Randy Foye and JJ Hickson each scored 15 points in their home debut for the Nuggets on Monday.(Photo courtesy of Denver Post)
The Denver Nuggets (2-1) downed the San Antonio Spurs (1-2) 98-94 on Monday in their first preseason game at the Pepsi Center.
At the start of the game, coach Brian Shaw experimented with the lineup of Ty Lawson, Randy Foye, Anthony Randolph, JJ Hickson and JaVale McGee. This is the first time we have seen the Nuggets without Kenneth Faried as a in 2013.
Newcomers Hickson and Foye each had solid games for the Nuggets.
Foye had the hot hand in the first quarter scoring 10 points (2-2 3pt). In each of his first two games, Foye only finished with six points. He looked more comfortable tonight in the triangle offense, as he finished with 15 points (3-5 3pt) and two rebounds.
In his first role as a starter, Hickson made a statement he intends to continue getting major minutes. Hickson finished the game with 15 points and five rebounds. The forward added a new offensive element tonight for the Nuggets: pick and roll offense. When Nate Robinson was in the game the two ran the play multiple times for scores.
Perhaps the biggest suprise for the Nuggets on Monday was Faried’s performance off the bench–a role he hasn’t had since his Rookie season in 2011-12. Coming into tonights game, Faried combined for 13 points and 14 rebounds in two games against the Los Angeles Lakers. Faried finished the night with 22 pts, 9 rebounds and two steals. In the fourth quarter, Faried recorded 11 of his 22 points.
Alleged starting small forward Wilson Chandler still hasn’t made an appearance in the preseason. Reports indicate that he’s still nursing a hamstring injury he suffered two weeks ago in training camp.
One of the biggest turnarounds the Nuggets made tonight was their decrease in turnovers. Coming into the game, the Nuggets had averaged 22 turnovers per game. Tonight they cut that down to 14.
The Spurs big three of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili didn’t travel with the team to the game. Kawhi Lenoard lead the Spurs with 13 points and 12 rebounds while backup guard Cory Joseph also had 13 points.
This week Shaw will likely focus on free throws and offensive strategy. Tonight, the Nuggets finished at a dismal 63 percent from the line. On the flip side, they played much better man-to-man defense. Through three quarters, the Spurs only had 66 points. Both teams scored well in the fourth, but the Nuggets won that contest outscoring the Spurs 37-28.
The Nuggets play their next preseason game Tuesday night at the Oklahoma City Thunder at 6 PM (MDT).
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