Denver had the upset in their hands thanks to a furious second half rally but ultimately they forgot how to handle double teams leading to turnovers and missed a big late free throw before falling in overtime to the Houston Rockets .There were bright sides for Denver though as Aaron Brooks and Quincy Miller had great games and Evan Fournier and Kenneth Faried had great second halves.
Grades are below the jump.
|Kenneth Faried, PF 38 MIN | 7-17 FG | 2-2 FT | 13 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 16 PTS | -15
Faried was almost invisible in the first half but showed up and played fairly well in the second half.
|Quincy Miller, SF 34 MIN | 8-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 4 BLK | 2 TO | 19 PTS | +14
I say with about 99.9 percent certainty that this was the best game of Quincy’s young career. He attacked off the dribble, knocked down threes, rebounded the ball and even rotated down and blocked a few shots. It was a glimpse of what we all hope Quincy can eventually become.
|Timofey Mozgov, C 27 MIN | 6-9 FG | 2-4 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 15 PTS | 0
He missed a dunk on the game’s first possession but after that he played well. The biggest problem is that after running up and down the court a few times at the pace the game was being played at Mozgov looked super winded and needed to come off the floor.
|Aaron Brooks, PG 47 MIN | 11-24 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 15 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 7 TO | 24 PTS | -1
24 and 15 is impressive enough but doing it for a team that you joined during the middle of the season that is now playing without two of their best three players is even more impressive.
|Randy Foye, SG 35 MIN | 4-11 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 11 PTS | -12
He didn’t make shots. But Foye has proven this year he is exactly the type of role player that can fit on a good team. He plays his role, does whatever is asked even if he probably can’t (try and be a defensive stopper or point guard) and competes every night. Denver made a great call signing Foye (even though half of the commenters here hate him).
|Darrell Arthur, PF 19 MIN | 3-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -3
Arthur grabbed what should have been the game sealing offensive rebound but free throws didn’t allow that to be the case. He again played the pick-and-roll better than any Nugget big. Arthur has also proven he is probably a guy that should be around long term.
|Jan Vesely, PF 19 MIN | 2-4 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +5
He drew a few big charges, grabbed some rebounds, flailed around and generally played hard. It is like Anthony Randolph with actual contributions.
|Anthony Randolph, SF 6 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -8
Meanwhile Anthony Randolph was a terrible basketball player that missed a lay-up fouled someone and almost fell down in the first few minutes he played.
|Evan Fournier, SG 39 MIN | 9-16 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 26 PTS | -5
Tonight was a reminder that when Fournier can spot-up and knock down open shots he looks like and NBA caliber player. When he is asked to handle the ball and create offense like he was at points when Brooks sat and that goes away. He did hit some massive shots in the second half though.
Shaw’s halftime speech was great, his pregame one wasn’t very good and his late game one wasn’t either. Some people will like what he did, some will hate it and some will say wait and see. There were good and bad signs tonight but ultimately this was a team whose best player was Aaron Brooks so it is hard to beat playoff teams like that.
Next up: Wednesday, April 9th vs. Houston, 7 p.m. MST. Going to the game? Save money and get cheap Denver Nuggets tickets here.