The Denver Nuggets are now the proud owners of their second lengthy losing streak of the young season. The Nuggets won their season opener and then promptly dropped their next six games by an average of 13.3 points per game.
On Monday, Dec. 8th, the Nuggets were in Toronto for the third installment of the Masai Ujiri Bowl falling, in a spirited effort, 112-107 to the Raptors in overtime.
What hurts most about this loss is that the Nuggets held a three-point lead, 102-99, with thirty seconds left in this game, despite fouling to prevent the Raptors from attempting a game tying shot. Of course power forward Patrick Patterson hit his fifth three pointer (in seven attempts) with 28.4 seconds left to the tie the game off a penetration and dish play that had been killing the Nuggets all night - because of terrible defensive rotations.
These were just two of the many areas that Brian Shaw failed as a head coach in this one. After getting burned in the first quarter for 12 points where a screen and roll or just a basic penetration by either Kyle Lowry, Greivis Vasquez or Terrence Ross resulted in Timofey Mozgov leaving his man (and the paint), showing to the ball, and then a simple pass to Jonas Valanciunas, Amir Johnson or if the angle was right taking it themselves for an easy basket. There was zero backside rotation from J.J. Hickson, Wilson Chandler or Darrell Arthur ... or anyone else for that matter. It was just dunk/layup practice for the Raptors on these plays. Why Toronto went away from it? I don't know.
Was a timeout ever called to rectify this repeated situation? I thought there was, turned out to be a foul and the under six minute official's timeout. No timeouts from Shaw.
Beyond the obvious coaching lapses, we continue to see solid games from Ty Lawson, tonight he had 22 points, 12 assists and six rebounds and shot a respectable 50% from the field.
Arron Afflalo led the Nuggets in scoring with 25 and Wilson Chandler had 18 points (on 21 shots). Mozgov had a very nice 15 point and 12 rebound night (outside his defensive lapses).
The minutes played by the starters were also an issue and most likely the cause as to why the Nuggets scored just five points in the final stanza. Lawson played 49 minutes tonight (played 44 less than 24 hours earlier) and if you want to add up other Nuggets starters minutes played the last two nights: Chandler with 84, Mozgov with 82, Afflalo with 74 and Lawson with 93. On tired legs, the Nuggets settled for jumpers late, stopped penetrating and creating in crunch-time, and that's when the points dried up.
Could Gary Harris, Erick Green, and especially Danilo Gallinari played more? Absolutely! They barely played the night before and their energy could have been used for a few more minutes to get Lawson, Afflalo and Chandler a few minutes of breath. It could have potentially been the difference in the game.
There are a lot of "what-if" moments in this game and if the Nuggets do not regroup and defeat the Miami Heat at home on Wednesday night, a nine game losing streak is in play. After Miami, the Nuggets play the Spurs, the Rockets twice and a rested Clippers team.
|Denver Nuggets at Toronto Raptors|
|December 8, 2014||1ST||2ND||3RD||4TH||OT||SCORE|
|Kenneth Faried||-- DID NOT PLAY --|
|JaVale McGee||-- DID NOT PLAY --|
|Nate Robinson||-- DID NOT PLAY --|
|Randy Foye||-- DID NOT PLAY --|
|Jusef Nurkic||-- DID NOT PLAY --|
|Bruno Caboclo||-- DID NOT PLAY --|
|Landry Fields||-- DID NOT PLAY --|
|Chuck Hayes||-- DID NOT PLAY --|
|Greg Stiemsma||-- DID NOT PLAY --|