Pickaxe Pulse for December 16, 2013

Taking the pulse of the Nuggets every weekend

The Nuggets held pace in the Western Conference standings, remaining in the playoff hunt after an up-and-down week. The team ended a six game road trip on Monday with an ugly win against the Wizards. Nate Robinson’s constant energy and a late block and dunk by Kenneth Faried were key to the 75-74 victory. Back at home with three days rest, the Nuggets starters came out flat against the Jazz. Timofey Mozgov and Jordan Hamilton led a comeback in the second half that gave the team a brief lead, but the Nuggets ultimately couldn’t hold on. Speedy point guards Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson took charge in a strong win against the Pelicans on Sunday, with Robinson in particular filling up the highlight reel with drives, jumpers, and even a couple of blocked shots. A tough schedule awaits this week, with all three Nuggets opponents currently in the top six in the West.

Current record and standings: 14-9 (7-3 home, 7-6 road), 7th in the Western Conference

Upcoming games: Tuesday vs Oklahoma City, Friday vs Phoenix, Saturday at LA Clippers

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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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 98-Boston Celtics 106

Denver went down big early and couldn’t quite ever get back into the game and fell to the Celtics 106-98. Most importantly Ty Lawson left the game with a left hamstring injury. Stay tuned at RMC for more information as it comes out.

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The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same.

I have seen the calls for my apologies. The demands that I come out and eat crow for predicting the Nuggets were clearly lottery team. The wonder at where I have been during the recent streak of great play. (For the record I was away for ten days for the holiday).

But I have been thinking about things, about how I was potentially so wrong, and it all led me to one conclusion.

I was wrong, but it was only because I was misinformed.

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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

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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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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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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Trade Rumors: Denver Nuggets reject Kenneth Faried For Iman Shumpert Swap

Frank Isola of New York Daily News, recently reported that the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks were discussing a potential trade, which would send Kenneth Faried to New York in return for Iman Shumpert’s services. However, Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that the Nuggets rejected the offer and are not having active talks with the Knicks.

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How not to defend the high pick and roll – a Denver Nuggets tale

Going into the season, we were all mentally prepared for how bad the defense was going to be, especially when factoring in the absence of Denver’s two best wing defenders. But what has occurred over the span of these four games has been an organization-wide breakdown on a fundamental level when it comes to defense, from system to effort to the makeup of the roster. We’ve already covered the big man dilemma as well as the inability to defend the three, now it’s time to dig into the high pick and roll defense.

The basics of Denver’s pick and roll defensive principles is essentially for the traditional centers, McGee and Mozgov, to drop back to around the free throw line when defending a screener and for everyone else (essentially anyone guarding the screener) to hedge high. The theory behind hedging is basically for the defending big is to impede the ball handlers path around the screen enough so to give the ball handlers’ defender enough time to navigate the screen. Considering the kinds of athletes Denver employes at the forward positions, and the diminutive nature of the backcourt, this kind of help and recover system should, in theory, work out well. In theory.

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