Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 115 Dallas Mavericks 110

The Nuggets snapped a six-game slide with a 115-110 victory over the Dallas Mavericks at Pepsi Center. Outside of a poor second half in which Denver almost squandered the comfortable lead they held all night, the Nuggets delivered their best overall effort in a while.

Dallas Mavericks 110 Final
Recap | Box Score
115 Denver Nuggets
Kenneth Faried, PF 32 MIN | 5-10 FG | 6-6 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 16 PTS | +4

Faried is quietly putting together a string of good performances for the first time all season. Simplifying what the Nuggets want out of him on defense seems to have boosted his confidence in a big way. He’s actually showing growth on offense and putting up points in a variety of ways.

Wilson Chandler, SF 32 MIN | 6-17 FG | 6-8 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 21 PTS | +14

I suppose this is what constitutes a great game for Chandler nowadays, but in all seriousness he hit some really big shots and finally showed the kind of impact he can have on defense — the kind that had George Karl calling him a premier defender just a few months back. At some point it would be nice for Chandler to start producing with at least average efficiency. He continues to look pretty wild in Brian Shaw’s offense.

Timofey Mozgov, C 21 MIN | 0-5 FG | 3-4 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | +3

He rebounded. He didn’t foul someone every 20 seconds. He stayed in the paint and tried to protect, with varying success. It wasn’t a total disaster. For Mozgov, that’s pretty okay. I’ll take it.

Ty Lawson, PG 35 MIN | 5-12 FG | 8-9 FT | 6 REB | 7 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 20 PTS | -8

Lawson started off blazing, shooting 4-7 in the first quarter for 17 points and 2 assists. After that he was just 1-5 from the field for a paltry 3 points the rest of the way. That’s not bad but it’s the second straight game Lawson has wildly alternated between way below average and amazing.

Randy Foye, SG 38 MIN | 5-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 16 PTS | -5

Foye has done a pretty good job making the massive adjustment to Ty Lawson’s return. He’s spotting up more, shooting off the dribble way less and generally just providing support while letting Ty create.

Darrell Arthur, PF 14 MIN | 3-5 FG | 4-4 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +12

He is not the best matchup for Dirk, but once again Arthur found ways to be effective and was the most consistent defensive presence among Denver’s bigs. Why he continues to get the shortest leash of the bunch as the most capable player remains really baffling.

Quincy Miller, SF 8 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -11

Miller got some token minutes but didn’t really do anything noteworthy.

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

The Nuggets must have thought they were gonna close this one comfortably, but they are the Nuggets and they obviously didn’t

J.J. Hickson, C 26 MIN | 8-10 FG | 0-1 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 5 BLK | 0 TO | 16 PTS | +9

If Hickson could play the rest of his Nuggets career in this kind of role I just might be able to live with the signing. He seemed to grasp Shaw’s new defensive concepts better than any big and was Denver’s most consistent presence inside. He delivered a couple of huge blocks and monster finishes at the rim. When Hickson lives in the paint all game, good things CAN happen.

Aaron Brooks, PG 17 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +7

Brooks didn’t get in the game till the second quarter and hasn’t looked confident in his shot since Ty Lawson’s return. He’s still adjusting to his new team and it was nice to see him have a positive impact despite not really being a factor offensively. His 4 steals in 17 minutes were a nice surprise.

Evan Fournier, SG 15 MIN | 3-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +4

Fournier really didn’t have a great game, starting off with three quick fouls in an uphill battle for playing time the rest of the way. He did get it together for a nice fourth quarter in which Fournier looked under control and confident. Ultimately he needs to get more consistent to earn the bigger role Nuggets fans all want to see him in.

Brian Shaw

Shaw and his team have looked more and more uptight every game since the All-Star break, and nothing but losses have followed. Tonight seemed to mark a new, looser approach for both sides and the Nuggets responded with a solid overall effort. Shaw seems to realize his team is going to give up penetration and he has to leave guys in better position to do something about it. He also made decent adjustments against Dallas’ zone and used his timeouts wisely in preventing a second-half meltdown.

One Thing We Saw

  1. The Nuggets held the Mavericks to 43.5% shooting in the first half. After a total defensive collapse the Mavs shooting ballooned to 63.4% in the second half. That is the sign of a very poor defensive team, as there was no radical strategy change to catch the Nuggets off guard. They simply did their Nuggets thing in the second half and luckily had enough of a cushion to weather it and recover.
  • Shannon Smith

    Too bad the Knicks won as well.

  • googergieger

    Yay?

  • alex47666

    This was a great win, and a great defensive effort tonight. the score may say 110, but the last minute was garbage time.

  • LBJ

    Damn. We don’t need that.

  • Heisenberg

    Can’t lose them all.

    It’d be nice if we could lose the next few. Some real crappy teams coming up.

    • Bryan

      No, we jjust need the Knicks to lose all of their games.

      Come on NYK’s: #Surrender4Denver

  • Nugman

    I don’t get it. For 58 games Shaw doesn’t make situational substitutions at end of games then suddenly he does it the last two games. Against the Wolves he put all 3 shooters in late and tonight Best FT shooters and ball handlers to protect the lead. What gives? Did he finally realize what we saw all year?

    For 55 games Shaw starts JJ over Moz, which everyone on the planet knew was wrong, then finally changes it.

    For 59 games we watched every team we play beat us with penetration then suddenly he decides to provide some help defense. We’ve been watching it all year and Shaw decides to change it this late? Why did he wait so long?

    Just think if he would have made these adjustments, and others, after 10 or so games when they so obviously needed to be made. We could’ve been in the playoffs. Why does he wait so long to make changes that are so obviously needed?

    • Ckwizard

      Well at one point this year the Nuggets were 14-9, with the prospect of getting Gallo back and McGee back. So um yeah maybe he was confident in his abilities and figured the team was on the right track… I mean come on Shaw has received a lot of bad news regarding bad luck and bad breaks with this years team… It’s nice to see him and his team are still trying to coach, learn, and grow. I for one am still loving my team. Peace

      • The Truth

        He heard the Truth call him out.

  • Thomas

    I’d suggest the Nuggets FO play wih ESPN draft simulator every day and see how the odds of getting a great draft pick diminish considerably with every win.

    http://espn.go.com/nba/lottery2014/mockdraft

    Our odds of getting the top pick yesterday was 6.3%. Today it is only 4.3%.

    Each win diminishes greatly the chance of getting a top 5 pick and selecting an Embid, Ramble, Parker, Wiggins or even Smart. If you used the simulator yesterday, before the win, you always got one of those players. Not today.

    Freakin’ brilliant. Can’t wait to see Hickson next year, instead of, say, Julius Randle.

    • Bryan

      The Knicks also (amazingly) managed to win which was more costly to the Nuggets top 5 hopes.

      • Thomas

        Unfortunately, the Knicks have an easier remaining schedule as the East is so weak.

        It would be most unfortunate if Shaw starts using good rotations and it pays off at the worst possible moment (now that we have such good draft odds). It would be typical of the Nuggets – it seems like this organization was born to always pick the worst path…

        • COfoEVA

          We cannot play to lose, that is against everything the game stands for. we wont be the 76ers

          • gimpcom187

            The okc thunder diagree with you

    • joefresco

      The 4.3% chance is the Knick’s pick. The .7% chance is the Nuggets pick.

      • Thomas

        Yes, but lose 3, 4 games in a row and the odds for our pick become just as high.

        We suck even at tanking.

        • COfoEVA

          Thats stupid, we wont end up worse than the Knicks.

          • Thomas

            No, that’s not “stupid”. On the other hand, pretty safe bet that you are.

    • COfoEVA

      It doesn’t matter what we do we wont end up worse than the Knicks. We need to use this time to grow as a team and hope the Knicks continue to be terrible. they won last night unfortunately.

      • Sharkboy242

        You don’t know that.. The Knicks have an easy remaining schedule and at the very least you can say that they try to win night in and night out. Other teams don’t have that incentive to win and are much more prone to losing. Nuggets have a very difficult schedule remaining.

    • Heisenberg

      No thanks for Smart. They already have Lawson and Smart’s not big enough to play the 2.

      Not to mention the mental concerns.

  • Trip

    Granted I only caught the second half of this game, but from what I saw Mozgov should have gotten at least a B. He was playing really great defense. He collapsed on the baseline at least 3 times on someone driving the lane which forced a bad jump pass which resulted in 3 turnovers. Now the stats wont reflect that, but I think he was playing great off ball defense, and deserves more credit even if he wasn’t doing anything offensively.

  • Sharkboy242

    We need to keep losing. There’s no need to appease those who think we should be trying. High draft pick > everything.

    • Andrew

      Ha ha. Weird position to be in, but the tightrope some of us fans walk is to hope they play and coach hard and to win, but don’t quite get there simply because of injuries and missing some key pieces. I was always nervous about Ty returning, because they are so much better with him in there. They still won’t make the playoffs, but I think they won’t finish anywhere higher than 10-12. Knicks could be anywhere from 5-8 or so. Just my guess.

  • The Truth

    All this Knick/tanking talk is proof of humanity’s sheepish nature to follow the herd.

    • Heisenberg

      You’re right, Denver’s ONLY 9 games out of 8th place, they really should make a push for it…..that way they could get swept by OKC.

      • gimpcom187

        Lol. “The truth” needs the wool pulled from his eyes. Thats the only sheep reference that applies to this scenario.

        Well maybe one more: the truth needs a muzzle so he can be silenced like the lambs.

        Nothing more fun than mocking someone pretentious enough to choose that narcissistic pseudonym.

        • The Truth

          The Truth has not claimed playoffs were a possibility since Nate went down, so no wool over here.

          What the Truth knows is that nothing is beautiful but the Truth. Or as Evan would say, “Rien n’est beau que le vrai.”

          Your pseudonym smells like wool. Baaaah. Get back in line.

          • gimpcom187

            Huh? It took you until February to figure out this team wasn’t playoff bound? About 2 months late on that one. So you were just bringing BS until February then?

            I haven’t watched wrestling since I was 12 but your speech patterns reminds me of that type of character. It’s odd.

            • The Truth

              I stand by my early predictions that had this team a possible playoff contender. That is without Gallo and McGee. Nate’s injury is the biggest story of the year, and the most impactful.

      • The Truth

        No, you’re right. There’s nothing else to talk about because high draft picks natural equate to deep playoff runs and dynasties. The examples are endless.

        • Heisenberg

          Yeah, the Spurs really regretted tanking when they got Tim Duncan…..what a bust that was.

          OKC sucking for a few years, obviously didn’t pan out when they got Durant, Westbrook and Harden. Some real D-League talent there.

          Here’s a hint: OKC, Indiana, and San Antonio were all built through the draft.

          • The Truth

            A few examples in a sea of failures. You couldn’t even wrap your head around all of the teams trying to get to the promise land from the draft and not only didn’t make it but got worse for trying. OKC, Indiana and SA have pretty good coaches, GMs and organizations. The verdict is still out on the Nuggets, I’d rather talk about that then spend a half year speculating on something that rarely works.

        • gimpcom187

          Of the Finals contenders over the last decade: Spurs-Duncan. Heat-Wade (and the only reason they got lebron was Wade), OKC-Durant, Harden, Westbrook, Dallas-Dirk Nowitzki, LAL- No one (though Kobe was technically from the lottery) BOS- Paul Pierce (only reason Garnett agreed to trade was that they had Pierce); Orlando- Dwight Howard; Cleveland-Lebron; Detroit-no one Miami-Wade.

          So over the last 10 years 9 teams have made the Finals with Miami making it with 2 different incarnations. so let’s call it 10. 8 of 9 of those teams the best or second best player on the team was gotten in the lottery and 9 of 10 if you count the two different Miami squads. If you want to say Kobe barely made it OK then 7 of 9 or 8 of 10.

          This was the conversation last year that people seemed to not understand about the nuggets talent. Its almost impossible to be a true top 3 team in the league without a top 5-10 player in the league (Detroit did it with 4 top 30 players and probably the best defensive coach in the history of basketball). Those guys only leave with much time left on their prime if their current teammates stink after the CBA was changed to discourage that after Shaq. . But if you want to get them you better have another top 5-15 guy to pair with them as Blake griffin, James Harden, and Wade have proven. Only Harden wasn’t drafted by his team in the lottery of those 3 (which were special circumstances where OKC had the choice of keeping him and going WAY over the luxury tax the next few years as they already had two top 10 players or trade him). The next guy to move on will be kevin Love. He’s likely going to GSW, Wizards or some other team that has 2 good ballplayers in their mid-20s drafted in the lottery and looking like at least 1 guy who has top 10-15 talent that compliments his talents well.

          So Yes the core of an overwhelming majority of top tier teams starts with getting a premier player in the draft lottery and surrounding that talent through various means. Your obviously sarcastic comment was in fact correct.

          • The Truth

            So which is more important, the pick or surrounding the pick? Or the situation in which the pick came into? Right now the question is will the Nuggs give Shaw and the FO a chance to work their vision. A high draft pick is just that, a high draft pick.

            • gimpcom187

              Yeah it’s pretty clear the PICK. You need to pick at least one guy who is top 10-15 to make a real championship run almost all the time. Memphis has made small runs (though they have Conley and last year was their farthest run with a sweep in the WCF) The pick either needs to be that top 5-10 player you surround OR top 5-15 player that another top 10 guy will want to play with. You need to THEN surround your pick with other talent through draft, good trades and/or free agency. And you need to have a top 10 coach. (Cleveland is the exception in 07 but that was the last year the East didn’t have a real contender, and scott brooks is still debatable.)

              A high draft pick doesn’t guarantee a star player but in the current NBA its your best bet. Houston was able to poach one due to circumstances of OKC. Otherwise it’s draft or bust. There is luck associated with the draft obviously:

              The Karl nuggets of the last 2 years had the surrounding pieces but no star to create a dominance in the half court on either offense or defense. If they had turned Nene and another piece or two into a healthy Dwight Howard or brook Lopez. Or Kevin Love or even maybe Lamarcus aldridge or Pau Gasol. Then they have their star player to build around (they needed a big man since none of their bigs are anything beyond 2nd/3rd best big caliber)

  • heykyleinsf

    entirely different team with Ty Lawson back.
    We just are not that bad… sorry.
    With Gallo and some work with Javale
    we could trend toward damn good.
    I want a great draft pick too…
    but we drafted Ty 18th overall.
    Faried was a steal too..
    there have been big time busts with high picks as well..
    Darko Milicic, Jay Williams, Robert Traylor,
    Adam Morrison, Kwame Brown, Greg Oden…

    the list goes on and on.

    I know I’m all alone on this..
    but I also know we’re not getting a top 3 pick.
    I’m going to enjoy the wins and take a more rational approach…
    Wait for this team to get over this snakebit year, get the best
    players we can in the draft and in FA..
    Like every win we have in the meantime.

    • Nugman

      With you all the way. Tanking to maybe get a top pick who may be a bust is high risk. The only thing I would add is to keep Shaw on a short string. This group only has a few years and if Shaw doesn’t show big improvement we need to replace him quickly. If he gets it together great.

      • heykyleinsf

        Agree with all this too. But first want to see how Shaw does with a full healthy roster. I’m perplexed from his rotations and schemes too.. but at the same time.. I don’t know how GK or anyone else does a whole hell of a lot better. I’m not forgetting some of the good things Shaw has done this year either.. I think a lot of people are.

        • gimpcom187

          What’s to risk by losing games for this season? I think some people on here would rather have a 44 win team that maximizes as a 48 win 5th seed rather than a real championship type team. It’s ironic given they’re the same people who crushed Karl the last few years but whatever. Your ONLY realistic path to getting to WCF in the next 5 years is Draft a star type player in this draft and a nice starter in next years draft and supplement with trades/free agents. You aren’t getting a star to denver that wasn’t drafted by the nugs. AND get a top 10 coach (which is hard to do)

          The team has decent talent on it. It’s really only missing 2 pieces from a 57 win team neither of which was an all-star and the coach. All the other pieces have been replaced adequately. It’s a .500ish team that will end up with 35ish wins due to injuries and currently mediocre coaching. Shaw’s got next season and then he is either fired or a lame duck coach. Hopefully they don’t construct the roster to meet his desires and then decide to fire him and the new coach is then handicapped. There is a reason he was passed over numerous times despite good pedigree.

      • Thomas

        High risk of what? What do we lose, other than a few more meaningless games in a lost season?

        We have no valuable trade assets (other than a package of Ty and Faried) and a team that at full strength still falls woefully short of top west contenders. We couldn’t pull it off last year, what makes you think we could in years to come, with this mediocre roster and rookie coach with bad instincts.

        Sorry, wake up. This is about having a chance to get better without losing anything. Who wouldn’t want to do that? Seems like our FO and many of our fans are contempt with mediocrity.

    • Heisenberg

      McGee is too much of an idiot to become great. Way too many Shaqtin a Fool moments.

      Oh, and Oden showed star potential while in Portland for the few times he was out there. He could have been really good without injuries.

      Jay Williams got into a motorcycle accident after his rookie year and never played in the NBA again so we never know what he could have been.

      The rest of those names are fair but this isn’t a typical draft. It looks to be the best draft since LeBron, Melo, and Wade. If this class is half as good as the hype it will be the best of the past 10 years.

      We don’t know what Gallo will be when he gets back. While I don’t believe this roster is that bad they aren’t that great either. Lacks too much defense.

      • heykyleinsf

        but heisenberg they are still fair and for all intents and purposes.. Darko could have had some things we don’t know about that prevented him from fulfilling his potential. The points and players are all still valid. A bust from accidents, injuries, idiocy.. what does it matter? It still results in a lost investment. And my point was that tanking.. then expecting some player to suddenly change everything dramatically and nearly single-handedly..

        I just see this as a popular sentiment .. which I don’t understand or agree with. Of course I have hope and would like a good player… but like you said.. this is a special draft. We might get just as lucky picking 10th as we would picking first.

        • gimpcom187

          History says your percentages of getting a GREAT (read top 15-20 ballplayer in the league) ballplayer after the top 6 or 7 picks is small. It’s less than 30% even 1-6 but it’s probably less than 10% 6-12 and after that you’re looking at 2-4% shots. The closer to top 3 you get the better off the team is.

          PER is imperfect but here are the american born players in the top 20 or so and where they were picked in the draft: Lebron 1st, Durant 2nd, Chris Paul 4th, Kevin Love 4th, Demarcus Cousins 5th, Anthony Davis 1st, Blake Griffin 1st, Russel Westbrook 3rd/4th?, Stephen Curry 7th, Dwayne Wade 5th (in the best draft in 20 years), Al horford 3rd, Dwight Howard 1st, James Harden 3rd?, Paul george 10th, Carmelo 3rd, andre Drummond 9th. So of the American born players in the top 15 or 20 players in the league All but 3 were picked in the first 5 picks in the draft.

          Now tanking may not do the nuggets a huge advantage this year because the knicks are likely to have a worse record And the nuggets pick chance at a top 3 pick is relatively low unless they ended up with 30 or less losses (almost impossible. But your general premise that it’s a crapshoot so why bother tanking is not accurate. If you don’t end up with a top 5 pick you’re extremely unlikely to get a game changing talent which is EXACTLY what the nuggets need.

  • heykyleinsf

    Here is what’s sad about being an NBA basketball fan. There’s such a gross lack of parity.. it almost seems fixed. I need to look where I read this.. so I have to paraphrase and guestimate.. but the truth is.. So many teams are perennial lottery tankers and bottom feeders.. while others have been good for several decades now.
    We’re middle feeders and also-rans.. never getting to a championship.

    It’s basically a six team league. Few teams have ever cracked that elite club. This is true when you look from last year back to the 80s. Bulls, Heat, Lakers, Celtics, Spurs and a rotation of an outlier every once in a while.. Like Dallas, Detroit, Houston.. but that’s it.

    That basically leaves a good 24 teams permanently on the outside looking in. Like us. Tank? Oh yeah. It’s done wonders for Cleveland, Sacramento, Charlotte, Toronto and New Orleans.

    Tanking does nothing. And even the worst record doesn’t guarantee anything with the lottery system. There’s no parity in the NBA.
    You have to have a winning culture.

    • Erlingur Grétar Einarsson

      You make some very good points here. What perplexes me is that we can look at how the biggest sport in America, the sport arguably most ingrained in its entire culture, does it. The NFL has a hard cap and a very simple draft process. While I don’t necessarily think the NBA should take up the NFL’s draft process (I’m happy to keep it as it is or even implement Bill Simmons’ Entertaining As Hell Tournament) I do think the NBA needs a hard cap. It takes away the head-start big markets have (you see superstars in Minnesota, Denver, Green Bay, all over the place) and creates more parity within the league.
      And I do agree. Tanking, on its own, does nothing at all. You need to be smart with what you do after tanking. And that remains to be seen here in Denver.
      In the meantime, I’m happy to see games like this in Dallas, where they’re obviously trying to do things ‘the right way’, learn how they can best function, implement new systems and a showing some players (I’m looking at you, J.J.) that putting in an honest effort can pay off, instead of coasting on your natural athleticism and waiting for the saviour to arrive in June via a Silver Handshake. That will help Denver going forward and since the draft is so deep and the Knicks are so bad we won’t be any worse off finishing 35-47 than 28-54. We’ll probably end up with a pick at around #7 and if we draft a smart, solid, good defensive player (I’m looking at Vonleh or Gordon), clear out some of the worst offenders from this year’s team and stay patient we might just have a very bright future.
      But of course, crossing the next hurdle and competing for a championship depends on smart management, and the jury’s still out on that.

    • Thomas

      Yeah, like the Spurs “winning culture” had nothing to do with them getting Duncan, or the Thunder’s “winning culture” had nothing to do with drafting the 2nd and possibly 3rd best player in the NBA (Harden).

      You certainly don’t develop a “winning culture” by standing pat and hoping that established players may transform themselves and make your team suddenly a contender.

      Our front office sucks. The only realistic hope is that the draft lands you a gem. If you could increase your chances of that happening, you do.

  • Furious_Stylez

    Shaw needs to limit Lawson to 25min per game. There’s no point in wearing him down during a lost season. I know the Nuggets FO will never admit to tanking, but they clearly know the season is over and running your best player into the ground isn’t the best option.

    People saying “we don’t need to tank” need to understand the Knicks are only a few games out of the playoffs. If a few things break their way, they’ll become motivated to win. Don’t forget they have a Superstar who when motivated, is unstoppable as a scorer.

    The worst thing that could happen is the Nuggets and Knicks start winning games and play well enough that neither team makes the lottery.