|Nene, C 26 MIN | 3-6 FG | 8-10 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | +17
Nene had a solid performance all around, but his defense on Bogut and the Milwaukee bigs was his highlight of the night.
|Danilo Gallinari, SF 27 MIN | 5-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 14 PTS | +6
Gallinari posted his typical numbers but at this point, after seeing how well he’s able to play, the Nuggets should expect more from him. He must continue to drive the land and become a more integral part of the offense with each passing game.
|Timofey Mozgov, C 19 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | +2
Mozgov continues to improve and played good defense against the Bucks, but it’s still difficult to overlook some of his glaring inefficiencies. He’s still hit and miss when it comes to making himself useful on the court and still commits plenty of “rookie” mistakes. His progress throughout the year should determine how high his ceiling really is, although at the moment it’s looking more like a one-story apartment than anything.
|Arron Afflalo, SG 36 MIN | 4-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 11 PTS | -1
Afflalo hit a few huge 3-pointers when the Nuggets needed a basket and for that, he’s deserving of an average grade. His defense was also solid, but 11 points is simply not enough from the $43 million dollar man. Though he’s getting more comfortable with his role as the year drags on, at some point we’re going to need to see more from him in order to justify his hefty contract extension.
|Ty Lawson, PG 33 MIN | 3-10 FG | 5-7 FT | 5 REB | 9 AST | 11 PTS | +11
Ty was excellent with his distribution on Tuesday but was off in other categories. His field goal percentage has been down recently as it appears the rest of the NBA is starting to take note of his lighting-quick speed. Hopefully Lawson can begin to figure out other ways to score besides simply burning his counterpart to the rim.
|Al Harrington, PF 20 MIN | 5-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 16 PTS | +16
Harrington returned to his early-season form of hitting more shots than he misses and scoring nearly as many points as minutes logged. His 3-point shooting was superb against the Bucks and often times came when the Nuggets were in need of a basket. He also showed tenacity in the rebounding department which is always greatly appreciated with a team lacking a great presence on the glass.
|Andre Miller, PG 23 MIN | 1-5 FG | 6-6 FT | 2 REB | 11 AST | 8 PTS | +9
As Charlie would say, “I don’t grade the box score,” at least not in this case. Although Miller put up better numbers than he has recently, there was still no denying his terrible shot selection and aloofness away from the ball. Miller is the kind of guy who can light it up and create all sorts of different looks for his teammates, so when he’s not doing that, it’s hard to award him with a great grade.
|Chris Andersen, C 22 MIN | 1-2 FG | 3-6 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | -7
In 22 minutes, Birdman must be able to put up more than five rebounds and no blocks. He was active against the Bucks, but that’s about it.
|Corey Brewer, SF 34 MIN | 8-14 FG | 3-4 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 22 PTS | -3
Brewer was without question the best player on the floor for the Nuggets tonight. This was by far his best performance of the year and one of the best performances by anyone donning a Nuggets jersey this season. His energy was off the charts and his defensive prowess, remarkable. It’s safe to say that Brewer has won over George Karl at this point as he’s embodying the type of offense, and defense, Karl preaches more than any other Nugget so far. With Andre Miller and Birdman disappearing recently, Brewer has stepped up as a reliable bench option nearly every night. Now if only Karl would give Faried a chance…
Five Things We Saw
- Takin’ care of business: This game had to be seen as a must-win for the Nuggets and it looks as though they attacked it that way. The Bucks are just not a good team right now and rank near the bottom of the league in virtually every statistical category that matters. It’s good to see the Nuggets finally put away a game they should, but it’s crucial that Denver does this more often if it wants to continue to hang with the other teams atop the Western Conference.
- No-Star All-Stars: Tuesday night Corey Brewer was the highest scoring Nugget with 22 points as Al Harrington came in second at 16. After that two Nuggets scored 14 (Nene and Gallinari) and two scored 11 (Afflalo and Lawson) with the rest of the roster notching four, five and eight points. This is the type of balanced scoring effort that makes the Nuggets so effective and often leads to blowout performances. Let’s hope to see more of this in the future.
- Miller Light: Though much has been made of Andre Miller’s recent comments in the media regarding his dissatisfaction in coming off the bench, as well as his poor play on the court, the thing that irks me most is his effort on the defensive side of the ball. Against the Bucks there were several different occasions where he didn’t even attempt to guard his man or contest his shot. This is inexcusable beyond belief. Struggling on offense is one thing, but letting your man do whatever he pleases on the defensive end of the floor is just flat-out bush league. Again, let’s hope this does not continue in the future.
- Lawson Powers: As is well documented here at Roundball Mining Company, I love me some Ty Lawson, but I’m not afraid to admit that he still has tons of work to go before he reaches the apex of his career. As of right now his shot certainly needs work and he could definitely improve in the “steals” category, but where he needs the most polish in order to fully utilize his talent level, is with his handle. Because Ty is so small and fast he has the ability to weave in and out of traffic like no point guard in the league, yet he’s still relatively reserved in this sense. Sure, he drives the lane and kicks to an open teammate like a true pro, but he doesn’t take advantage of his size (as weird as that sounds) as often as he should. If you watch footage of Chris Paul for example, he’ll run circles around the opposing defense creating all kinds of havoc, which in turn opens up the floor for a cutting teammate, ally-oop or just an open 3-point shot. Ty must learn that he’s the uncontested orchestrator of the Nuggets offense and should do whatever he deems necessary in order to create space, even if it includes dominating the ball more than he’s used to doing.
- Shatter the Liberty Bell: Though the win against the Bucks is nice, the true test for the Nuggets will be Wednesday against the Philadelphia 76ers. This team is the mirror image of the Nuggets in the Eastern Conference, that’s doing everything the Nuggets do, but better. If Denver can manage to storm into Philly against the hottest team in the NBA and “out-team” a true team, the loss against Utah will certainly be forgiven.