In a less-than-meaningful game between two lottery-bound teams, bad offense ruled the day. Then, the second half came along and Denver exploded for 67 points, defeating the Jazz for their third straight win.
|Kenneth Faried, PF 42 MIN | 11-19 FG | 2-3 FT | 21 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 6 TO | 24 PTS | +8
The first 20-20 game of his career is more than enough to cancel out the bad, like his slow start on offense and six turnovers. Faried’s weakness remains his less-than-stellar defense on aggressive post players, but it hardly matters when he so badly outplays his man on offense like he has.
|Quincy Miller, SF 14 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -5
One player who hasn’t been in on any of the Nuggets’ good vibes as of late is Quincy. He was no match for Gordon Hayward defensively and didn’t come close on either of his two three-point attempts. With Wilson Chandler back in the fold Shaw couldn’t find a good reason to keep Miller out there after his bad start.
|Timofey Mozgov, C 33 MIN | 4-11 FG | 3-6 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | +5
Mozgov had another double-double but started slow defensively and actually didn’t grab a defensive rebound in the second half. He continues to have trouble against athletic bigs but when he produces at this level, Mozgov is a positive force. He has handled the increased minutes well but needs to find more consistency throughout the whole game.
|Aaron Brooks, PG 41 MIN | 3-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +9
In the past two games Brooks has shown he will struggle against bigger and more athletic teams. A trigger-happy guard who doesn’t ever pass out of pick-and-rolls is a much better asset of the bench. With Brooks as a primary facilitator the Nuggets offense has been abysmal.
|Randy Foye, SG 40 MIN | 7-13 FG | 9-9 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 26 PTS | +5
A team shouldn’t be any good with Foye as a primary scoring threat and lead playmaker as well. Despite that Foye continues to put up heroic efforts night after night. The two-way role player forced into a starring role continues to respond with his very best effort night-in and night-out.
|Darrell Arthur, PF 2 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0
Arthur went down early with a left knee problem, the same injury has kept him in and out of service all season. It seems likely he could be done for the year with only two games left.
|Jan Vesely, PF 17 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 0 PTS | 0
I enjoy Vesely, but I don’t share the same appreciation for his skill or basketball instincts as others. A scoreless night with 5 fouls and 3 turnovers in 17 minutes just isn’t good. But Vesely was there, hustling and violently flailing around whenever the ball got near him. Overall he probably didn’t hurt.
|Wilson Chandler, SF 21 MIN | 3-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +1
Chandler was rusty in his first action since missing 10 straight games with a hip ailment. He took some bad shots and silly fouls but just having another bonafide offensive threat on the floor proved to be a huge upgrade over Quincy Miller.
|Evan Fournier, SG 31 MIN | 7-16 FG | 6-7 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 23 PTS | +12
Much like the Golden State game Fournier had a very poor start before exploding to hit some of the biggest shots of the night. Fournier presses a lot with the ball in his hands and struggles to make the right play. When he is used off the ball as a spot up threat and cutter he is much more effective. He also did a good job limiting Alec Burks, who has hurt the Nuggets before.
Shaw eased Wilson Chandler back into action off the bench and continues to show more trust in the improving duo of Mozgov and Faried. Whereas he typically used guys like Hickson and Lawson as a crutch in big moments, injuries have forced Shaw to play the guys he should be playing and it has paid off with a lot of his young guys finally showing development.
Two Things We Saw
- After scoring just 34 points in the first half the Nuggets exploded for 67 in the second. Kenneth Faried got things started in transition by attacking the slow feet of Kanter and Favors. Foye followed up by catching fire from outside. Without a true playmaker available the Nuggets have had to rely on guys like Faried and Foye to score off isolations, which in turn gets the pace going where the rest of the players can shine.
- The Hawks winning tonight officially eliminated the Knicks from playoff contention. With the Pelicans also losing their eighth-straight it virtually locks them into the 10th lottery spot, meaning the Nuggets will likely pick 11th or 12th depending on where Denver and New York land. Although the swap with New York is just a one pick difference, the Knicks in the lottery is good for Denver. It essentially means the Nuggets will have double the lottery odds — if either team moves up in the May 20th drawing, Denver will be the beneficiary and receive the better pick.