Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 105, Milwaukee Bucks 95

Denver Nuggets 105 FinalRecap | Box Score 95 Milwaukee Bucks
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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
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Kalen Deremo

Kalen was born in Durango, CO, in 1988 and graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2013 with a degree in journalism. He's now an itinerant hoping to travel as much as possible before eventually succumbing to the "real world." Aside from writing Kalen likes movies, music, spicy food and the great outdoors. Edward Abbey is his current idol.

Latest posts by Kalen Deremo (see all)

  • Jeff

    Corey Brewer is obviously not the best player overall on the Nuggets, but like you said he is the EPITOME of how the Nuggets need to play. Gets his points from hustling on D leading to fast breaks and knocking down open 3s. That is Nuggets basketball. For that, he deserves minutes. Other plays like Andre Miller may be better, but they don’t fit this system as well.
    Why is 11 points not enough from Afflalo? Same thing goes for Gallinari. Nobody on the Nuggets is expected to score 25 points a night, they share the ball, and a player forcing himself in the offense should not be encouraged.

    • Charlie

      Afflalo had his shot blocked 4 times. He had another couple of clumsy possessions where he dribbled around aimlessly a bunch and then hoisted a bad shot like he was Andre Miller.

      Afflalo made his open threes when Lawson found him on a couple of great drives. I still think he’s forcing his offense and this big contract doesn’t seem to be having the greatest effect on him. I fully agree with the grade and look, if he hadn’t made absolutely wide open catch and shoot threes (which many NBA players should make no matter what), then this performance is likely a D or F. I thought the grade was spot on.

      • Jeff

        I can’t really comment on his overall performance since I missed some of the second half. But the statement that 11 points is not enough from Afflalo seemed a little strange to me, seeing as how the Nuggets are a high scoring team with many different options each night. I don’t think players like Afflalo should be chastised for not hitting the 15 point mark each night.

        • http://www.chazkemp.com Chaz

          I agree with you Jeff – Afflalo is certainly playing a TON better than he did at the beginning of the season. He’s playing great D and he’s finally starting to hit open (and sometimes contested) 3s. I, for one, am willing to cut him some slack because he IS improving every game.

          Besides – he’s playing within the TEAM concept, which is what we retained him for.

        • Kalen

          That statement should be taken as a whole with Afflalo’s entire assessment/grade tonight. Yes, 11 points is acceptable on certain nights, but it’s not acceptable every night which is what’s happening with him. I understand it’s early in the season, but Afflalo has improved every year he’s been in the league and his contract is essentially banking on this trend to continue. Honestly I’m a little surprised at the lack of improvement we’ve seen from him. All summer long all we heard on Twitter was how he’s constantly getting better, but he’s actually regressed since last year. Only three times has he scored over 15 points and not once has he hit 20. Even if, as Evan points out below, Masai didn’t pay him for his scoring (which is true) he still payed him for his commitment to getting better, which he just hasn’t lived up to yet. To me, a “C +” is actually generous considering his average is much better than he’s been displaying.

          • Jeff

            I agree with you on the fact that the Nuggets expect Afflalo to improve, which he hasn’t really shown. But we should also keep in mind that his numbers were higher during the Melo and Chauncey years because Melo night in and night out was the focus of the defense. Afflalo was open much more last year than he is this year!

            • Michael (anotheraussienuggzfan)

              I agree with the grade, he has been hitting the open 3’s as he should but he is over-dribbling the ball a lot of the time and needs LOTS of work on finishing near the rim.

              Someone on the coaching staff needs to introduce AAA to a pump/head/shot fake. The only hesitation move he has is the stutter step as he goes to take off, which he has been called for travelling on more times than it has helped him this year.

              There has been several instances of AAA being on the fast break and having 2/3 guys with him that on a pass could have made an easy bucket, instead he has taken it to the rim and been blocked or missed the layup.
              He has also had other opportunities in close that with a decent fake could have been finished easier, however he has been blocked or has gone straight up contested by a bigger opponent.

              Turnovers have been another big issue for AAA so far. Whether by travelling, stepping out of bounds or committing charges, he has a collection of each in nearly every game.

              For someone who signed a $44 mil contract you think he would be a little tighter at finishing near the rim and preventing turnovers.

              • Jason

                AAA’s contract is only a guaranteed 38mil plus incentives. So truly it isn’t that much larger than MLE money.

                He will get better and has already shown signs of it. Give it some time people!!

            • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003405407775 Mehmet

              January 19, 2009 nbeumr 8 just reminded me of how my former boss thought i didn’t know how to use a cutter and lock a doorknob.

  • Alex

    FINALLY I’ve been waiting for Karl to unleash Brewer and I absolutely love what Brewer is doing. And also I agree with Jeff saying that nobody NEEDS to score 20 or more. If Afflalo is hitting big shots and playing great Defense, then isn’t that what we did pay him to do? And again I want to say we need to do something with miller and anderson, Stone will come in and play good D and hustle and make some good passes and Faried will rebound like we need and provide defensive energy every night.

  • mitch

    i agree with jeff’s points about players who play “nuggets basketball”.
    so why are bird and mosgov taking faried’s minutes? energy, defense, rebounding? i’m confused as to why he isn’t playing.

    • Michael (anotheraussienuggzfan)

      Because Faried is 6’8″, inexperienced in the NBA game and the offensive and defensive sets of the Nuggets due to not getting a full training camp.

      Moz needs time to mature which gives Nene his wish of playing PF instead of C. Birdman is our most experienced backup C although from the way he bites on every fake/sneeze you would think that he was still learning.

      I’d like to see Karl try and squeeze the Manimal into the game for 2-3 minutes in the 2nd and 3rd quarters against some decent lineups to give him the experience he needs and to see how he fares in the business part of a game. However I don’t see this happening any time soon.

      Koufos has also shown to be a better option than bird and is a true 7 footer and he is still riding the pine, so I don’t see the rookies getting any decent court time soon.

      Speaking of rookies, I was very surprised to see JHam on the bench for this game. After watching his last few performances in the D-League I’m surprised he would get called up at all this season (barring several injuries to our wings).

      Maybe the team is thinking that due to playing some “lesser” opponents (Bucks, Wizards etc) that they might be able to squeeze the rookies in to give them some experience.
      This has been another frustrating aspect for me this year, the Nuggz get a decent lead and instead of increasing of maintaining allowing the bench guys to log some time, they go to sleep and let teams back in it so the starters are sent back on!

      • Michael (anotheraussienuggzfan)

        *or maintianing

  • evan

    Just want to throw this out there: AAA’s money isn’t coming from his points or any numbers for that matter. It’s been stated many times by many different people in the organization that he is there for 1. Defense, and 2. to lead. -Two things that are more important then numbers, that’s why we have a team.

    • MarcP


      Although I would like to see himself create a few of his own shots in a match because I think he has some scoring potential

  • Adam

    What’s with the trash talking about Miller? He had 11 assists, 1 steal, and 8 points from the bench. His D wasn’t bad, yet you credit Nene for good D? Come on, Nene is getting better on both sides of the ball, but his D wasn’t anything above and beyond.Personally, I think as a whole, matter of fact I know our defense sucks. Why do I KNOW this? POINTS ALLOWED 24th 98.7 What is this bat sh*t crazy talk that AA needs to score more points? We are Second in the NBA in points per game. We don’t really need to improve on offense… numbers don’t lie.We got rid of sticky fingers remember?? His name was Melo. There is no I in team.

    • Kalen

      That’s a great point and one that I’ve continued to point out this season, however in holding the Bucks to 95 points I really couldn’t complain about the defense tonight.

    • Charlie

      I don’t expect Afflalo to score a ton. 11 points isn’t bad at all (but it’s skewed by only making open treys and missing every single other shot he took).

      I do expect him to take better shots and be a little bit more consistent.

  • Adam

    The Bucks are 22nd in the NBA in points per game. Yet we let them score 95? New Orleans is the best example where we are getting killed. They are 27th in the NBA in points per game, yet they beat us last time 94-81. In rebounds per game they are 3rd, and points allowed they are 7th.

  • Adam

    One last thing, and I know you all have been talking about this, but Nene has an average of 3.1 TPG. It isn’t just Nene, but TPG is also one of the main reasons why our D is so bad. Rebounding also needs to vastly improve if we are going to have a shot at the finals.

    • Michael (anotheraussienuggzfan)

      Totally agree!
      It’s the fundamentals that are hurting us, BOX OUT for gods sake! If a shot goes up, get your butt into your man and make sure you are between him and the rim, sounds simple but apparently not a teaching point for a lot of NBA players.

      One of the bad areas for turnovers for us have been on charges. Guys bolting into the key out of control and the worst thing is they are leaving their feet and not looking to score but to pass…fail! Get under control and don’t leave your feet to pass the ball.

  • jim32

    Al is great this year. I didnt expect from him and i am suprised by his fg %. Gallo is doing great, so Lawson does. Nene seems that he is 100% ready now, after his injury. He ‘s a beast!
    But what about Kosta? After some good matches he ‘s got some DNP’s. Guys why do u think Karl doesn’t trust him?

  • aussienuggzfan

    look if we pay Gallo $9-10 million + we are destined to having at best an overpaid swingman in the class of Granger, Deng, Iguodala… and that’s at best

  • MarcP

    If we have to overpay Gallo to keep him, I’d rather sign and trade him and wait until Harden becomes a FA and overpay on him because I don’t how OKC can afford to keep him on top of Durant, westbrooks, Perkins contracts plus they will have to pay ibaka. I just think it is a great opportunity because jimmy h is a straight out baller who would be the perfect no 1 option for a team like us who likes to move the ball and not rely on just one guy if that somehow makes sense

    • Jeff

      I like Harden too but you think he would be our no. 1 option? I dunno about that. If their no. 3 option is our no. 1 option, we’re in deep trouble if we meet the Thunder in the playoffs!

  • MarcP

    Btw I’m still shattered we got j ham over marshon brooks. I mean it’s pre harsh for me to judge j ham now but I think brooks is just such a natural scorer and could have been a cheap jr smith minus the baggage and attitude.

    • Jason

      Brooks is a chucker. Give JHam some time…he is young.

  • evan

    Kalen for coach

    • Tommy4daNuggz4ever

      Second that or move Melvin over to head

  • Cider

    I personally don’t buy the hype surrounding the Sixers for the start of the season, and would be much more annoyed at a loss than happy with a win. They have not played many strong teams and have mostly lost to any of the strong teams they have played. The past 10 of their opponents have had a combined record of .325, so I don’t think their performance really says anything at this point. They’re playing bad teams and winning, and that’s about all you can say about them, whereas Denver has played and won against strong teams multiple times to start the season. I don’t think a win against the Sixers will say much in all honesty. Their strong record should at least mean the Nuggets won’t take it easy at the least, I suppose.

    • Adam

      Totally agree with you Cider.

  • Will

    Am I the only one here who thinks chris andersen is completly useless? He is horrible he jumps at any flinch of the opponent. Has no offense at all. Man does dude have dirt on Karl? How does he get minutes? Plus not to be a downer but Karl has the worst rotation of any coach ive ever seen. Makes the worst substitutions at the worst times then lets them play even if there garbage….

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003405421767 Yassin

    January 16, 2009 P150K?!!?!?SERIOUSLY?!!? haha. asan na yang mga knetsog yan! Ilabas na yan! Haha