Game Notes: #Raptors at #Nuggets 11/18/2016

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Game Notes: #Raptors at #Nuggets 11/18/2016

1st Quarter

7:32 Raptors making the Nuggets pay for doubling DeRozan, doing a solid job of finding and hitting open 3s. Nuggets at the other end getting to the rim with ease, good cutting by Nurkic & Gallo.

6:20 Jameer with a way out of control pass turns it over and Toronto converts it on the fast break. Mudiay on a previous break did much the same. A huge part off the Nuggets’ turnover problem is how many of them are just careless unforced errors. Setting aside for the moment the question of how big a share off the blame for this actually lies on him (at the very least he is not entirely free of culpability), Malone’s post-game comments about the team being undisciplined were spot on, and here early in the 1st we see (at least) two cringe-worthy examples of it.

4:07 Mudiay really is at his best on the fast break. Takes it coast to coast splitting four defenders for a nice layup. Great illustration of how important getting defensive stops is for this team in generating offense.

2:15 Jokic comes in and immediately turns it over. Not a great way to start off for a dude trying to get back on track.

1:51 Mudiay, rather than driving into traffic, pulls back and feeds Jokic with a nice bounce pass inside. Better decision making like this is exactly what he needs to do more of to bring his turnovers down.

1:21 Once again, defense creating offense, as the Nuggets get a stop on a really good defensive possession, and then Chandler takes it down the court for a dunk. Still amazed at how much better he looks now than – well, ever, really.

0:54 Chandler draws a foul driving the lane. His ability to shift gears and switch up his speed is either entirely new or I have a bad memory, but I sure don’t remember him busting out moves like that in previous seasons.

2nd Quarter

8:53 Malik definitely Denver’s best bench cheerleader now, doing the happy dance after Chandler nails his second consecutive 3-pointer.

7:56 Jokic making his presence felt a bit more now, nice aggressive drive in the lane for 2.

6:28 Probably not too much should be read into this, but after Malone sends Nurkic back in for Jokic, Nikola’s body language on the bench ain’t great. Looks kind of exasperated.

5:40 Possibly Faried’s best defensive play of the season? Goes up straight, strips the ball, saves it from going out,

5:07 But then he leaves DeRozan wide open for an easy jumper on a subsequent possession.

4:10 Up and down and then up again sequence for Mudiay, with two great drives sandwiching one very ill-advised missed 3.

3:15 Chandler sinks a beaut of a 3. Every time you think he’s going to return to his old normal, he continues to outdo himself and impress.

1:33 In one of the most suspenseful plays of the season, Faried dribbles the ball up the full length of the court, almost in slow motion with the crowd on the edge of their seat, and manages to finish at the rim with a nice soft layup. Did not see that one working out, but good on him for maintaining control there.

0:00 Pretty incredible quarter by the Nuggets. It’d be so great if they could just finish games at halftime sometimes.

3rd Quarter

11:02 “He’s got a mouse in the house!” Great block by Faried results in Toronto resetting for a missed 3, Mudiay with a spot-on half court pass to a leaked-out Nurkic in the paint for a layup in traffic. Shoulda been an and-1.

10:09 Mudiay misses two FTs in a row, Marlowe says it’s the first time he’s done that this season. If we are looking for bright spots in Mudiay’s game this season, the fact his free throw percentage has taken a great leap upward from .670 to .828 is one definitive improvement, one that hopefully will be followed by improved shooting from the field as well.

9:58 Jameer covering DeRozan, who has no problem sinking a jumper right over him from the top of the key and drawing the foul. Raptors wise to exploit that mismatch every time they can get it, and Denver switches on everything to the point that they’re likely to get it again and again by setting multiple screens.

9:30 Toronto D does a great job of breaking up Denver’s play, Mudiay misses a 3 just before the buzzer. Nuggets are 24th in the league in eFG% (.314) w/ 0-4 sec. left on shot clock, highlighting importance of fast breaks, early execution.

9:02 Mudiay gets the ball near the low post, kicks it out to Jameer for the open 3 – right decision, as he didn’t have a lane to the basket (the kind of situation where he’s highly turnover prone), even though Nelson missed.

7:51 DeRozan in the paint over Jameer again. He’ll make those all night long, party karamu fiesta forever.

5:40 Nurkic with a strong low post move to draw Val’s 4th foul. While he’s shooting FTs, Murray comes in for Nelson, so it’ll be Mudiay-Murray-Gallo-Chandler-Nurk. This is a lineup I’m optimistic in seeing some positive results from. 68-64 Denver at this point.

5:40 Lowry does the “let the ball roll up the court and pick it up at halfcourt” thing. I really despise that for no better reason than it’s entirely unnecessary unless *maybe* you’re in serious crunch time. Midway through the quarter, you’re just trying to look cool.

5:12 Welp, Nurk to the bench, still a 4-point difference, didn’t see if that lineup could do anything. But now w/ Jokic in, this is exactly the kind of lineup which should be most conducive to success for Mudiay.

4:00 5 quick points by Lowry put the Raps up by 1, but with a sweet little inside bounce pass from Jokic to Gallo the Nuggets take the lead back.

3:24 Murray misses a baseline jumper, but he did a great job of shaking off his defender and getting the open shot. As he gets more experienced and more consistent, I think he’s likely to surpass Gallo as the Nugget who is best at creating his own shot.

3:01 Altitude cuts in late to the play because they’re showing DeRozan highlights – they do this so damn often it’s infuriating. So we don’t get to see how the play unfolded, we only see Murray on the break receive the ball just over the halfcourt line and drive it in for the layup.

2:00 Chandler makes the unselfish play by dishing out to an open Murray for 3 rather than try for a contested layup. Not necessarily a bad decision, but Jamal misses it, and with Denver’s transition defense off balance, Toronto gets the and-1 at the other end.

0:51 Mudiay drives in for the reverse spin on the layup, probably one of the best finishes he’s had this season in terms of degree of difficulty.

0:00 Nuggets finish the 3rd quarter strong, up by 5 going into the 4th. Unfortunately, I know how this ends, but even if I didn’t, it’s all too predictable at this point.

4th Quarter

11:40 Nuggets open 4th with a Jokic turnover and Juancho foul. And so the inevitable begins…

10:14 Good: Jokic gets two consecutive post possessions. Bad: Couldn’t convert either, miss on the first, offensive foul on the second. But the approach is sound, he needs more touches.

9:06 After Val rolls over Faried on a post-up, Malone has had enough of small ball and sends Nurk back in. Good.

5:35 On a very stagnant possession with no ball movement, Mudiay with a bigtime drive and strong finish at the rim.

4:14 Mudiay really seems to be getting his act together. The overall composure of his game just seems more fundamentally sound, with a definitive improvement in decision making. Nice mid-range jumper in the lane after Jokic saves the possession.

3:11 And of course just after I write that^ Mudiay with a terrible bad pass turnover after getting lost in the weeds down low.

1:49 As glad as I am to see Malone giving Jokic a shot down the stretch, him switching onto DeRozan being a total defensive nightmare is a foregone conclusion.

0:53 Weak ass foul call on Mudiay for ticky tack contact on Val, after just a couple possessions earlier Patterson shoved Jokic and got him called for a foul. Not gonna blame this loss on the refs, but they sure as shit ain’t helping.

0:53 This isn’t a game note, just a test to see if anyone’s actually reading this. If you are, tweet at me. 😉

0:30 After a fairly badly bungled play off the inbound, Wilson manages to kick it out to Jameer for the 3, after the Nuggets have been struggling from the arc the entire game.

0:15 Faried switches onto DeRozan, who easily scores.

0:00 Say what you will about anything else that happened in this game, but Chandler makes that second free throw and this one’s in the books for the Nuggets. Damn.

Overtime

5:00 Jokic starting OT. Interesting.

4:22 Probably the best Mudiay-Jokic play of the season. Mudiay threads a bounce pass down the lane perfectly to a cutting Jokic. More like this, please.

3:42 In principle I’m all for Jokic taking the open 3 when it comes to him. But probably overtime is not the best time for that. Need to go for the higher percentage looks now.

3:18 Good Mudiay reverts to bad Mudiay, turns it over in the lane.

2:01 Gallo, know thyself. If you’re too tired to launch that 3, gotta do a head fake and drive it in.

1:05 Jameer ends up on DeRozan again with a minute left in the game. He easily scores, of course. That’s so Nuggets.

0:00 Sigh. We all know how it ends. I won’t torture you with it. Alas, just can’t get over that hump.

sisyyphus

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