Tonight was one of those Nuggets games that tests your fandom and maturity. Which is a nice way of saying I’d have dumped out of this game had I not committed to being more attentive about this season to write a decent column for Denver Stiffs, which has been cranking out some pretty amazing articles on your Denver Nuggets of late. So I’m paying attention more than I would have in years past during these tough patches. Which led me to digging into some halftime stats during tonight’s game.
The Nuggets were down by 13 at the half, and had been down by 18 at one point. But the Nuggets had one more double-digit scorer (3, vs. the Pelicans 2), and the games’ leading scorer in Wilson Chandler (who had 12 at that point). But in all the effort categories, the Pelicans led the way, especially rebounds (31-21) and assists (14-8). Couple that with atrocious shooting on the Nuggets part, and the +/- column told the story completely. Every player on the Pelicans team was in the plus, every player on the Nuggets in the minus.
This pattern ALMOST held throughout the game, before Anthony Morrow took it upon himself to ruin my narrative (I was suddenly rooting for this like a no-hitter, I was so nonplussed by the Nuggets efforts) and slipped to a -2. Otherwise, still the case. A minus for every Nugget, a plus for every other Pelican. When you’ve got two players coming off the floor with double-doubles, and still no one in the plus? A lack of team play and a lack of effort made the outcome of the game something of an inevitability. Even when the Nuggets closed the gap to 6 (twice), you never got the feeling they were fired up, believing in themselves. A 16 point loss felt like a lot more, and you wonder where the Nuggets are going to find some inspiration.
I know, it sounded like there wasn’t anything positive to talk about, but there were a few good takeaways. Ty Lawson and J.J. Hickson each had double-doubles, and Quincy Miller had a nice evening, with a new career high of 9 points. Let’s throw Timofey Mozgov into this paragraph just to give a little love back to the plus side, as he closed in on a double double himself. Wilson Chandler had 22 points, and somehow still finished at a -11. Weird game.
I won’t re-write the first three paragraphs here, but something’s odd in guard-land, as Andre Miller, Nate Robinson, and Randy Foye (15, 16, and 7 minutes, respectively) finished with zero points and one assist… each. No points and three assists from three key members of your backcourt in 38 combined minutes of floor time is NOT going to get it done. Each of these gents has had good and bad moments this season, but… wow. Add to that the mystery of Evan Fournier (Foye sees 7 minutes and bombs, and Fours on the Floor is still a mirage? Curious.)
The Nuggets don’t have time to feel sorry for themselves over this loss, as they have the Grizzlies tomorrow night, and Memphis comes off a loss at Houston that could have gotten them back to .500. Speaking of .500, the Nuggets five-game skid places them back at the Mason-Dixon. What say you, Nuggets Nation?