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.
|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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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