The Nuggets have broken out the Golden Oldies for this game and the Mavericks are in their usual dark blue roadies. We're going to go through this recap, running diary style. I'll be looking for the pick-and-roll defensive adjustments, how the offense is working, and hopefully get a different look as we go ... or not. And away we go!
-The usual suspect starters for Denver and right away we see a little pick-and-roll defense as Timofey Mozgov defends Jose Calderon in a 'drop' and prevents any dribble penetration. The Mavericks are forced to take a long jumper by Monta Ellis ... no good. On the other end, the Nuggets move the ball well and Ty Lawson nails a jumper as the shot clock expires.
- At the 7:56 mark, lots of sloppy passing by the Nuggets. Guys leaving their feet and their targets moving, post passes to nobody in particular, and a Kenneth Faried pass to, I guess, Brian Shaw? Denver is shooting well from outside though, Lawson nails his fourth shot in a row and is fouled in the process ... from beyond the three point line. Jeff Van Gundy is talking about Lawson kicking his leg out, but Ty has had that in his shot for years (maybe he kicked out a little wider than normal).
-2:05 mark and Denver is up 37-23 as Jae Crowder nails a three-ball. With Moz out, lets see how the J.J. Hickson and Kenneth Faried disaster-combo works. Devin Harris comes down the floor and runs a pick-and-roll ... Kenneth Faried 'drops' and does not hedge ... he's a power forward and he didn't run what Shaw wants there. Faried compounds the issue by staying in no man's land and allowing Brandan Wright to run unopposed to the hoop, and he slams down an alley-oop. Poorly played by Faried there.
-Another Dallas pick-and-roll at the 35.8 second mark. Hickson is the center on the floor so he 'drops' as Harris comes off the screen. Foye took a lot of contact and fails to recover on the play, Hickson is caught covering Harris and Wright, no help comes on Wright and he gets another alley-oop dunk. Denver's 16 point lead has been cut to 9 points at 41-32.
End of the first: 41-34 Nuggets. Still seeing mass confusion on defense and the Dallas defense tightened up and the Nuggets are settling for way too many jumpers.
-Shaw is rolling with Aaron Brooks, Lawson, Wilson Chandler, Darrell Arthur, and Hickson. Not really sure why we're running two point guards here. Shaw has Randy Foye and Evan Fournier needing minutes, but continues to tinker with wacky combinations like Fours at small forward and Quincy Miller and Anthony Randolph getting spot minutes. No consistent rotation anywhere on the floor.
-We're at the 9:22 mark, another pick and roll from Dallas! It's Wright and Monta Ellis, Hickson (the center) drops and prevents any driving lanes for Monta, Brooks recovers and gets to Ellis, Hickson gets back to Wright and we have success! Monta is forced to pass the ball back out to the perimeter. This was an excellent play by Brooks as he blew up the play by reading Ellis' eyes, Ellis wanted to drive right and Brooks jumped out that way and prevented a good screen by Wright. And then Hickson forgets to boxout Wright, who, of course, gets the offensive board and putback dunk. 48-40 Nugs.
-8:00 mark, another pick and roll for Dallas! Sam Dalembert sets screen on Foye in semi-transition out above the three-point line. Ellis gets a head of steam as Hickson is in a 'drop' at the free throw line, but nowhere near Ellis. Monta drives the lane and Hickson recovers to block the shot. Not well played by the Nuggets there, J.J. got lucky. Hickson needed to pay closer attention to his man in transition and not think Dalembert is just going to the post.
-A rare smile from Wilson Chandler as he nails a three to give Denver a 55-40 lead, Melvin Hunt is there to greet Chandler as the Mavs take a timeout and whatever Melvin said got Wilson to show a little happy emotion, magic.
-5:13 mark and another Dallas pick and roll! Jose Calderon with the ball on the elbow, Shawn Marion comes over from the top of the key to set a screen on Foye, Arthur blitzes the screen and gives Calderon nowhere to go, then Arthur recovers back to his man, but Hickson has helped and taken Marion who is on the baseline, and Arthur is now on Dalembert. Well played Nuggets. ...
-We have a second pick-and-roll on the same possession! Dalembert is going to set a screen on Brooks, Arthur is trailing the play as Ellis is the ball-handler. A beautiful blitz again by Arthur, but Brooks is slow to fight through the screen, and Ellis makes a nice spin move to split the double and he's off to the rim. Chandler prevents Ellis from getting an open look and he drops the ball to Dalembert, but Hickson provides great help defense and blocks Sammy at the rim. Great help defense there by Denver.
-And another pick-and-roll at the 4:54 mark from the Mavs. Dirk goes to set some type of screen on Lawson to free up Devin Harris, but Dirk's screen is never really set and Faried guesses the screen is going to Lawson's left, he guesses wrong as Harris takes off past Lawson's right ... Hickson saves the bacon with a nice block on Harris' layup attempt. Offensive board to Dallas ... which leads to ...
-Another pick and roll! Jose Calderon with the ball on the left elbow, Dirk comes from the top of the key to set a screen on Foye, Faried blitzes hard and wrecks any drive Calderon wanted and he then recovers to Dirk, Foye fights over the top, and Foye recovers to Jose and Faried to Dirk. Well played Nuggets. But we have ...
-Another Dallas pick and roll, that's three in one possession! Wright sets a screen on Quincy Miller just above the free throw line, Hickson 'drops', Q tries to recover, but Harris elects to go with a floater at the foul line and nails it. Tough play to defend.
-The Nuggets then run a pick and roll on the other end as J.J. sets a screen on Harris and then rolls hard to the rim. Lawson catches Wright in no man's land and finds J.J. on the cut with a pretty pass, and Hickson is airborn in no time and lays the ball in. Thing of beauty.
-Jeff Van Gundy just brought up that the NBA should move the three-point line back to make the mid-range shot a bigger part of the game. Someone should have slapped JVG when he uttered that nonsense.
-We're at the 13.8 second mark and we have yet another Mavs pick-and-roll! Dirk heads out to the top of the key to screen Lawson, Faried fails to blitz (he drops, as only the centers are supposed to do) and gives Harris a wide open lane to drive, he does stay with him as Lawson now is forced to switch to Dirk, and Harris drops a pass to Wright (who misses). Poorly played Faried.
Halftime: 68-51 Denver. The Nuggets hot outside shooting is helping them out and the defense has been active tonight. We'll see how the second half goes.
-Dirk is just awesome. Guy will take whatever you give him as he hits a runner against Chandler in the post and then nails a three-pointer on the next possession, Dallas cuts the 15 point lead to 10 at 70-60.
-A nice 7-0 run by Denver. A pretty bounce pass from Chandler to Lawson on the run for a layup and a nice three ball from Ill-Wil, too. Back up 77-60.
-JVG marvels at a Dirk fadeaway. Dirk established his pivot foot in the post, but then stepped back to his other foot after picking up the dribble ... isn't that a travel? I guess not. 77-62 Denver.
End of the third: 79-73 Nuggets. The 77-60 lead was chopped up as Dallas closed on a 13-2 run, ouch. Let's see how it ends.
-When Lawson and Chandler are not on the floor together, the offense really bogs down. Pretty much expected at this point. Chandler opens up with a three-ball, 82-73 Nuggets.
-Although J.J. has had a little confusion on pick-and-roll coverage in this one, he has played with pretty good effort on defense and his blocks helped erase some of his mix ups. A good block on Wright, at the rim, out of a pick-and-roll. Nuggets up 86-75.
-The Nuggets just have flat-out outplayed the Mavs. As Koz would say, this one is OVAH! with Denver up 99-83 with 5:30 remaining. Lawson just tossed an alley-oop to Faried, no defense around from Dirk.
-Yeesh, things got a little too close for comfort at the end ... sort of like that last game for the Wolves, but with the opposite happening.
Final: 115-110 Nuggets.
Views you can use:
-Mozgov was 0-5 from the floor, but he grabbed 6 offensive boards (10 total rebounds) and was a +3 in 21 minutes. Odd stat line, but love guys getting extra possessions.
-The Mavs were 9-9 from the foul line compared to Denver's 30-36. Yes, Denver was a bit more aggressive in the paint, but that's a big discrepancy.
-Denver went 11-24 from deep on the night or 45.8% ... good to see the team get some shooting back as Lawson, Foye, Chandler, and Fournier combined to go 11-22 on the night from deep (Brooks 0-2).
-Chandler led the Nuggets with 21 points and Dirk led the Mavs with 27 points of his own. Wilson was a +14 and Dirk was a -7 on the night.