Rapid Reaction: Memphis Grizzlies 94, Denver Nuggets 92

In what turned out to be one of the more exciting (and odd) games of the season, the Nuggets ended up falling to the Grizzlies in quite, well, interesting fashion. Timofey Mozgov had a career night in more than one way, and Brian Shaw certainly assisted in helping Mozgov achieve this feat. If nothing else, this was a fun game worth staying up for… until the end. That was just awful.

Memphis Grizzlies 94 Final

Recap | Box Score

92 Denver Nuggets
Kenneth Faried, PF 32 MIN | 6-14 FG | 5-9 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 17 PTS | +8

Faried couldn’t handle the Grizzlies’ bigs down low (who can?) but played great offensively. I continue to be blown away at how much he’s developed in one year. He’s running the floor, passing like a point guard and finishing on the low block like it’s his specialty. Faried’s continuing growth is worth watching alone.

Quincy Miller, SF 18 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | -8

As Matt put it on Twitter, “I completely forgot that Quincy Miller played in this game.”

Timofey Mozgov, C 32 MIN | 9-15 FG | 5-7 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 23 PTS | 0

This was one of Mozgov’s best games of his career. He was dunking with authority, finishing well around the rim, rebounding like a mad man and even shooting more 3-pointers! Well, maybe his three wasn’t the best idea in the world, but outside of that he was an animal.

Ty Lawson, PG 40 MIN | 3-9 FG | 2-4 FT | 5 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -1

Lawson has been in a major slump lately and this game was no exception. He played OK, but he wasn’t assertive. That was really his biggest problem. Lawson has to be THE GUY on a nightly basis. Slumps happen, but as has often been the case in his career, he was being entirely too passive.

Randy Foye, SG 40 MIN | 6-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | +11

Foye had a solid game overall. He did a little bit of everything, and if he just hit a few more of his threes this game would have had a totally different outcome.

Jan Vesely, PF 16 MIN | 3-4 FG | 2-4 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | 0

Jan Vesely is something else. I don’t know what, but he’s something. He’s the only player I’ve ever watched where I fear for his life every time he gets near the ball. He just starts jumping and making weird bodily movements that don’t really affect anybody or anything. I’m worried one of these times he’s gonna land wrong and maim himself. I don’t know, maybe he should just try and relax and play basketball instead of always trying to kinetically pluck invisible butterflies out of the air.

Darrell Arthur, PF 16 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | -8

Arthur didn’t have a huge impact. In fact, he only hit a few long-range shots then disappeared for the remainder of the game.

Aaron Brooks, PG 29 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | +4

I really like Aaron Brooks. Really, really. As a backup point guard, he’s exactly what the Nuggets need. He’s steady. He has range. He has vision. He’s intelligent. He plays hard. He gives it his all on defense. He does occasionally take too many shots, but who doesn’t? This is another guy who makes watching the Nuggets worthwhile.

Evan Fournier, SG 17 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | -6

Fournier didn’t do much, but what he did do was nice. He had an impressive Euro-step drive to the hoop early on that was memorable and played hard all night.

Brian Shaw
So I like Brian Shaw. I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that I think he’s a solid coach, a solid dude. But letting Mozgov, who’s made one 3-pointer his entire career, shoot a potential game-winning three just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Was it fun? OF COURSE! Did I like the fact that Shaw thought out of the box? OF COURSE! But at the same time, this was a winnable game that he treated like practice. That’s a tough pill to swallow from a fan’s standpoint. Watching Mozgov take threes is great and all, but I think I speak for the rest of Nuggets Nation when I say, watching someone else actually hit a game-winning three is much better.

Three Things We Saw

  1. The last eight seconds of this game were ridiculous. First, you had the whole Mozgov catastrophe; then you had the last play of the game where Courtney Lee totally missed the rim on his free throw, which should have stopped the clock and allowed the Nuggets one last shot, but which the refs totally ignored. This game had so much zeal for the first 47 minutes and 53 seconds of action. Then time just stopped and I have no idea what the hell happened after that.
  2. Is it me or has Zach Randolph absolutely abused the Nuggets for the last half decade? And I’m not even talking about recently, with Faried and McGee guarding him. I remember when he was with the Clippers, he’d come into the Pepsi Center and seemingly have his way with guys like K-Mart and Nene. Unless the Nuggets get some much-needed defensive help up front this summer, I don’t see this trend ending anytime soon.
  3. It’s looking more and more like the Knicks are gonna make the playoffs in the East. If this is the case, then the Nuggets will retain their own pick for the upcoming draft. And if this is the case, then I hate to be the guy to say it, but losses like this kind of have a silver lining. Obviously nobody is rooting for the Nuggets to lose, but it’s certainly much easier to accept when you realize how talented the upcoming draft is and how much better the Nuggets will be next year.

Next up: Wednesday, April 2, @ 7 p.m. MST vs. New Orleans. Going to the game? Save money and get cheap Denver Nuggets tickets here.

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Kalen Deremo

Kalen was born in Durango, CO, in 1988 and graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2013 with a degree in journalism. He's now an itinerant hoping to travel as much as possible before eventually succumbing to the "real world." Aside from writing Kalen likes movies, music, spicy food and the great outdoors. Edward Abbey is his current idol.

Latest posts by Kalen Deremo (see all)

  • Sergio Balderas

    Yeah, somebody does need to GIF that Mozgov sequence

  • Sócrates Manzoni

    #MOZGOD… The three wasnt that off and had he passed the ball to an open Ty, Denver might have tied it. (Also, good tanking loss considering the knicks are making the playoffs)

    • LBJ

      I hope not – they still have some tough games left.

  • Guest


  • Guest
  • Tyler

    Bad quality but here ya go

  • Heisenberg

    I think one post is enough.

    • Tyler

      Yeah, I totally messed that up. I tried to delete it but failed haha

      • Heisenberg

        It’s all good lol.

        • Erlingur Grétar Einarsson

          It’s so nice, we need it thrice.

  • Nugman

    Why was Mozzy even on the court for that last possession? Evan an Q are on the bench and both are better 3 point shooters than Moz. I’m sure Kalen will over look this one little game finishing mistake and rave over what a great job Shaw did. I predict he gets a B+ or A despite having the wrong player on the court for our last shot. Remember when JJ shot the last second 3? This is ridiculous

  • Richard Pesicka

    Nuggets won’t make the basement. Other than that..eh…

  • Andrew

    I have to say, I kind of like Shaw drawing that shot up for Moz. The season’s over anyway, and what if he hits it? Suddenly, he’s a stretch 5! Ha ha. Seriously, though, what if he hits it?

    • Nugman

      If he hits it you probably call Shaw a genius even though it still would’ve been an incredible stupid decision

      • Andrew

        Under no circumstances would that be a genius move. I just like it because it’s Shaw being a little whimsical at a time where the team is clearly out of it and has nothing to fight for (other than professionalism and pride). Why not let the big man shoot that 3? If he misses, oh well. If he makes it, would he be the only Center in NBA history to hit a game-winning three? Probably not, but I can’t think of any others.

  • Ckwizard

    What did the nuggets have to gain by winning? Would the fans like Nugman give shaw some credit for the win or would they just claim that Memphis was on a back end of a back to back and were just overlooking the poorly coached nuggets… I think that “Pacerman” is blaming shaw for the pacers asskicking from the spurs… that time he spent there as an assistant…. blah blah blah all the stupid stuff he did those ayers are worse off for it blah blah blah shaw sucks end blah

    • gimpcom187

      I agree nugman seems to focus on shaws weaknesses. Realistically hes a slightly below average coach with an outside shot of developing into an above average one. Its unlikely he ever becomes a top tier defensive coach if you look at the history of top tier defensive coaches. The mozgov shot was silly and not really defensible unless they are tanking. Which doesnt make much sense since they cant move up or down more than 1 spot at this point.

      He likely overemphasizes these weakness due to the many unrealistic opinions on this team including the we beat miami and clips threads so the nugs are quite good when shaw doaches em up. If the spurs 2 game series doesnt prove that the nugs winning the clips heat games was more about them than the nugs then I guess we dont watch the same game. After 1st spurs game people suggested it was more proof the nugs were able to keep up rather than the top teams losing concentration. After the 2nd spurs game I think it was pretty clear they arent in that league.

      In terms of comparing him to karl I tend to agree with nugman but have given up expecting the karl haters to get realistic. it would take 3-4 year playoff drought to get you all to budge on that. If your argument is that nugman should give up on that discussion because many karl haters dont see him realistically and he should just critique shaw on a less negative scope then i agree with you ckwizard. If your contention is the tesm has shown growth or it suggests shaw is a good coach we disagree.

      • Nugman

        I will give Shaw credit for taking Faried out for the last possession, although that was a no-brainier. But then I figured taking Moz out was a no brainer

        • gimpcom187

          I agree with all your concerns regarding PnR. They were atrocious in the spurs game as well.

          I think its easy to be combative on these comments as everyone is faceless and there are some clear differences of opinion.

          obviously the injuries play a role, but the team played a relatively easier schedule 1st 40-50 games of the year and had played very inconsistently and had a below average defense. The only significant injuries to that point were gallo who was expected out and mcgee who is no better than mozgov or hickson.

    • Heisenberg

      I don’t think it’s entirely fair to compare last year’s team to this year’s, which is what many Karl proponents like to do. Gallo and Iggy were arguably the Nuggets two best players last year. There is a talent difference between the two rosters.

      Having said that, Shaw needs a lot of work. The minutes allocations, rotations that don’t make sense, his player interactions…..I think he can get better but some of his mistakes are inexcusable. I gave him a C earlier but after watching the past few weeks have to take him down to a C-/D+. I’m willing to give him one more year but if we don’t start seeing considerable improvement then it’s time to cut ties and find someone else.

      For the record, I wasn’t a big Karl guy and thought the firing was warranted. I wish the Nuggets had contacted guys with coaching experience first (Sloan and SVG both seemed open to returning to coaching). A lot of teams passed on Shaw and we’re starting to see why.

      • Ckwizard

        Next year is going to be interesting on two counts.

        First is the fact that Shaw will prove with certainty whether or not he is a legitimate NBA coach… It is obvious who thinks he will fail and is horrible, I on the other hand think he has done a good job this year and would give him a “B”… I do not like the front office, the fact that the nuggets went extended games with out a true point guard is bad management and i would grade the front office before the season as a “C” and during the season as an “F”

        Second… Next year Gallo will be back!!!! In a vacuum Gallo is a fine player and boarder line all star. The interesting observation I will have is “how does Gallo make the other players better?” The rotations completely change and the lineups available become more fluid between big and small. Gallo while not the Greatest at any one thing Does make the team better in almost every facet of the game and having him start makes Denver’s bench better.

        Getting Gallo Back, Shaw being familiar with the team, and the players being familiar with Shaw’s system, should lead to a better performance from Shaw’s team which will of course reflect positively on Shaw’s performance.

  • heykyleinsf

    you can’t expect to push Ty for 40 min a game and not expect him to be tired. We just are decimated all the way around. This season needs to end for the sake of Ty making it through in one piece. 8 games left in 14 days.. all but 2 vs playoff teams. Going to be watching through my fingers hoping we don’t lose anyone else.