When it rains, it pours.
On a night when the Nuggets reserves were clearly overmatched by the Raptors starters, Chris Marlowe announced solemnly that Nate Robinson underwent successful ACL surgery and will miss the remainder of the 2013-2014 season. They went on to give up 60 points in the first half, an increasingly common trend as the team's defense has fallen apart. The Raptors hadn't won in Denver since 2003 but easily handled the Nuggets on their home floor tonight and snapped their decade-plus drought in the Mile High City.
In the third quarter, the Nuggets committed a season high 10 turnovers as the Raptors caught fire, outscoring the Nuggets 26-17. Down 16 headed into the final frame, the remainder of the game was mostly academic as the Nuggets rolled over, with the Raptors ballooning the lead to 20 just 50 seconds into the fourth quarter. Brian Shaw called a quick timeout, but there was no fight left in this team tonight. There were a few concession dunks as the Raptors lolligagged as the Nuggets put together a late 11-0 run, but ultimately the outcome for this game wasn't in doubt by halftime.
What a mess. Despite their best efforts, Randy Foye and Evan Fournier are simply unable to run the point for a full NBA game. They have the playmaking abilities and the passing acumen, but the instinct natural to point guards like Ty Lawson is clearly lacking. Foye struggled mightily, seemingly caught between his instinct to shoot first in his natural role and needing to distribute to keep the engine of the team going ending with 16 assists but 8 turnovers. Even with his rapid improvement, Fournier is still learning and asking him to take on such a significant role as distributor is pushing him to his limits. Combined, they dished 16 assists (all from Foye) but committed 15 of the team's 25 total turnovers en route to an ugly 11-33 from the field. Fournier hit just 7 of his 20 shots. The play was about as sloppy as I've seen in this incarnation of the team. Please come back soon, Ty Lawson, since it's becoming abundantly clear that Andre Miller won't.
This team is in a dark place right now. The outlook for this team - at least in the short term - hasn't seemed this bleak in over a decade. Facing the huge drain that is losing both Gallinari and now Nate Robinson for the remainder of the season (probably into next season) and Lawson and JaVale McGee still out indefinitely, the Nuggets have few appealing options available to them. While it is heartening to watch Fournier and Quincy Miller grow in roles they've been forced to take on perhaps earlier than they should be, it doesn't change the fact that this team has been decimated by injury with the hardest remaining schedule in the league still ahead of them. I guess J.J. Hickson had another empty double double or something.
Call me a pessimist if you want, but right now, the biggest hope for this team seems to be in the lottery balls they'll be looking at this summer.