|Kosta Koufos, C
3-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | +4
In his first start of the season Koufos did not disappoint. He was named Altitude’s “Subway Sub of the Game” even though he started, which goes to show just how effective he was. After this performance it’s hard to see how Mozgov continues to log more minutes.
|Danilo Gallinari, F
5-12 FG | 10-12 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 21 PTS | +12
This was the second straight game that Gallo came through when the Nuggets desperately needed someone to step up. Though he’s still taking entirely way too many 3-pointers, he’s also driving to the basket more often and getting to the line where he converts a high percentage of his shots. Finally, after a slow start Gallo is beginning to show flashes of the player we all know he can be.
|Timofey Mozgov, C
2-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | +1
Mozgov once again looked slow, out of place and clumsy. After six games of regular season action he’s done nothing to prove he should be starting and by Koufos thoroughly outplaying him tonight, Karl should have a tough (or not so tough depending on how you look at it) decision on his hands regarding who to start on Wednesday against the Kings.
|Arron Afflalo, SG
2-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 4 PTS | 0
Afflalo has faced a tricky series of substitution patterns early on thanks to some very inconstant playing time, so his grade should be taken with a grain of salt. Why he didn’t log virtually any minutes in the second half until the final two minutes of the game was perplexing. Hopefully Karl finds a way to steady his on-court appearances so he can help the Nuggets win as he’s done throughout his career in Denver.
|Ty Lawson, PG
7-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 16 PTS | +9
Lawson was again solid tonight. Though he was on pace to score over 30 points in the early part of the first quarter he soon settled down, yet still had another efficient night shooting and turned the ball over only once. You can’t really ask for any more than that from your starting point guard.
|Al Harrington, PF
7-12 FG | 2-3 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 17 PTS | +1
Al flat out carried the Nuggets down the stretch. His energy was palpable and his defense on Andrew Bogut, supreme. Considering he’s coming off the bench, it’s hard to award him anything less than a solid “A.”
|Andre Miller, PG
3-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 4 AST | 6 PTS | +9
Miller too had another savvy outing. Though his shot wasn’t falling, he came through when the Nuggets needed it most. One area where Miller still needs to work on is pushing the pace.
|Chris Andersen, C
0-3 FG | 0-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | -14
Andersen was fairly unspectacular this evening. Granted, he only saw 15 minutes of playing time, but he didn’t make the most out it like he’s capable of doing. Koufos was clearly the better big man tonight.
|Corey Brewer, SG
3-7 FG | 3-4 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | +2
Brewer made a few bad decisions but that’s to be expected in his first game while receiving a heavy dosage of minutes. Otherwise, he was an instant spark plug off the bench and played some excellent defense on a variety of different Bucks players which led to a game-changing block near the end of the fourth quarter. Hopefully Brewer can find more time in the future, especially with Fernandez struggling.
|Rudy Fernandez, SG
1-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 5 PTS | +1
Fernandez disappointed yet again. Though he shot .333 percent from beyond the arc — which isn’t bad — he still made himself a one dimensional player throughout much of the contest by not incorporating himself into the flow of the offense and simply parking outside the 3-point line waiting for the ball. This kid is so talented and so much better than he’s showing at the moment. Let’s just hope he finds a way to turn it around before Karl permanently places him on the bench.
Five Things We Saw
- Koufos vs. Mozgov: In the first game these two got to see real game action side by side, Koufos absolutely showed Mozgov up. Though the numbers alone support the argument that Koufos is the better player, it’s the eyeball test that really confirms this notion, which was on fully display tonight.
- Deer in the headlights: Though the Bucks started out nearly flawless in the first quarter, they steadily declined all night long until nobody could hit a shot. Although I give the Nuggets a lot of credit for executing its fast-break offense even on the third night of a back-to-back-to-back, it’s hard to overlook just how awful Milwaukee played down the stretch.
- Do we even have a playbook?: This is a rhetorical question. The answer is clearly “no.” The bottom line with the Nuggets right now is that if they’re not running, they’re losing. Karl runs virtually no set offensive plays which is often times masked by the Nuggets fast-break style. This is an issue that absolutely MUST be addressed as soon as humanly possible if the Nuggets want to continue improving and piling up wins.
- 3-point shooting woes: For whatever reason the Nuggets continue to jack up ill-advised shots from beyond the arc, even though they haven’t come close to hitting any. When is this going to stop? When are the Nuggets going to figure out that good things happen when driving to the lane? I’m not saying they shouldn’t ever take another 3-point shot again, but if I were Karl I’d make some kind of rule that each player can only shoot a three after they drive to the basket first.
- Two out of three: I don’t know how the Nuggets managed to win two games of a back-to-back-to-back when they played the Lakers twice, but, they did. And though I constantly harp on Karl and his unorthodox methods of coaching, I have to give credit where it’s due. He managed to rally the troops this evening, and in turn, stole a victory we really had no business snagging. Hats off to Karl.
Game 6 Advanced Stats (and updates from Charlie)
Pace Factor: 97.6 – A bit slower than normal, but good enough for a third straight game
Offensive Efficiency: 93.0 – Really low, but free throws and points in the paint got it done
Defensive Efficiency: 87.9 – Milwaukee did their part, but this is the best rating of the year
Additional Game 6 Nuggets
- This had trap game written all over it and I knew it would be a tough one after two close games with Los Angeles on consecutive nights. Even with perfect execution winning this one would be a tall order as the Bucks were no doubt watching film in a luxury hotel while the Nuggets slugged through two tough games with Lakers. Denver was clearly in better shape than the Bucks and as a result they were sharper at the end of game.
- Gallo got to the line 12 times, one more than the entire Bucks roster combined. If Gallo ever starts jumping straight up and getting his threes to fall, his awful true shooting percentage (48 percent) will easily climb to his solid career average (58 percent). Although Gallo is shooting poorly he isn’t chucking, averaging a little more than 12 shots per game. His perimeter defense is the biggest surprise as he’s nabbing over two steals game against his career average of less than one.
- Koufos is slimmed down and working hard, but his game is not without severe limitations at this point in his career. For whatever reason, Koufos was almost completely stationary on offense. He spent tons of possessions parked on the baseline mostly removed from the action. In the second half he did set one or two ineffective screens in slow-motion. Although he can post up smaller defenders, I rarely saw him get into good position to receive a pass down low. His career turnover percentage is pretty bad and once he learns how to handle passes he’ll be able to get more out of his offensive post game.
- Rebounding and a couple of timely steals saved the Nuggets in this one. Defensively the Nuggets were inconsistent as Koufos and Mozgov were either slow or didn’t provide any help in the paint. Both were lucky to avoid foul calls as they were often back on their heels against Milwaukee Bucks who weren’t drawing contact at the rim. Denver took 45 shots at the rim compared to Milwaukee’s 17, which alone tells the story of the game.
- Considering the Nuggets won while shooting less than 40 percent and lost the turnover battle 16 to 14, all is good. With Nene missing on the last game of the dreaded back-to-back-back this is an early candidate for best win of the year and the Nuggets are clearly improving in terms of finishing games.