For the recap tonight, going to steal from Bill Simmons and have a bit of a running diary of the game.
Hornets opened up the game hitting their first three shots. A three by Kemba Walker and two from the left side by Al Jefferson to immediately open up a 7-2 lead. Denver had two shots and two turnovers in this opening two-minute stretch.
11-2, after an Arron Afflalo miss is sandwiched between jumpers by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jefferson. A much-needed timeout called by Brian Shaw.
Ty Lawson has gotten into the lane at will against Walker and has only shot once, had two passes stolen. Needs to look to finish more often. Then knocks down a three pointer as I finish typing that. Nuggets down, 10-13.
Walker just passed between Lawson's legs and that leads to Cody Zeller drawing a blocking foul on Kenneth Faried. He misses both free throws, so it's all good because Wilson Chandler calls bank shot on the other end. Just down one with 5:30 left, 12-13.
Afflalo's three pointer was changed to a two. Not sure why they ever ruled it a three.
Timofey gets hit hard right above the eye by Bismac Biyombo and he's looking a lot like Ric Flair right now. Nuggets are down 11-17 with 4:37 left in the first quarter.
Alonzo Gee and J.J. Hickson are the first players off the bench for the Nuggets.
Afflalo looks really quick on his feet tonight, he's missed his last two shots long, but he looks really good out there right now.
Took Denver 9 minutes to force a turnover and Wilson goes coast-to-coast with a lefty lay-in to cut the lead to 13-19.
Turns out the Nuggets lead the NBA in total fouls. The more you know.
Hey, Lawson goes to the basket again and again gets another layup. Down, 15-21.
Nate Robinson is the next bench player in and immediately allows Gary Neal to knock down a three pointer because he forgot to play defense. 17-26, Hornets.
When you're down 10 points with 3.5 seconds left at the end of the first quarter, who calls a timeout to draw up a play? Brian Shaw, that's who! Does it work? Ummmm... It was a Nate Robinson airballing a three pointer falling sideways. I'm sure just like it was drawn up. Nuggets end the quarter down by 10, 18-28. Not a good start by the guys in blue.
First shot of the second quarter is another off balance Nate Robinson three pointer with the shot clock running down. Hornets hit some jump shots and the Nuggets are down 14 and here comes another timeout.
Chandler drives and scores easily. Noticing a trend here, shouldn't the Nuggets coaching staff?
Jusuf Nurkic checks in! He's going to be tasked with slowing down Al... nope. Jefferson makes a shot right in his mug and then gets his first shot blocked by P.J. Hairston.
Robinson makes a shot! 24-38.
Hairston steals from Nurkic and then hits a pull up triple. Robinson responds in turn with his best Russell Westbrook impression and then tries to cross body block Hairston. He gets yanked.
Nurkic showing high on the screens, got a steal and foul for his troubles.
Lawson into the paint again... again with an easy basket.
Pretty sure the Hornets basket is about seven feet sider than the Nuggets basket at this point. Nuggets down by 19, 47-28.
Mozgov has is back on the floor for the Nuggets. Gary Harris also makes his first appearance of the night and immediately fouls Kemba Walker to send him to the line.
Lawson is the only one that really cares tonight. Nuggets are settling for so many jumpers when they are getting into the lane at will and getting easy shots in the paint. How does that work out? They score a total of 40 points in the half and are down by 18.
Mozy with a nice dunk to start the third! Then Tyler Zeller comes back and throws down on Faried. Faried then kicks the ball for a turnover and Zeller knocks down an 18-footer. Nuggets down 20 and Shaw calls for a timeout.
Now Lawson is settling for jumpers, misses, but makes up for it by getting into the lane next trip for a layup.
We can just title this the quarter of missed jumpers.
The only other threat on offense in Wilson Chandler now has five fouls with five minutes left in the third quarter. How does Brian Shaw let that happen? How does Chandler not watch himself a bit more?
Chandler is still on the floor?
Nurkic tries to sledgehammer it, but he gets all backboard on that one. He was probably fouled on that.
Yeah, Nuggets are still down by 20 and for some reason John Cena beat Seth Rollins cleanly on Raw tonight.
On a positive note, it took Al Jefferson a little over eight minutes to score in the third quarter. He had 18 points at the half. Jefferson looks gassed though.
Gee takes advantage and tries to dunk on Big Al, but draws the foul.
Lawson and Robinson are now the backcourt for the Nugget. At one point in time I wanted to call these guys NatTy Ice because I thought they were going to be a deadly duo for the Nuggets on the court together. Not sure why I'm telling you this now. Nuggets down by 24, 55-79.
Erick Green is out on the floor now and he makes his first shot.
I think Nate is 0-7 from three so far tonight. Probably want to check stats on that, but sheesh, seems like it.
Hornets end the quarter on a 13-4 run to extend their lead to 84-57. Wake the kids up and the eat cookies, Santa ain't coming to Denver tonight.
So... Couldn't George Karl be hired back now? Beat the Kings to it. No, Josh Smith is not the answer. Just get that out of your heads now. Don't need another offensive black hole bricking jumpers at a historic rate.
Nate has now taken four shots with the shot clock about to expire. Three of them were self-inflicted.
A nice, no pass possession there by Green and that leads to a brick.
Gee makes the first Nuggets basket of the quarter and it only took two minutes!
Oh hey! Nate Robinson now has two steals this quarter and this last one leads to Gee getting the and-1! Gee has scored the last five Denver points and they're only down now... 62-86.
Alonzo Gee has scored the Nuggets last seven points! Nuggets still down by a lot, 64-90.
Robinson breaks the streak and finally hits a jumper himself.
Brace yourselves; Gee has nine fourth quarter points. Kobe has got nothing on him! Yeah, Nuggets are down 29 right now. Doesn't mean that we can't have some fun.
Alonzo Gee now has scored 11 fourth quarter points.
Hornets go up by 30, Nuggets get a steal and convert on a 3-on-1 fast break and this causes Steve Clifford to call a timeout. Why extend the game? I know he's using it as a teaching moment for the bench guys, but I have carpets to clean.
Things I liked:
I really like the game from Nurkic. He is showing a bit more patience on offense, but what really stood out to me was how well he showed and closed out on high screens. He caused three turnovers and committed only one foul in doing this defensively. Most bigs just mow point guards over in these sets. Nurkic was quick in sliding his feet, cut off the passing lane with his hands up and forced the guard to the sideline. It was honestly textbook high show defense.
Nurkic also baited Kemba Walker into a really nice block too.
Ty Lawson looked good. He got into the paint at will and had some nice passes to set up his teammates, they just couldn't knock anything down.
Things I disliked:
All the jumpers. The Hornets were soft in the middle, Lawson was getting into the paint at will, so was Wilson when they drove, but they kept shooting jumpers and challenged jumpers at that. Everyone just fell into a lull and turned into chuckers as soon as they fell behind.
Brian Shaw continues to boggle my mind with some of his coaching decisions and rotations. There is just no consistency.
It is also more and more apparent that the much-needed backup point guard this team needs is not on the roster.
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