Nuggets vs Clippers II: "All games are trap games, this season"
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 39 LAC
Nikola "Big Honey" Jokic: +24
Aaron "Aar" Gordon: +22
"Brontosaurus" Monte Morris: +9
Austin "Tributary" Rivers: +2
"Mr Undependable" JaMychal Green: +2
"Bones" Hyland: -6
Facundo "El Mago" Campazzo: +7
Zeke "The Piano Man" Nnaji: +0
"Uncle" Jeff Green: +9
"Mr Dependable" Davon Reed: +3
James "The Menace" Ennis III: -3
Rodney "Celery" McGruder: N/A
"Wet" Markus Howard: N/A
Jamal "The Blue Arrow" Murray: N/A
"Showtime" Michael Porter Jr: N/A
PJ "Bol" Dozier: N/A
Vlatko "Mr Olympia" Cancar: N/A
Nikola Jokic: 33 games +1167
Aaron Gordon: 36 games +466
Monte Morris: 37 games +463
Will Barton: 34 games +237
JaMychal Green: 33 games +35
Bones Hyland: 26 games +159
Facundo Campazzo: 36 games +335
Zeke Nnaji: 23 games +59
Jeff Green: 36 games +90
Austin Rivers: 29 games +64
Davon Reed: 14 games +56
Bol Bol: 14 games +17
James Ennis III: 1 games -3
Rodney McGruder: 0 games +0
Carlik Jones: 2 Games -1
Rayjon Tucker: 3 games +6
Markus Howard: 15 games +51
Petr Cornelie: 13 games +6
Jamal Murray: 0 games +0
Michael Porter Jr: 9 games +56
PJ Dozier: 18 games +76
Vlatko Cancar: 14 games +52
Avg. TPM™ Per Game
Nikola Jokic: +35.36
Aaron Gordon: +12.94
Monte Morris: +12.51
Will Barton: +6.97
JaMychal Green: +1.06
Bones Hyland: +6.12
Facundo Campazzo: +9.31
Zeke Nnaji: +2.57
Jeff Green: +2.50
Austin Rivers: +2.21
Davon Reed: +4.00
Bol Bol: +1.21
James Ennis III: -3.00
Rodney McGruder: +0.00
Carlik Jones: 0.50
Rayjon Tucker: -1.00
Markus Howard: +3.40
Petr Cornelie: +0.46
Jamal Murray: +0.50
Michael Porter Jr: +6.22
PJ Dozier: +4.20
Vlatko Cancar: +3.71
TPM™ Per-Minute Splits (Through game 21)
*Credit DomP on the Spreadsheet.
Qtr1- The Nuggets go with their 14TH starting five, consisting of Monte, Rivers, JMyke, AG & MVP. The Clippers counter with Reggie, Coffee, Fuckface, Batum & Zubac. No Barton tonight due to Covid Protocol. Hopefully he rests during this time off and his obvious groin injury, that zero local media pundits are talking about, will heal. Joker wins the tip and we are underway. He also opens the scoring with a nifty hooker. Denver is struggling with entry passes as per always.
Zubac earns his 2nd foul and must check out at 8:32, trailing by two. That remains the differential at the time of the first break, 5:48. Jeff is in following the commercials. MVP's passing is on-point tonight and the lead is 4 at 4:20 (smoke 'em if you got 'em!) AG has his 2nd foul and takes a seat at 3:48, replaced by Reed. Facu is also in at this time. Bones enters for Rivers at 3:15. The lead remains four at the time of the 2nd break, 2:08. Zeke enters for MVP following the break. Someone is chanting MVP as Mann shoots ft's; I can respect that.
Denver is paced in TPM by Jokic: +12 as they lead 18-16 after one.
Qtr2- The game is going to be low scoring, clearly. LA is a very good defensive club / equally bad on O, while Denver's offense hasn't fired on all cylinders for quite some time. LA has the lead now and Denver's bench is struggling to shoot, as per usual. Zeke drains a three, which is great to see, obviously. Bones is really struggling for the 2nd straight game. Jeff is getting aggressive in the paint and Denver leads by six on the strength of an 8-0 run, as Zubac checks out with three fouls, at 8:21. The lead is four at the time of the first break, 6:52. Denver's starters report in following the timeout. Denver is just 1-13 from distance! Jeff remained out there instead of JMyke; Facu for Rivers.
Jokic has two consecutive turnovers and the lead is down to two. Denver's starting 5 is now intact at 4:45, leading by six. MVP has just THREE shot attempts on the evening! Marcus Morris cheap-shotted Austin because that's all he's good at and the play is under review after Austin got in his face. It's an intentional elbow to the throat, and it's pretty clear that Morris wanted to hit the showers. What a little bitch! It was somehow only rules a flagrant one and these refs are just asking for this to get out of hand. MVP sticks a three and the lead is up to 11 with 2:01 remaining. Batum nabs his third foul but remains in, 'cause why the fuck not? Well he gets his 4th soon after, so there's that. 4 straight FT's for AG is a welcome sight.
Denver is paced in TPM by Jokic: +17 as they lead 41-28 at the half.
Qtr3- Phew! What a brick-fest. Batum and his 4 fouls are on the bench to open the third period. Rivers is absolutely ignoring AG in the post, in favor of no-hope-drives. Nonetheless, Denver leads by 16 after an and-one by AG, who has swapped offensive areas with JMyke tonight. Green draws a charge on Zubac, his 4th foul. The lead is quickly up to 20 at the time of the first break, 8:48. MVP finally makes two in double digits for Denver. Are the Nuggets FINALLY playing well in a third period? Yes. Yes they are. Monte makes three in double digits for Denver, and the lead is up to 22. Jokic is 6-7. Maybe feed him? Denver is instead over-dribbling and the lead is down to 17 at the time of the first break, 5:24. Facu is in for Rivers at this time.
Jeff makes four in double digits for Denver. LA has made three of their last four threes and the lead is down to 13. MVP gets two straight fouls, that should have been on the Clippers player and he's getting heated. He's a;so fourth on the team in shot attempts despite only missing once, due to Denver's inneptitude in throwing entry passes. The lead is 10 now that LA can't miss from three. 'Member when Denver was having a good third period? Me either. Ennis makes his Nuggets debut, in for Jokic. He immediately gets beaten for an and-one. The lead is down from 25 to seven, courtesy of a 21-3 run for LA. Looks like Bones is going to be grounded in the 2nd half for the second straight game, rightly so.
Denver is paced in TPM by Jokic: +20 as they lead 66-55 after three.
Qtr4- Jokic played damned-near the entire third so we likely won't see him until the 6 minute mark. Denver has to not implode until then. LA scores the first four and the lead is six. Denver is now 3-25 from distance as LA cuts it to four, ushering in a rage-timeout by Moach. It's a 28-7 run for LA. What does denver do after the timeout? Hoist and miss another three, of course. Ennis does not at all look comfortable out there. Do something Malone! The lead is two at 9:19. He does; MVP enters. Monte/AG are in soon after. Denver is still chucking and AG finally drills one. LA ties it up after trailing by 25, with 6:52 to play. Three Nuggets have double digit shot attempts; none are named Jokic. What a shitty game to sit through and analyse, this has been. This would be even uglier had AG not shown up. He has 24-10. MVP has his 2D with 15/10/6. LA takes the lead on a three by Reggie. He also has five fouls. Jokic drills maybe his prettiest Sombor Shuffle ever, and retakes the lead.
Only way to get Jokic the ball in the paint is to brick shots. He's 8-10 on the night and Denver leads by three at 4:24. Crowd is chanting Reggie, after his nice jam. Malone calls timeout with 3:25 to go, and a one point lead. Batum finally earns his 5th foul with 2:53 remaining. Coffe hits a three and LA leads by two with 2:25 to go. It's nervous time. Batum sticks a three and Denver is in deep, deep trouble, with 1:47 to go, down five. AG cuts it to three on a drive. Marcus Morris gets 1/2 at the line and the lead is four with 1:18 to go. Refs are swallowing their whistles ans Jokic/AG get the bejuzus hacked out of them by Morris/Batum. Jokic cuts it to two with 29 seconds to go. Gotta get a stop here. Jokic gets up a contested three, and Ag nearly tips it in, but it was not to be. You CAN NOT ignore the importance of momentum, particularly on the road.
Denver is paced in TPM by Jokic: +24 as they lose, 85-87 in LA.
- Denver drops to 20-19 on the season.
- Denver HAS to figure out how to feed Jokic/AG in the post. It's getting ridiculous.
- You CAN NOT take your foot off the gas on the road, and allow the crowd to get into it.
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.