Pickaxe Pulse for November 24, 2013

Taking the pulse of the Nuggets every weekend

The Nuggets climbed back to .500 this week with wins against Dallas and Chicago following a tough loss in Oklahoma City.

JJ Hickson helped the Nuggets to a double digit lead in Oklahoma City with 18 points, 19 rebounds, and all around solid defense. The team struggled on both ends in the fourth quarter, scoring only ten points through eleven minutes and giving up seven offensive rebounds that led to nine second chance points for the Thunder. Denver rebounded from the two point loss by breaking Chicago’s five game win streak. Jordan Hamilton scored 17 points including a pair of three pointers that put the Nuggets ahead by 21 early in the fourth quarter. The Nuggets followed up by breaking Dallas’ four game win streak. Andre Miller’s assist on a lob to Wilson Chandler in the second quarter moved him past Rod Strickland for ninth place all-time in career assists. Kenneth Faried had a double double, Randy Foye hit the go-ahead three with 1:11 left, and Foye’s defense on Dirk Nowitzki in the closing seconds helped the Nuggets hold on for the win.

Current record and standings: 6-6 (5-2 home, 1-4 road), tied for 10th in the Western Conference

Upcoming games: Monday at Dallas, Wednesday at Minnesota, Friday vs New York

Twitter Contest: Win an adidas Crazy Ghost signed by Kenneth Faried

Kenneth Faried turns 24 today, and in celebration of the Manimal’s birthday Roundball Mining Company is proud to announce our first giveaway contest on Twitter. Thanks to adidas Basketball and Dick’s Sporting Goods, we are giving two lucky readers a chance to win an adidas Crazy Ghost signed by Kenneth Faried.

While Faried finds himself the subject of trade rumors after a rocky start to the season, he remains one of the most energetic and exciting power forwards in the NBA. As Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post noted early this season, Faried has also turned himself into one of the most marketable young talents in the league. The Manimal will star in Disney’s “Pranksgiving” television show this month and he is a featured athlete for adidas, which just launched the new Crazy Ghost shoe in a special Faried Nuggets colorway.

Crazy Ghost Faried 6

Courtesy of Dick’s Sporting Goods and adidas Basketball, we are giving away TWO Crazy Ghosts signed by Kenneth Faried. There are three simple steps to entering:

1) Have a valid USA mailing address (apologies to our international readers)

2) Retweet the following tweet and follow @RoundballMining, @adidasHoops and @DICKS

3) Leave a comment below about Kenneth Faried, followed by your Twitter handle. Anything goes – your best memory of Faried as a Nugget or your worst.

Voting will run until 9:00PM MST Sunday, November 24th. Two winners will be chosen at random from the Twitter handles left in the comments here. We will contact the winners on Twitter after the voting closes Sunday night.

Example entry:

Happy birthday to the Manimal! Here’s to many more in the blue and yellow! – @Nuggetsfan35

Crazy Ghost features the Crazyquick outsole traction system – adidas’ latest performance innovation – to provide maximum control and flexibility for quick moves on the court. The redesigned three-layer SPRINTWEB reduces weight and enhances breathability while an internal fit system provides optimal foot lock-down during cuts and breakaways. The herringbone print on the collar and the anodized synthetic on the toe contrast for a stylized look.

The Crazy Ghost takes the court this season with Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors), Jrue Holiday (New Orleans Pelicans) and Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets)

The Crazy Ghost is available now for $100 at Dick’s Sporting Goods.com  and adidas.com.

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 102 Dallas Mavericks 100

The Nuggets withstand a furious second-half comeback from Dallas and grind out a two-point win to move back to .500 on the season. It wasn’t pretty but the Nuggets put six scorers in double figures and make just enough plays to escape with a win, their fifth in a row at the Pepsi Center.
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Data Mining: A statistical breakdown of why the Nuggets have gotten worse

The Denver Nuggets are now 11 games into the season, and with just five wins under their belt they will be trying to get back up to .500 tomorrow against Dallas.

This is a small sample of games – certainly not significant enough to project what will happen in the latter half of the season, especially considering the fact that the team is adjusting to a new system and missing two of its best players in Danilo Gallinari and JaVale McGee. It is enough, however, to see a picture emerging of how things have gone for Denver so far, and what they might be able to do to improve.

Here we will take a statistical snapshot of where the Nuggets are at now, as well as what they’re doing differently (and – spoiler alert – mostly worse) than last season. This post will focus on Denver’s team offense, so look for more analysis on team defense and individual player performance in future Data Mining installments. (more…)

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 96, Chicago Bulls 85

For the second time this season the Nuggets held their opponent to under 90 points and secured a big win against a talented opponent in the process. Jordan Hamilton shined while Ty Lawson struggled, and to nobody’s surprise Nate Robinson took a lot of shots and missed a lot of shots.

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Repercussions of moving in different directions

A few nights ago I was watching college basketball. This year’s impressive crop of college freshman were on display, all turning in big performances. One of those players was Jabari Parker. My goodness, Jabari Parker. I’ve been watching college basketball with an eye focused on scouting for three to four years now, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player dominate the way he has right from the start. And the crazy thing? Jabari Parker isn’t even ranked as the top prospect on the few scouting websites I trust most — which kinda got me thinking about the Nuggets, as I often do in life when I start thinking deeply about anything. I pondered the Nuggets draft situation this upcoming year, the fact the Nuggets have only one pick instead of two — which they originally had but changed when they sent one of those picks to Orlando in the Arron Afflalo trade — and how the Nuggets lost a lot more than just Andre Iguodala when he left this past summer. But what I thought about most, what I kept coming back to, was that…

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Ty Lawson is setting the league aflame, one dribble drive at a time

In the waning moments of an impressive first quarter in Minnesota, Ty Lawson casually brought the ball up the court as a ready Ricky Rubio, one of the best point guard defenders in the league, stood the lone obstacle between Lawson and the rim. After a one dribble crossover that left Rubio’s legs crisscrossed above the free throw line, Lawson had breached the paint before any Wolves defender had time to register the immanent threat to the basket.

The second a rotating Kevin Love had his foot planted in the restricted area, Lawson was in the air, his hand underneath the ball just long enough for Love’s momentum to carry him out of the passing lane, before a casual, mid-air flip to a cutting Mozgov put the ball in the 7-foot Russian’s hands before Lawson’s feet even had time to hit the hardwood.

The play was over as quick as it began, a bang-bang sequence that would’ve been shocking in its blinding display of skill and brevity if not for the fact that some varying form of that Lawson drive had not already victimized the Wolves just two possessions prior. The fact is that drive, the ease in which it was executed, and the results it produced, has become a staple of Lawson’s game, a weapon teams don’t seem to have an answer for.

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HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel to feature Brian Shaw tonight

Tonight (Tuesday, Nov. 19) at 10 p.m. EST, HBO’s award-winning sports journalism show Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel will feature a segment on Denver Nuggets head coach Brian Shaw. As many Nuggets fans are aware, Shaw experienced a summer from hell in 1993 when his mother, father and sister were killed in a car accident. Then, a month later, Shaw’s best friend Reggie Lewis died of cardiac arrest. Real Sports is just about the last bastion of sports journalism on TV, and an excellent show in general, so be sure to tune in and support Brian Shaw in the process!

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 113 – 115 Oklahoma City Thunder

Well, it was a fun game with a boring and, ultimately, painful ending. Or as I like to call it, just another typical #THUNDERNUGGETS game.

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Pickaxe Pulse for November 17, 2013

Taking the pulse of the Nuggets every weekend

During the preseason, NBA analysts, pundits, and fans were predicting the Nuggets to finish anywhere from a low playoff seed to near the bottom of the league. After nine games, the 4-5 Nuggets have done little to change anyone’s mind.

Ty Lawson’s current averages of 21 points, 4 rebounds, and nearly 9 assists are all career highs. Wilson Chandler has been shooting extremely well from outside, and Timofey Mozgov has been a force on defense and in the pick and roll. The Nuggets have had fourth quarter leads in all but two games. On the down side, long-term injuries to Danilo Gallinari and JaVale McGee will keep the Nuggets from reaching full strength until January or later. Aside from Ty Lawson, the rest of the Nuggets’ guards have played inconsistently on both ends, with only a couple of good games each. The defense is still a work in progress, particularly in the frontcourt. Coach Shaw continues to run experimental lineups that are sometimes successful but more often terrible. With three tough tests coming this week, the Nuggets will need to improve quickly to keep pace.

Current record and standings: 4-5 (3-2 home, 1-3 road), tied with Memphis for 10th place in the West.

Upcoming games: Monday @ Oklahoma City, Thursday vs Chicago, Saturday vs Dallas

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 111-Houston Rockets 122

The Nuggets trailed by double digits most of the night, including falling behind by 20, and ultimately fell to the Rockets 122-111.

The defense was invisible most of the night as the Rockets paraded to the rim, ultimately shooting 50.6 percent from the field. But don’t worry, I found all the D hiding in the grades.

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Game Preview: Denver Nuggets at Houston Rockets

Eight games into the season, the Nuggets’ 4-4 record is bookended by their 0-3 start and their current three-game winning streak. Last night’s victory over the Timberwolves was a significant step forward, but also marks the beginning of an extremely challenging schedule. to close out November. Starting with tonight’s game at Houston, all of their next seven games are against winning teams, including five on the road.

Denver will have their first chance to go over .500 tonight against he Rockets, who will present a formidable challenge to a Nuggets team which has struggled to defend the perimeter and has lost their primary rim protector in JaVale McGee. Houston leads the league (more…)

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 117 – 113 Minnesota Timberwolves

The Denver Nuggets pulled out a hard-fought victory at home Friday evening over the Minnesota Timberwolves, winning the game 117-113.

You can find the game grades below.

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Nuggets-Timberwolves preview with ESPN’s Bruce Bowen

Prior to the Nuggets-Timberwolves matchup tonight at 6 p.m. MST on ESPN, Roundball Mining Company was lucky enough to catch up with current ESPN analyst and three-time NBA champion Bruce Bowen. In our brief interview Bowen discusses the value of JaVale McGee, being patient with Brian Shaw and which starting point guard has the edge between Ty Lawson and Ricky Rubio.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 111-Los Angeles Lakers 99

Thanks to a dominating performance from Timofey Mozgov the Nuggets played well late and defeated the Lakers 111-99.

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