Last night’s loss to Portland marked the exact halfway point in the Nuggets season and finally has started to make clear exactly who this Nuggets team is.
In fact RMC’s own David Walker sent me a tweet that describes the team pretty well.
“Yeah, all things equal they’re aggressively average. But the randomness at least makes a boring season somewhat exciting,” he said providing one of the best descriptions of the 20-21, 2013-2014 Denver Nuggets I have seen all year.
All-in-all this season has taught us a few things, Ty Lawson is really good on offense and JJ Hickson is the master of misleading stat lines, and left us with some questions that seem harder and harder to answer; most notably has Kenneth Faried peaked and what should Denver do with Danilo Gallinari’s injury issues still ongoing?
It is probably time to add another question to that list.
Are the Nuggets headed for disaster?
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.
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.
Unfortunately, no one at RMC was able to catch the whole game tonight thanks to a few holiday season related things so there won’t be full grades, just some thoughts and observations based on the final quarter plus that I was able to see. Feel free to leave any thoughts below.
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.
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.)
As the Nuggets got off to a rocky start to begin the season, it was hoped that help would be on the way in the form of Wilson Chandler when he returned to play after missing their first six games due to a hamstring injury. And while he has made helpful contributions to an extent, he has clearly fallen short of making the impact many Nuggets fans were hoping for.
For starters, his impact on the court versus off has been essentially neutral. Consider, for example, the discrepancy between Chandler and Mozgov in this regard: (more…)
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.
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.
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