2011-12 Game 1: Denver Nuggets 115 Dallas Mavericks 93

Box Score | Highlights

The Nuggets crushed the Mavs in Dallas for their third straight blowout victory in a season opener. Just like the last few years they showcased a high powered offense with plenty of depth and cruised to a big lead they never surrendered. Ty Lawson was the star in this one, scoring 27 points with incredible efficiency and generally picking apart the slow, flat-footed Mavericks defense.

It’s been widely assumed that Gallo would be the one to kick start the Nuggets offense when they can’t get anything going. Ty Lawson showed tonight he is just as capable of doing the same as Denver opened this game very sloppily on the offensive end. There was little movement and no flow as the ball casually moved around to no one who was aggressively looking to score. Nene and Gallo had opportunities but both seemed content to settle for quick shots. Lawson decided to take matters into his own hands and once he started looking for his shot the Nuggets started running away with this game and didn’t look back

The best part about Ty’s game is that he doesn’t necessarily need screens or wide open shots to create offense. He can attack off the dribble and make something happen not only in transition but also a half-court set. Delonte West and Jason Kidd had a hard time staying in front of him and Ty attacked both whenever he had the opportunity. When he had space on the perimeter he didn’t hesitate to shoot and Lawson kicked off the three-point barrage that helped break the game open.

The Nuggets went 10 deep and the entire bench delivered. Expect the primary bench rotation to consist of Harrington, Miller, Fernandez and Birdman as those four got the lions share of the minutes. Karl really didn’t play the starting five outside of the start of the first and third quarters which is a testament to the versatility on this roster. The slimmed down Al Harrington was hitting shots early and even showed some improvement on defense as he didn’t commit his customary 4 fouls in his first 15 minutes.

Andre Miller and Rudy Fernandez were no doubt the standout performers off the bench. Neither had eye popping numbers, but they generally played a controlled game and maintained the lead throughout their minutes. There was no drop off in activity level and hustle while the starters rested. Miller made some highly unlikely shots and Fernandez missed easy ones, but both of them made unselfish plays and took shots within the flow of the offense.

There is not much to complain about in terms of energy and effort this game. Despite that I can already feel our readers getting feisty about Faried’s lack of playing time. I think Faried will eventually have a role here, but there are way too many veterans in front of him and with a healthy roster I expected him to get a DNP. It’s not that much of a surprise that Karl likes going small and Gallo, Nene and even Mozgov are capable of playing big minutes. You need a good reason to take those guys out for Faried and he is simply not in line to cut into their minutes yet.

Be patient with Faried. I feel he is going to have a role this season eventually – and it will come at the expense of the Birdman. Chris Andersen wasn’t completely awful tonight, but he was not good either and he clearly played too many minutes. The “Birdman” did not block a shot, couldn’t get any elevation and left his feet whenever his man even lifted his head towards the rim. I hate to say it, but I don’t have a lot of hope Birdman will have a good year. His athleticism is leaving him, and beyond that he just doesn’t have many worthwhile skills that warrant giving him minutes. Andersen continues to be the worst pick and roll defender on this team.

Bird can be effective with fewer minutes, but expect Faried to start cutting into his role if he continue to struggle. I’ve had concerns about Faried’s defensive ability but in reality he’s not any worse than a deteriorating Birdman. You can’t deny the kid’s hustle and his natural rebounding ability. In time Faried has a bright future in Denver but right now this roster is a little too deep.

Speaking of defense, give the Nuggets credit for a solid performance tonight. They doubled Dirk whenever he posted up and for the most part rotated well enough to prevent easy looks. Ty Lawson, Afflalo, and Brewer all stood out on the defensive end. The Nuggets forced 15 steals and scored 26 points off Dallas turnovers. Next up is the home opener versus Utah and considering nobody played over 32 minutes, the team should be healthy and ready to go.

Game 1 Advanced Stats:

Pace Factor: 100.4 – Dallas is old and slow, they need their offense to shine to keep up at this speed
Offensive Efficiency – 114.5 – Solid performance considering this offense wasn’t fully in sync yet
Defensive Efficiency – 92.6 – Promising start to the season. Play defense for four quarters and the Nuggets will win games

Additional Game 1 Nuggets

  • Apparently, all it takes for Afflalo to get going is to play in a game that matters. Arron shook off the preseason rust and returned to his efficient, reliable self. There was a stretch in third quarter where he and Ty Lawson got mixed up on whether to switch or not. Arron quickly directed Ty back to his man and after a defensive stop Arron hit two big jumpers to halt Dallas’ mini-run and stomp out hopes of a comeback.
  • I talked about Al Harrington’s solid first half, but he couldn’t resist chucking in the latter parts of the game. Harrington finished with good numbers, but he shot 13 times and sometimes I think he is just wired to resist being highly efficient. Harrington did look much better tonight than he did at any point last season.
  • Gallo didn’t have a great game. His shot wasn’t falling and he did a great job making up for it by getting to the line 6 times, but I would have to see him hesitate less and be more aggressive. He finished with solid all around numbers in only 26 minutes and I thought it was a good decision to keep him on the bench with the game in hand. Expect Gallo to be more involved and play big minutes in the home opener.
  • Kenyon Martin was in the house tonight. Gallo and Ty Lawson went to the front row to greet him and it’s a shame the failed China experiment takes him out of the game until March. Kenyon is 34 and I think he’s only got a few solid years left in his knees at best.
  • Dallas is really old. They don’t have many athletes and outside of Rodrique Beaubois and a D-League player named Sean Williams, you did not see any energy and enthusiasm out of Mavs players tonight. Clearly the fatigue factor was huge but I was a little surprised at the lack of gusto the Mavs showed after a bad loss to the Heat last night. Sean Williams, by the way, was a bright spot for Dallas and he embarrassed the Birdman multiple times in the second half. There was also an embarrassment of his own when he went to the bench after playing 11 minutes and vomited all over it.
  • It feels like a really long time since I’ve recapped a game, so this one might be a little sloppy. I’m just glad to have games back

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Charlie Yao

Managing Editor at Roundball Mining Company and writer since 2010. Unhealthily obsessed with Nuggets basketball since 2002. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram at the links on the left.
  • jr15

    Good recap Charlie! Can’t take too much away from this game. I expected the Nuggets to dominate the hapless Mavs.
    I do think Al played way better than he did last season though. I don’t think he needs to take the “leap”, but if he has games like today in the future we will be fine.
    I expect Rudy to pick it up and Brewer/Faried to get more minutes as Bird rides off in the sunset.
    Still don’t think Bird is useless as he will be effective at home, but he should be playing 10-15 minutes max as you say.

  • damon

    Faried is better and serves more purpose than shitbird.

  • Sam Adhikari

    Kenneth Faried is buried in the depth chart behind Kosta Koufos, Chris Andersen and Al Harrington, which is a travesty.

    Nuggets win by 18 and Faried gets 0 minutes? Really, George, really? wtf? We wanna see The Manimal!

    But just a dominant game by Denver. Ty Lawson’s 3 point shooting is underrated.

  • Aaron

    Wow, that was so fun to watch my nuggz beat the crap out of the defending world champs like a D-league…I would of liked to see like a Juilian Stone at PG Jordan Hamilton at SG Corey Brewer at SF Kenneth Faried at PF and Kosta Koufus at C when the the game was out of reach, all 5 of those guys are extremely young athetlic fast pace players that I think would go perfect with each other..Great job again Charlie. GO NUGGETZ!!!!

  • Dan

    I like that the Nugs are trying to move Nene to PF, but it seems we are not very strong at C. I’m not sold on Mozgov, although I do kind of like Koufos coming of the bench. Obviously it’s still to early, but do you think the Nuggets should consider putting a trade together for a solid defensive center? You know, one that can actually play a guy straight up as opposed to a guy who simply provides weak-side help.

    The following names come to mind. Among these, I don’t know how highly their teams value them and what it would take to get them. If there are other names, by all means, list them. Just curious what you guys think.

    Kaman (note: not sure about his defense, but he seems to be a solid center all things considered)

    • jr15

      What is up with the Moz hate? He is young and looked ok in limited minutes.
      He looks better than Gortat in those preseason games.
      I think Bogut and Horford are valued by their teams, and I also think Moz is a diamond in the rough.
      Give him time, don’t be so hasty or it will bite you back.

      • Brad H.

        Love Timo’s potential. Hate seeing BRENDAN HAYWOOD score on him at will.

        • jim

          haywood was 3-5 for the game for 7 points and 5 boards. dunno if he was exactly scoring at will. but yeah, more good stuff from timo would be nice.

      • Charlie

        I didn’t mention Mozgov but I didn’t think he was bad in any way. He needs to avoid foul trouble, occupy space in the middle and box out to be effective. He looks plenty capable of being a fine complimentary player so far and he should improve as he grows into that role

    • Brad H.

      Why talk trade now, after a blowout of the world champions?! after your Nugs are 1-0?! Bring up a trade discussion, at the very earliest, when and if the Nugs are on a little losing streak and when and if Timo and Company consistently start proving to be defensive liabilities . . . We’re not even close to needing that kind of discussion, thankfully.

  • Brad H.

    What we can take from this game is that the Mavs are in deep trouble. Carter and Odom will not begin to compensate for what Dallas lost in Chandler and Barea. Cuban has to have a better plan than this to be competitive this year. Nugs highs and lows this game . . . Highs: AAA’s cutthroat shooting when the Mavs appeared to be gaining some life in the third; the 2nd quarter barrage of Nugs steals that ripped the heart out of the Mavs and pissed off Jason Terry so bad that he took the cheap shot at Fernandez and proceeded to nearly go after the Spaniard; and Big Al’s new body — dude was amazing tonight, a nice surprise that I wasn’t expecting; and what about the nice facial Gallo pasted on Marion in the 1st, a portent of a nastier, more aggressive style of play from DG . . . Lows: Birdman looking gassed and out of sync; GK keeping too many 1 thru 8 players in when the Nugs were 25-30 pts ahead deep in the 4th; Timo was pretty lost the whole game. I, for one, did not expect a blowout of the champs. Nugs are scary deep. Great opening night 4 Denver, who probably did a better job of exposing the woes of Dallas than they did of showing us how dominant they will or will not be this yr. That, of course, begins to reveal itself only after they get a few more games under their belts!

    • Pindar

      Mavericks will be just fine. So will the Lakers. I say this as a Nuggets fan.

  • Ryan

    I disagree about Martin, I’m sure he’d rather be playing, but the time off means that he might actually be healthy for the playoffs for someone this year.

  • FinazzAus

    In regards to Martin. Is there some kind of legal stand point that he could get clear to play. His china team wavered him (i know the rules the CBA put in place about US players) But a team or person can’t not stop someone from playing where they like if he is released from his contact. In essence a team could sign a player and waver him so he can’t play on another team. I think there is some kind of legal ground Martin could explore.

    • Michael (another aussie Nugz fan)

      NBA follows FIBA rules which requires a clearance letter from the players’ previous team.
      The Chinese teams will not hand out the clearance letter due to fear of massive punishment from the Chinese League Office.

      The contract stated a “no out” clause, so he wouldn’t have a legal leg to stand on.

      • FinazzAus

        I’m aware of the china cluse. I’m not sure how it works for the US. But in Australia once a contract hmhas been void or canceled all conditions in that contracted are also canceled. The nbl, CBA and nba all play under FIBA. all I’m saying is I think Martin will be on a new team before march.

        • Charlie

          The issue isn’t Kenyon’s contract, it’s getting the Chinese Basketball Association to sign off on a letter of clearance. As far as I know both the NBA and Kenyon are agreed upon the condition that the CBA season must end before Kenyon can sign. I’m pretty sure Kenyon had to sign off on an agreement to these terms before they completed his buyout. There isn’t a chance Kenyon signs until March and his agent has been quoted as saying he’ll start working out and wait until then to decide.

  • steve

    This game won me $50 hehe. My good friend is a Big Mavs fan and i told him we’d win big especially after watching mavs vs heat. We always play the mavs tough since we match up well vs them. Regardless, the playing time is about what i expected. Karl wants a 10 man rotation and with lack of preseason, he needs those guys to find their legs. It didnt surprise me that the younger guys didnt play. Faried will eventually play. we all know that birdman will miss some time with those ailing knees. Faried should come in and take his PT away at that point. I wouldnt be surprised to see Moz or Koufos playing less as well throughout the season and faried stealing more min. By seasons end i think you will see Faried play 15-20 min per night. Regardless, a win is a win and this was against the defending champs. Let’s go home and blowout a division rival and start this season off great! First 5 games are all tough vs Dallas, Utah, Portland and back to back with LAL. so if we can start out 4-1, that’d put us in a great position. GO NUGS!

    • Bryan

      Kofous only played 3 minutes and he is much more deserving of playing time than Faried. I’m sorry, but if Hakeem Warrick looks like an MVP candidate when you’re defending him, you’ve got a long way to go before you get playing time (especially if you offer nothing in a half court offense but the ability to catch alley oops). I think you’re setting yourself up for a huge disappointment if you expect Faried to play 15 minutes a game. He virtually guaranteed that won’t happen with his preseason performance.

      Anyway, I think people are being a little hard on Moz. He was a little timid after being too aggressive and foul happy this preseason/last season. He just needs to find the right balance. However, he and Lawson looked good when they ran the pick and roll. And even if he wasn’t getting rebounds, his man wasn’t which is nice to see. There are definitely some positives to build on with him. Hopefully, he can get a little better every game he plays.

  • Aaron

    So, tell us what you really think about the Birdman?

    • Charlie

      For a guy who is 6’11” he had an awful lot of trouble getting above the rim. With the long lockout I assumed Bird would be the healthiest he’s ever been and possible have regained his explosiveness. Let’s hope this and the preseason are just a matter of him getting into “game shape”

  • DenverNuggets4Lifee

    Where was Jordan Hamilton? He wasnt on the bench??? Is he playing in the D-league?? :/…

    • Bryan

      I don’t think he dressed for the game, neither did Stone.

      • Be Ray

        Yep, they were inactive. Expect Hamilton to be a no-show until injuries happen. As wings go, he’s got Gallo, Afflalo, Brewer and Fernandez in front of him.

  • Aaron

    In all seriousness, I think GK is going to have two different ways he operates with the rotation. 1) a normal schedule, 8,9 man rotation. 2) a crazy triple back to back schedule rotation, which will probably include up to 11 guys over the course of a weekend (like the weekend coming up).

    If there’s an off day, like today, Karl will do what he likes, which is sit rookies and have a shorter bench. (un)Fortunately the schedule doesn’t allow him to do that. We’ll see some more guys this weekend with our “triple back” coming up. The Nuggets are more outfitted for this schedule than most teams in the NBA.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003405426248 Michel

      Your point is rlaley different from others , but I know you are right . Thank you for your sharing.

  • Rich Tiley

    Gang, Let’s hope K-Mart returns. Our Nugs have only 1 & 1/2 true “stoppers”, and come playoffs we’ll need him. ( the other is AA)

  • magster

    I’d be interested in knowing if any intrepid reporter talked to KMart last night.

    The speculation was that KMart wanted to play for the Mavs. I wonder if he was rethinking that last night.

    • Charlie

      It’s way too early to speculate where Kenyon could go and I doubt even he has a destination in mind right now. Personally, I put the chances at incredibly low he would return to Denver especially because figuring out what do with Wilson Chandler will be a bigger priority.

      Forget about Faried’s chances of even sniffing the court if Kenyon were to somehow return to the Nuggets roster. If you thought it was bad for him now…

  • Matt

    corey brewer looked awful. it seemed like he was ball hogging most of the time and couldn’t make a shot when he had a chance. can’t wait to get a look at the manimal!!!

    • http://www.google.com/ Emily

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  • Be Ray


    Fernandez a STANDOUT?

    I heartily object, fellow fan.

    The only thing I saw in Fernandez (in 31 minutes of playing time!) was bad shot selection, questionable decision making, and lots of jawing with officials. He let Jason Terry’s mild shove get him riled and T’ed up, he tossed bad lobs that didn’t convert into buckets. He was 3-6 on free throws, which is supposed to be the strongest part of his game. And most importantly, he went 1 for 7 on three pointers, and the one he made was an off-balance prayer that went in OFF THE GLASS.

    He did have three steals. I liked that.

    But otherwise, Fernandez has a long, long way to go to make him a standout. I give his performance a D. He was out there for a long time to protect a massive lead and save Afflalo’s legs.

    • Be Ray

      post script, I wouldn’t call Fernandez’s three point attempts “in the flow of the offense.” Several were selfish, in the first half of the shot clock. Why are you jacking up threes early in the shot clock when we’re up by thirty? Make some passes, son!

    • Charlie

      Respectfully, I disagree. Rudy was a +15 leading all bench players. He was part of a solid team defense all 30 minutes. He missed wide open shots all game but made himself effective throughout all other areas. He only took 8 shots to “standout” Al Harrington’s 13 and knows how to move without the ball.

      Compare that to JR Smith who likely would have taken at least 18 shots in 30 minutes, and either had a complete meltdown or a ridiculous 40 pt outburst.

      • http://www.herbalremediesworld.com/index.html sgiustra

        Charlie, your take on the game is generally very astute but what happens when you look at Rudy F?

        I have some hope for Rudy contributing and like his skills. That said, last night he was godawful. Even a made 3 pointer was a lucky bank.

        His play made me really yearn for Will Chandler.

        • http://www.herbalremediesworld.com/index.html sgiustra

          P.S. A +15 leading all benchies? So what! Talk about a stretch stat. Sounds like the kind of stat an agent would consort to, or a family member.

          • CCH

            Charlie is right, rudy was very active on D all game.
            He moved very good without the ball, he kept the ball moving and made some good passes.
            His shot will start to fall I wouldn’t be too concerned with that.

            • Kevin

              Agreed, Rudy was excellent in things that didn’t concern shooting.

              I’m not too concerned because those are shots he normally makes. I expect he will shake off the cobwebs and when that happens, he will be way more valuable to us than Smith ever was.

  • Tony

    Kenneth faried = Renaldo balkman part 2. As for Kenyon, he was there watching his future team, the mavs. They need him to fill Tyson chandlers void.

    • Tony

      Name the player – 6’8 225lb forward taken 1st round with 20-25th pick, known for being somewhat limited offensively. Defense is strongpoint for his game. Averages roughly 12 rebounds per 48 minutes. Also sits on Karl’s bench when games are completely out of hand.

  • Evan

    The shot Rudy banked in wasn’t a 3. He made a three in the second half that wasn’t a bank.

    • http://www.herbalremediesworld.com/index.html sgiustra

      my bad. But we do agree that Rudy stunk that 1st game, right?

      Lets hope for better days ahead 4 Rudy

    • Be Ray

      Wrong, Daniel. Sorry, man. He banked the three and his other made FG was a little floater in the lane.

  • Aurress20

    Good post Charlie. Really enjoyed the read. Didn’t get to see the game, so its nice to hear from those that did.

    As always, keep up the great work here guys! And Go Nuggets!

  • CCH

    Its a well known fact if you play D and dont give up on any plays Karl will keep you in the game. Rudy was playing good D the whole time he was in the game.

  • cindy

    Really enjoyed the read. Didn’t get to see the game, so its nice to hear from those that did.
    Btw, i found this site http://www.mynbatv.com have a good quality streamings, you guys should watch it


  • Daniel

    Off topic, but I just saw Timo at the cherry creek mall.
    Tall White Russian.

  • azbuff

    Two items:

    1. Saw the Nugs against the Suns in preseason last Thursday night – it was no comparison and the Suns are going to stink this season;

    2. Can anyone explain why our Nugs didn’t use their amnesty exemption on Harrington?

    • Daniel

      Cause he came back in shape and his veteran leadership and shot making abilities are worth the money.

      I was skeptical too but after seeing Medium Al play a couple games I was impressed, he came back trimmed down and healthy and he will be a big contributor to our bench.

      We can still use our amnesty in the future, although I dont see Josh and Masai making a big enough mistake to need it.

      • Aurress20

        The amnesty can only be used in the future on a contract that was set up before the end of last season (or something like that). So it wouldn’t really be a matter of Josh & Masai making a money mistake in the future… it would have to be on a contract that was set prior to the new CBA.

        But then again I could be completely wrong.

        But I think we could see Al Harrington or possibly even Birdman (I’d hate to see him retire in a non-Nuggets jersey tho) amnestied after this season. Either of these amnesty cuts would occur more due to age than a bloated contract.

        The Nuggets were so far under the salary cap when the lock out ended that they were running the risk of not hitting the league minimum… another reason Al was not amnestied. They actually needed his contract on the books this year…. After this year that may no longer be the case.

        • Daniel

          That makes sense. Thanks for clearing that up. Wasn’t quite sure on the details of the whole amnesty provision.

      • Brad H.

        Daniel, agreed about Harrington, and thanks for the chuckle with “Medium Al”. Very nice.