Nuggets vs Spurs I: " Home Cookin"
The Good Guys
(Open images in a new tab for a closer look. Charts courtesy of ESPN.COM. All links contained within this piece will open in a new tab or window.)
Injuries for Denver:
Injuries for opponent:
If you are viewing the pre-game version of the TPM piece and you enjoy gonzo-basketball reporting, I invite you to please join me after the game where the same link will lead you to the post-game version. In it, all of the disjointed/unsightly blanks below will be filled, complete with data/analysis.
In-game analysis will be provided for all games except for the second of B2B and/or weekend games. Data will be tracked for all 82 games, regardless of whether analysis is provided or not.
TPM™ Game 2 SAS
Nikola "Scandalmeister" Jokic: +43
"Showtime" Michael Porter Jr: -5
Aaron "Aar" Gordon: -1
"Brontosaurus" Monte Morris: +6
Will "Thrill" Barton: +19
PJ "Bol" Dozier: +1
"Bones" Hyland: N/A
Facundo "El Mago" Campazzo: +12
"Funcle" JaMychal Green: +4
"Uncle" Jeff Green: +4
Austin "Tributary" Rivers: +6
Zeke "The Piano Man" Nnaji: N/A
Vlatko "Mr Olympia" Cancar: N/A
Bol Bol "Baggins": N/A
"Wet" Markus Howard: N/A
Petr "French Toast" Cornelie: N/A
Jamal "The Blue Arrow" Murray: N/A
Nikola Jokic: 2 games +61
Michael Porter Jr: 2 games +15
Aaron Gordon: 2 games +13
Monte Morris: 2 games +15
Will Barton: 2 games +42
PJ Dozier: 2 games +2
Bones Hyland: 0 games +0
Facundo Campazzo: 2 games +12
JaMychal Green: 2 games +4
Jeff Green: 2 games +14
Austin Rivers: 2 games +5
Zeke Nnaji: 0 games +0
Vlatko Cancar: 0 games +0
Bol Bol: 0 games +0
Markus Howard: 0 games +0
Petr Cornelie: 0 games +0
Jamal Murray: 0 games +0
Avg. TPM™ Per Game
Nikola Jokic: +30.50
Michael Porter Jr: +7.50
Aaron Gordon: +6.50
Monte Morris: +7.50
Will Barton: +21.00
PJ Dozier: +1.00
Bones Hyland: +0.00
Facundo Campazzo: +6.00
JaMychal Green: +2.00
Jeff Green: +7.00
Austin Rivers: +2.50
Zeke Nnaji: +0.00
Vlatko Cancar: +0.00
Bol Bol: +0.00
Markus Howard: +0.00
Petr Cornelie: +0.00
Jamal Murray: +0.00
TPM™ Per-Minute Splits (2020-'21 final numbers)
*Credit DomP on the Spreadsheet.
Qtr1- The Nuggets go with their opening night starting five, consisting of Morris, Barton, MPJ, AG & the MVP. The Spurs counter with White, Murray, McDermott, Johnson & Poeltl. There is a typing lag on SB Nation tonight, but less pronounced than last time, so hopefully they are working the bugs out. The point being, I should be able to analyze all four quarters in this one, unlike opening night. Joker wins the tap for the second time in a row, making him 2-2 on the year. Barton gets the scoring underway with a corner three from Joker. MPJ is struggling in transition D early. First rage timeout of the night comes early, at 9:47 by Malone, trailing by 2. Poeltl the Turtle has nothing but baby food for MVP tonight.
Joker draws the second foul on him at 8:37, and Jacob grabs some pine. San Antonio has nobody with the muscle to defend AG in the post and Denver takes the lead by two at 7:37. Monte looks awful spry tonight but the Spurs lead by one at 5:54, on a three by Colorado's own Derrick White. Evidently, Eubanks has learned cheap-shot screens from The Turtle, who'll go by TT for shorthand, henceforth. AG is now being doubled in the post which is PRECISELY what the Nuggets want, in a best-case-scenario multiverse. PJ/Facu are in for Denver, who lead by two at 3:45. Facu converts his first-ever layup and the crowd is going loco! The rest of the bench (which still includes Rivers) enter at 2:33, up six.
Denver is paced in TPM by Nikola Jokic: +12 as they lead 26-22 after one.
Qtr2- Senior, as will be JaMichael Green's shorthand (as a means to differentiate between Dos Verdes) henceforth, is looking much better in this one, as Denver leads by five at 10:01. Facu is REALLY struggling from three this year which surprises me, but it's early. The bench-squad is better, though still not great tonight, as Denver leads by five at 8:00. PJ's biggest area of improvement this year appears to be his being shot-ready from three. Jokic returns at 6:48, leading by eight. Second uber-cheap screen by Eubanks levels Facu; a third foul for him.
The rest of the starters enter at 5:45 for the good guys, who lead by seven. MPJ is way off tonight. Jokic is the first in double digits for Denver at 4:20 (smoke 'em if you got 'em.) MVP just darted a bullet that had to have gone directly through the sternum of no fewer than five players, en route to MPJ. The man is a gunslinger, through & through. The lead is four with 2:59 remaining. MPJ is in his head for sure, as he fumbles away a would-be fast break layup. PJ is in for him with under a minute remaining, up five. Murray earns his third foul and he exits, after whacking Joker in the shnauzola.
Denver is paced in TPM by Nikola Jokic: +18 as they lead 53-50 at the half.
Qtr3- The Nuggets have to figure out a way to make Keldon Johnson's looks more difficult. A large part of it is matching up in transition to avoid the mismatch. MPJ needs to get a dunk or a FT to get his mind right. The Spurs take a one point lead on a lazy pass-reception by Barton, turned fast break dunk. Denver appears to have taken Quaaludes at the half and trail by 4 at the time of the first break, 9:33. Jokic calms the vibe with a splendid Serbian hooker. Barton ties it up with a nice drive at 8:15. Denver is simply not running in transition, which was one of their strengths vs Phoenix. Jokic is PISSED and I'll be shocked if he doesn't get a T soon. MPJ makes a contested layup; maybe that gets him off the shnide. MVP has his second 2D in as many games, as Denver leads by one at 5:45.
Monte/Will make three in double digits for Denver. MPJ gets slapped with his fourth foul and exits at 5:20. PJ is the replacement and the lead for Denver is one. Eubanks has his 4th as well, but must remain in with TT already resting with three. The bench unit filters in for Denver at 3:46, up three. Barton has been a steadying force for most of the night. He and Joker remain in. MVP for three, and the crowd has entered the chat again. The Spurs have gone cold and Denver leads by ten after a touchdown conversion from Jokic to Facu. Facu has acquitted himself nicely tonight. Joker is on 3D watch with 22/13/5. Rivers goes down hard on a drive and he's down, after a hard but clean foul by Murray. Hopefully it's just his wind. This appears to be the case. Anywho, the lead is still 10 with 1:13 remaining, as Joker takes a seat.
Denver is paced in TPM by Nikola Jokic: +28 as they lead 79-70 after three.
Qtr4- The Nuggets get the scoring under way on an alley-oop dunk from PJ to Senior. Denver only has to play even until the starters return. The Spurs are in a zone, so open looks should be available; just gotta knock 'em down. Denver leads by 11 at 10:22. Keldon Johnson may be the best shitty-shot-maker in the whole damned league. Three straight posessions result in poor looks for Denver, despite my previous prediction about the zone, and Malone takes another rage TO at 9:10, up five. San Antonio cuts it to one, on the strength of a 10-0 run, as Joker saunters toward the scorers table. Denver is scoreless over the last three minutes of action, prior to a third layup conversion by Facu. Joker and the rest of the starters are still waiting to check in. Their opportunity arrizes at 6:55, up three.
Jeff Green remains in for AG. MPJ has played excellent on-ball D since reinsertion, and Denver leads by five at 5:29. MVP is going to work and the lead is seven, at 5:07. Senior makes four in double digits for Denver. AG is back in and it's closing time. You don't have to go home but get the fuck outta D-town, Spurs. Denver has been dreadful from three, until MPJ hits one on a sweet dish from MVP. The lead is nine at 3:54. The Spurs are in the bonus from here on out. I'm popping my nightly edible, in case anyone cares. Time to get nutty! The lead is six at 1:56 as Johnson draws a touch foul on AG. Denver is first to 100 on a beautiful spinnning Sombor Shuffle by MVP, and the croud erups in chants of his name. That name is MVP for the uninitiated. The lead is 4 with 1:06 remaining, after a three by White. Monte drills a dagger J and that should just about do it.
Denver is paced in TPM by Nikola Jokic: +43 as they win a close one, 102-96
- Denver wins and improves their record to 2-0.
- All the guys who sucked in game one, played better tonight which is obviously ideal
- I'm cool with Bones being eased into things later, but a rim threat or drive option is sorely needed in that second unit. Barton is just that guy.
- The Spurs are a smart, well-coached team, as always; they're just not all that good at basketball
- Bad game for MPJ, but with good body language, unlike last year when things went poorly
- Nothing pretty about that one, but the MVP did MVP shit as per always
For context pertaining to the statistical aspects of this piece, please open this link: TPM™
A brief statement with regard to this piece on whole:
As a means to avoid repeating myself I will include this descriptive diatribe in all TPM posts going forward.
Sure I like statistics; ever since I was a child collecting sports cards and later a pre-teen who ran pre-internet fantasy sports leagues on ink/paper/spreadsheet for the four major US pro-leagues, I've been fascinated by box-score stats, but I'm by no means an expert.
I created TPM, which has been around longer than RPM incidentally and unlike them, I fully disclose my non-proprietary system and I contextualize the action rather than being a boring, mysterious, predictive metric, because it does add immediate and accessible context to what we see and what the numbers indicate, which I like.
While the data is meticulously tracked and demonstrably sound, I'm a creative type, not an engineer. Algorithm is the bane of my existence in fact. I'd far rather approach life with the intrigue of expected surprise than attempt to get to the bottom of why things are the way they are. There are many engineers in my family so I totally understand that joy can be derived from finding solutions to problems, I just can't relate. It's not fun for me. THIS is for the most part, not fun for me.
Now I'm a 44-year-old man who was born during the season in which the team I love joined the NBA. I happen to have a lifetime of experience with this sport in several capacities, including playing (highly underrated within the writing community) so I understand basketball theory in a way most (by no means all) pundits do not.
I was, in this case, interested in a data-driven approach, which if I'm honest has sapped nearly all fun out of taking in games for me. I get very few days/nights off during the season. One piece requires several hours of research and data entry and all tracking/analysis is done in real time and published mere moments after each game's completion, 82 times per year.
As such, the analysis portion is about 90% (I've run the numbers) creative writing with sarcasm generally indicated through italics, non-sequitur humor and hyperbole, in an attempt to steal back some of the joy this endeavor has snatched away.
Hopefully there is a little something here for everyone but if you came just for data or are averse to colorful language, this is not the place for you. I have no way of knowing how many people even read this so I'll not be affected even remotely if you choose not to indulge. For those of you who do, I greatly appreciate your the support.
I can be found at @prmorphine on Twitter.
Also, my DIY music production and videos can be heard/seen here if you don't value your ear-balls & eye-drums.
And as always, get the jab, wear the mask, act like a good person privately and especially in public; even if you are not, and most importantly, fuck the Lakers.