Thanks to the Nuggets complete inability to defend good players the Bobcats led for most of the contest and defeated the Nuggets 105-98. Al Jefferson dominated anyone the Nuggets tried to throw at him while Gary Neal and Kemba Walker took turns killing the Nuggets when Jefferson needed a blow.
Grades are below the jump.
|Kenneth Faried, PF 31 MIN | 7-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 15 PTS | -2
Faried scored one point and grabbed two rebounds in the second half. His first half production was nice but it is hard to give him anything above a C when he did almost nothing in the second half.
|Wilson Chandler, SF 31 MIN | 3-13 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | -4Wilson Chandler had nine points with 4:09 left in the first quarter. Wilson Chandler finished with 9 points. This guy is supposed to be the Nuggets second best player right now. Tonight was another night of struggling to fill that role.|
|Timofey Mozgov, C 20 MIN | 4-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | 0
Mozgov got lit up by Al Jefferson fairly regularly. Then he got put on skates by Kemba Walker in the pick-and-roll. He also lost the handle on a wide open dunk and fumbled his fair amount of passes like normal. Starting Mozgov was a good idea but he hasn’t played up to the role yet.
|Ty Lawson, PG 40 MIN | 9-19 FG | 4-6 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 24 PTS | -2
Lawson did everything he could to get and keep the Nuggets in the game in the second half. He got to the rim, made threes and got looks for others. But he wasn’t all that productive in the first half and it dug a hole that the Nuggets couldn’t come back from.
|Randy Foye, SG 33 MIN | 4-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | -7
Foye has to make threes to make his full impact. He didn’t tonight. He wasn’t terrible but he also wasn’t good.
|Jan Vesely, PF 13 MIN | 2-4 FG | 1-3 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -4
The Airwolf plays hard. He isn’t good but he plays hard. He is like Anthony Randolph but more athletic and somehow less skilled. And more fun. WAYYYY more fun.
|Darrell Arthur, PF 9 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -5
I don’t remember Arthur being in the game, which doesn’t say anything, really good or bad about his nine minutes. So he gets an incomplete.
|Anthony Randolph, SF 4 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +1
Was anyone surprised when Randolph’s two jumpers missed badly? Anyone? No? I thought so. He played hard though.
|J.J. Hickson, C 19 MIN | 2-7 FG | 7-10 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | -5
JJ gets a C for two reasons. First he went 7/10 from the line which for him is a minor miracle. Second, in the first half Luke Ridnour drove straight across Hickson’s face and Hickson who was playing I believe Cody Zeller around the elbow lost him so bad he never realized Ridnour was going to the rim. It was spectacularly bad and I laughed really hard.
|Aaron Brooks, PG 24 MIN | 5-11 FG | 5-5 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 16 PTS | -2
Brooks gets a better grade than Faried because the majority of his contributions came in the second half as Denver tried to claw back into the game. He was really the only one helping Lawson at points in the fourth quarter.
|Evan Fournier, SG 16 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -5
Fournier picked up three fouls very early on defending Gary Neal and all of them were legitimate continuing a recent and really mostly season long trend of being bad on that end. If Fournier wants to stick in the league and be productive he needs to add something besides shooting to his game. Right now it is tough to see it happening, at least to me.
Shaw tried everything he could to get his team back in the game, experimenting with different lineup combinations and defensive strategies. At this point in the season, with nothing at all to gain, it makes sense to try things. Except Anthony Randolph. It never makes sense to try him.
Two Things We Saw
- I was very critical of Kenneth Faried’s offense earlier this season and recently he has me coming around. It will never look great and isn’t something I would ever go to late in games but it has been at a level I never expected, especially his jumper. It makes the contract decisions coming soon even more interesting.
- The Knicks won again tonight which is a problem. Denver isn’t going to fall all the way down to a potential top five pick so any wins that the Knicks get move Denver farther and farther away from that. That isn’t a good thing for the Nuggets who desperately need a superstar via the draft thanks to the problems with the roster construction and salary cap usage.
Next up: Wednesday, Mar. 12, 5 p.m. (MST) at Orlando. Going to the game? Save money and get cheap Denver Nuggets tickets here.
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