|Nene, C 30 MIN | 4-7 FG | 1-4 FT | 9 REB | 4 AST | 9 PTS | -2
Nene had a hard time in the second half. Early on he was collecting boards and making aggressive moves towards the basket but after sitting for an extended period of time he started committing turnovers like they were going out of style. Still, nine rebounds, four assists, four blocks and two steals are invaluable numbers coming from your starting center.
|Danilo Gallinari, SF 32 MIN | 7-11 FG | 6-6 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 22 PTS | +5
Gallinari was on pace to having a career night, scoring 17 points in the first half, though his production nearly came to a halt in the final two quarters of the game. Nevertheless, it was refreshing seeing him drive the lane while making solid basketball plays all over the court. Gallinari has now played extremely well since he ceased firing off countless 3-pointers early on in the season. His game is truly becoming diversified before our eyes.
|Timofey Mozgov, C 13 MIN | 2-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 5 PTS | -3
Mozgov didn’t play much of a role against the Nets but he didn’t make any glaring mistakes either, which is undoubtedly the most important aspect of analyzing his game these days. If he can continue limiting his “rookie mistakes” he might eventually be able to make a positive impact on the game rather than just running around the court with his hands flailing in the air.
|Andre Miller, PG 38 MIN | 5-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 12 AST | 12 PTS | +8
Miller did just about everything you could want and more from your backup point guard (even though he really isn’t one) when given the opportunity to start. He did take another ill-advised 3-pointer but his 12 points and 12 assists made everyone forget. Miller also did a great job of soothing the pace of the game when the Nets threatened to forge a comeback.
|Arron Afflalo, SG 30 MIN | 6-14 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 19 PTS | -4
Finally, after playing playing one-sixth of the entire 66-game season, Afflalo performed the way his new salary suggests he should. The value of his deadly 3-point shooting simply cannot be overstated, especially in tight games. As always, an aggressive Afflalo is an effective Afflalo. Though some of his drives to the hole were lackluster, there’s no doubt that specific offensive mentality contributed to his season high-tying 19 points. Let’s hope the real Arron Afflalo has finally stood up.
|Al Harrington, PF 29 MIN | 5-9 FG | 3-3 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 13 PTS | +9
Harrington has no doubt cooled since his sizzling hot start, but his production has not drastically wavered to this point. Although you’d like to see more rebounds and a few more points, shooting above .500 percent for the fifth time in the last six games is always welcomed.
|Chris Andersen, C 18 MIN | 3-5 FG | 3-3 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | +10
Chris “Birdman” Andersen might have officially earned himself the “Box of Chocolates Inconsistent Player of the Year” award through only 11 games. Against the Nets he was the old “Birdman” who Nuggets fans have come to know as a spark plug who thrives off superb help-defense and high-energy plays. It’s anyone’s guess as to which Birdman will show up on any given night, but Wednesday it was clear: Birdman still has wings.
|Corey Brewer, SF 16 MIN | 7-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 19 PTS | +1
Brewer did not fail in impressing yet again. He scored more points than he logged minutes and missed only one shot. His three 3-pointers greatly assisted the Nuggets in avoiding a furious Nets run and his defense was just as effective as it has been all year. Karl recently stated that Brewer should be seeing more minutes and tonight he proved why.
|Rudy Fernandez, SG 28 MIN | 5-9 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 8 AST | 15 PTS | +10
Fernandez had by far his best game as a Denver Nugget Wednesday against the Nets. His shot was falling, he was extremely energetic, but most importantly he played the best defense he’s played all year — evident by his four steals on the night. If Fernandez can play like this every game, the Nuggets will be a totally different team.
|Julyan Stone, G 6 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 PTS | +6
Stone made his season debut and though he only received six minutes of playing time, it was still six minutes of precisely-executed basketball with no turnovers and three assists. Stone looked as if he’d been an active part of the rotation all year long and played tight one-on-one defense against one of the NBA’s best point guards. Should Ty Lawson or Andre Miller suffer injuries in the future, Nuggets fans should feel at ease knowing Stone is ready to contribute immediately.
Five Things We Saw
- The sky isn’t exactly falling: Just two days after Nuggets Nation was distraught over a tough loss at home and ready to blow up the entire team in order to maybe draft another Melo who consistently lost in the first round of the playoffs anyways, it appears the “Panic Waters” have calmed. However, unless Denver wins against the Super Friends on Friday, it’s likely only a matter of days before the ESPN Trade Machine gets overly-abuse by Nuggets fans across the globe.
- “D-“(insert picture of fence here): Although the Nuggets torched the abysmal Nets on offense, it should be noted that they still allowed New Jersey to “net” an entirely inexcusable 115 points themselves. The Nuggets’ perimeter defense remains an unorganized mess and was again on full display this evening. At some point defense will have to become a priority in order for Denver to fully reach its potential this season.
- I need a prescription for Discipline please: Everyone, including the players, loves Denver’s fast-paced offense that often leads to high-flying dunks and flashy assists, but it’s clear that at times the urge to ignite this fire can totally overtake the Nuggets’ vision to the point that executing even the simplest of plays becomes difficult. It’s imperative that going forward the Nuggets stay disciplined and allow the fast-break offense to create itself through tough defense and tough defense alone.
- The Rudy Brewery: Both Fernandez and Brewer were likely born to be electric, crowd-pleasing players off the bench, they just don’t quite know it yet. But once these two settle into their roles and get more comfortable within the offense they could potentially be one of the most exciting second-tier duos in the entire league, if not the most exciting. Let’s just hope this comes to fruition sooner rather than later.
- “Scrub O’ the Night:” A couple of games ago it was Danny Green, then it was Marco Belinelli and Wednesday it was none other than Jordan Farmar. What this says about Denver’s defense, I’m not exactly sure, although I’d venture to say the poor rotations that could leave every last player in the NBA open might have something to do with it.
Game 11 Advanced Stats (and thoughts by Charlie)
Pace Factor: 97.7 – This should be about normal pace by the end of the year
Offensive Efficiency: 125.8 – A big-time improvement over the Hornets debacle
Defensive Efficiency: 117.7 – Warning: the Nets aren’t a hapless offensive team but they’re no powerhouse either. It still hurts to repeatedly see numbers like this after such a strong start to the season
- As Kalen mentioned Nene’s night was certainly was a tale of two halves. Since moving to Power Forward Nene is drifting further and further away from the basket and as a result his shot selection and offensive rhythm are off. The Nuggets looked to jump start their offense early and the plan was to get Nene better position and let him touch the ball every offensive possession. Nene’s point-guard like vision resulted in crisp passes and easy buckets early, but he later struggled despite being guarded by Humphries, Shelden Williams, and Johan Petro most of the night. Too many careless turnovers and disagreements with the officiating led to a frustrating second-half and put a damper on an overall solid night. His shot selection was better and he did make an effort to be aggressive in matchups where he has a clear advantage. Make no mistake, Nene just has to be mentally tougher and stick with it on tough nights like tonight and he’ll be fine.
- Corey Brewer settled into a nice role backing up Gallo. As Jeremy suggested this is a great role for Brewer and perhaps he’ll carve out a more consistent spot in the rotation if he continues to produce. Miller returning to the bench will change things, but I firmly believe there is room for Brewer who has been surprisingly effective in short bursts.
- As hard as we are on the Nuggets defense, how bad was New Jersey? Marshon Brooks, Anthony Morrow and Shelden Willaims looked hopeless out there and Deron Williams was so frustrated by the end of the game he decided to get himself ejected. The Nuggets simply had to pass and take care of the ball to win this one going away, even with the Nets having a career shooting night from deep with twenty three point makes. Unfortunately the Nuggets didn’t take care of the ball and the final score was a bit closer than it should have been.
- Karl praised Stone and Faried after the game, saying the rookies would be NBA players and that both would eventually get their shot. Although Karl does not have the greatest track record with rookies, he’s keeping them motivated and I continue to believe both will eventually grow into solid contributors through patience and hard work.
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