Nuggets vs Magic I: " MVP & the Summer-League Believers vs The Beleaguered G-Leaguers"
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.)
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 21 ORL
Nikola "Big Honey" Jokic: +28
Aaron "Aar" Gordon: +21
"Brontosaurus" Monte Morris: +6
Will "Thrill" Barton: +6
"Bones" Hyland: N/A
Facundo "El Mago" Campazzo: +7
"Funcle" JaMychal Green: -6
"Uncle" Jeff Green: -1
Austin "Tributary" Rivers: N/A
Zeke "The Piano Man" Nnaji: +9
Vlatko "Mr Olympia" Cancar: N/A
Bol Bol "Baggins": +0
"Wet" Markus Howard: +1
Petr "French Toast" Cornelie: N/A
Jamal "The Blue Arrow" Murray: N/A
"Showtime" Michael Porter Jr: N/A
PJ "Bol" Dozier: N/A
Nikola Jokic: 16 games +535
Aaron Gordon: 21 games +297
Monte Morris: 21 games +243
Will Barton: 19 games +203
Bones Hyland: 14 games +116
Facundo Campazzo: 19 games +98
JaMychal Green: 19 games -14
Jeff Green: 21 games +47
Austin Rivers: 18 games +13
Zeke Nnaji: 9 games +32
Vlatko Cancar: 3 games +18
Bol Bol: 10 games +0
Markus Howard: 11 games +20
Petr Cornelie: 5 games +2
Jamal Murray: 0 games +0
Michael Porter Jr: 9 games +56
PJ Dozier: 18 games +75
Avg. TPM™ Per Game
Nikola Jokic: +33.44
Aaron Gordon: +14.14
Monte Morris: +11.57
Will Barton: +10.68
Bones Hyland: +8.29
Facundo Campazzo: +5.16
JaMychal Green: -0.74
Jeff Green: +2.24
Austin Rivers: +0.72
Zeke Nnaji: +3.56
Vlatko Cancar: +6.00
Bol Bol: +0.00
Markus Howard: +1.82
Petr Cornelie: +0.40
Jamal Murray: +0.00
Michael Porter Jr: +6.22
PJ Dozier: +4.17
TPM™ Per-Minute Splits (Through game 10)
*Credit DomP on the Spreadsheet.
Qtr1- The Nuggets go with their 7TH starting five, consisting of Morris, Barton, AG, Uncle Jeff & MVP. The Magic counter with Anthony, Harris, Wagner, Carter & Bamba. No Bones (or Rivers) about it tonight, due to COVID protocol. Lance Stephenson will likely be signed to a 10 day contract soon. MVP bests Bamba on the opening tip, and we're under way. Denver scores the first eight and they are in the lead by that margin, at 9:10. Wagner finally scores Orlando's first deuce at 8:55. Bamba has two early fouls and takes a seat at 7:57, trailing by seven.
Jokic is playing his preferred role as facilitator rather than scorer, thus-far. The lead is 11 at the time of the first break, 6:12. Facu is first off the pine for the good guys, leading by nine at 5:15. Nnaji, not J-Myke is next in which is a positive development. Howard enters at 3:49, up nine. AG remains in with Joker, and Aaron catches a body on a throw-back jam, over Okeke. J-Myke is in for MVP at 2:24, up 11. Senior hits his first two shots which is... unexpected, but nice. Zeke drills a three and the lead is 16 with under 20 seconds remaining.
Denver is paced in TPM by Nikola Jokic: +18 as they lead 29-15 after one.
Qtr2- I'm hoping to see some minutes for Zeke/Vlatko at the three tonight, but Malone seems intent on instead playing Barton for the whole game. Senior has his second foul but remains in. The rookie Franz Wagner, is already Orlando's best offensive player. Howard is not shy about jacking up threes tonight, but he's only converted one thus-far, as Denver leads by 12 at 8:48. Barton's passing tonight and all season really, has been way the fuck off. He's replaced by AG so it appears that Malone is going with the nine-man rotation tonight. Howard misses another three, and it's time for him to start mixing some ball-movement into the action.
The bench +AG unit is starting to play porous D and Malone calls a rage timeout at 7:33, up 10. Monte and Jokic check in after the timeout. Only Facu remains in from the bench, in for Jeff. Correction: Zeke remains in for Will. Jeff replaces Zeke at 4:55, up 11. Will replaces Facu at 4:35 and the starting unit is now intact. Monte is really struggling to stay in front of Cole Anthony. MVP has a 2D with 10/10/5, and 2:24 remaining. Monte is cookin' from mid-range, and the lead is 13, with 1:20 to go. He makes three in double digits for Denver.
Denver is paced in TPM by Nikola Jokic: +25 as they lead 63-47 at the half.
Qtr3- The Magic score the first four of the period, and this has the look of last year's 3rd QTR woes. The Nuggets appear to have left their energy back in the locker room. Make it 8-0 to open the period for Orlando. Jeff drills a three to silence the nonexistent crowd. The lead is down to seven at the time of the first break, 8:42, on the strength of a 12-3 run by Orlando. All 12 of their points have come in the paint, while Denver is either chucking or throwing it away. The Nuggets have five turnovers already, three of which, come courtesy of Barton. The lead remains seven as Orlando challenges a block call against Anthony.
Access denied; unsuccessful challenge. Facu is in for Will at 5:44. Joker is going to have to get more assertive as a scoring threat, to right the ship. Zeke enters for Jeff at 4:30, up seven. Carter sticks a three and cuts it to four at 3:29. Denver has just 10 points in the third. Only Joker/AG remain in for the starting unit, as Howard enters at this time. Joker is 0-4 from distance tonight, after repeatedly passing up the same shots in the first half. Barton + bench will ride out the third period as Joker gets a blow. Barton makes four in double digits for Denver, who leads by eight with under a minute remaining.
Denver is paced in TPM by Nikola Jokic: +22 as they lead 83-79 after three.
Qtr4- The Nuggets have to consider leaving AG on Anthony in the 4th, as Monte/Will simply can not stay in front of him. I'm gonna stick to tracking the numbers in the 4th as I need to take care of my elderly pup, who's medicinal schedule is off kilter with these East coast games..
Denver is paced in TPM by Nikola Jokic: +28 as they have no magic in Orlando, by a final score of 103-108.
- Denver loses, and in so doing drops to 10-11 on the season.
- Pathetic third period effort by the Nuggets.
- While Denver is short handed, Malone needs to stop over-extending Barton and get Vlatko in as the backup 3. No more staggering.
- JaMychael has got to ride the pine. The only impact you can predict from him these days is his stupid fouls.
- Will Barton simply should NOT ever play when he's less than 100%
- Perhaps Monte's best offensive / worst defensive showing, of the year.
- Jokic had some low-percentage, uncharactaristic decisions in the second half.
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.