Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 89, Chicago Bulls 117

It was another blowout loss for the Nuggets, who trailed the Bulls wire to wire, and fell to their sixth defeat in their last seven games. If any silver lining could be found, it was that newly acquired point guard Aaron Brooks scored 17 points, and appears to be a very viable replacement for Nate Robinson.

The grades are below the fold: (more…)

Meet The Nuggets’ Best Defender: Darrell Arthur

The amount of control a coach has on defensive possessions is finite. He can scheme and plan to his heart’s desire, but in the end, the duty of execution rests on the players. The key to such precise execution, and therefore positioning, is communication.

“The veteran teams that you see, like Miami and Boston with KG, they emphasized talking a lot,” Nuggets forward Darrell Arthur said. “It’s all about communication out there.”

Arthur is the second unit, at times even the first unit’s coxswain.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets107-Phoenix Suns 112

Thanks to some technical difficulties with my DVR I missed the majority of the first quarter but the Nuggets fought back from an early deficit to put themselves in position to finally defeat the Suns this season. Up five with under a minute left all Denver had to do was hang out but they were unable to thanks to problems generating good looks on offense and grabbing rebounds on defense.

In overtime Denver continued to struggle offensively and ultimately JJ HICKSON SHOT A THREE TO TRY AND TIE THE GAME WITH 5 SECONDS LEFT and they fell 112-107.

Grades are after the jump and please before you yell about Hickson’s grade read the comments. Please.

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Wizards reportedly interested in Andre Miller

Zach Lowe of Grantland and ESPN’s Marc Stein are both reporting that the Washington Wizards have taken an interest in trading for the estranged Nuggets point guard Andre Miller.

Whether this interest will bring a trade to fruition or not remains to be seen. Even a cursory glance over the Wizards’ roster makes it seem unlikely that Denver could find a satisfactory deal without the involvement of a third team. (more…)

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 80 – Indiana Pacers 119

The Denver Nuggets were blown out by the Indiana Pacers on Monday night, losing by 39 points and dropping their third straight game. Game grades can be found below.

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Roundball Roundup: Part II – Shaw vs Karl, Faried’s struggle, a farewell to guards, and Denver’s DOA season

Shaw versus Karl:

It’s no secret that there’s been an internal struggle between Brain Shaw’s Nuggets and and the ghosts of George Karl’s. Despite being fifty games into his era, and equipped with a (slightly) different roster, Shaw has found himself battling not only with his own inexperience, but the shadow of the coach he replaced. Karl’s basketball sensibilities still seem imbued in this team, and his championing of shots at the rim above all else has Shaw frustrated with what, to him, appears to be his team passing up easier shots in favor of driving at the rim. Here’s exactly what Shaw said after Wednesday’s game vs Milwaukee (taken from audio on 102.3 ESPN Radio):

I’m still on our guys about, if you’re open and you have space, shoot the ball. And I’ve never been around a group of guys that, a coach has had to encourage guys to shoot the ball when they’re open. A big part of it is, when talking with the guys last year, with George Karl everything was to the rim, to the rim, to the rim. And I think that, you know, sometimes you can do that but when your have a rim-protector like Larry Sanders, unless you going to take it all the way to his chest, its gonna be hard to finish over him inside…that’s why you have to take the open shots when you have it. You always think you can get something better but the best shot is the one where you have enough space to shoot it within the rhythm of the offense.”

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 109, Detroit Pistons 126 – Lawson fractures left rib

Things went from bad to worse for the Denver Nuggets tonight. Not only did they get blown out by the Pistons the night after getting blown out by the Knicks, but injury was added to insult as they lost Ty Lawson late in the second quarter to a lower back strain. He did not return, and the Nuggets announced that his left rib was fractured.

More on Lawson’s injury, as well as the grades, are after the jump: (more…)

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 110-Milwaukee Bucks 100

It wasn’t pretty but thanks to six late points from Wilson Chandler the Nuggets beat a bad Milwaukee Bucks team 110-100. Denver led by 15 in the fourth but thanks to turnovers and a lot of jumpers they didn’t close things out until the final two minutes when Chandler got into the lane twice and got a nice bounce off the top of the backboard on a jumper to end the Milwaukee comeback.

Grades are below the jump.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 116-Los Angeles Clippers 115

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.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 90 Toronto Raptors 100

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.
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Timofey Mozgov, the rise of Denver’s hidden gem

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.

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Rapid Reaction: Nuggets 109, Pacers 96

[Note: Unfortunately, I couldn't get the Rapid Reaction generator working, so a regular, old-fashioned recap follows the jump.]

The Denver Nuggets came out strong, building a 19-point halftime lead, then weathered Indiana’s third quarter scoring barrage to hang on for one of their biggest wins of the season.

In facing a powerhouse with the best record in the NBA, their hopes were at least partly pinned on the fact that the Pacers were on the second night of a back-to-back, having gone into overtime against the Kings in a game that saw their starters average 40.6 minutes.

Denver took full advantage of this opportunity right out of the gate, bursting onto the court with defensive energy that was fueling forced turnovers and fast breaks. (more…)

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 105-Portland Trailblazers 110

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.

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BREAKING NEWS: Danilo Gallinari Out for Season

In a season of ups and downs for the Nuggets, Tuesday afternoon brought with it another stomach punching loss. Adrian Wojnarowski has just reported that Gallo has undergone reconstructive knee surgery and will be out for the 2013-2014 season.

The enigmatic Nuggets – a search for coherence in a dissonant season

The NBA season is really just a string of smaller ones, held together by a unifying narrative we superimpose over all 82-games for the sake of coherence. It’s how we give meaning to the ultimate inconsequence of a mid-January game: What can we use in this one game to help fuel the overriding story of the season? It’s a practice that, despite being arguably irrelevant, helps both the fans and media talk about the regular season while playing the waiting game until the playoffs, when things start really mattering again. When a team plays harmoniously with what their narrative would dictate, even if that means getting blown out because they’re a tanking team, it becomes much easier to contextualize and, thus, far more comforting.

But sometimes there’s a team whose season is as tough to pin down as a water drop with a thumbtack. Every stab succeeds only in warping its shape.

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