TPM™ 2021-'21 Game #3 vs Cleveland

Nuggets vs Spurs I: " Nothing Cavalier about a revenge-game"

The Good Guys

Their Adversaries

*Red boxes above indicate one notable number to catch my eye for each team

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 3 CLE

Nikola "Big Honey" Jokic: +24

"Showtime" Michael Porter Jr: +9

Aaron "Aar" Gordon: +10

"Brontosaurus" Monte Morris: +12

Will "Thrill" Barton: +9

PJ "Bol" Dozier: +5

"Bones" Hyland: +12

Facundo "El Mago" Campazzo: +6

"Funcle" JaMychal Green: -6

"Uncle" Jeff Green: -4

Austin "Tributary" Rivers: +3

Zeke "The Piano Man" Nnaji: +1

Vlatko "Mr Olympia" Cancar: N/A

Bol Bol "Baggins": +2

"Wet" Markus Howard: +0

Petr "French Toast" Cornelie: +0

Jamal "The Blue Arrow" Murray: N/A


Total TPM™

Nikola Jokic: 3 games +85

Michael Porter Jr: 3 games +24

Aaron Gordon: 3 games +23

Monte Morris: 3 games +27

Will Barton: 3 games +51

PJ Dozier: 3 games +7

Bones Hyland: 1 games +12

Facundo Campazzo: 3 games +18

JaMychal Green: 3 games -2

Jeff Green: 3 games +10

Austin Rivers: 3 games +8

Zeke Nnaji: 1 games +1

Vlatko Cancar: 0 games +0

Bol Bol: 1 games +2

Markus Howard: 1 games +0

Petr Cornelie: 1 games +0

Jamal Murray: 0 games +0


Avg. TPM™ Per Game

Nikola Jokic: +28.33

Michael Porter Jr: +8.00

Aaron Gordon: +7.67

Monte Morris: +9.00

Will Barton: +17.00

PJ Dozier: +2.33

Bones Hyland: +12.00

Facundo Campazzo: +6.00

JaMychal Green: +0.67

Jeff Green: +3.33

Austin Rivers: +2.67

Zeke Nnaji: +1.00

Vlatko Cancar: +0.00

Bol Bol: +2.00

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 Cavs counter with Garland, Sexton, Markkanan, Mobley (my favorite of this stellar rookie class; think KG without all the piss in his Cheerios.) and Allen. MVP loses the tip for the first time on the young season and we are under way. Lauri dunks the bejuzus out of it, bodying Joker, to open the scoring. Denver leads by one at 8:20 on a layup by Big Honey. Cleveland is matching Mobley on AG which is a mistake. They kid can really D up and his length would be an asset against MPJ. Denver leads by four at the time of the first break, 6:18. Mobley earns his 2nd foul and must take a seat at this time. Katy is looking smashing in her dark-olive long-sleeve number tonight. Tony Brothers remains the very worst official in the league. No sarcasm font on that. AG is attacking the iron early and draws an and-1 foul on Allen for his effort.

Barton is DEFINITELY not winning the D-chain tonight, and Cleveland leads by two, as Okoro dusts him for a dunk. MPJ gets his second foul and is replaced by Dozier at 4:34. Facu is next in for Denver, at 4:15, trailing by four. PJ has two quick fouls and this has the definite feeling of not just a revenge game, but a trap game, with the B2B in Utah looming tomorrow. Jeff is in and is immediately beaten by Allen for an alley-oop dunk. The lead for Cleveland is seven with just under three minutes remaining. Only Jokic/AG appear to have shown up game-ready tonight. Rivers enters and only MVP remains of the starters. Senior replaces him at 2:06, trailing by seven. Love is working Denver over so far, and the lead is nine. Facu drills his first three of the year after a steal by PJ, and the lead is down to four at 1:05. BONES CHECKS IN FOR HIS NUGGETS DEBUT AT THIS TIME! Welcome to the Bones-zone e'ryone!

Denver is paced in TPM by Aaron Gordon: +5 as they trail 24-29 after one.


Qtr2- The Nuggets are going small and the Cavs are going tall to open the second. Bones is garnering a lot of defensive attention from Cleveland, which is odd when you consider that he couldn't have possibly featured in any effectual manner, in their scouting report. Cleveland leads by three at 8:45 as the Cavs are getting very careless with the ball. Bones' first bucket is a smart, elbow J. He follows it up with a three on some excellent passing by Facu/Rivers, including a nutmeg by Facundo. MVP re-enters for the good guys at 7:10, trailing by three. Apropos of nothing, Jarrett Allen resembles a much taller Allen Ginsburg. The rest of the starters (sans Monte; con Facu) enter at 5:54 for Denver, trailing by four. Morris is in at the next dead ball.

Four players now have two fouls for Denver. Neither team could throw a pea in the ocean right now. AG is really struggling to hang onto the ball on his drives tonight. Cleveland leads by four with 2:02 to go in the half. The Nuggets are 3-of-19 from three thus-far. No bueno. Jokic has had some uncharacteristically bad passes which have led to turnovers tonight. MPJ gets his third foul with under a minute to go which is on Malone for leaving him (and Jokic) out there with two. Correction: the foul is on Monte, but the point remains. Big Honey sticks a three and cuts it to seven with mere seconds remaining. That gives him a 2D in the first half. He's fouled on a running three point attempt with 3.1 to go, and drains three at the line.

Denver is paced in TPM by Nikola Jokic: +13 as they trail 46-50 at the half.


Qtr3- Denver needs to get serious about tonights game so that they can rest up for tomorrows. They seemed to go about that in reverse, in the first half. A Monte Morris sighting could go a long way toward delivering on this. He misses an easy layup early in the third, of course. Jokic may have to do it all himself tonight, I'm afraid. Third careless-pass turnover on Jokic, and the Cavs continue to lead by six. Monte/MPJ are both "elswehere", this much is abundantly clear, as the lead grows to eight at the time of the first break, 9:23. Lauri drills a three and they have their big lead of 11. Monte FINALLY scores, on a sweet give & go from Joker. It's only his second assist since nobody can shoot tonight.

The refs are swallowing their whistles as the Nuggets begin getting things going in transition. They cut it to three on the strength of a 10-2 run. Here's hopin' the bench comes in focused, puts it away and the starters can take the 4th off. It's predictibly gettitng chippy now since the refs all forgot they had whistles for the past several minutes. Denver is now 7-29 from distance. Facu and Rubio are jawing face to face now and I think I speak for everyone when I loudly scream FUCK YOU TONY BROTHERS! It results in a double T. The Cavs lead by three with 2:36 to go. Joker ties it up on an and-1 with under a minute to go, and chants of M-V-P rain down in Ball-so-hard arena. He finally gets a blow and his replacement, Senior, imediately commits an offensive foul. That's turnover number 16 for Denver.

Denver is paced in TPM by Nikola Jokic: +24 as they trail 70-75 after three.


Qtr4- The recipe for victory calls for three ingredients; focus, focus and more focus. ANOTHER offensive foul is called on Denver. That's gotta be some sort of intergallactic record. The bench-squad is NOT focused and the lead is ten at the time of the first break, 10:08, on the strength of a 7-0 run by Tony Brothers. Rivers is swatted twice on two shot attempts by Okoro, trying to go one on one. Sexton drills a three and the lead is 13 now, at 9:08. Malone had better reinsert the starters soon. Jokic/MPJ/Will are in at this time. The lead is now 16 on the strength of a 14-1 run by Cleveland. AG returns and the starters are intact for Denver, down 14 at 6:45.

AG makes three in double digits for Denver. They are now 7-34 from distance, as Monte dribbles out of bounds under zero duress. The lead is now 16 at 5:28. Gonna be one shitty flight over the continental divide tonight, it would seem. Kevin Love has outscored Denver's bench on his own! Cleveland has 30 points on 20 turnovers by Denver. MPJ cuts it to 13 on a long three at 4:07. Bones is at the scorers table, presumably checking in for the entirely ineffective Monte. That IS the case at 3:14 of a 15 point game. Allen puts Joker in the blender and that should just about do it. Malone agrees and brings in the recycling crew.

Denver is paced in TPM by Jokic: +24 as they lose at home in embarrassing fashion, 87-99.


Final Thoughts:

  • Denver drops to 2-1 on the year.
  • Bones minutes are fun minutes; more of those please.
  • The rest of it was brutal.
  • So much for going 82-0.
  • What is wrong with Monte?
  • Cleveland has the revenge I alluded to.


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.


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