TPM™ 2021-'22 Game #61 vs OKC

Nuggets vs Thunder III: "Asunder Thunder"

The Good Guys

Their Adversaries

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

(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™ Game61 OKC

Nikola "Big Honey" Jokic: +22

Aaron "Aar" Gordon: -6

"Brontosaurus" Monte Morris: -1

Will "Thrill" Barton: -6

"Uncle" Jeff Green: -2

"Bones" Hyland: +17

Bryn "The Djinn" Forbes: +24

Austin "Tributary" Rivers: +0

DeMarcus "Boogie" Cousins: +18

"Mr Undependable" JaMychal Green: +5

Facundo "El Mago" Campazzo: N/A

"Mr Dependable" Davon Reed: +0

"Wet" Markus Howard: N/A


Total TPM™

Nikola Jokic: 53 games +1997

Aaron Gordon: 54 games +715

Monte Morris: 53 games +712

Will Barton: 52 games +381

Jeff Green: 55 games +187

Bones Hyland: 49 games +326

Bryn Forbes: 19 game +145

Austin Rivers: 47 games +118

Zeke Nnaji: 38 games +141

DeMarcus Cousins: 11 games +92

JaMychal Green: 47 games +83

Facundo Campazzo: 55 games +427

Davon Reed: 32 games +98

Markus Howard: 25 games +63

Jamal Murray: 0 games +0

Michael Porter Jr: 9 games +56

Vlatko Cancar: 14 games +56


Avg. TPM™ Per Game

Nikola Jokic: +37.68

Aaron Gordon: +13.24

Monte Morris: +13.43

Will Barton: +7.33

Jeff Green: +3.40

Bones Hyland: +6.65

Bryn Forbes: +7.63

Austin Rivers: +2.51

Zeke Nnaji: +3.71

DeMarcus Cousins: +8.36

JaMychal Green: +1.77

Facundo Campazzo: +7.76

Davon Reed: +3.06

Markus Howard: +2.52

Jamal Murray: +0.50

Michael Porter Jr: +6.22

Vlatko Cancar: +4.00


TPM Per-Minute Splits (Through game 42 {midway point})

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*Credit DomP on the Spreadsheet.


Qtr1- The Nuggets go with their 16TH starting five, consisting Monte, Will, Unc, AG & MVP. The Thunder counter with skeletons of society. Anal returns tonight after a week-long absence. Joker wins the tip and we are underway. OKC scores the first six and Denver looks disinterested. OKC leads by seven at the time of the first break 8:52. MVP regulates with two straight in the paint; seemingly his first to such attempts since the all-star break. Denver is already 0-6 from three at 6:15. Rough start for AG on both ends Will is already 0-3 from distance and it's clear over the last two games that the record is ALL he thinks about.

Uncle Jeff with the monster jam, cuts it to three. MVP has had two shots blocked already. Forbes/JMyke are first off the pine for the good guys at 4:34, trailing by five. Jokic has three turnovers, nobody is moving without the ball, and the lead is seven at the time of the next break, 3:06. Boogie, Bones & Austin are in after the break. Bones finally hits a three for Denver. The Nuggets are now 1-9 from three. Make it 2-10 after a shake & bake three by Bones. Austin with the and-one, and just like that, Denver ties it up. Reed makes a surprise appearance, entering for Forbes to close out the period, for defensive purposes.

Denver is paced in TPM by Bones: +6 as they are tied at 24 after one.


Qtr2- It's good to see that Bones is showing no ill-effects from the turned ankle in the last game. Bryn becomes the 2nd Nugget to stick a three. Vic and Katy have the on-air chemistry of the Shaw-era Nuggets. Beautiful alley-oop from Bones to JMyke, following an offensive board by Boogie, and Denver leads by five, at the time of the first break, 9:41. Another three by Forbes, from Boogie, and Denver leads by 11 at 7:57. The starters begin filtering in for Denver at 6:41, leading by seven. Excellent minutes for Boogie, yet again. Jeff in the post is STILL not an option Denver needs to explore. Jokic picks up two quick fouls upon entering.

Not a single starter for Denver has shown up as-yet, and the lead is back down to two. A transition three by OKC, and they retake the lead, on the strength of a 14-2 run. Denver leads by four at the time of the next break, 2:51. Jokic is the first to reach double digits for Denver. OKC is, rightly, ONLY defending Jokic and the spacing is horrendous as a result. No starters have sunk a three yet. OKC has 11 FT attempts, in the period and we're knotted up at 50. Barton is taking off the three-goggles and contributing nicely as a facilitator... finally! Morris/AG/Will have thus-far combined for just six points, and the lead is just one at 1:07. Just a horrendous half on both ends for AG/Monte. Will is 0-4 from distance.

Denver is paced in TPM by Jokic: +14 as they lead 57-55 at the half.


Qtr3- Barton of course fires and misses from three, for the 5th time, to open the third. Next time down, HE FUCKING DOES IT AGAIN! OKC leads by three as a result. Next time down, Monte's turn to brick a three. To his credit, Will FINALLY drives on the ensuing possession, resulting in free throws. Monte FINALLY appears in the scoring column after a layup. BARTON SHOOTS AND MISSES ANOTHER CONTESTED THREE! That was his 6th attempt without a make. Roby can't miss from distance and they lead by four at the time of the first break, 7:13. Only MVP has appeared for Denver's starting five, and he has a 2D with 18-10 but just 2 assists due to the rest of the starters refusing to cut or move in any effectual manner, inside the three point arc. Maddening, that!

Barton shoots and misses his 7th three, on a play in which OKC refused to defend him. OKC leads by six at 5:45. They lead by nine and Malone wants a line change at 4:44. No starters have made a three yet for Denver, but that hasn't stopped them from chucking. Bones imediately comes in a strokes a three. The starters are 0-20 from the arc. MVP airballs one just to put a fine-point on this fact. Three more from Bones off a solid screen from MVP, and the lead is halved to three, forcing an OKC timeout at 3:11. The rookie makes two in double digits for Denver. Jokic has 20; the rest of the starters have combined for 20. Austin is playing elite D on SGA. Four-point-play by Bryn gives Denver the lead. He makes three in double digits for Denver. Two straight uncontested threes by OKC and they lead by five with under a minute remaining. I repeat: the starters are ZERO FOR TWENTY from distance!

Denver is paced in TPM by Bones: +22 as they trail, 79-86 after three.


Qtr4- Denver is in very real danger of losing to an actively-tanking team. OKC can not miss from distance, and they lead by eight at 1:33. The lead is 10 at 9:33, and it's nervous time. Forbes cuts it to seven on an ATO three. Bones does the same, and the lead is now four. Another three form Forbes cuts it to one at 6:30, but OKC returns the favor on the other end. Jokic returns at 6:03 for Boogie, but no other starters join him. Probably the right call by Malone. AG readies to enter; paroling the sideline at 5:35. Jokic misses another three and the lead is quickly up to eight at 5:00. It's gut check time for Denver. I'd almost like to see Boogie play the 4 here with MVP, rather than AG, but that's not in the cards. In addition, Will/Monte joine AG/Joker, along with Forbes.

AG is dared to shoot a three, obliges, and of course misses. SGA makes on on the other end, and the lead is nine with just over four minutes remiainig. MVP hoists another three, and clanks it. Monte cuts it to seven on a squeegy layup which was actually blocked into the net, at 3:39. The starters are an abysmal 0-23 from downtown, yet refuse to cut/move without the ball to create easier looks. OKC is switching SGA onto WIll each time down and it's resulting in buckets or and-one's each time. Two minutes to go and OKC leads by seven. SGA again attacks Will, causing a foul. It's nervous time. Forbes is now going cold, and it's not looking good for denver. SGA drills a three in Will's face and that should just about do it, up 11 with 1:26 to go. Barton airballs his 8th three attempt on the night and that's all she wrote. AG sinks a three on the last posession, just to be an asshole.

Denver is paced in TPM by Jokic: +25 as they lose at home to an actively tnking Thunder squad.


Final Thoughts:

  • Denver loses by a final score of 107-119, and in so doing drops to 36-26 on the season.
  • Barton needs to forget about the record altogether and attack/dish. It's always been his primary skill. The three point record is a longevity award; not indicitive of being a good shooter, on this team.
  • Without a doubt, on both ends, Barton was OKC's MVP tonight.
  • Jeff Green leads the Nuggets in games played with 55; he's a mere 42 TPM points higher than Forbes who's played in just 19. I worry that his lackluster attitude about disappearing (something that's dogged him his whole career) has had an ill-effect on the starting five and tonight is as vivid evidence of it as you will find.


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 45-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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