Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 125-Houston Rockets 130

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.

Denver Nuggets 125 Final

Recap | Box Score

130 Houston Rockets
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.

Brian Shaw

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.

Two Things We Saw

  1. I have no idea how to grade this game in full. For the second quarter everyone who stepped foot on the floor should get F’s. For the second half they should probably all get As. The guys who were on the floor at the end of regulation who reacted to doubles by running around like chickens with their heads cut off should all get Fs again. It was really weird but it was fun so I was nicer with the grades.
  2. The Knicks lost today too, so that was good. It probably won’t matter much come lottery time but any little bit helps Denver at this point.

Next up: Wednesday, April 9th vs. Houston, 7 p.m. MST. Going to the game? Save money and get cheap Denver Nuggets tickets here.


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  • Sharkboy242

    Those last minutes of the fourth quarter were so pathetic. I couldn’t even fathom how bad the Nuggets were playing. It was as though every player was stricken with fear. There was so many good looks for them and all they could do was over dribble and cough the ball up. I can’t even put into words how terrible that was.

  • heykyleinsf

    of course you want the win.. but LOVED this game!!
    Shaw had these guys playing with heart, belief, and Shaw had these guys playing together.. We can fix the mental errors. Terrible ball handling undid us..
    But you look at Brooks, Fours, Q, and Manimal..
    Just try to say these guys aren’t buying in to what Shaw is selling them.
    This is becoming a team.. that fights for each other.
    I’ll take this over a superstar any freaking day.. win or lose.
    Shaw is getting these guys to believe in themselves and each other.

    • Nugman

      Shaw is a God! Who should try some objectivity?

  • googergieger

    Eight million free throws to two.

    • heykyleinsf

      40-13 and five called on Brooks..
      Harden had one less FT than the whole Nuggets team
      NBA officiating is the biggest scam in sports.

      • Poz303

        and the bailout when he drove into Mozzy. Horrible refs

    • gimpcom187

      I would say that is more a product of philosophy and talent difference. The rockets know the 3 most efficient ways to score are at the rim 3pt shot and free throws.

      • heykyleinsf


        I’ve freaking heard it all now.

        • gimpcom187

          Well the nugs players in this game average 16 free throws per game thi season. Nuggets give up 3rd most fts in the league. Rockets 7th least. Rockets get the MOST fts in the league. Sooooo you’ve heard the truth now. OMG. I didnt know any stats before your omg statement. Just an observer of the game. You should try it sometime

          • heykyleinsf

            You should try objectivity some time.

            It wouldn’t kill you.

            • gimpcom187

              Best ironic joke anyone has ever made on here. Good one.

              • heykyleinsf

                mine’s half full…

                your’s is
                “who do I have to blow in here to get a drink!!”

              • Nugman

                Half full of what? You sure see a different game than I do. We were down by 17 and then give the game away and all you can do is praise Shaw? Maybe you should take off those rose colored glasses. Shaw may be your hero, but his coaching brings up a lot of concern for knowledgable Nugget fans

              • heykyleinsf

                OOOOoohhh.. it burns..
                my bad.. sorry you’re right.. my bad..
                We didn’t just battle a 50 win team with two all stars
                that’s jockeying for playoff position on their home court..
                with our best players out, our 3rd stringers starting at
                PG, SF and C…
                Gee IDK what game I must have been watching!!
                Thanks for setting me straight.
                let me go hang myself now..
                you’re right.. this is the worst pain ever!

              • gimpcom187

                “Your’s” is half full and it burns? I think a doctor visit might help. 😉

                It really has nothing to do with half full or not. It’s about the reality of the situation. Googs complained and you agreed. On the face of it the FT disparity seems unreasonable but when you contextualize it with the relative strengths and weaknesses of the teams as shown throughout the season and guys on the bench for the nugs then the disparity makes more sense. To suggest the refs were biased or unfair other than a couple of plays is silly.

              • heykyleinsf

                let me tell you something. I saw the Heat Knicks game before the Nuggets. I saw LaBron clobber a Knicks player to the floor under the hoop. Knocked him clean to the floor.. no whistle whatsoever. everyone on the floor froze. Nothing. It was a good three seconds. Awkward.

                Labron even knew he was guilty.


                Everyone still frozen.. LaBron just dunks the ball.






              • gimpcom187

                What in the world does that have to do with this conversation about the Nuggets/Rockets disparity?

                Didn’t see the call and since we have established you have clear issues with truth vs. YOUR truth I won’t take your word for it. BUT that said it was one play. It’s anecdotal when there are HUGE numbers of plays to look at. Lebron gets fouled going to the rim constantly and often gets the foul call. But probably 10-20% he doesn’t. He has some offensive fouls that refs miss too. It’s life. Making a big deal about it is silly. As is complaining about Ref bias unless you have the stats to back it up.

              • heykyleinsf

                we went toe to toe with a 51 win team in their house..
                during their playoff hunt.
                with 3 3rd stringers starting for us.

                If you can’t see anything whatsoever positive about that…
                and you go out of your way to find a black lining..

                I really think your investment as a fan…
                has more to do with an outlet than a passion,
                There’s nothing in life.. let alone basketball..
                that is that much of a total win or loss.

                I think coach of the year considerations are these four…
                Stotts, Popovich, Hornacek and Thibodeau..
                But for what Shaw has done with what he’s had to deal with.. He’s my #5.
                I’m sincere about that. Even though it might make your head explode. Sorry in advance.

              • gimpcom187

                I really said nothing about the team playing poorly or having a disappointing game. Someone claimed and you supported the concept that the nugs were treated poorly by the referees. It wasn’t really true so. I refuted that with logic, analysis and stats. I didn’t bring up the topic.

                You don’t have to be a homer to be a fan or passionate about a sports team. You can enjoy it from a critical standpoint and still get into the games passionately. I’ll watch games at home and complain about a call or whatever in the moment but not claim a loss is due to refs. Im not sure what the statement about that “much of a total win or loss” refers to. It’s an entertainment and critical thinking exercise to me.

                I don’t really think at this point in the season there is much to determine in the value of the team’s wins and losses other than seeing micropatterns potentially (do stats suggest they do better on PnR? Are they rotating better?)

                In terms of top coaches No apologies to me. Your parents may disown you, but that’s your business.: It doesn’t make my head explode. It’s just silly. OKC, Toronto, Charlotte, Rick Carlisle, Doc Rivers. All are easily better than shaw has been this year. There are numerous (6-12) other guys most would suggest have done better. It would be hilarious. He hasnt been one of the best 10 coaches and he hasn’t been one of the worst 5. If the team is smart they might be able to get something out of sending him to the Knicks

                Maybe I’ll write a mock article supporting shaw for top 5 coach. That’d be fun.

      • googergieger

        Last year we set a record for attacking the paint. How did that work out for us? Oh right a jump shooting team had more free throw attempts than us.

        • gimpcom187

          See below. You are wrong about them being a jumpshooting team. They are a 3 best plays team like I said. 3s ft paint shots.

        • heykyleinsf

          I’m sorry goog..
          but Mozzy, Vesely, Arthur, Randolph..
          let’s get those guys to catch the ball first.
          we’ll worry about teaching them to dribble after
          they get that down. And in fairness to Shaw..
          Here’s tonight’s shot chart.
          WE DID TRY.

          • googergieger

            Great. That isn’t a reply to what I said.

            • heykyleinsf

              sorry about that.. totally.
              I misread it and misinterpreted it.
              I thought you were taking a dig at Shaw
              and being sarcastic which you’ve been know to do..
              but you were talking about Houston, thought you were talking about us. My bad.

          • Nugman

            Shaw has said repeatedly that he wants the Nugs shooting jump shots rather than driving to the bucket for “contested” lay ups. Not many FTs in that philosophy. Maybe we are being fair to Shaw since that’s what he wants. Bad philosophy if you ask me

            • heykyleinsf

              You got Shaw pegged for a bad guy no matter what actually happens in reality.
              Nuggets were in the paint more than the Rockets..
              but the Rockets shot almost 4 times as many FTs
              How is all that on Shaw?

      • Poz303

        Seriously? The FT is by far the highest percentage shot in basketball but a philosophy??? Come on now.

        • gimpcom187

          Read below. The philosophy is there. Get to the rim for paint shot or foul shot or get a 3. Ive only watched 3-4 rockets games this season and it was obvious to see in any one half you nave seen them play

          • heykyleinsf

            but then again..
            here would be the truth about that.
            Compare it to my chart below.
            Nuggets actually looked like they were
            in the paint twice as much..
            Next blind hate statement please….

            • gimpcom187

              So many issues with your stats/shot chart. So in shots in the paint were 44 to 43 denver (according to NBA box score PDF). So your claim of “twice as many” is a very “blind” reading of the shot charts. Of course this doesn’t take into account all the FT attempts they got which a significant majority are at the rim drives. If you take that into account I would guess you are looking at 56 to 48 Houston (that assumes 2/3 FT shot are from rim drives).

              2nd as I said at the rim shots this is different than paint shots. As YOUR shot charts clearly suggest the nuggets took 8-10 shots that were clearly not within 5 feet of the basket (but were in the paint) as opposed to Houston which took maybe 1-2. As shaw has ranted about players not taking the open shot instead of going to the rim I would say this is part of a team philosophy difference.

              3rd it was already said that the guys the nuggets had on the court are not guys who get lots of free throws. Faried because of his offensive rebounding is decent as well as MOZ. Other than that they are all mediocre at getting FT shots.

              4th-The nuggets had no one on the team that could even start to play Harden 1vs1. He got into the lane at will. In addition Asik got lots of FT due to Offensive rebounds and getting opportunities to get layup or fouled.

              5th as already outlined the Nuggets are VERY BAD (3rd worst) at giving up FT in the league. Houston is the BEST in the league at getting FT. This is a recipe for huge FT numbers for the Rockets.

              6th Although on the season the nugs are very good at creating FTA only 2 of their top 4 FTA guys played. In addition, Ty creates lots of the opportunities for Faried and Mozgov either with passes that leave the opponent in a foul or layup decision OR opposing teams big slides over to help leading to Offensive rebound. Brooks isnt nearly as good as Ty at these things. As was said before the Rockets are 7th in the league at Avoiding FTA by the opponent

              So let’s be clear the only “blind” hate statements come from you. Most of the time refs make a few bad calls a game. It’s life. If you have a specific play to complain about OK. But if you are saying the refs are biased and the numbers clearly suggest there is a significant difference in the type of play that explains the disparity then you are probably WRONG. In no way was my statement snarky or negative to Googs. Without any research I merely explained that there were probably reasons for the disparity that could be discerned by watching the game objectively. Then we looked up the stats and clearly I was right. People on here complain a lot about stars getting to the line and it is unfair. Durant and Westbrook and Harden and LEbron etc, etc get to the line because of their talent, tenacity and practicing foul drawing skills.

              • heykyleinsf

                so the guy that got the most fouls was our starting PG…
                He had 1 less than the three starting bigs put together.
                if fact.. our three guards had 11 of the 24 fouls called.
                3 guards.. 11 fouls.
                the other 6 players had 12 fouls.
                Houston’s guards had 20 of the 40 shots as well.
                I know that guards drive from time to time..
                but that much? no.

                How does that explain all you just said?

              • gimpcom187

                Im not sure you know what you are talking about. Why does it matter who gets the fouls. Are bigs the only players that get fouls close to the basket when an opposing guard drives to the rim? Of course not. The guy guarding him often does especially when Mozgov is a good not great rim protector and everyone else on the roster is below average. In addition brooks often will ineffectively swipe at a guy who goes past him as they are getting toward the rim.

                It makes sense lin and harden got lots of foul shots. They are good penetrators who look for contact because they are strong and shifty dribblers who can get contact AND put up a good shot.

                In all your numbers did you happen to waste any time looking at the actual number of personal fouls called. 24 on nuggets 19 on Rockets. If the nuggets were equally as good at getting foul shots for every foul call they would have shot around 30 foul shots. They don’t have the talent with Ty and hickson out to do that. And their team philosophy/commitment to getting to the line is probably not as clear as Houston’s is (Again Houston is the BEST in the league at this).

                Further proof of different philosophy. Nuggets have committed the MOST fouls in the entire league. Houston commits 20th.

          • Poz303

            Yes, driving and getting to the rim is a philosophy (like GK did) but FTs depend on refs and how teams defend. Harden running into Mozgov and getting bailed out is on the refs. Faried got tech because he complained two plays in a row (clearly heard on the TV him sayin to the refs both times “WTF?”). So why did the res bail out Harden and not Faried? Thats not a philosophy, thats bad NBA officiating.

  • heykyleinsf

    come on with Foye.
    It would be one thing if he helped off the bench.
    But starting him sucks.. we suck at the 2..
    it’s our biggest need.
    Yes.. maybe off the bench…

    OH HELL NO to starting.

  • Poz303

    Q played well, Fours played well. I think Brooks was sensational but ran out of gas (46 min).

    I think Foye on Harden at the end was a bad call knowing Rockets needed a three to tie. Put a length on him (Q, Fours, Manimal, Darth, even Mozzy). The drive would not beat the Nuggets.

    • Nugman

      Not Shaw! He hasn’t made those kind of situational subs all season. I don’t know if he doesn’t believe in them or is just too stupid to make them. 99% of coaches would’ve put the size on the court. One game this season he had Nate on the court guarding 6’8″ Mike Miller on a last second 3. It just really seems stupid to not use your best players for the situation. Probably cost us the game, but the Shaw lovers on here will say it wasn’t important

  • trank

    the similar idiot faried-haters will move on to randolph . randolph just needs more time, and needs to stay on the bench a bit longer.

    • Erlingur Grétar Einarsson

      Yeah, I’d say he needs about 48 minutes on the bench per game.

  • Aaron Durkin

    Harden is the most overrated player in the game and is Infuriating player in the game to watch. He just flops all over the place. That is why in the playoffs the rockets won’t get out of the first round because they call less flops thus half of that teams points will be taken away.

  • Aaron Durkin