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Date: Saturday, 21 Dec 2013 06:24

The Denver Nuggets waste a strong start with a complete meltdown in the second half as Gerald Green and Markief and Marcus Morris spark a Suns comeback from 21 points down to stun the Nuggets 103-99.

This recap was going to be so different. After the first half, I was thinking I would get to write about how the Denver Nuggets had rebounded after a tough loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The offense had re-emerged; the jump shots were falling and the points in the paint were piling up. The ball was moving, everyone was playing with confidence, and the defense was stringent. The Nuggets were even making their free throws. It was going to be a bit of a statement game after losing to the Phoenix Suns back in November.

It certainly was a statement game, but for all the wrong reasons. The Nuggets blew a 21-point lead and suffered their worst loss of the season, 103-99 to the Suns at the Pepsi Center.

The strangest part was due to how the game began. Lately, the Nuggets have been getting off to slow starts. Tonight, they outscored the Suns 28-20 in the first quarter, the first time in the last 10 games the Nuggets have led after one. Wilson Chandler scored 12 points by himself, and looked to be on his way to at least a 20-point night.

Denver started pouring it on in the second quarter, running the floor against the Suns and converting layup after layup. The lead eventually ballooned all the way to 60-39 before the Suns closed on a quick 9-2 run to cut the lead to 14, 62-48, at halftime. The Nuggets shot 51% in the first half compared to 38% for Phoenix, and out-rebounded the Suns 28-18.

Once the second half began, the Nuggets started off slowly. Still, there were signs of life. Ty Lawson scored seven straight points and after a Randy Foye three-pointer, the Nuggets had the lead back up to 17. However, Gerald Green began launching from deep without mercy. He shot eight three-pointers in the quarter, knocking down four of them. The Nuggets were outscored 24-20 in the third quarter, but still maintained a 10-point lead heading into the fourth.

It disappeared almost immediately. Markief and Marcus Morris started going to work, abusing the Nuggets with and-1 dunks, three-pointers, and general dominance. The Nuggets were on their heels, and nobody stepped up. Goran Dragic outplayed Lawson down the stretch, and the Suns took the lead on a fast-break layup from him, followed instantly by yet another Green three-pointer. The Nuggets managed to keep it close and had a chance to tie it up on a long three-pointer from Foye near the end of the game, but it came up short.

The fact they were even in the position of needing that shot is mind-boggling, to say the least. This was a whole new level of losing for the Nuggets this season, and it was difficult to watch. They seem to have lost their swagger a bit since the game against the Brooklyn Nets. While Denver has won games since then, they have been more of the grind-it-out variety as opposed to the high-scoring affairs that dotted the seven-game winning streak.

Brian Shaw has his work cut out for him to get this team ready to play a rested Los Angeles Clippers squad in L.A. tomorrow. The quick turnaround could be beneficial, because it won't allow the Nuggets (or their fans) to dwell on this loss for too long. If they can steal a win, it will go a long way towards healing the wounds from this game. But in the insanely competitive Western Conference, a blown opportunity like this can come back to haunt a team when it comes time to clinch a playoff spot.

Game Observations -

- After putting up 62 points in the first two quarters, the Nuggets only scored 37 points over the final two frames. The Nuggets shot 51% and had 13 assists in the first half. They shot 29% and had only 5 assists in the second half.

- Markief Morris had 25 points to lead the Suns. He set his career-high with 28 points against the Nuggets the last time these two teams played each other. His brother, Marcus, had 14.

- Chandler ended up with only 15 points after his superb first quarter. The Nuggets really could have used his offense in the second half, but he played tentative and the jump shots stopped falling.

- The Nuggets starters outscored the Suns starters 65-39. Unfortunately, the Nuggets bench, who has bailed them out of several games this year, was outscored 64-34. They really missed Jordan Hamilton, who was serving a one-game suspension for his sort-of punch against the Thunder's Stephen Adams.

- Lawson again struggled with his shot, shooting 3-11. He had seven assists, but also five turnovers. Lawson hasn't found his groove after his injury against the Boston Celtics, and how Ty goes is usually how the Nuggets go.

- According to a tweet from Chris Dempsey, the Nuggets hadn't lost a game they led by at least 10 heading into the third quarter since November 6th, 2007, against the New York Knicks.

- The Suns hoisted 35 three-pointers against the Nuggets, hitting 12 of them.

- Shaw had pointed words for his team during his post-game interview, taking the blame for the loss but also claiming the Nuggets played like "front-runners." He mentioned there had been some bad habits in practice that trickled into the game, and he also took responsibility for that. Shaw also had a subtle dig at some of the Nuggets who he thinks complain to much to the officials, saying they had said before the season they weren't going to be "criers." It may have been directed at Nate Robinson, who didn't play much in the second half after getting a technical foul in the second quarter for getting in Dragic's face.

Author: "Danny Neubert"
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Date: Friday, 20 Dec 2013 20:20

Similar records, similar arcs, similar surprises... Can the Nuggets overcome a team whose sole claim to the seed ahead of them is a November win?

Game 25: 2013-14 NBA Season
Phoenix Suns (2014 - Pres)
@

14-10 (6-6 road)
Series 1-0
14-10 (7-4 home)
December 20th, 2013
Pepsi Center - Denver, CO
7:00 PM MT
Altitude / 950 AM

Eric Bledsoe PG Ty Lawson
Goran Dragic SG Randy Foye
P.J. Tucker SF Wilson Chandler
Channing Frye PF Kenneth Faried
Miles Plumlee C J.J. Hickson
Notes
Bright Side of the Sun Blogs You're here!
None Injuries Danilo Gallinari (knee) is out, JaVale McGee(leg fracture) is out
The Suns have won five of their last six games, narrowly missing six in a row against San Antonio.
The Nuggets have won 9 of their last 11 home games against the Thunder.

With identical records (14-10), and recently winning ways, something has to give for your Denver Nuggets and the Phoenix Suns tonight as they square off at the Pepsi Center on the first night of back-to-backs for both teams. To make it even more interesting, although the Nuggets typically play well at the Pepsi Center, they have at least one important role player out in Jordan Hamilton, serving a suspension for an "altercation" with the Thunder’s Steven Adams. I add the quotation marks as I’ve watched the highlights of the incident several times now, and if Jordan meant to hit Adams, he learned his punching skills from Carmelo Anthony (see Knicks/Nuggets 12/06/06).

Adding insult to injury, All-Star candidate Ty Lawson and veteran influence Randy Foye are both listed as day-to-day, with Lawson out of practice yesterday with flu-like symptoms (so you wonder how much gas will be in his tank, even if he does play). Foye’s listing appears to be attached to his turned ankle against the Pelicans, but he gutted that out vs. Oklahoma City, and I’m hard pressed to see him not playing in this game.

All of that said, the Nuggets are winners of 10 of their last 14 games, and have the personnel to match up well against this Suns squad. Denver will have to avoid their recent habit of starting games slowly, as Phoenix leads the league this season in fast break points at nearly 20 a game, and will look to press the Nuggets early on. The Suns also like to shoot from beyond the arc, shooting nearly 38 percent for the season, and have been even hotter over their past few games. The Nuggets (I can’t believe I’m writing this) counteract that with the NBA’S BEST THREE POINT DEFENSE, holding opponents to just over 32 percent beyond the arc for the season, and a ridiculous 26.2 average over the last 5 games. I’m writing that again, as I fear I’m in opposite world all of a sudden. Denver has the leagues’ stoutest 3-point D. George Karl is rolling over in his… oh, that’s just ESPN.

A little History...

The Nuggets look to avenge a loss to the Suns on November 8th, after having controlled the recent series between the two, winning eight or the previous 10. The Suns control the lifetime series handily, with a 22-game gap (88-66) between the two. I think most people had this marked as a "W" on the Nuggets calendar early in the season, but the Suns have proven to be a better squad than early season expectations, and both teams will want momentum heading into their games tomorrow night.

The gist of it all is that it’s anybody’s game tonight, and those tend to be fun games to watch if both teams play hard. What do you expect to see, Nuggets Nation?

Author: "Mike Olson"
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Date: Thursday, 19 Dec 2013 16:00

After another home loss, the Nuggets have now fallen more in the friendly confines of the Pepsi Center than they did all of last season. With home court no longer providing the same boost, the Nuggets must win on the road to fight for a playoff spot.

The 38-3 home dominance last year for the Nuggets was an all-time franchise record. It stands to reason that after a tumultuous offseason, the Nuggets were not likely to match a similar effort again. With their 4th home loss of the season on Tuesday night against Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder, the shine of that formerly incredible home court advantage has dulled. While the Nuggets will likely still have an excellent home record at the conclusion of the season, it serves to emphasize that the Nuggets must be better on the road if they hope to make the playoffs in a stacked Western conference.

For the most part, the Nuggets have played quite well on the road this season, sporting the 5th best road record in the conference at 7-6. It's been refreshing to see head coach Brian Shaw place an increased emphasis on every game played on the road, and other than a few disappointing losses at the Boston Celtics and Thunder (both for different reasons), the effort from the team has remained strong. With their longest road trip of the season out of the way, the Nuggets will still be tested by a four game away trip from the Pepsi Center in February, and a 5 game roadie in March.

Until then, the Nuggets must continue to secure road victories against beatable teams like the New Orleans Pelicans and the Memphis Grizzlies, both teams they'll play in their houses before the calendar turns. After the dismantling a superior Thunder team just performed on the Nuggets at home, it makes upcoming dates with the Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat seem a lot more challenging for this young squad still missing key contributions from Danilo Gallinari and JaVale McGee.

The Nuggets will play tomorrow night against a surprisingly good Phoenix Suns team featuring Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic and the newly-acquired Emeka Okafor at 7:00 PM MST. They will then play at "Flop City" against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday before returning home to face the Golden State Warriors and the return of the Mole on Monday.

Daily Links

Want to see where the Knicks/Nuggets pick may eventually land? Tankathon.com has all your 2014 draft tracking needs, complete with odds!

Damian Lillard hits 30-foot 3 pointer for second game winner in 3 days (video)

Melo still supports head coach Mike Woodson even after embarrassing errors

Omer Asik to Celtics? Possible swap of Jeff Green and Brandon Bass for Asik brewing

Author: "Colin Neilson"
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Date: Thursday, 19 Dec 2013 00:25

Tim Connelly joined the Colorado Sports Guys to talk about how he got into the NBA, his persistence, and his background in scouting. We also talk about finding a balance in the almost adversarial relationship between the "human element" in basketball and the use of analytics that has swept the basketball landscape in recent years.

It was an amazing discussion that expanded our knowledge of Connelly the man, and gave us insight into his thought process as a General Manager.

A must listen for any Nuggets fan, or fan of basketball in general.

Please visit our new partner Denver ChopHouse. It's a great place to dine, with some of the best food and brews in Denver. They are the restaurant of the fan, located on 19th and Wynkoop in lower downtown. Come in or make a reservation today. Also remember to click on the Amazon banner at the top of the page, as well as the Amazon Prime banner on the left hand side of the page for your thirty day free trial ... all of which support CSG!!

Listen to the Podcast here. If you haven't already, add us on iTunes (easiest way to listen) or if you have an Android you can always use Pocket Casts app ... well worth the two bucks or so the app charges (the podcast is always free).

And be sure to follow us on Twitter:

@Nate_Timmons

@hirossco = Ross Martin

@jmorton78 = Jeff Morton

Author: "Jeffrey Morton"
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Date: Wednesday, 18 Dec 2013 05:54

It was difficult to pinpoint the issues for the Nuggets in this one. The effort was there, but the execution and shots falling were an issue. Thunder roll in this one 105-93.

The Nuggets got off to a better start then they had been recently, but their strong bench play disappeared for a night. After keeping the Nuggets in games and even winning games, the reserves combined for just 27 points on 10-31 shooting or 32.2% from the field. The starters combined for 66 points as J.J. Hickson led the team with 20 points and 14 rebounds.

"We missed shots, easy buckets," said Nuggets forward Darrell Arthur. "You have games like that, but on the other end we have to lock down defensively. Which we didn't do at the end of the game, down six [points] and they got the lead back up to 16 [points]. It was unacceptable, but the good thing about it is we have another game coming up and we can scratch that one away."

Denver did get that OKC lead down to six points at 83-77 behind Nate Robinson's microwaved 8 points on 3-3 shooting, including two threes. But the Nuggets were outscored from there 22-16 as the Thunder fed Kevin Durant and got Russell Westbrook loose.

After grabbing 10 offensive rebounds, to keep the Nuggets in the game, the team was only able to muster three more in the second half. Offensive boards were key in the first half as the team shot just 19-49 or 38.8% from the field. The team shot better in the second half at 44.7% thanks to Wilson Chandler (5-8 in the second half), Nate Robinson (3-5 in the second half), and Ty Lawson (2-3 in the second half), but this loss will stick in the players' minds.

"It'll stick with me until tomorrow and then we have the [Suns] game the day after," said Arthur. "That's the good thing about the NBA, you have 82 games so we can scratch that and we have another one coming up. It's not like college where you have to wait a week and hold onto that [loss]."

It wasn't all bad for the Nuggets though and that's the odd part. They forced the Thunder into a lot of bad shots and got OKC to commit a game-high 18 turnovers. Even with Russell Westbrook going for 21 points (9-16 shooting) and Kevin Durant for 30 points (11-23), the Nuggets had a chance late to get back into the game.

"I thought we did a decent job [on defense], but we still gave up a lot of offensive rebounds late in the game which turned into shots for them. I thought we did a pretty good job on Westbrook and Durant, between the two of them they had 51 points, the first time [a 115-113 loss on Nov. 18th in OKC] they had 68 points. I thought we played okay, the effort was there, we just couldn't make shots - it was tough."

The most perplexing theme of the night was Denver getting second chance opportunities and good looks inside and not being able to capitalize on them. Check out the game shot chart for the Nuggets:

Game_shot_chart_medium

The team went 21-46 on shots in the paint and it was a theme all night. In the first half Denver was 11-24 in the paint and 10-22 in the second half.

"We got beat by a better team tonight," said Brian Shaw. "I liked our spirit in terms of fighting, but we couldn't finish in the paint. We got in the paint, we didn't finish in the paint."

Views you can use:

-After recording two Did Not Play - Coach's Decisions the last two games, Evan Fournier played 12:39 tonight and went 2-5 from the field, including 1-1 from three point land for 5 points. His lone three point make was taken on a confident transition three with no hesitation - it was one of the rare times he looked comfortable on offense during his brief stint.

"He played well against them the first time we played them in OKC," said Shaw. "Randy [Foye] got in foul trouble, Nate wasn't going good in the first half, so I saw it as an opportunity to get him out there. I think I surprised him, caught him off guard, because he hadn't played in the last couple games. That's why I always say, you have to stay ready so you don't have to get ready. And he seemed like he was a little tight, maybe a little nervous, but I thought he shook it off. That's why you always have to stay ready."

-Jordan Hamilton was ejected in the second half after throwing a punch to Steven Adams' shoulder after Adams put a little hip into Ham after a rebound on the Nuggets' end. A few possessions earlier, Adams put an elbow into Ham's back on a rebound on Denver's defensive end and Ham yelled at Adams after the play before inbounding the ball.

Nate Robinson drew a $10,000 find during the preseason after getting into an altercation with Adams, as well. The big New Zealander is good at getting under players' skin and guys have to know that's the book and him and ignore the extra shoves he gives. Expect Ham to draw an even bigger fine for the punch.

-Well after the game Kendrick Perkins rolled through the Nuggets' locker room to say hello to former Celtics teammate Robinson. He made a comment about Robinson's not so good looks ... no word yet on if Perkins has looked into a mirror.

-After the game Wilson Chandler told me that he got his right front tooth damaged during the Pelicans game, visited the dentist (where the tooth was shaved/shaped) and is having an implant made, but it won't be ready for around 10 days. I asked if he would perhaps do as an Instagram follower suggested and get a gold Larry Johnson-esque tooth in the stead - Robinson chimed in that Wilson should do just that, but Chandler didn't seem so sure he'd go that route. He should have a temporary tooth at some point in the next day or two before his "new" tooth will be ready.

**

Up next for the Nuggets is a Friday night [Dec. 20th] game at the Pepsi Center against the Phoenix Suns.

Nate_Timmons on Twitter
ntimmons73@yahoo.com

Author: "Nate Timmons"
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Date: Wednesday, 18 Dec 2013 03:10

Place your thoughts on the second half of tonight's game right here

Author: "Jeffrey Morton"
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Date: Wednesday, 18 Dec 2013 01:45

Place your thoughts on the first half of tonight's game right here.

Author: "Jeffrey Morton"
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Date: Tuesday, 17 Dec 2013 18:00

The NBA's hottest team arrives at the Pepsi Center on Tuesday night for an inter-division battle with our Denver Nuggets.

Game 24: 2013-14 NBA Season
@

19-4 (7-4 road)
Series 1-0
14-9 (7-3 home)
December 17th, 2013
Pepsi Center - Denver, CO
7:00 PM MT
Altitude / 950 AM

Russell Westbrook PG Ty Lawson
Thabo Sefolosha SG Randy Foye
Kevin Durant SF Wilson Chandler
Serge Ibaka PF Kenneth Faried
Kendrick Perkins C J.J. Hickson
Notes
Daily Thunder Blogs You're here!
None Injuries Danilo Gallinari (knee) is out, JaVale McGee (leg fracture) is out

The NBA's hottest team, the Thunder have won 14 of 15 and have tied their best start in franchise history through 23 games.


The Nuggets have won 9 of their last 11 home games against the Thunder.

After our Denver Nuggets inexcusably dropped a Friday night home game against a pathetic Utah Jazz squad (that actually wants to lose games!), Nuggets head coach Brian Shaw threatened to make changes to his starting lineup, noting that the Nuggets bench has had to pull the lion's share of the weight in recent games.

Shaw's starters must have gotten the message, because on Sunday night they combined for nearly 70% of the Nuggets scoring output and easily bested a New Orleans Pelicans squad that's inarguably better than the Jazz, even with the myriad injuries that have struck the New Orleans team. But if the Nuggets are to replicate Sunday's success against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, they're going to need both the starters and the bench to produce ... big time.

When these Northwest Division rivals last met, the Thunder eked out a 115-113 victory at Oklahoma City in what might have been the Nuggets' finest road performance of the season. In that contest, the Nuggets connected on nearly 50% of their field goals and attempted 43 free throws, and led throughout the game. The problem, of course, was that the Nuggets missed about half of those free throws and allowed the Thunder to sneak back into the game late. 38 points from Thunder superstar Kevin Durant later and the Nuggets were toast.

Truth be told, despite the Nuggets' admirable 14-9 record they have only four wins against quality opponents this season: two victories apiece against the Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves. And calling the 12-13 Timberwolves a "quality opponent" is a stretch. Point being, for the sake of their own internal confidence and for the sake of building confidence among Nuggets fans, the Nuggets need to start besting the NBA's best ... especially at home. And there's no better opportunity to do so than against the NBA's hottest team on Tuesday night.

Three things to look for in this game ...

1) My bench is better than your bench
The Nuggets and Thunder boast two of the NBA's best benches. The Thunder bench averages 33.7 ppg and they are 13-2 when their reserves outscore their opponent's reserves. Sounds good, right? Well, the Nuggets serve up the NBA's third most productive bench in scoring (at 44.7 ppg) and they are first in rebounding (20.3 rpg). Tuesday night's contest could be determined by those who come off the pine, and those who start the game.

2) Continuing the Rocky versus Russell Westbrook feud
For whatever reason, Westbrook has made it a point to block Rocky's signature behind-the-back-halfcourt-shot in recent Nuggets games at Pepsi Center. This seems to fuel Westbrook while only agitating the Pepsi Center crowd to hate the mercurial point guard more and more. Can Rocky and the Denver fans get under Westbrook's skin enough to force him into bad decisions? Or will Westbrook just feed off the negative energy and torch the Nuggets as he usually does?

3) Rebounds galore
The Thunder lead the NBA in rebounds per game (47.3) while the Nuggets currently rank third (just a rebound shy of OKC at 46.3). When leading their opponent in rebounding, the Thunder have lost just once this season. If the Nuggets can somehow muscle their way into more rebounds, that could be the difference in the game.

Scouting the Thunder ...

Thunder Non-Stiffs

-Kevin Durant: Want to know how f-----g awesome Durant is? In the Thunder’s recent outing on December 1st versus the Timberwolves, Durant did something that has never been seen before in NBA history. Durant recorded his fourth career triple-double with 32 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high 12 assists, but by also adding 4 blocks and 4 steals, Durant became the first player EVER with 32+ points, 10+ rebounds, 12+ assists, 4+ steals and 4+ blocks in the same game.

-Serge Ibaka: Ibaka is having his best offensive season ever and is grabbing a career-high 9.4 rpg. Kenneth Faried and J.J. Hickson are going to have their hands full keeping Ibaka off the boards and in check. No napping on Tuesday night at the power forward position.

Thunder Stiffs

-Russell Westbrook: I don't care how talented Westbrook is. He's mean to Rocky and that forever puts him on our Stiff List (I did this for Jeff Morton, by the way).

-Hasheem Thabeet: Thabeet ends up on the "Stiffs" ledger of the scouting report routinely and it might be time to officially call him out as the worst second overall pick in NBA Draft history.

Final Thought ...

We know the Nuggets can beat the likes of Brooklyn, New Orleans, New York and so forth. But they won't be facing those teams in the post-season. If the Nuggets are serious about making strides as the season goes on, they must become a force to be reckoned with at home.

*****
SAVE THE DATE!!

Our next STIFFS NIGHT OUT will spread some holiday cheer on Saturday, December 28th as the Nuggets take on the Grizzlies at Memphis at 6pm Mountain Time. If you don't have family to spend time with or just want to get away from your family and join your fellow Stiffs, please join us at Jake's Food & Spirits for a 6pm tipoff. More details to come!

*****

Author: "Andrew Feinstein"
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Date: Tuesday, 17 Dec 2013 14:54

With the December 15th date now behind us, it's time to look at how the Nuggets may play the trade season.

Across the SB Nation NBA blogs today you can read all about what teams will be buyers, sellers, and all sorts of other crazy trade themed talk. The Dec. 15th date now allows teams to trade players that were signed as free agents this past off-season. We've seen the Nuggets be active on this front before as they traded Nene (a newly signed extension) for JaVale McGee ... but that was at the trade deadline. Could the Nuggets be in the mix for a deal before that February date?

Are the Denver Nuggets a buyer or seller?

My guess would be that the Nuggets are buyers this season. General Manager Tim Connelly has maintained most the assets the Nuggets had when he took control of the team, said for The Mole and Kosta Koufos. But one could argue that Darrell Arthur has seen his stock rise during his short time with the Nuggets. The team also has a plethora of mid-salary deals that could easily be packaged or swapped in a smaller deal. One thing is for sure, the Nuggets could get in on just about any deal in the NBA.


If buyer, what are the needs?

The Nuggets have a team that is set with role players. Let's pretend for a minute that LeBron James magically appeared in the Denver locker room in powder blue and gold for tonight's game against the Thunder. The team that would be surrounding him would look pretty damn good, right? Well, as everyone in Nuggets Nation knows, the team doesn't have that big time alpha dog and they could be in the market for one if a guy suddenly became available.


...what position are the Nuggets looking to improve?

For the right player, the Nuggets could be in the market for just about anyone in the league. But the most glaring needs for this team are at shooting guard or power forward/center. How could the Nuggets be in the mix for a big man when they already have 63 big guys on the roster? Well, Brian Shaw wants to play that inside-out game and has said a few times now that Kenneth Faried and McGee are not yet comfortable in the post - who knows if they'll ever get there.

The Nuggets off-guard spot has been filled mostly with Randy Foye and Nate Robinson with Evan Fournier sprinkled in from time-to-time (oh and Andre Miller too). If the Nuggets could land an established two-guard or a promising prospect, one would think the team may jump at the opportunity.


...what specific players should your team target?

One of the most coveted assets the Nuggets have is their 2014 first round pick. The team owes a selection to the Orlando Magic and they have their own pick, plus the New York Knicks' selection (Denver keeps the better pick). Teams looking to move serious assets will ask for that pick, but with the Knicks sitting at 7-17, Connelly might want to hang onto it and see if that gamble would pay off with a top-5 selection ... or the pick might end up being a non-lottery pick if the Knicks turn their season around and if the Nuggets continue to play well.

I'll toss these names out there from the Hoopshype rumor mill:

1) Omer Asik, Houston Rockets. It sounds like Asik may be heading to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Jeff Green and/or some combination of guys, but the Nuggets could put in a call to see if there are some big men the Rockets might like. He has been a good defender and rebounder, but with a very limited offensive game and Asik is a dreadful free throw shooter ... and then there are questions surrounding his character.

2) Greg Monroe, Detroit Pistons. He's a 6'11" and 250 pound power forward / center that can play with his back to the basket and stretch the floor a little bit. Monroe is just 23 years-old and averages 15 points and 8.9 rebounds. With Andre Drummond emerging and Josh Smith able to slide over to power forward, the Pistons could potentially move the big man if they got the right package back. Joe Dumars would certainly want the Nuggets' draft pick this season, but if Connelly could get a deal done without that pick (maybe send them that 2016 first rounder that Denver can swap with New York) then you might be in business. The Nuggets could build around Monroe, but would have to give up a pretty big haul in order to pry him away ... if he's even available.


3) Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Bobcats. They say where there's smoke there's fire and MKG has been the subject of trade rumors for months now. He's an athletic wing (6'7" and 232 pounds) and just 20 years old. His upside is that he's a good defender and can attack the rim, but with very limited range ... for now. Consider that he shot just 22% from three point land in his rookie season last year and has yet to make a three this season (0-5). He's also out with a broken left hand (his off hand), but Denver might not have to give up a ton in return to get the youngster.

4) Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes, Thaddeus Young, Philadelphia 76ers. It sounds like Philly is ready to give up any of these guys in order to keep on their tanking path. Turner is a young shooting guard with limited range (a very poor man's Dwyane Wade perhaps), Young is an interesting wing player that can play some small ball power forward, and Hawes is a center that likes to play out on the perimeter and draws the severe ire of certain Sixers bloggers.

5) Arron Afflalo, Orlando Magic. You can't blame then Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri for swinging for the fences with the AAA trade, but he's become a reliable scorer for a young Magic team. AAA is averaging 21.6 points per game on 41% three point shooting and 46.8% shooting from the field to go along with 87% foul shooting in 5.0 attempts per game at 28 years old.


Those are the guys that could be made available to the Nuggets. Asik is a long shot, the Sixers guys are not difference makers, MKG might be worth a gamble, Afflalo might be too rich for Denver's blood (Rob Hennigan will try to get a whole lot for AAA), but Monroe would be a very high quality get.

What do you see playing out this trade season and what names would you like to see the Nuggets get involved with, if any?

Author: "Nate Timmons"
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Date: Tuesday, 17 Dec 2013 06:16

Hamilton has been displaying some additional aspects to his game besides the three pointers and it has been nice to see.

Denver Nuggets forward went just 1-8 from the field against the New Orleans Pelicans on December 15th, but he pulled in 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal. Sometimes you have to get involved in other areas when shots are not falling. In that 102-93 win, Hamilton went 0-4 from three point land and missed a couple bunnies, as well.

But the one make he had was the most exciting play of the game for the Nuggets. See for yourself:


Nate Robinson sets a screen to get Wilson Chandler open near the foul line, Chandler misses the shot, but Hamilton (stationed in the corner) reads the shots perfectly, times it even better, and finishes with authority above the rim - one handed.

"Coach [Brian Shaw] trusts me on the boards," said Hamilton. "He knows that I'm going to rebound. We won, my almost double figures and my goal was to help rebound."

And what about that highlight reel putback dunk?

"It felt good. It felt like back when I was in college [at Texas]," said Hamilton. "I used to get tip-dunks."

Shaw chose to close that Pels game with Ty Lawson, Nate Robinson, Hamilton, Wilson Chandler, and J.J. Hickson. That group went 8-13 from the floor and held the Nuggets' lead with a 19-18 showing over the final 6:50.

"With me and Wilson [on defense] we can switch," said Hamilton. "And Coach knows we are going to rebound with either Timo [Timofey Mozgov] or J.J. - whoever it is and play hard on defense. He knows everybody can score, but he wants guys to play defense as well."

Of Ham's two offensive rebounds on the night, one was the putback dunk and the other was this missed bunny. Almost two key buckets for the team, but the effort against the Pels was excellent by Hamilton.


Hamilton on his thought process after missing a shot

"Just think about the next shot," said Hamilton. "That's one of the things I've trained myself to do. If it's not falling, just make an impact by doing other things like rebounding or getting assists ... things like that."

Ham on his floater game that has been on display a bit this season

"That's something that I'm getting a chance to show with [playing time]."

Ham on his fadeaway runner across the foul line that he uses

"When I was a kid I used to practice game winners," said Hamilton. "And I kind of still do it, so that's just some of the things I do."

Nate_Timmons on Twitter
ntimmons73@yahoo.com

Author: "Nate Timmons"
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Date: Monday, 16 Dec 2013 17:00

For the 11th straight season, the Nuggets have a competitive roster. But in hindsight, would you have drafted, traded for and signed these players if you could do it all over again?

The Denver Nuggets as presently constructed owes its roster mix mostly to that mega trade that took place on February 11th, 2011 that saw stars Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups (along with Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman) shipped to New York in trade for Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov and Kosta Koufos. In fact, seven current Nuggets ended up in Denver either directly or indirectly from that single trade.

With the Knicks currently lurking near the bottom of a pathetic Eastern Conference with a cruddy 7-16 record while Melo threatens to depart his home team again, by any objective measure the Nuggets were the big winners of that deal. (Making former Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri's post-trade line that "we got killed" even more salaciously funny today.) In other words, we don't need the benefit of hindsight to call that trade an emphatic success in Denver's favor.

But what about the other transactions that shaped Denver's roster? How do those look in hindsight, and what's the upside post-transaction?

Here's a rundown in order of longevity with the team ...

Ty Lawson

How Lawson became a Nugget: Selected 18th overall in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timerwolves (on behalf of the Nuggets) and immediately traded to Denver on draft night.
In hindsight: Selected at 18, the near All-Star Lawson was an absolute steal (and again proved my theory that you can draft just as successfully at 20 as you can at 10) and credit is due to the Mark Warkentien, Bret Bearup and Rex Chapman management regime for pulling it off. We'd definitely do that one again.
Best case scenario from here: Lawson becomes an All-Star and leads the Nuggets to a first round upset against a mighty Western Conference opponent.
Worst case scenario from here: Given what a steal Lawson was, there's no downside at this point.

Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari and Timofey Mozgov

How Chandler, Gallinari and Mozgov became Nuggets: Via the Melo trade from 2011. The trade also included a 2012 second pick (that became Quincy Miller), a 2014 first round pick, and the right to swap 2016 first round picks.
In hindsight: Quite possibly the greatest superstar trade of all time in the history of the NBA. When Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O'Neal, LeBron James and Dwight Howard left the their respective franchises for greener pastures elsewhere, their former teams were ridden into ineptitude for years ... even decades in some cases. Not Denver. Not only have the Nuggets been as competitive post-Melo as they were with Melo, today they're substantively better than New York. Which brings us to ...
Best case scenario from here: ... not only did the Nuggets take back five quality players in the Melo trade, but they secured the Knicks' 2014 first round pick, too. Not talked about enough here at Denver Stiffs is that the Nuggets can choose between their own 2014 pick or the Knicks' selection and they can do the same thing in 2016 (only keeping one pick). And if the Knicks keep stinking it up as they have been lately, the Knicks can do the tanking for Denver into the 2014 NBA Draft that many Nuggets fans have been advocating for since the last off-season.
Worst case scenario from here: Despite winning less games than the Nuggets, the Knicks win just enough games to qualify for an Eastern Conference playoff spot while Denver misses the playoffs in the hyper-competitive Western Conference. In this scenario, Denver not only loses out on much needed playoff experience but their lottery pick likely wouldn't be high enough to draft one of the 2014 Draft's tantalizingly talented young players.

Andre Miller and Jordan Hamilton

How Miller and Hamilton became Nuggets: Another off-shoot of the Great Melo Trade of 2011. After a quarter-ish season with Felton didn't pan out in Denver, Ujiri traded Felton to Portland as part of a three-way trade that included the Dallas Mavericks first overall pick - Hamilton at 26 - coming to Denver.
In hindsight: A great trade. Felton was a bad fit in former head coach George Karl's "system" while Miller - who had played for Karl in Denver years earlier - was one of the legendary coach's favorite point guards of all time. And Hamilton is about as good as can be expected for a late first round pick.
Best case scenario from here: Squeezing another season out of the aging veteran Miller and the continued development of Hamilton, who under current head coach Brian Shaw is finally showing signs of the talent that made him a first round selection over two years ago.
Worst case scenario from here: The 37 year old Miller's gas tank finally empties and Hamilton's inconsistent play continues to the point that he cannot find a spot in the Nuggets regular rotation.

Kenneth Faried

How Faried became a Nugget: Selected 22nd overall in the 2011 NBA Draft.
In hindsight: Along with Lawson, Faried is already proving to be one of the greatest draft steals in Denver franchise history.
Best case scenario from here: Could Faried be an All-Star someday? It's probably a stretch and The Manimal's production is down a bit under Shaw, but Faried continues to be one of the most energetic players in the NBA and were the Nuggets to propose trading him, 29 other teams would line up to acquire the young workhorse power forward.
Worst case scenario from here: Faried never develops a consistent mid-range jump shot nor improves his defensive skills, so when his athleticism diminishes so does Faried's production. Thankfully that's a long way off.

JaVale McGee

How McGee became a Nugget: On the cusp of the 2012 trade deadline, McGee became a Nugget as part of a three-team trade that involved Denver sending Nene Hilario to the Washington Wizards.
In hindsight: Am I still allowed to say the jury is out on this one? While Nene has been a major contributor in the Wizards' current fight for an Eastern Conference playoff spot, he remains oft-injured and his $39 million owed over the next three seasons could be onerous. McGee, meanwhile, has shown flashes of his giant upside (notably during his impressive 2011 playoff performance against the Los Angeles Lakers) but by any objective measure has been a huge disappointment. And McGee himself is due to be paid $34 million over the next three seasons.
Best case scenario from here: McGee develops into an All-Star center? I feel like we've been praying for this for some time now. And as time goes on, McGee becoming an All-Star is looking more and more like a prayer.
Worst case scenario from here: McGee proves to be a bust and trading Nene, despite his flaws, turns out to be a giant mistake.

Evan Fournier and Quincy Miller

How Fournier and Miller became Nuggets: Selected 20th and 38th overall, respectively, in the 2012 NBA Draft.
In hindsight: We could nitpick and argue that the Nuggets should have drafted Jared Sullinger, Miles Plumlee or Tony Wroten instead of Fournier, but it's too early to call Fournier's NBA career a success or failure. When given playing time, Fouriner appears to be productive ... but his production has slipped this season under Shaw to the point that Fournier appears to have been bounced out of the rotation altogether. Miller, meanwhile, is barely holding on to a roster spot but for a second round pick, he's been about as good as can be expected.
Best case scenario from here: Fournier becomes the Manu Ginobili 2.0 that many fans hope he can be. Miller somehow becomes an able small forward.
Worst case scenario from here: Both Fournier and Miller never "get it" and are bounced out of the NBA altogether when their rookie contracts are up. I don't see this happening for Fournier but am concerned for Miller's NBA future.

Anthony Randolph

How Randolph became a Nugget: Signed as a free agent in the summer of 2012.
In hindsight: Costing less than $2 million per season, the 24 year old Randolph is a bargain by NBA standards and has been productive when given the opportunity to get on the floor by both Karl and Shaw.
Best case scenario from here: I'm over the "Randolph has huge upside" talk but see Randolph continuing to contribute for a long NBA career.
Worst case scenario from here: I don't see a lot of downside for Randolph. Sadly he'll probably be included in a future trade since his low salary could probably be plugged into a trade.

Darrell Arthur

How Arthur became a Nugget: Part of a 2013 draft day trade that sent Koufos to Memphis and brought Arthur to Denver along with second round draftee Frenchman Joffrey Lauvergne.
In hindsight: Still not sure how I feel about this one. Arthur has been a solid contributor at power forward off the bench for the Nuggets while Koufos has been pulling his weight at the center position in Memphis. But with McGee out with a leg fracture and the Nuggets overloaded at the power forward position, one has to at least wonder if the Nuggets would be better served having Koufos around.
Best case scenario from here: I think we have a good sense of where Arthur's ceiling is as a player and he's not too far off it at present.
Worst case scenario from here: Like Randolph, I don't see a lot of downside for Arthur and he, too, will likely be included in a future trade as throw-in.

J.J. Hickson

How Hickson became a Nugget: Hickson signed as a free agent last July for three years, $15 million.
In hindsight: It's hard not to like the Hickson signing. Just as he did in Portland, Hickson is filling in admirably at the center position during the absence of McGee and while he may not be the best defender in the world, he commands attention from opposing power forwards and centers. Moreover, he seems to be getting more and more comfortable playing alongside Faried despite them playing the exact same position.
Best case scenario from here: I think we're seeing it from Hickson with the caveat that he needs to improve his defense.
Worst case scenario from here: Hickson has bounced around a lot in his young career and I've never quite understood why. Is there something negative about Hickson that we just haven't uncovered yet?

Randy Foye

How Foye became a Nugget: Foye was included in the July 2013 three-team trade that was the end result of Andre Iguodala abandoning ship from Denver to join the Golden State Warriors.
In hindsight: You can't talk about hindsight with Foye without mentioning Arron Afflalo. Afflalo - young, productive and under contract for years to go as a Nugget - was traded in the summer of 2012, along with a 2014 first round pick to Orlando, in a four-team traded that resulted in Iguodala becoming a Nugget and Dwight Howard becoming a Laker (at the time, the Nuggets were convinced they needed a ball stopper at the two-guard spot and Iguodala is considered one of the best defenders at his position). Despite knowing that Iguodala was an unrestricted-free-agent-to-be in 2013, Ujiri gambled on the rangy two-guard while giving up on the slightly younger Afflalo and parting with a future first round pick. So when Iguodala bolted for the Bay Area this past summer, current Nuggets GM Tim Connelly had to salvage the departure by acquiring Foye ... a player not half as good as Afflalo or Iguodala. In hindsight, trading Afflalo plus a 2014 first rounder for Iguodala was a mistake in the first place, as Afflalo is now playing at an All-Star caliber level in Orlando and one of the NBA's deepest drafts in recent memory looms in 2014.
Best case scenario: 30 years old and eight seasons in his NBA career, Foye is what he is - a serviceable starting two-guard who can give you 20 points occasionally but not regularly. By all accounts Foye is a great locker room presence, but the Nuggets sure could use Afflalo's 21.4 ppg right now.
Worst case scenario: Foye's downside is marginal, it's not like he's Ron Mercer, Yakhouba Diawara or other non-entities at the Nuggets' two-guard position that we've seen in the past.

Nate Robinson

How Robinson became a Nugget: Robinson was signed as a free agent in July for two years, $4.1 million.
In hindsight: It's no secret that I wasn't a big fan of the Robinson signing (despite the very reasonable price tag) and am not a big fan of his game. That said, Robinson has been inarguably solid and productive coming off the Nuggets bench and seems to be the engine behind one of the NBA's best benches right now.
Best case scenario: Like Foye, Robinson is what he is at this point in his career - a gunner off the bench who can single handedly save or kill your team, depending on the night. I just hope Robinson continues to play within himself and with his teammates and stays away from the "lone wolf" stuff that gets him in trouble on the court.
Worst case scenario: Robinson's "routine" wears everyone out in Denver - just as it did in New York, Boston, Oklahoma City and Chicago before - and the Nuggets look to move Robinson before finishing out his Denver contract.

*****

SAVE THE DATE!!

Our next STIFFS NIGHT OUT will spread some holiday cheer on Saturday, December 28th as the Nuggets take on the Grizzlies at Memphis at 6pm Mountain Time. If you don't have family to spend time with or just want to get away from your family and join your fellow Stiffs, please join us at Jake's Food & Spirits for a 6pm tipoff. More details to come!

*****

Author: "Andrew Feinstein"
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Date: Monday, 16 Dec 2013 04:12

Denver's frontline dominates as team evens up its homestand.

The Nuggets weekend finished much better than it began.  Coming off Friday night's loss to the worst team in the NBA, the team rebounded with a 102-93 victory in the first battle since the Hornets became the Pelicans (appearing as "NOP" on the Altitude Sports ticker).

Denver's starting backcourt made history on Friday, blanked for the first time since the 1980s.  Tonight, the starting frontcourt stood out for all the right reasons.  J.J. Hickson (19 points, 11 rebounds), Wilson Chandler (19 Points, 5 rebounds), and Kenneth Faried (12 points, 9 rebounds) dominated the paint and the glass against a Pelicans team missing star big man Anthony Davis. Ryan Anderson led all scorers with 26 points in a losing effort.

The Nuggets dug themselves an early hole once again.  New Orleans jumped out to a 8-0 lead in the first two minutes, causing Brian Shaw to call an early time out in what has become a December ritual. Denver fought back but still trailed 27-24 after the first frame, marking the 8th straight game the team has faced a deficit after one quarter.

After a back and forth second quarter, Randy Foye gave his team a lift heading into the locker room with a buzzer beating three pointer, evening the contest at 52 points a piece.

The momentum carried through the half into the 3rd quarter, where Denver's defense clamped down, holding New Orleans to 16 points, good for a 7 point lead by the time the period was done.

The 4th was a Pepsi Center pleaser, capped off by a sequence that featured a:

1.  Nate Robinson left-handed block of Eric Gordon

2.  Jordan Hamilton one handed put back dunk off a missed 3 pointer

3.  Hickson poster dunk on a pick-and-roll with Ty Lawson

The Nuggets improved to 14-9 on the season, 7-3 at home.  New Orleans fell to 11-11, snapping a 3 game road winning streak.

Denver has a home date against Oklahoma City on Tuesday.  The Thunder topped the Magic tonight for their 6th win in a row.

Stats to Ponder:

  • Denver out-rebounded New Orleans 51-31
  • Denver made its first 10 free throws, finishing 21-28 (75%) from the charity stripe
  • Jordan Hamilton's streak of games with at least one 3-pointer ended at 13 games
  • Evan Fournier did not receive any playing time for the 2nd straight game
  • The Nuggets scored more than 100 points for only the 2nd time in 6 games
Author: "Loren Knaster"
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Date: Monday, 16 Dec 2013 02:15

Place your thoughts on the 2nd half of tonight's game here

Author: "Loren Knaster"
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Date: Monday, 16 Dec 2013 00:45

Place your thoughts on the 1st half of tonight's game here

Author: "Loren Knaster"
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Date: Sunday, 15 Dec 2013 22:01

We are giving away two tickets to tonight's Pelicans vs. Nuggets game and you must email me your answers to be eligible to win. I will contact the winner and arrange getting the tickets to you before tonight's game.

Question: In the famous Dec. 13th, 1983 game between the Nuggets and Pistons - how many points did Alex English, Kiki Vandeweghe and Dan Issel combine to score and how many rebounds?

Email me your answers: ntimmons73@yahoo.com

Good luck!

Author: "Nate Timmons"
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Date: Sunday, 15 Dec 2013 17:41

Denver looks to bounce back from its worst loss of the season

Game 22: 2013-14 NBA Season
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11-10 (4-5 road)
Series 0-0
13-9 (6-3 home)
December 15th, 2013
Pepsi Center - Denver, CO
6:00 PM MT
Altitude / 950 AM

Jrue Holliday PG Ty Lawson
Eric Gordong SG Randy Foye
Al Farouq-Aminu SF Wilson Chandler
Ryan Anderson PF Kenneth Faried
Jason Smith C J.J. Hickson
Notes
The Bird Writes Blogs You're here!
Anthony Davis (hand) is out, Tyreke Evans (ankle) is questionable Injuries Danilo Gallinari (knee) is out, JaVale McGee (leg fracture) is out

Pelicans have won 3 out of 5 since losing Anthony Davis

Stat The Nuggets have averaged 91.7 points per game while losing 3 out of their last 5

The Nuggets fell to the wisdom of the prophetic Scott Hastings and dropped their first game back from a long road trip on Friday Night. The 103-93 loss came to the team with the worst record in all of basketball. Now, Denver must turn its attention from Gordon Hayward and the Jazz to Eric Gordon and the steady Pelicans.

New Orleans comes to Denver riding a three game road winning streak, despite losing big man Anthony Davis for a month or two. Overall, the switch from Hornet to Pelican has worked out nicely, as the team continues to emerge and stay above water, as Pelicans do. A win tonight would move the squad two games above .500 and further into contention in a crowded Western Conference. The backcourt duo of Jrue Holliday and Eric Gordon merged for 45 points (27 from Gordon) in Friday night's 104-98 win over the Grizzlies. In contrast, the Nuggets starting guards Ty Lawson and Randy Foye were bizarrely blanked on Friday the 13th.

It's no stretch to say the Nuggets will need a better performance from their tandem of guards (Lawson in particular) in order to bring home a win tonight. The contest will also pose a challenge for Kenneth Faried, who has seen his minutes dwindle in the past few weeks in part because of his ineffectiveness matching up against "stretch fours." New Orleans starting power forward Ryan Anderson is the prototype of this profile player. He averages 21.4 points per game to lead all Pelicans but has always made his name from downtown with blistering three point shooting (averaging 45% on 7.9 attempts per game this year).

For Denver, slow starts and a dip in scoring has sent the team in to a December malaise. The team would be best to turn things around in a hurry, as the schedule looks much tougher during the second half of the month. The Nuggets have already suffered one "bad loss" on the homestand. Not taking care of business against an Anthony Davis-less New Orleans team they have owned on their home court the last few years would certainly fall into the "bad loss" category.

Coach Brian Shaw has hinted at a change in the starting lineup. We'll see if the first year head man has some magic up his sleeve to jump start his team's first half performance tonight.

Author: "Loren Knaster"
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Date: Saturday, 14 Dec 2013 05:21

In a game where the Nuggets starting back court manages to get outscored 40-0, the Nuggets end up losing to the worst team in the NBA 101-93

Sometime, midway through the third quarter I think, I realized why the Nuggets starting unit was so dreadfully bad in tonight's loss to the Utah Jazz, 101-93. It dawned on me that, even though Ty Lawson had seemed to be playing for much of the game ... he wasn't actually there. Like a mirage of Ty had appeared in his place like from Star Wars or some crap like that.

I've seen Ty Lawson play many, many disinterested/passive games since he first came to the Nuggets in 2009. THIS particular game takes the cake. Even though Ty is coming off a hamstring injury ... it felt like he just didn't want to be out there. No aggression. Heck, he didn't even SHOOT the ball that often (finishing with 0 points on 0-6 shooting). Add to that Randy Foye didn't score a point, and there you have the Nuggets losing to the Jazz, one of the worst teams in basketball ... AT HOME.

What makes Lawson's issues even worse was the fact that he was outplayed (in fact the entire starting unit was) by the second Unit. Players like Timofey Mozgov (13 points 7 rebounds), Andre Miller (11 points 7 assists), Jordan Hamilton (17 points), Darrell Arthur (9 points 4 rebounds) all contributed positively. The bench played with energy and motion. They posted up, and they ran. Everything that you want the Nuggets to do ... they did. The starters, aside from Wilson Chandler (17 points) seemed to to be just...not there.

Out of everyone on the Nuggets, I have to stop myself from being too hard on Kenneth Faried. I have found myself getting angry at his defensive lapses and his deceiving stat lines which make people think he's had better games than he did. Tonight, despite registering 7 points and 9 rebounds, you could see Manimal's energy not making up for his mental lapses on both defense and offense. It is frustrating because you can see, when he is attentive, he can be a beast on the boards ... but when he's not he leaks points like a sieve. I WANT Faried to do better in those areas. The highlight dunks and rebounds will come, needs the fundamentals desperately now.

This was a step back kind of loss. The one that causes you to question where the Nuggets really are in their development. This was a Danilo Gallinari type of game. Last year, Gallo would step in when Ty was being passive and try to lift the team with both scoring and playmaking. Unfortunately the Nuggets starting unit doesn't have that second playmaker right now and it can't overcome those nights when Ty decides to shoot 6 times and be a -30! in his time on the floor. It's sad.

On an interesting note, here is a tweet from Matt Moore that may signal some changes are on the horizon. The starters seem to have no chemistry ...

Will be interesting to see what comes with that implication. Meanwhile Gordon Hayward had a big night, so did Derrick Favors. The Nuggets took some steps back tonight, it will be interesting to see how they respond and with what changes on Sunday night.

Nuggets of Wisdom

Playing point guard in the NBA requires both talent and, to succeed, you need a certain mentality. It is a combination of toughness and skill that is hard to find and it's what separates the superstars from your average player. A player like Goran Dragic may have ok talent, but he possesses this borderline asshole personality on the court that really pushes him. Same with most every "floor general". People who say that they will CONTROL the situation and not let it control them. Guys that have the will and the way to push you.

Do the Nuggets have that point guard?

***

Twitter: @jmorton78

mortonagency@juno.com

Author: "Jeffrey Morton"
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Date: Saturday, 14 Dec 2013 04:15

Hey, it's the Post Game! Man, that was an interesting and/or boring game that the Nuggets hopefully won. Either way, place your thoughts here.

Author: "Jeffrey Morton"
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Date: Wednesday, 11 Dec 2013 22:44

The long road to recovery for Danilo Gallinari is taking some positive steps.

Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari still has no time-table for a return, but he is making progress on his rehabilitation from a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) that he suffered on April 4, 2013 against the Dallas Mavericks. Gallo began running recently and has been doing some jogging on the basketball court.

"I started to run [not sideways] just forward and backward and that's it," said Gallinari. "It's a jog, not full-speed yet. It feels pretty good. It doesn't feel like I haven't been running since the fourth of April, a lot of months. It doesn't feel as good as it could be, but it's going to be better every day."

Running is a crucial step and test for ACL injuries.

"It's a big step," said Gallo. "The running is a big step towards the rehab."

At practices, Gallo can be seen working with strength and conditioning coaches Steve Hess and Felipe Eichenberger either in the weight room or in a separate area on the practice court. After practice he does some light shooting that includes free throws, three pointers, and today included some half court shots taken both right handed and left handed. The half court shots with both hands are interesting because in order to shoot with both hands you take off and land with different legs.

Assistant coach Melvin Hunt and Gallo were having a friendly shooting contest after practice and Gallo was asked how he felt after shooting jumpers.

"I don't even jump during the game [laughs], those are my game shots," Gallo said of his near flat-footed shots. "It's just nice to be out there and be able to shoot a little bit. There is nothing that can hurt my knee, so ..."

Gallo was taking quite a few shots left handed which begged me to ask:

Who wins a left handed shooting contest between yourself and Nate Robinson?

"Me," said Gallo without any hesitation. "Not even a question."

Nate_Timmons on Twitter
ntimmons73@yahoo.com

Author: "Nate Timmons"
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Date: Wednesday, 11 Dec 2013 16:51

We return to the palatial studios to cover a whole myriad of Colorado sports related subjects.

The Nuggets just finished their six game east coast road swing. Coming back 4-2. We talk about the Nuggets dreadful offense in the Washington Wizards game, and conclude the Nuggets didn't win ... so much as they lost less than the Wizards in that game.

We also talk about "Stadium atmosphere" and compare the major sports in town. We talk about how tailgating seems almost exclusive to Broncos games, and how Ross has grown weary of sitting out in the cold anymore. We also talk about Pepsi Center in-game entertainment.

We talk Rockies trade, Broncos victory over the Titans and so much more. Join us won't you??!!

Please visit our new partner Denver ChopHouse. It's a great place to dine, with some of the best food and brews in Denver. They are the restaurant of the fan, located on 19th and Wynkoop in lower downtown. Come in or make a reservation today. Also remember to click on the Amazon banner at the top of the page, as well as the Amazon Prime banner on the left hand side of the page for your thirty day free trial ... all of which support CSG!!

Listen to the Podcast here. If you haven't already, add us on iTunes (easiest way to listen) or if you have an Android you can always use Pocket Casts app ... well worth the two bucks or so the app charges (the podcast is always free).

And be sure to follow us on Twitter:

@Nate_Timmons

@hirossco = Ross Martin

@jmorton78 = Jeff Morton

Author: "Jeffrey Morton"
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