Nuggets 'on alert' as coach searches for improved energy

After good practice, Brian Shaw says Denver likely to keep same lineup
by Aaron Lopez

Before putting his players through an hour-long film session Saturday, Nuggets coach Brian Shaw reiterated his concern about his team’s sluggish starts and warned that lineup changes could be part of the solution.

The result was a high-intensity practice that carried an urgency lacking the night before against the Utah Jazz.

“They competed,” Shaw said. “I went with a bunch of different lineups to get some different looks. I think everybody’s on alert that some things are going to have to change around here, starting with the effort and alertness from the beginning.”

The Nuggets (13-9) have been outscored in the first quarter in seven straight games, but Shaw said he likely will stick with the same starting lineup of Ty Lawson, Randy Foye, J.J. Hickson, Kenneth Faried and Wilson Chandler when they face the New Orleans Pelicans at Pepsi Center on Sunday.

“I wanted to see everybody come out and fight for their position today, which I saw,” Shaw said. “They’ll get another opportunity to come out and do it. Obviously, if it continues, then I’m going to really have to take a look at it.”

Against Utah, Denver’s bench outscored the Jazz reserves 57-19, but there was an 84-36 disparity between starting units. Foye and Lawson went scoreless, while the Jazz got 40 points from starting guards Gordon Hayward (30) and Trey Burke (10).

Foye spent about an hour after practice Sunday doing extra shooting work. He, Faried and Hickson were the last three players to leave the court.

“Randy didn’t miss a shot today in practice,” Shaw said. “He made everything. The intensity today was where it needed to be both offensively and defensively.”


WHEN: 6 p.m. MT
WHERE: Pepsi Center, Denver
TV; RADIO: Altitude; AM-950

DENVER (13-9)

F Wilson Chandler
F Kenneth Faried
C J.J. Hickson
G Randy Foye
G Ty Lawson

F Ryan Anderson
F Al-Farouq Aminu
C Jason Smith
G Eric Gordon
G Jrue Holiday

Lawson (hamstring) is probable; Danilo Gallinari (knee) and JaVale McGee (fractured left tibia) are out.
NEW ORLEANS: Tyreke Evans (left ankle sprain) is day-to-day. Anthony Davis (left hand fracture) and Greg Stiemsma (left knee sprain) are out.

New Orleans has played well on the road against Denver in recent years, having gone 6-8 at Pepsi Center since the start of the 2005-06 season . . . The Nuggets went 0-1 against New Orleans in Denver in 2010-11, marking the first time since 2005-06 that they failed to win a game in Denver vs. New Orleans . . . The overall series has been very competitive over the last eight regular seasons (and all-time): 15-13 and 33-32 overall in favor of Denver . . . The Nuggets set an NBA postseason record for margin of victory on the road back during the 2009 Playoffs against the Hornets, defeating New Orleans by 58 points (121-63) in Game 4 of the first round at New Orleans Arena on 4/27/09 . . . New Orleans is one of only two NBA franchises to have never had a player score 40+ points against the Nuggets (Indiana is the other).