Thanks to a career night from Kenneth Faried and a crazy, broken play three pointer at the buzzer from Randy Foye the Nuggets won a really fun back and forth contest against the Clippers 116-115. Blake Griffin did all he could to help the Clippers leave Denver victorious, finishing with 36 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal but the Manimal matched him step for step, finishing with a career high 28 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks and a steal to pace the Nuggets.
Grades are after the jump.
Unable to overcome the absence of every remaining point guard on the roster, a severely thinned-out Nuggets squad suffered yet another ugly loss at home. The Raptors cruised to an easy win while the Nuggets continued to struggle offensively, committing 26 turnovers and notching just 6 fast break points. The worst news of the night however came early in the first quarter when the Nuggets announced that Nate Robinson is out for the season after undergoing surgery for a torn ACL.
Mid-way through the 2011-12 season, Masai Ujiri decided to take a risk. In return for the ever-steady Nene, Ujiri and the Nuggets would get to inherent all the problems and promise of the raw yet gifted JaVale McGee. The initial risk morphed into a long-term investment in the form of a 4 year, $44 million deal that banked on McGee’s enormous pool of untapped talent to make it a worthwhile endeavor by the time the contract reached its back-end. Big men take awhile to develop, after all, and what’s a few years of limited production if the ultimate gain is an elite big man?
And yet, ironies of ironies, as Ujiri is off cavorting in Toronto and McGee is bench-ridden with injury, it is another raw big man who’s reaped the rewards of quiet development. It’s the forgotten cog that – at the time – almost laughably derailed the Melo trade, who has risen up this season to champion hope for the future.
Denver had absolutely no answer for LaMarcus Aldridge who scored 44 points, including the last 15 for Portland, while Ty Lawson was scoreless in the second half and the Nuggets blew a 15 point second half lead to fall in Portland 110-105.
Denver now moves to 20-21 on the season with a game looming against the NBA best Indiana Pacers on Saturday in Denver. So expect them to win that game because nothing this team does makes any sense. Game to game or half to half.
Grades are after the jump.
Denver fell behind 8-0 to start the game and never was able recover as they fell to a struggling Suns team in Phoenix by double digits 117-103.
Denver stayed hot and destroyed a decimated Orlando Magic team playing the second game of a back to back 120-94. The game was never all that close as Denver got up double digits in the first quarter and built on that lead as the game went on. Everyone did a bit of everything in a game that included a Timofey Mozgov poster dunk, a Randy Foye transition block, a big Kenneth Faried steal and slam and the Nuggets setting a franchise record by hitting 12 threes for the fourth straight game.
The Nuggets got up big early, extended the lead to huge in the middle and coasted late on their way to an absolute destruction of the Celtics tonight in Denver.
At 16-17 with a seven game winning streak and an eight game losing streak to their names so far this season it is hard to see the 2013-2014 version of the Nuggets as anything more than a confusing inconsistent and mildly talented collection of basketball players.
When things go well and shots fall the Nuggets win, when they don’t and Denver turns the ball over, they lose. Through the first 33 games of the season it has become clear that Ty Lawson is far and away the best and most important player currently healthy on the Denver roster, meaning it seems like the play of Lawson more than anybody determines if the Nuggets will win or lose a game.
But a deeper looking into the win/loss splits of the main nine rotation players for Denver this year (Lawson, Randy Foye, Wilson Chandler, Kenneth Faried, JJ Hickson, Nate Robinson, Jordan Hamilton, Darrell Arthur and Timofey Mozgov) show that there are actually a few other players that make more of a difference in win or loss than Lawson. Below is a quick breakdown of some interesting splits for each of those nine players.
The Nuggets gave up 44 points in the second quarter and dropped their eighth straight game 114-102. Everyone gets an F tonight for grades because that is what happens when you get blown out at home by a team with nine (now 10) wins, and just two (now three) on the road. Below is a recap though.
The Nuggets shot poorly all night, and forgot to defend the three point line, on the way to a big loss to the Clippers on a back to back.
Defensive systems in the NBA are predicated on rules, when and who to help off of, what type of pick and roll to switch on, where on the floor to direct this point guard, where on the floor to direct that wing, ect. Denver’s defense (currently 12th in the league in defensive efficiency and sixth overall in opponents points per possession) is starting to round into a more principled form following the stutters, stops, and fixes that defined the early part of the season. A specific mandate that is becoming more and more clear by the game, is when and how the Nuggets will switch on a pick and roll.
Winning in the NBA isn’t an easy task. Even games against bad teams can swing on a single play, a made jumper or bad bounce on a deflection that leads to a run out.
So continuously getting off to bad starts is something that teams should want to avoid. Unfortunately for the Nuggets in the past nine games that isn’t something they have been avoiding, thanks to a porous defense that allows just about everyone to blitz them to start games.
Against the Jazz, a team that is getting better but is still bad, the Nuggets gave up 18 points in the first 4:33 of the game. Brian Shaw hinted after that game that he had thoughts about changing the starting lineup to halt those early game problems, but in the two games following that contest the starters have stayed the same and in both games Denver trailed after a quarter because they allowed their opponents to get off to hot offensive starts.
It is time for Shaw to make the change. Luckily for him there are two good options to do so.
Denver bounced back from the tough loss to Utah on Friday to defeat a tough New Orleans Pelicans team 102-93, thanks to solid efforts from a lot of different places including Nate Robinson, Ty Lawson and Wilson Chandler. Please post your thoughts on the game while the grades are prepared (after David finishes up in the locker room.)
The Nuggets starters were outscored 82-36 by the Jazz starters and despite a valiant attempt from the bench unit Denver lost to Utah 103-93.
Nate Robinson came up big as the Nuggets clawed their way to victory in DC with three game-saving stops in a row. It was one of the uglier affairs of the season featuring 20 turnovers and a Kenneth Faried benching in the second half, but Denver hung around and did just enough to come away with a win.