much about basketball. Moz and DA would’ve given us much better defense and chance to win. On every clutch play Hornezech made the right coaching decision. They foul Faried, give JJ the 3, etc. while Shaw keeps putting the wrong players on the court for the situation. Do you honestly believe JJ should’ve been on the floor for the last position? The D leaguer Q Miller would’ve had better odds to make that shot, but Shaw keeps him on the bench.

      • Paul Griggs

        The bench players outperformed the Suns bench and kept the Nuggets in this game. Shaw’s inexperience is showing and he doesn’t have the tools to run his system. Bring back Doug Moe!

  • Nugman

    Matt, all 4 of your points are valid, but most of them are a direct result of Shaw having the wrong guys on the court at the wrong times. That’s the coaches fault. How could you give Shaw a C for such a poorly coached game? Most of your comments and the others on here are very aware of how bad he screwed up tonight.

    • MattRMC

      The reason I didn’t fail Shaw was for all his faults he drew up a play that should have won Denver the game if JJ Hickson threw a good pass. Wilson Chandler was open but JJ delivered the pass late and high and cost Chandler a layup. Finding the line between bad coaching and bad execution is tough, at some point the players have to execute. If they do on that play Denver wins and things don’t look so bad.

      • Nugman

        But if Shaw had put Moz and DA in on the previous two defensive possessions like he should’ve it probably wouldn’t even came down to that great play he drew up. The game was lost on those defensive possessions. Also, even if they eek out the win it doesn’t change all Shaws substitution blunders in the game and especially the final few possessions. It was a terribly coached game by him.

        • Nugman

          Matt, I might also mention that. Moz probably should’ve been in for JJ to make that pass to Will. Moz is a better passer than JJ and is also taller and can see over the defense better. Moz also shoots FT’s better in case PHX chose to foul. Just another mistake by Shaw

          • LBJ

            Mozzy can also put up a respectable 3 pointer if required (and it was).

  • heykyleinsf

    Looks like the Wolves want Andre…
    And a new JJ is coming..
    Jose Juan Barea
    Puerto Rican Point Guard.
    Loved what he did in Dallas’ championship
    He would have been 2nd MVP behind Dirk.
    I like this and hope it’s true.

    • alex47666

      NO NO NO, I hate JJ more than I hate ours. I would kill myself if we got him

    • LBJ

      He has a bad contract – and is signed for next year. Why do we need another undersized PG?

      I liked what Jason Terry did in the Dallas NBA title series – but I don’t want him on the Nuggets.

      • heykyleinsf

        IDK how you’re being choosey with absolutely zero PGs on the roster.

        • LBJ

          Because the last thing we need is another bad contract for next year. We already have $16 million (McGoof and Mozzy) tied up in centers and $11-12 million in PGs (Nate and Ty). We don’t need another overpaid guy clogging up the roster.
          Sign somebody to a 10 day contract. Or trade for a guy with an expiring deal.

          • heykyleinsf

            we’re going to be stuck with nothing.
            We have to get something.
            I didn’t say I liked the contract.. but I do like the player. He goes in the paint and he’s undersized .. yes.. but it doesn’t matter.. at least on offense.

    • Paul Griggs

      He’s not a good defender and he’s undersized. We need some D in the back court.

      • heykyleinsf

        his being undersized only matters on defense.
        He has no problem at all going in to the paint.
        That’s what I like about him.

  • Furious_Stylez

    Every loss is a win. The worse we are, the better chance at the lottery we have. It’s seems many of the posters on this board don’t quite understand this concept yet. Play Hickson and Faried 44 minutes a game. Hell, play them at SF and SG. Start Randolph at PG. Start a big, slow lineup against a run and gun team. Who cares? I want a shot at a top 10 pick.

  • disqus_Zof8sHWvOp

    Free Chandler!!!!!!!

  • disqus_Zof8sHWvOp

    Chandler man was Tucker also you dweeb Green is 2 guard

  • Andrew

    So, as has been discussed before, Denver gets the best 1st round pick between theirs and the Knicks this year (I think Orlando gets the worse of the two). On the off chance that both teams get in the lottery, has anyone verified that Denver gets the best pick AFTER the lottery shakes out? Just wondering.

    • Bryan

      Yes, it’s determined after the lottery.

    • Old Timer

      That is absolutely the case Andrew. It all depends on what happens in the lottery.

      • Andrew

        Whew.

  • Aaron Durkin

    Do people not realize that the nuggets own the Knicks pick and traded there pick to the magic in the iggy trade. There is no good that can come from losing games…….

    • Darian Williams

      Nope. We get the better pick of ours and the knicks. Knicks are the better team so they will most likely get a higher pick than ours.. so there is good coming from losing.

    • Old Timer

      Aaron, there is much to gain by losing games and for New York to lose games. The Nuggets get the better pick between the two teams so in the lottery they basically have their own lottery combinations as well as the Knicks’. If either team, falls in the top three picks, Denver will get that pick and Orlando gets the lower pick. Even if neither team is lucky enough to move up to the top three picks, Denver can still improve their draft position by losing.

  • Aaron Durkin

    J.J is the worst contract / player in the NBA bar none!!!

  • Aaron Durkin

    I really do not think the nuggets record will be worse then the Knicks but that being said the idea of building through the draft is horrible choice. Because of the lottery process we have less then a 8% chance of getting a top five pick and there is less then a 5% chance that player will turn out to be a good player. If the lottery process worked Utah, Sacramento, Milwaukee, and Detroit would have at least a decent. It is best to work through trades and grow players in a system. This season has been a bust more due to injury and one horrible signing then to lack of talent.

    • Bryan

      The odds will be better than that because the Nuggets will have two opportunities to get a top five pick if both the Knicks and Nuggets keep losing.

      Also, Denver is not a destination city for NBA players. So even with a max contract offer Lebron is not coming through that door. The Nuggets have no choice but to build through the draft.

      • Aaron Durkin

        First off Because Carmelo did not want to stay does not mean
        Denver is not a destination city in the NBA. If you remember there was a time in the mid 2000 where Denver was singing and bringing in all of the hot players. The nuggets are selling you that so they don’t have to spend money much the Rockies try to sell the “Small Market” philosophy. Players want to go where they will win and where they will get paid.

        Additionally name one team that has succeeded in building
        threw the draft. Indiana does not count because 2 of their top 3 players where not drafted by the team. I can think of one and that is San Antonio but it looks like that dynasty is on its last leg. I live in Boston and I am actively watching the Celtics stock pile picks so they can trade those picks for NBA seasoned players. Much
        like they did when they brought in Garnett and Allen. If we want to go that route I would have no issue but I don’t think the nuggets front office is as savvy as the Celtics.

        • Furious_Stylez

          OKC. They drafted KD, Westbrook, Ibaka, and Jackson.

          That being said, I get what you’re saying. To build through the draft a team has to fully commit to sucking for a few seasons, which is a hard sell to the fan base. For the Nuggs to truly do it, They’d have to dump Lawson, Gallinari, Chandler, and Faried. I don’t see them doing it unless this team flounders for another 2 seasons.

        • Bryan

          Yeah, I remember the Nuggets trading for and overpaying Kenyon Martin and being hampered by his terrible contract.

          Denver is not a destination city for NBA players. It’s always about the money. When players like Lebron become free agents it’s the LA, Chicago, NY, Miami’s that are on the short list, not Denver.

          When/If Durant becomes a free agent he’s not going to even consider Denver.

          Boston has been doing its best to tank to get a lottery pick. That is effectively what the Nuggets are resorting to. You can hope you get a marquee player like Durant or trade it for one like the Celtics did to get their one championship. But they key is you have to have those lottery picks.

    • LBJ

      The Bucks have been floundering in 8th seed range for the past several years – mediocre does not let you build through the draft. Utah has just committed to building thru the draft after dumping D-Will (and others).

  • nayvee

    chandler man was tucker not green !!!!!!!

  • LBJ

    GSW just picked up Steve Blake. Another PG dealt – yet our cracker jack FO still can’t move Andre.

    • Darian Williams

      won’t be till last second. its looking like the raptors are interested. Id take Ross, Vasquez, and Novak for Faried, Miller, and hamilton

      • COfoEVA

        take faried out of that and put in JJ.

  • heykyleinsf

    Here’s my thing that IDK how many people get…
    We HAVE to get a PG to finish this season..
    For so many reasons. It’s not as simple as tanking..
    We don’t want to put Ty in a position like this.
    Plus.. I can’t stand to see this team lose.
    No matter what.
    There’s a couple months left.
    I will still watch.
    We HAVE to get a PG.
    I would love to see Barea come in… I think he would be a fit.
    Do I want him long term?
    No.
    but I still care about the season we have left.
    And the players who ARE long term.
    There are some still on this team.
    Shaw isn’t going anywhere.. you can forget about that.
    We need to finish with some kind of positivity.
    but it looks like we’ll get what ever we get from the Wizards.
    Eric Maynor.
    Great…

    • LBJ

      Or we can claim Roger Mason off waivers…

      There are plenty of crappy PGs we can sign for the rest of the season.

      I also care about the rest of the season – where we need to lose as much as possible (see Lakers, who are tanking like crazy).

    • LBJ

      It sounds like we are not even keeping Maynor – we are keeping the big stiff instead. We can’t keep both as we already have 15 guys on our roster.

      • Bryan

        The Nuggets are keeping his expiring contract. Based on the twitter rumors, it looks like the Nuggets are going to do the Hamilton for Udoh swap unless they can find a better deal.

  • Nugman

    Shaw said the players made some mental mistakes that contributed to the PHX loss. However, he didn’t mention any of his own mental mistakes. Does he think he coached a good game? Is he in denial?

  • COfoEVA

    I was at the game and it I hate Hickson. -30 wow. Mozgov is so much better its not even a competition, wth is Shaw doing? Foye is legit.