|Nene, C 45 MIN | 5-13 FG | 2-6 FT | 13 REB | 5 AST | 12 PTS | +3
Made the two biggest free throws of the year after going 0-4 from the line to start the game. Nene routinely found himself on smaller players and was not as aggressive as he was against Philadelphia. You can’t deny his improved rebounding and despite some trouble guarding the rim, he played very respectable late in the game when it mattered most.
|Danilo Gallinari, SF 52 MIN | 9-19 FG | 18-20 FT | 11 REB | 2 AST | 37 PTS | +5
Incredible. 37 points on 19 shots. Did not even play his best game and clearly didn’t have his legs under him as he settled for too many long two pointers. Outplayed everyone else on the floor and is making me rethink my assessment of Gallo having true star potential. His game was so good I don’t have any room left to gush about his phenomenal defensive performance against Melo.
|Timofey Mozgov, C 30 MIN | 6-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 16 PTS | +5
Deserves minutes, and thankfully he’s finally getting them. Tyson Chandler turned in dominant rebounding performances his past two games and was a non-factor against the shorthanded Nuggets. Mozgov scored 16 points, but his true impact came on the defensive end where he stayed on his feet and routinely rescued his teammates from getting beat and giving up layups.
|Andre Miller, PG 49 MIN | 6-14 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 12 AST | 14 PTS | +6
I know, everyone deserves a great grade for this one, right? I really didn’t like much about Andre’s play through more than half of the contest. Then, he goes all Philadelphia 76ers and throws in the most amazing basket of the season to seal the win. He inbounded the ball perfectly three separate times on crucial possessions late. Miller honestly didn’t play great but had an easy double double. Miller’s poise is what makes him shine.
|Ty Lawson, PG 49 MIN | 3-12 FG | 4-7 FT | 8 REB | 7 AST | 10 PTS | +8
He was a spectator in the win. I hate being so hard on a Nuggets player in such a great win, but I have never been more disappointed in Ty. He made only three shots, all of them assisted by others who fed him wide open looks. Ty needs to be better. He did not hit free throws down the stretch, failed to stay in front of the Knicks guards and allowed rookie Iman Shumpert to get the best of him. Ty’s numbers were fine but the boxscore belies the fact he had no impact on the win. I don’t grade the boxscores.
|Al Harrington, PF 41 MIN | 10-24 FG | 0-1 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 24 PTS | +2
Al Buckets did it again. After a dreadful start he might have been benched by a lot of other coaches in this league. Harrington delivered in the clutch yet again hitting most every big basket down the stretch. He scored 15 points in the fourth quarter and exuded nothing but confidence when it looked like Denver was going to lose.
|Corey Brewer, SF 25 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-4 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -4
You can’t ask for much more from Brewer in the limited minutes he received. He came in for defensive purposes late and forced Melo into a difficult shot he had no business attempting. Melo made it and Brewer learned the valuable lesson that sometimes it does not matter how well you play defense. Brewer ultimately didn’t have more of an impact because he was extremely clumsy on the offensive end, where he still needs to prove his worth.
Five Things We Saw
- The Magnificent Seven: Karl used only a seven man rotation on a night the Nuggets were playing their fifth game in six nights. Gallo logged 52 minutes and after missing games with a bad heel Nene played 45 minutes. The fact Denver was still able to walk away with a win under such circumstances speaks to the importance of having a five man lineup that has developed trust. Karl coached it like a playoff game and did not leave anything to chance despite having able reserves available if needed. It’s a shrewd coaching move that was necessary thanks to Karl’s defensive Captain Arron Afflalo not being available to play, and it ultimately won the game.
- The Eagle Has Landed: Birdman turned in two of his better statistical performances in the previous games against Philadelphia and Washington. If you’ve been reading Roundball Mining Company you know he’s still playing poor defense and not helping the Nuggets where they need it most. Birdman has now been benched for the two biggest games of the season and both have been outstanding team performances. Chris Andersen needs to stay ready, but at this point Mozgov is a better player and the Birdman needs to accept the fact the Nuggets are better with him taking a backseat on nights like tonight.
- Blood in the Water:There were so many opportunities for the Knicks to put Denver away, especially early on with the starters looking tired and out of sync on both ends thanks to no Arron Afflalo. A flurry of pick and roll action and ball movement created open shot after open shot for the Knicks bench and they looked ready to break the game open. Outside of Ty Lawson, the Nuggets were more patient in their half court offense and a strong rebounding performance allowed them to erase a double digit lead and claw back in it. Denver’s defense stepped up big in the third quarter and they played with confidence and emotion the rest of the way. New York is vulnerable right now and the Nuggets just played with a stronger determination and belief they were going to win this game.
- Hard Target: The game came down to shot selection. Denver took 43 shots at the rim to New York’s 28. The Knicks went for transition threes and long twos while nursing a double digit lead. The Nuggets converetd five “and-one” opportunities to Landry Fields’ one. Denver actually shot very poorly but lived in the paint where they outscored the Knicks by 20.
- The Omega Man: Carmelo didn’t have a great effect on his teammates. It was evident in the fourth quarter when the Knicks played their hardest, most engaged basketball trying to deliver Melo the ball. When he caught it the entire building waited in suspense for the shot to go up. The Nuggets did a good job not doubling over-aggressively and forcing him to give up the ball immediately. He made some highly difficult Hero-type shots, but for two overtime periods he almost exclusively shot jumpers and only once worked off his teammates to free himself for a shot (a wide open three).
Game 17 Advanced Stats
Pace Factor: 120.1 – Overall a fast paced game despite two overtimes
Offensive Efficiency: 99.1 – Poor shooting, but very good for a fifth game in six nights
Defensive Efficiency: 94.9 – The most complete performance of the road trip