The Nuggets fell behind early and never led in their penultimate game of the 2013-2014 season, a 12-point loss to the Clippers in LA.
Much has been made this season about what the 2013-14 Denver Nuggets are not. They’re not a good team, first and foremost. They’re not healthy. They’re inconsistent. They lack defensive fundamentals that are often a hallmark of championship-contending teams. But for everything the Denver Nuggets are not, there are many things they are — which deserve recognition as dusk approaches on the season.
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.
The Nuggets really, really tried hard to blow another game to the Rockets with a bad fourth quarter performance but they were able to hold on and defeat Houston 123-116. Randy Foye turned into a human fireball with 30 points, including a 22 points third quarter to secure their 11th straight record with a winning record in Denver.
Grades are below the jump.
I think it’s fair to say Quincy Miller hasn’t quite lived up to the lofty expectations Nuggets fans had of him when he was drafted back in 2012. Yes, he was a second-round pick, but he was a high-profile high school talent who many thought would eventually challenge Danilo Gallinari for the starting small forward role a few years down the road. (OK, so maybe that was just me.) Miller’s minutes have fluctuated greatly this season and he hasn’t always been given the most room for on-court improvement; however, his recent 19-point performance against the Rockets should give fans revived hope that he can in fact play a legitimate role at the NBA level. Miller has five more games left to show Brian Shaw that his improvements in practice can translate seamlessly to the bright lights of real, in-game NBA action. Let’s just hope he has a few more of these up his powder-blue sleeve.
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 got shoved into the grind house by Memphis once again like Steve Buscemi in a wood-chipper. Grades will be up shortly.
Much has been made of Brian Shaw’s decision on Monday night to allow Timofey Mozgov to attempt a game winning three. In what has become a lost season for the Nuggets it was a chance to steal a game against a potential playoff team and it was thrown away before anyone, including the Grizzlies, really had any idea what was going on.
I thought long and hard about what exactly Shaw’s motive was with the shot and came up empty. Until the other night when I was visited in my dreams by the ghost of Mozgov future and shown what would have happened if big Mozzy made the shot.
The following is the account of that trip. (That never actually happened. Seriously I’m not crazy).
Among many NBA fans, announcers, headline writers and – most especially – fantasy team managers, double-doubles seem to possess an almost mystical quality. They’re esteemed as a sort of litmus test of production, a reliable quick-glance measure of whether a player can fill up the stat sheet.
Analytics geeks and gurus, on the other hand, tend to dismiss the double-double as a rather arbitrary, and unelucidative stat. Sure, the set of players who average double digits in two columns is a fairly select bunch, but nobody’s going to argue that DeAndre Jordan (who’s in the dub-dub club this season) is even remotely close to the caliber of LeBron James and Kevin Durant (who are not).
Despite the fact that I lean heavily toward the latter camp (fantasy team aside), when both Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried put up double-doubles in Denver’s rout of New Orleans, it piqued my curiosity as to the team’s success rate when that happens.
As it turns out, it’s fairly impressive. (more…)
Nearly everybody on the roster came to play in what turned out to be one of the Nuggets’ best team performances of the year. Kenneth Faried scored a new career high, while Ty Lawson got back into the double-double category and Aaron Brooks put on yet another show off the bench. Now if the Nuggets could only do this for 82 games…
The Nuggets have had to deal with the disheartening reality that they’ve not been a playoff team this year for the better part of the last couple months. While we tend to not think of them as such, NBA players and coaches are professionals whose job is essentially to attempt to get into the playoffs and beyond. Even the worse of teams go into the season with this goal (or at least the illusion of this goal)* and when its attainability is mathematically eradicated, lethargy sets in.
*Everyone except for the Sixers this year, who made no attempt to disguise their intent. Which is probably the biggest reason why tanking has all of a sudden become such a big talking point this season.
Players are still playing for job security, future earnings, and pride but, for about half the league, this is the time of the season where the learning curve tapers off. These teams are who they are this year. Brian Shaw and the Nuggets understand this so, in an attempt to make use of the otherwise meaningless games left on the schedule, they’ve turned these few weeks into an experiment. Might as well start asking questions and seeing what turns up.
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.
After a competitive start to the first quarter, the Spurs proceeded to thoroughly dismantle the Nuggets, extending a 19 point halftime lead to a 31 point blowout.
The grades are after the jump. (more…)
The Nuggets tried. Oh man did they try. But ultimately putting yourself down by 19 points against the defending Western Conference champs and current best team in the NBA is a bad idea and Denver fell just short of completing their comeback by falling 108-103 and were officially eliminated from the playoffs.
Please leave your thoughts on the grades in the comments below.