Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 122, Sacramento Kings 93

Denver Nuggets 122 FinalRecap | Box Score 93 Sacramento Kings
Nene, C 26 MIN | 6-9 FG | 4-4 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 16 PTS | +30Nene was aggressive on Wednesday. He was looking to score and often times achieved this goal when he received the ball in the post. His defense against the Kings’ big men was also admirable.
Danilo Gallinari, SF 35 MIN | 8-12 FG | 6-6 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 23 PTS | +30The first half of basketball by Gallinari was not only the best half of ball I’ve ever seen him play while in Denver (yes, including the Knicks game) but it might very well have been the best half of basketball any Nuggets player has displayed this year. It was nearly flawless. He never once forced a bad shot and time after time made the correct “basketball play” that was needed by the team in order to score — even if that meant passing (evident by his five assists). Had this game been closer Gallinari would be looking at back-to-back 30-point outings for the first time in his career. If you can score 30 points back-to-back in an NBA game, you’ve arrived.
Kosta Koufos, C 23 MIN | 3-7 FG | 4-4 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 10 PTS | +11I’m a Koufos guy and his performance against the Kings proves why. Early in the third quarter he had already passed Mozgov’s full-game averages and continued to play sound basketball (for the most part) until the final whistle. His passion for the game was on clear display as he wrestled for rebounds with the feisty DeMarcus Cousins late in the fourth quarter when the game was already out of hand. Though Koufos does take the occasional bad shot, this is to be expected from your third-string center; however, should Koufos see more time (which he deserves) he might very well develop into a nice, strong backup center option by next year.
Andre Miller, PG 32 MIN | 7-9 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 10 AST | 15 PTS | +27It’s probably safe to say Miller is over his “mini slump.” He was as solid as solid gets in terms of taking over the game once Ty left. His passes were pinpoint, his court vision, outstanding, but his leadership was what stood out most. Miller never stopped moving his jaw the entire night and his teammates seemed to benefit.
Ty Lawson, PG 15 MIN | 4-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 11 PTS | +7I give Ty a “B” because he was firmly on pace to score over 20 points tonight, even though it wouldn’t have been needed. Bottom line: His aggressiveness early on set the tone for the blowout that shortly followed.
Al Harrington, PF 24 MIN | 5-12 FG | 0-1 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 10 PTS | +16Though his field goal percentage dipped as the game rolled on, it’s important to note that going into the half Harrington was one of the leading catalysts that blew the lid off this game. He was shooting an extremely efficient clip yet again and at one time had more points than he did minutes. Downgrading him for a blowout he helped create seems wrong.
Chris Andersen, C 17 MIN | 4-4 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | +2Andersen played well. His sprightly enthusiasm for blocking shots didn’t necessarily pay off numerically, but he did send a message to the Kings that as long as he was patrolling the paint, no easy buckets would be had. I’ll take a performance like this from “Birdman” any day of the week.
Corey Brewer, SF 32 MIN | 7-19 FG | 1-3 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 15 PTS | +16Kind of a mixed bag from Brewer. Taking 19 shots is “Melo-esque” and not in a good way. He couldn’t hit an open three if his life depended on it and made a few knucklehead plays that, fittingly, one could label “J.R.-esque.” His botched dunk on a breakaway in the first quarter was one of the worst I’ve seen in a while and his reckless dribbling got a bit out of hand. However, Brewer’s defense was again fantastic and often led to fast break opportunities which the Nuggets thrive off. If he can limit his mistakes next time around, all will be forgiven.
Julyan Stone, G 20 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | +9For his first real outing, Stone played extremely well. His defense was pure genius, especially the block he had on Jimmer Fredette in the fourth quarter that looked like it shot out of a cannon. His hustle on 50-50 balls was like nothing the Nuggets have seen this season and his ability to come in and absorb the “pass-first” concept of the Nuggets offense was beyond refreshing. Stone will never be a scorer, but if he can play the type of defense he did against the Kings while distributing at a high level, there will certainly be a place for him in the NBA.
Kenneth Faried, F 11 MIN | 2-4 FG | 1-3 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | 0The “Manimal” made his long-awaited third appearance of the regular season and did not disappoint. In the first three minutes he collected four rebounds (three of them being offensive boards) and was infectious with his energy level. Faried looked much, much better in terms of knowing his place on the floor than he did in his previous games and had the type of defensive fire the Nuggets are deprived of at times. If he can continue to improve, he should find his way in a few more games as the season progresses.
Jordan Hamilton, G 5 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -3I actually thought “J-Ham” played excellent in his NBA debut. Though it was only five minutes and though he did miss three of the four shots he put up, Hamilton still played solid defense, collected three boards and didn’t make any glaring mistakes. He looked like a totally different player than what I saw in his brief D-League stint and displayed an ability to score the rock that the Nuggets will undoubtedly need in the future. Hopefully we see more J-Ham soon.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Regal Entertainment Group: Though the Knicks game was by far the best of the season (and will most likely remain that way), the Kings game was by far the best display of offensive execution we’ve seen yet. It was beautiful. It was how basketball was meant to be played. The 92 points in the paint the Nuggets recorded set an NBA record (the previous was 90) and should cement the fact that driving to the hole is perhaps the most important aspect of this team’s offense. Though the Nuggets can shoot the long ball with efficiency, it will never be as efficient as driving to the hole. Granted, the Kings defense was suspect (OK, it was atrocious) but it still shouldn’t dissuade the Nuggets from continuing to penetrate against taller, more skilled teams like the Lakers.
  2. Year of the Rooster: This past summer after seeing Gallinari struggle at the FIBA European Championships in Lithuania, I was admittedly a bit apprehensive about his future career with the Nuggets. At that point Gallinari was shooting poorly from the field and didn’t have near the type of impact as fellow teammate, Andrea Bargnani. I was worried that Gallo would continue to restrict himself to being just a spot-up three-point shooter and become mesmerized with this aspect of his game instead of developing into a true, all-around ballplayer. Well, thank God I was wrong. After seeing his last few games, my faith in the “Rooster” has been fully restored and then some. He doesn’t even remotely resemble that three-point specialist I was so concerned about and has actually taken the first steps towards becoming that 20 points per game-scorer we all know he can be. Furthermore, his defense is incredible for a 6-10 small forward and his decision-making is already better than half the guys in the entire NBA. All I can really say is: Gallo, I’m sorry. Please continue to prove me wrong for even having doubted you one minute bit. Grazie.
  3. Roadies: The Nuggets won five consecutive games on the road for the first time in franchise history. Let that sink in for a minute… Yes, history. I predicted at the beginning of the season that depth would greatly benefit the Nuggets in a condensed schedule format and that notion appears to be coming to fruition before our eyes. Whether the Nuggets can keep this up throughout the entire season is still up in the air, but winning five in a row on the road is certainly a great way to start.
  4. One Step Ahead: Though many different angles can be taken on why the Nuggets dominated so convincingly on Wednesday, I can point to one that I firmly believe in: “out-smarting” your opponent. While the Nuggets are a better and more talented team than the Kings, they simply played much smarter than them too. While the Kings decided to play one-on-one basketball without trusting each other the Nuggets defeated them by moving the ball, finding the open man and always remaining a step ahead of the Kings in the process. This is always extremely encouraging to see from your favorite sports team and credit for this must solely go to George Karl.
  5. Stacked for the Future: In watching the final three minutes of the game I realized just how well-prepared the Nuggets are for the coming years. Faried, Stone, Hamilton, Koufos — these are all guys locked down for the foreseeable future (Stone only has one more year left on his contract however) and are all extremely young and talented. There’s no need to rush their development with how deep the Nuggets are which essentially allows these guys to absorb as much information as they can and when their time comes, they should be able to step right in and and contribute immediately. This is how true championship contenders are constructed.
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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

    “Stacked for the Future”
    While none of the rookies stand out like Ty Lawson did his rookie season (Faried is amazing to watch of course) it is awesome to see what the front office has put together this year. Outstanding job building a team. When life gives you lemons (Carmelo wanting out, 3 core players heading to China) you paint that shit gold.

    • Kalen

      Says Slug of Atmosphere (who I’m seeing tomorrow at Red Rocks by the way!)

      • Jeff

        Have fun at the show man, I was going to go but I have something going on in C springs this weekend.

  • Daniel

    Not a whole lot to be upset about tonight. Hopefully Ty’s ankle is ok. The youngsters on this team are fun to watch. They seem like hard working, good character, low-ego guys that play the game the way it’s supposed to be played.

    I know it’s the Kings, but this is the type of game Melo’s Nuggets would overlook and struggle with. Tonight the Nuggets finally came out of the gate strong, stayed aggressive, took care of the ball and played solid defense. 92 points in the paint? Thats playing into GK’s game plan: Get to the rack and get to the line. Beautiful.

    29 assists, only 13 turnovers. 7 players in double figures, one with 9. Tacos. Knicks lose to the Cavs, cherry on top. All this with no Afflalo, Rudy, Timo, and Ty for most of the game.

    Shout out to Julyan and Jordan scoring their first NBA points tonight. Go Nuggets.

  • aussienuggzfan

    I still would like to see us re-sign chandler. If we do so I think we become contenders in the west.

    • Dubz

      Completely agree. Especially because he fits beautifully into GK’s small ball lineup as a PF. Yes, he can play PF at 6’8 and not be a liability on the defensive end. We can always move him later.

      • aussienuggzfan

        good matchup for guys like paul millsap

        • steve

          i honestly disagree. Why pay chandler 6-8 mill per and risk another big contract when we have brewer playing like he is for less than half that. Dont get me wrong, chandler is a good player but why pay him that money to play 25 min off the bench. Id rather keep brewer and see faried develope. We obviously have al is well. Now if we plan on amnestying Al (which i cant see happening at this point) then yes keep chandler. Id just rather trade chandler, maybe package with birdman, and get assets for down the road than risk any financial issues we may have in the future with all these bigger contracts.

          Also, I think long armed Faried would give Millsap alot of fits as well. He just needs to put in some time.

          • chris

            Agree 100%. Chandler is a nice player, but the best-run teams (especially the Spurs) know which players are part of the core, make sure to keep them, and don’t spend too much cap space on anyone else. If he’s relatively cheap (which he won’t be) go ahead and keep him. Otherwise, the rotation is fine without him, and in a year or so Hamilton and Faried should be in contention for minutes as well.

            • magster

              Not seeing room on roster for Chandler long-term, although the way the injury bug is hitting us, I’m glad we hold his rights through the season. We may need him to fill in if we have one of these injuries turn into a long term one.

  • Dubz

    All I can say is: Ridiculous. Also, not only does Faried jump REALLY REALLY REALLY high, he seems to get to the peak of his jump amazingly fast. Anyone else notice that? Contrary to a Birdman leap where it seems like he’s in slow motion heading up. Faried seems to get really high and back on the floor in a blink of an eye. Hard to not have a massive grin on when that guy is on the floor. As for Stone, Nicely done. Very impressed all around.

    • Ryan

      i like what i see in stone, large, good defender, pass first…the ideal things we should want in a backup for ty. miller seems to have found the same fountain of youth mcgahee did for the broncos, but he’s playing to be a starter for someone else next year. if miller can help menton stone in his development then it would lessen the loss of andre in FA.

  • Aaron

    Woww Great Win Tonight Again Nuggets!
    Our Starting PG Was Out, Out Starting C Was Out, Our Starting SG Was Out And So Was Our Back Up SG. And Still Win By 29?!?!?!? That’s Crazy! Ik The Thunder Couldnt. Thunder Couldn’t Go Without. Westbrook, Perkins, Sefalosha, And Harden. Heat Couldnt Go Without Chalmers, Joel Anthony, Wade And Miller. Bulls Couldn’t Go With Rose, Joakim Noah, Ronnie Brewer, And Richard Hamilton. Magic Couldn’t Go Without Howard, Jameer Nelson, Quinton Richardson, And J.J. Redick. Those Are The Teams Ahead Of Denver In The ESPN POWER RANKINGS. I Don’t See Any Of Those Teams Even Winning Those Games, Much Less Winning By 29 ON THE ROAD!!!! This Team Is Special And Will Be For Years To Come. Just Need To Get Lawson In A Long Term Deal, Maybe Even Mozgov Long Term. But Holy Crap Those 3 Rookies Are Gonna Be Very Good Someday Koufus Looks Great Too Glad We Get To Keep For 3 More Years. I Also Agree With U U Oaken About Gallo, He Would’ve Gone For 30 Again If He Got The Chance, Hes Gonna Be Special Veryyy Very Soon. Also When We Get Our SG Back We Will Be Much Faster And Better 3 Point Shooting. And it’ll Be Nice To See Afflalo Back To Keep That Intense Tough Defense And With Rudy: Cant Wait To Get Those 5-6 Or Sometimes 7 Assists A Night. Great Being A Nuggets Fan Rite Now! Gotta Be The Most Exiting Team In The League Yo Watch

    • Neal

      Does it get annoying hitting “shift” every word?

    • Neal

      I agree with what you are saying though. Hard not to be that excited after a game like that!

  • dynamo.joe

    Congrats to Mozgov!

    And i guess his wife did some of the work too.

  • aussienuggzfan

    i am disgusted by the kosta koufos deal. But otherwise go nuggets

    • FinazzAus

      Really I think it’s low risk. $9mill over 3 years. Only $6mill agrenteed. And his only 22. Not costing much and could be really good. Will see more minutes if they ship off bird and I guess they prib have something in mind to move him because if this deal

      • Ricardo

        The nuggets did a good thing in locking up Koufos, he could easily be a double-double player, in a consistent basis, if given a lot of minutes. Hopefully, the nuggets could trade Anderson so he could be given more playing time.

  • Ernie

    Faried Analysis:

    Typically with a great rebounder they do most of the work before the ball is shot, getting in the right position and boxing out there guy. And then 80% of the rebounds are gotten below the rim. This is how Kevin Love gets 14+ rebounds a game at 6’9″ with no hops. With Faried he just gets near his guy and kind of pushes him for leverage, then explodes 12 feet in the air to get the ball. What I’m saying is as good a rebounder as he is, he’s doing it without the fundamentals of a great rebounder. Occassionally it causes DeMarcus Cousins to bounce him into the stands. But when Faried gets the fundamentals right he’ll really be special.

    On defense it looked to me like Faried never got into a solid defensive stance. I think this is where the coaches are concerned because he doesn’t look ready to defend. To me he wants to partially see where his man and the ball are but mostly be ready to run to the rim to get the rebound. Again I think something that’s an easy fix with some experience and coaching.

    It will be fun watching Faried going forward. I think it will be hard to keep a guy out that just wants to rebound, run the floor, block shots and smile. Even that ugly jumper should get better over time.

    • Frontrange

      It not that he isn’t getting into the right position . . you don’t pass Timmy Duncan in collage rebounding without knowing where the ball is going. But he did he rarely boxed out last night. That could be because it was garbage time, the Kings didn’t work hard, or that he is in constant motion and thus spends more time not letting other people contact him.

      I have been watching Bird a lot lately trying to solve why he plays instead of Faried and I think it comes down to this: For all of Bird’s faults which on on display, he get his hands on a lot of balls – sometimes a pass bounces off them, sometime the reb goes to the other team, sometimes a deflected pass goes right back to a opponent under the hoop – but I think it is easier to remember the blown plays rather than the tips/deflections/and bothers that end up helping someone else make a play. That, and that he is 7 footer who is still a better shooter than Faried.

      • Jim

        I think these are good points. I liked reading gk comments in the post about this issue too. He didn’t sound anti rookie. He described building up Ty and gallo and timo and making use of the veterans to push those young players forward. I’m cool with that tho I wish there could be a way to ease faried and stone in a little more. 5 mins here and there but flow is a big deal.

        Still even my wife who knows nothing about bball or the nugs was watching last night and said: whoa and rewound the TiVo to watch manimal. He just brings something beyond.

  • Neal

    After reading about J-hams d league performance here, and then watching him miss 2 shots and turn the ball over on his first possesion I was really worried…not anymore! I thought he looked really good in the rest of his limited minutes. He had a nice take and finish on his basket, played good d, rebounded, and the pump fake, step to the side jumper looked super smooth even though it didn’t go in. Could be a big time scorer at the 2 in the future, I just hope he is quick enough to stay with them on D. He did an ok job on Evans tonight, which is a tough task for his first game.

    • Jeff

      Hamilton looked a little smaller than I expected, and he doesn’t look very explosive. But yeah it was nice to see him play and he looked pretty good.

  • magster

    Good interviews on the Fan today for Jeremy, Kalen and Charlie to listen to….

    Highlights: Kroenke wants Chandler back in the fold. Gallo says Karl lets him drive whereas D’Antoine only wanted him to shoot the 3, and Gallo says he doesn’t talk smack in Italian because he wants the other players to understand his trash talk.

  • Ricardo

    I would like if the nuggets re-signed Chandler. I don’t know where he may end up in the rotation, but I think we could use his D and his offensive spark. And Koufos played pretty well yesterday, I think he could easily be a double-double player, in a consistent basis, if given a lot of playing time.

  • doktarr

    Stats the Nuggets currently lead the league in (all stats are per game unless otherwise noted):

    – Points
    – Points per shot
    – Free Throws Attempted
    – Free Throws Made
    – Assists
    – Offensive Efficiency
    – True Shooting Percentage
    – Adjusted Field Goal Percentage
    – Assist Ratio
    – Pace Factor

    They are also second in steals, field goals made, and field goal percentage (to three different teams).

  • GZ

    So Kalen, you fell off the Gallinari bandwagon for awhile? Well VADA A BORDO, CAZZO!!

  • dynamo.joe

    1 LeBron James, MIA 33.55
    2 Kevin Durant, OKC 26.54
    3 Danilo Gallinari, DEN 21.26
    4 Carmelo Anthony, NY 20.82

    Top 4 small forwards by PER for anyone who maybe thinking “Gallo is playing well, top 10 sure, but I’m not sure he is quite all-star material, yet.

  • Greg

    Kalen,

    You either need to edit/re-read your posts much more carefully, or have someone else do so. Everything I’ve ever seen you write on this site has at least one basic spelling/grammar error, and contains many incorrectly used words and confusing sentences. It’s nothing personal, and I have no beef with your analysis, but on a blog of this quality there is no excuse for it.

    Stuff like this,

    “His sprightly enthusiasm for blocking shots didn’t necessarily pay off numerically”

    Just has to go

    “Although Chris only recorded ‘x’ blocks, he played with excellent energy on the defensive end.”

    Would make a a hell of a lot more sense.

    • Aaron

      Hmmmm…Wonder Why He Has The Job Here An Not U??? Hmmmmm…Maybe Cuz He Knows More About Articles Then U?? Just Quit The Complaining Unless U Do Better Then Kalen..

      • bayesk

        *than
        not then. good try though.

      • Greg

        I never claimed I could do his job better, that is not a requirement to criticize (good thing too, as I’m pretty sure that would disallow any criticism by Charlie Jeremy or Kalen of any NBA player). As a writer he has a responsibility to use words correctly, check his grammar/spelling, and make sense. That’s more than reasonable.