Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 112 Los Angeles Clippers 91

Denver Nuggets 112 Final
Recap | Box Score
91 Los Angeles Clippers
Nene, C 22 MIN | 4-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 8 PTS | +19
Nene fought through early foul trouble and thankfully he got a comfortable amount of rest with another back-to-back coming up. Although you’d like to see a better shooting percentage and fewer turnovers, Nene getting the ball opens up the rest of the offense and he got plenty of touches tonight.
Danilo Gallinari, SF 27 MIN | 7-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 21 PTS | +24
Gallo was on fire. I had no problem with his benching in Memphis and was confident he’d respond with a solid game just as he did after his first bad performance in Philadelphia. Without Gallo providing a spark the game was headed towards becoming a blowout in the wrong direction.
Timofey Mozgov, C 22 MIN | 5-5 FG | 1-3 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 11 PTS | +12
He’s improving. Made Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan work much harder than they wanted to on defense. The key stat is only one turnover. His weak side defense could be much better but he continues to do a solid job contesting perimeter shots and putting pressure on the opposing guards.
Arron Afflalo, SG 36 MIN | 3-6 FG | 8-8 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 15 PTS | +12
How bad did Afflalo need a game like this? I missed some of the first quarter where he apparently got off to a rough start, but Arron found a way to fight through it. 8 free throws are outstanding and most impressive was the ball-pressure he applied on Chris Paul, often picking him up at full court and crowding his space all night.
Ty Lawson, PG 32 MIN | 6-11 FG | 5-6 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 18 PTS | +23
Much better game. Not spectacular, but a normal Lawson performance Nuggets fans love to see night in and night out. Turnovers have been a problem and although many of them haven’t been Lawson’s fault, he had much better control tonight. Made some spectacular hustle plays to stretch the lead at critical moments.
Al Harrington, PF 21 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 8 PTS | +8
Al started slow but eventually found his stroke in time to put the game away. His minutes finally returned to a reasonable amount and he wasn’t stuck trying to do to much. Harrington could be better guarding the rim but he was somewhat effective against Blake Griffin managing to pull the chair out a number of times.
Andre Miller, PG 29 MIN | 3-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 8 AST | 8 PTS | +17
Five shot attempts is a much healthier game out of Andre Miller. Didn’t take a three or force shots and bad passes. Not being switched onto Rudy Gay definitely helped him stay fresh and effective throughout the night.
DeMarre Carroll, F 5 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | -2
Carroll is still on the team. He’s also back and finally healthy after a hamstring kept him out much of the season. Don’t read too much into the grade, C means incomplete in this case
Rudy Fernandez, SG 19 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | +5
Rudy can be a very effective weapon off the bench. The Nuggets need to play him and get him shots more consistently. I’ve been hoping for him to look for his shot more aggressively and resist trying to make the spectacular play. Fernandez did both tonight.
Kosta Koufos, C 12 MIN | 1-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -3
Koufos could do a little more with his minutes, but I’m glad he came in ahead of Birdman. I liked his energy on defense in Memphis and he was okay tonight. Perhaps with more of a role Koufos’ game will come around and we can get a better idea of what he brings to the table.
Kenneth Faried, F 7 MIN | 2-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -5
Raw is the only way to describe him. The team needs to teach him the fundamentals of playing on offense rather than just throwing up long range lobs when he enters the game. Needs to set better screens and post up some, but I’m probably expecting too much of the Manimal. He was still a beast in the paint and finished everything around the rim. I also think Faried has potential to draw a lot of fouls should he end up seeing more minutes.
Jordan Hamilton, G 7 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 3 PTS | -5
Hamilton showed off his quick release and smooth jumper. He also showed flashes of passing ability off drives to the rim. I am excited to see what this guy can do in the future.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Serious note: No witty headline here. Corey Brewer had to leave the team for personal reasons and it’s not clear when he can return. Our thoughts are with Corey and RMC wishes him the best while he is unable to be with his teammates.
  2. Know Your Enemy: Led by Afflalo’s defense on Paul, the Nuggets were able to get much more pressure on the ball than they did in their previous loss to the Clips. Without watching as closely as I would have liked, it seemed like the Nuggets were trapping ball screens on the perimeter and it wasn’t easy for Paul to get into pick and roll sets. Paul just surveyed the whole floor from the top of three point line in Denver and did whatever he wanted. I feel like Denver adjusted a bit here and it helped them a lot.
  3. Bulls on Parade: In the last meeting the Clippers were the more physical team. The Nuggets went through Nene a lot and challenged the tired Clippers inside all night. They won the free throw battle this time, earning 25 trips to the Clippers’ 12. Griffin and Jordan were clearly tired by the end of the game as well.
  4. Voice of the Voiceless: Timofey Mozgov really made his mark on the game. Contesting a Griffin dunk and sending him crashing to the floor was somewhat symbolic after being immortalized as a poster child by Blake last season. Having size in this game helped a lot and although Mozgov isn’t a force who changes games, he’s starting to find himself and make some noise. Having a paint presence who defends helps the Nuggets get rebounds and race out in transition. He needs to keep improving.
  5. We have a problem: Houston just seems to have the Nuggets number. They have won 3 of the last 4 meeting at the Pepsi Center. Give credit to the Rockets, but the Nuggets are just in a bad funk right now. They are playing poorly, they seem to know it and when they get in position to win or seize momentum they manage to play worse. There’s nothing to do but wait it out, and this may be the wrong time considering Gallo just went down and the schedule doesn’t get any easier.
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Charlie Yao

Contributor at Roundball Mining Company since 2010. Unhealthily obsessed with Nuggets basketball since 2002. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram at the links on the left.
  • gk4prez

    Now that was more like it, GK actually went big for most of the game, and good things happened because of it, they played well. Gallo’s shot was on, Rudy provided a nice spark in the 2nd quarter, it was needed at the time. But, the best thing that happened in this game was Afflalo, he finally got off of the snide and had a decent game.

    • Ayo

      Gallo went 5 for 5 on 3’s. That’s what i like to see.

  • Ayo

    Great game, lost by only 4 points last time to the Clips and now a dominant showing. Affalo finally showing up to play and Mozgov getting some nice little shots in. Plus rejecting Blake Griffin sent a bit of a message: not again. After a bad loss to Memphis I’m glad to see this team show some much needed energy. Let’s hope this continues tomorrow.

  • chronosynclastic infundibula

    Was happy to see Afflalo come around tonight. Gallo and Ty both looked great. I am affraid of what might happen in the playoffs with tightened rotations and less fast break points. Even w/o fast break points we’d still win tonight but not by much.

    I am excited at the prospect of Chandler resigning before the playoffs. We will need his defense and half court offense (jump shots), especially if we end up playing SA, Portland, or Utah in the first round. With a little luck We get the 2 or 3 seed to avoid OKC and hope they get eliminated by Dallas or SA. It is about time for the Nuggets to catch a few lucky breaks.

    • Charlie

      Hey chronos, I’m sure we’ll do a feature story soon about Wilson Chandler. Just so everyone knows I’m fully 100% behind bringing him back. Jeremy, Kalen and I will team up on a post about Chandler soon

      • chronosynclastic infundibula

        I look forward to it!

      • eddi0

        Good to hear Charlie, Chandler brings another dimension, a true all around type of player. I heard April is the earliest we could see, have you guys heard anything else about his estimated time of arrival (and allowance from FIBA to being playing here again)?

  • Trevor

    Anyone else concernered?! Are the Nuggets going to be able to get home? I’m watching the snow pile up and its super windy. Hope it doesn’t affect us too much, I want to whoop the LA Allstars 2 nights in a row.

    • Ernie

      For snow reasons, travel reasons, and almost every other reason they should be playing the Lakers in LA tonight. They have one more game at the Lakers this season, played there last night and are a back to back to back. Why in the world are they coming back to Denver for this game? So they have to travel way too much?

      • Kalen

        Yeah I wondered about that too Ernie. Doesn’t make much sense especially considering they literally played in the Lakers arena last night. Weird.

        • Ernie

          Must be the LA teams don’t like having the back to backs since the visiting team fans are less likely to show up twice in two nights. It just has to be money right?!

  • BeefySwats

    Excellent game. Just once, I’d like to see Faried get some burn with the second unit, playing alongside Lawson and maybe Afflalo at the 2.

    Lawson
    Afflalo
    Gallinari
    Faried
    Nene

    I like it. That is a ton of offense and rebounding, size and speed. Can Faried play good defense at the 4?

  • Sam Adhikari

    Now I finally see why Karl hasn’t given Faried much minutes. He hasn’t learned the NBA offensive & defensive flow. There was a play where Faried had to switch with someone defending Mo Williams, & instead of coming out on top & guarding him, he kinda wondered around the paint leaving Mo Williams wide open for 3.

    Right now, I see Kenneth Faried as an athletic big that can come off the bench & provide energy – nothing more than that. His screens didn’t look proper, & his only FG’s came in easy dunks.

    • lil rik

      agreed

      • jim

        yeah, not sure how faried guarding mo williams on the perimeter would ever be a good situation. even if he was the second coming of dennis rodman.

    • Kalen

      Keep in mind the context it was in though. Had Faried been inserted in an important stretch of the game, I would think he’d be much more definitive with his screens and organized overall. Playing alongside Hamilton, Carroll and the other reserves on the far end of the bench doesn’t offer the best opportunity to display how affective he can truly be.

  • Sam Adhikari

    Still not impressed by Arron Afflalo. I think the Nuggets overpaid him to be honest. He had careers numbers last year because Melo and Chauncey drew so much attention in the paint leaving shooters open. Also, his defense has been just average this year.

    • lil rik

      Disagreed – Triple A will come around. he has struggled but will find his rhythm…

    • Murguz

      What are you talking about? Afflalo’s defense on Chris Paul was one of the reasons we won the game!

    • FinazzAus

      I think we can look at AAA as a postive. His not playing his best at the moment and we are still winning. He could be a big plus for us come playoffs

  • lil rik

    Charlie,

    1) Why didnt Andersen play – the whole team did! Not saying he should have – its no secret he’s played very poorly.

    Do you think they will deal him to free up $ to resign Rudy? He seems to be a likely amnesty candidate if they dont deal him.

    2) Why didn’t Julyan Stone play?

    3) what’s the likelihood that the Nugs resign:

    -Rudy
    -Andre Miller (considering he’s made it known he wants to start somewhere)
    -Chauncey if they don’t resign Andre
    -Who’s opt 3 this offseason if we dont sign either of those guys?
    -Extend Timo since I believe next year is his last contract year.

    4)Sign Chandler? Do we have room on this team? Sign & Trade??

    Thanks…
    2

    • ParkHillNative

      I was also wondering why Stone didn’t get some minutes at the end there. Would’ve been fine to win by 15 instead of 21, and give Miller some more rest before these next two games.

    • Kalen

      I know you addressed this to Charlie, but I’ll offer up my thoughts as well:

      1. Andersen is clearly in George’s doghouse these days. It appears he’s finally had it with his inability to stay on the ground during ball fakes. Maybe he thinks Koufos is just a better option at this point, and like Charlie suggested the other day, he’s probably right.

      I think it will be hard to deal a guy who’s not currently in the starting rotation and has regressed big time, especially considering how much he’s getting paid. I’d say if he doesn’t get traded, the Nuggets will strongly consider him as an amnesty candidate.

      2. No idea. Karl is weird with his rotations. One minute Stone is backing up Andre Miller and doing a fine job of it, and the next he can’t even get in during scrub time. Maybe he was injured? Hard to say.

      3. I would say the most likely scenario out of all those is the Nuggets extending Mozgov. I don’t see why they wouldn’t.

      4. Nuggets would be over the cap if they re-signed Chandler and who knows how willing Kroenke would be willing to pay the tax with a team that has it’s fair share of flaws going into the post season. Reports are that the Raptors are very interested in his services and if that’s the case the Nuggets might be able to work out a trade centered around Amir Johnson or Ed Davis who would be huge upgrades to the Nuggets frontcourt.

      • lil rik

        Thanks Kalen.

        I didn’t figure there’d be room on the roster or in the payroll for Chandler. I’m not terribly disappointed – i’m pleased with Gallo. I would however like to see them parlay the control over Chandler’s restricted status into assets, even if its a draft pick. But frontcourt help coupled with amnestying Anderson might be a nice match.

        I understand why bird may be hard to deal, but for lack of a better description – dont underestimate the power of stupid people (GMs) who might be willing to take a chance to pick up his relatively bloated contract.

      • FinazzAus

        I’m glad someone asked about billups. His a FA at years end. COULD he come back to Denver????? I don’t think they will sign miller. But I also think they want to delevop stone.
        If billups is will to expect the mud level we have to jump at it.
        But I think it all depends on how far the clips go in the post season.
        I’d love to have him back

    • Charlie

      Hey lil rik, sorry I could not get back to you sooner. Most of your questions will be answered in due time here, especially concerning Chandler. It’s far too early to speculate on what the Nuggets will do next offseason because it’s so far away.

      Birdman isn’t playing largely due to his rocky start to the season. He was already being squeezed for minutes, and now that everyone is healthy someone has to sacrifice or the rotation cannot function. I explained it in an earlier post, but I also think Koufos getting the nod is a big hint that 2K is working harder in practice and he simply deserves it more.

      Now that Moz is injured, Birdman will play. He’ll be a third or fourth big now and whether or not he earns anymore than that is up to him.

      Stone not seeing a few minutes of garbage time is no big deal. He might not have even suited up because Carroll was active and dressed for the game. Like the rest of the rookies, stay patient with Stone because all of them are not going to play much at all. Their time will come, just not very soon.

  • Aaron

    Attention Afflalo haters: Yes, he’s had a bad run this year. . .but games like this are why he’s on the roster, and why he has the contract. He made the whole game hard for Chris Paul, and I expect him to do the same tonight to Kobe. How many players in the league can do that? Kobe, Dwade, Paul, JTerry, etc. . will all tell you that they hate playing against Afflalo. I’m not mad that we spent some money on defense. . it’s about time. Let Gallo score the points.

    • lil rik

      Big Money time for AAA was last night against Paul, but even more importantly will be against OKC matched up against Durant, Westbrook, or Harden. Those three are the ONLY Thunder players who score in double digits any given night. If he shuts one of them down theres only 2 remaining heads on the dragon. That team has a lot of $$ tied up in those two guys for years to come. like 60+% of their payroll

  • nugoftruth

    I think this was the game to bring AAA out of the funk he was in. He got mad and his whole game got better… Usually works the other way but what ever works for him is fine by me.

  • Nick

    How could you possible not give Ty at lease an A. As far as I am concerned if you have over a +20 plus minus, you get an A regardless of stats.

    • lil rik

      can’t argue against that point……..

  • jim

    that was a great game. they played much smarter d as the game rolled on — they corrected many of the mistakes from the earlier game — plus chauncey wasn’t the rainman of threes. i hope they replay mosgov’s shellacking of griffin next to the “mosgov dunk” from last year more on teh espn. quieted that bark a bit.

    nicely weird to win on the road after losing at home to a good team. that bodes well for learning and getting better and continue to play playoff teams well. our losses have mostly been competitive this year, i think. glass half full.

    i definitely agree the rotations have been, uh, experimental so far this year. So…if this was the point – and it sound like from one of those si articles the nuggets analyze all their rotations pretty specifically — I wish gk would just go ape shit with them. play faried with ty, dre, nene, and gallo. worried about about offense – fuck it, the other four can score, let him bang. compared with the other bigs, we only stand to gain a few offensive boards. worried about d, get rudy or brewer in there, or even the 2012 version of al buckets.

    same with stone. let em play some meaningful minutes — not 20 a game, just a few here and there. wreak some havoc – the increased energy only helps us. even gk can agree with that.

    i’m definitely pro depth, anti superstar — but this board has convinced me it wont matter if the depth wont help us when we are up or down 4 points at the end of games and we need stops and rebounds.

  • Trevor

    Nuggets #1 in Hollinger’s Power Rankings! We win these next two and we should grab first on Stein’s and everyone else’s… I’m starting to really believe we can win it all this year. I hope it is not just a tease like last year.

    • jim

      And Nuggets have better odds than OKC to make the playoffs at 98.4%. Knicks at 20.4%

  • Aaron

    Great Win Tonight, Its True Faried Was A Little Raw But Isn’t Every Rookie?? Rubio’s Still Raw In His Shooting?? Kyrie Irving Isn’t Playing To Good Of Defense Rite Now? Whatever Happened To Derrick Williams? Kemba Walker Is Doing To Much. Jimmer Cant Get His Shots Off Very Well Rite Now?? My Point Is Every Rookie Is Raw Untill They Actually Get Minutes.
    If We Bring Back Chandler Then Who Will We Cut? Julyn Stone Which He looks Pretty Well. DaMarre Carrol? Who Hasn’t Even Missed A Shot This Year. I Think Hes 7-7 (Not Sure Tho) Jordan Hamilton Who Can Shoot The Ball Like J.R. Could (But WAY MORE Consistent And More Desiplend) Kosta Koufus? The Big 7 Footer Who Shows He Can Get A Double-Double When He Gets Starters Minutes. Uhhh, After Every1 Besides The Players i Just Named, Get 20+ Minutes. if We Cut Any1 Besides The “Birdman” Then im Not A Big Fan Of Messing Up All The Minutes Again. An Besides Chandler Would Take Up Probably 10 Minutes EACH From Fernendez And Brewer And They Both Deserve More Then That. Either Way i Wont Hate The Nuggets if We Bring Back Chandler, im Just Scared It’ll Mess Up Gallo’s Or Brewer’s Minutes. But Ayy Good Win Last Nite, Lets Knock Of Another L.A. Team Tonight!

    Go NUGGETZ!!!!

  • Omar

    afflalo is the man. i bet gk just told him to go back to his roots(defense) and his game will come.

  • jim

    clippers signed kenyon.

  • Andrew

    Clippers signed K Mart? Yikes. This game was one of the most encouraging of the year, though, because Moz finally stepped up and defended the paint hard and Afflalo finally looked like the player we knew and loved last year. If Moz and AAA play like this from here on out, the Nuggets could end up in the Finals. The need for those two to play well in the playoffs cannot be overstated.

  • DH

    Ummm… No mention of Mozgov’s contribution on offense? I realize he’s not in there for his offense, so it’s important to focus on what he does defensively. But he made some nice offensive plays when the game was still competitive. Just a few plays a game like that from him will help to keep the defense honest.

    Like everyone else, I’m wondering why Stone didn’t play. It would have to be injury or illness, right? He needs to get minutes whenever possible, because it doesn’t look like Miller will be here long term (and hopefully Stone will be).

    It was good to see Afflalo play more like himself. I’m a huge fan (so don’t consider me a hater, Aaron), but I’ve been very disappointed in his play. And I’ll bet you that both AAA and the Nuggets organization are just as disappointed as I am, so far. I still wonder if he’s 100 percent, physically.

    Anyway, one thing that I loved was that AAA showed a bit of his mean streak with CP3. Paul gets away with a lot of crap, and Afflalo wasn’t going to let that happen without responding. Without Kenyon (and trust me, I don’t miss him too much), our team might be just a little too nice. We need someone to remind us that it’s OK to get a little nasty now and then. So that’s another thing that AAA brings to the table.

  • Trevor

    Just one question about last nights game. Where was Corey Brewer? Did he get injuried or was he just not in the rotation?

    • Tommy4daNuggz4ever

      He had some personal thing come up so he wasn’t with them