Breaking News: JJ Hickson Out for Season With Torn ACL

JJ Hickson left last night’s game with a knee injury and after an MRI to determine the damage was done it has been determined that injury will keep Hickson out for the rest of the season.

According to Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post the MRI revealed that Hickson torn his ACL, which makes him the second Nugget this season to tear the ligament and the third to have an issue with it that put them out for the season after Nate Robinson and Danilo Gallinari. It also marks the fourth member of the roster who will end their season with a major injury as JaVale McGee is out with a leg injury of his own.

Hickson had seemingly found the perfect role on the bench recently, putting up 13.9 points and eight rebounds in his last ten games where he had been a reserve. The injury will probably lead to more minutes for Jan Vesely and/or Anthony Randolph as well as the addition of another tough offseason decision for Denver. With so much money tied up in Hickson, Kenneth Faried and Darrell Arthur the power forward spot takes up a large portion of the salary cap and roster space and yet Denver will enter next season with Hickson working his way back from a major injury and Faried being eligible for his contract extension that will need to be signed before October 31st.

It just adds another bad result in a season full of them for the Nuggets.

Please leave your thoughts on the news in the comments below along with what you want Denver to do about filling his minutes for the rest of the season and beyond. 

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 98-Charlotte Bobcats 105

Thanks to the Nuggets complete inability to defend good players the Bobcats led for most of the contest and defeated the Nuggets 105-98. Al Jefferson dominated anyone the Nuggets tried to throw at him while Gary Neal and Kemba Walker took turns killing the Nuggets when Jefferson needed a blow.

Grades are below the jump.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 115 Dallas Mavericks 110

The Nuggets snapped a six-game slide with a 115-110 victory over the Dallas Mavericks at Pepsi Center. Outside of a poor second half in which Denver almost squandered the comfortable lead they held all night, the Nuggets delivered their best overall effort in a while.
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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 96 Portland Trailblazers 102

The Nuggets put up a fight this time but still lose by a score of 102-96 in Portland. The Blazers swept the season series against the tanking Nuggets, who have now lost 10 of their last 11 games.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 89-Brooklyn Nets 112

The Nets lost by 44 points in Portland last night but as we have come to see the Nuggets were the perfect remedy for their problems as the Nuggets scored just 8 points in the first quarter and couldn’t stop the Nets all night ultimately falling by 23 points after trailing by 30 or more for parts of the second half.

Grades are live below the jump. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

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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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A Roller Coaster of Performance: A Win/Loss Splits Tour of the Rotation

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.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 91 at Los Angeles Clippers 112

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.

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Time for a Change.

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.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 102-New Orleans Pelicans 93

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.)

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 93-Utah Jazz 103

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.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 75 Washington Wizards 74

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.
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Pickaxe Pulse for December 1, 2013

Taking the pulse of the Nuggets every weekend

The Nuggets picked up four more wins this week and have won 9 of the last 11, leaving the team’s 1 and 4 start to the season as a distant memory. Nate Robinson has settled into his role as a scorer off the bench, averaging 18 points while shooting over 50% on threes in the last four games. Robinson has combined with Ty Lawson, Jordan Hamilton, and the surprisingly hot-shooting Andre Miller to give the Nuggets 8 or more made threes in 8 straight games, which is a franchise record. The Nuggets’ bigs continue to be inconsistent individually but effective as a group, with JJ Hickson, Kenneth Faried, and Timofey Mozgov each having at least one great game and one bad game this week. Darrell Arthur’s defense on Dirk Nowitzki helped in the win at Dallas. Randy Foye played well against Kevin Martin in the win at Minnesota and came up with a key late-game stop of Carmelo Anthony to seal the win against New York. The Nuggets’ bench, led by Robinson and Mozgov, put up 72 points in a comeback road win against Toronto to kick off a six-game road trip.

Current record and standings: 10-6 (6-2 home, 4-4 road), sixth place in the Western conference

Upcoming games: Tuesday at Brooklyn, Wednesday at Cleveland, Friday at Boston, Saturday at Philadelphia

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

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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