|Nene, C 31 MIN | 5-12 FG | 2-4 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 12 PTS | -6
Nene had trouble defending and scoring on the Lakers’ bigs down low. Los Angeles has always been a bad match-up for the Brazilian big man, and Friday proved no different.
|Danilo Gallinari, SF 29 MIN | 1-9 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | -1
Gallinari started off the game scoring a few buckets but went ice cold from there on out. This is another among a handful of bad performances Gallinari has had recently and the second game in the last three where he’s been relegated to the bench late in the fourth quarter of a tight game. Even considering his struggles, it’s hard to understand why he wasn’t at least on the floor for the final play of the game.
|Timofey Mozgov, C 7 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | +3
Mozgov was playing great yet again until he went down with an ankle injury. He was defending well and made several nice shots in the post. As weird as it sounds, the Nuggets missed him greatly once he exited the game.
|Arron Afflalo, SG 24 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | -7
Afflalo played good defense for most of the game and came up with a few steals in the process. His struggles continue and naturally so does his erratic insertion into the lineup.
Ty Lawson, PG 36 MIN | 6-12 FG | 2-3 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 14 PTS | -4
Ty Lawson was one of the strong points to a Nuggets team that had difficulty doing anything well against the Lakers. While Gasol and Bynum offer up an intimidating combo for the diminutive guard to score against, he still found ways to affect the game in other areas.
|Al Harrington, PF 37 MIN | 8-16 FG | 5-6 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 24 PTS | -8
Big Al came up “big” in the fourth quarter where he scored 10 straight points to keep the Nuggets alive. His passion and desire to win are proving to be some of the most valuable intangibles this Nuggets team has to offer. Unfortunately, the rest of his teammates couldn’t quite bring it the way Al did against the Lakers.
|Andre Miller, PG 30 MIN | 5-6 FG | 6-6 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 16 PTS | +1
Miller had a solid night numerically but once again had trouble guarding his opponents. Even though he may be one of the better players on the Nuggets roster its perplexing as to why he always closes out games even when he’s pitted against much larger shooting guards where Afflalo might have more success.
|Corey Brewer, SF 9 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -4
Brewer didn’t see much time but in the minutes he did receive he brought the standard infectious energy level that Nuggets fans have become accustomed to seeing.
|Rudy Fernandez, SG 21 MIN | 1-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | +4
This was by far one of Rudy’s worst games of the season. His three-point shot was not falling, yet he continued to hoist up countless jumpers which almost never made it through the rim. Again, it’s imperative that Rudy makes an impact in other areas of the game besides just shooting 3-pointers.
|Kosta Koufos, C 16 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | +2
Koufos wasn’t exactly having his way against the Lakers bigs and finished the night off on the bench for most of the second half as a result. Similar to Nene, this was a tough match-up for the young center even though he gave his best effort in the minutes he was given.
Five Things We Saw
- Stops: In yet another close game the Nuggets could not figure out a way to get the win. Whether the game is high scoring or stagnant the Nuggets simply cannot find ways to get stops on the defensive side of the ball which is in turn leading to losses. At some point in the near future the Nuggets must adopt a more defensive-oriented mindset in order to secure these types of wins.
- Shots: The game was fairly even in most statistical categories except for three-point shooting. The Nuggets took 22 to the Lakers 13 and made only 23 percent of them. Although they were attempting to drive, the Lakers big men thwarted most of these attempts which often lead to pull up jump shots beyond the arc. In the future, Denver cannot resort to taking bad 3-pointers because of strong interior defense from the opponent.
- Scheduling: Although playing at home always beat playing on the road, the Nuggets faced an odd situation where this notion possibly didn’t ring true. Instead of playing in the exact stadium they played in on Thursday, the Nuggets were forced to travel all the way back to Denver for a game that could have easily been played in L.A. The Nuggets looked incredibly fatigued on Friday which is a result of nothing more than bad scheduling.
- Struggles: This is now the third loss in the last four games by the Nuggets with the sole win coming against a Clippers team that was clearly not prepared to play. Though Nuggets Nation should be far from entering “Panic Mode” it’s about time to start wondering what needs to fixed in order to get back on track. Whether it be a refocused commitment to defense, better lineups or just a stronger effort on all ends of the floor, something needs to be done and soon.
- Size: In the NBA, size matters and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. The Lakers won tonight for a variety of reasons but having Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol — two current All Stars — in the front court was possibly the biggest advantage. Though Mozgov continues to develop it’s crucial that the Nuggets address this issue either via trade or in the off season to insure their title chances remain in sight.
Game 23 Advanced Stats (and thoughts by Charlie)
Pace Factor: 92.1 – Maybe it was tired legs. Either way L.A. controlled pace all game
Offensive Efficiency: 96.7 – Really disjointed effort and sloppy play
Defensive Efficiency: 101.0 – Not good at all. No consistency on this side of the ball.
- George Karl said after the game that Gallo’s vision was blurred and he had trouble seeing after being smacked in the face on a drive to the rim. Although Gallo had a horrible game up until the point World Peace clobbered him, he never looked right after the injury and it certainly played a part in his benching.
- That being said, fans need to jump off Karl for benching Gallo again. There wasn’t any reason to bring him back in. Gallo will close games in the playoffs and he needs to learn how to be tougher and earn the trust of his teammates in tight situations. Please, do not give me the argument he opens up the offense or scares opposing defenses in any way. He needs to make good decisions with the ball to do that. Once again, as soon as Gallo went out Karl’s decision paid off and the Nuggets made a run to get within one possession.
- Afflalo’s defense on Kobe was very good. As Kalen mentioned nobody else did a good job guarding him and the Nuggets double and triple teaming came back to bite them. Kobe has seen that a million times and knows how to beat it. Karl needed to play Afflalo more. Why he didn’t I’m not sure other than the fact Karl wanted Andre Miller in the game and the Nuggets had serious size problems going that small. It’s frustrating, we know AAA isn’t playing his best but 24 minutes is far too little especially with the coach begging for defense throughout most of the game.
- Give the Lakers credit, they were motivated and completely controlled Nene. The Nuggets got nothing going in transition and every shot was contested. Add in the tough scheduling factor with the Nuggets flying in after a late west coast game and it’s hard to complain about losing on a last second shot that may have won it.
- Speaking of the last shot, you’d like better execution in that situation. Spread the floor with 4 shooters and give Nene the ball. I was begging for the Nuggets to shoot a three and steal a game they had no business winning. Overtime would have been bad idea with another tough game in Portland tomorrow. Harrington’s attempt wasn’t the play we all wanted but lets give Al some credit. He’s played hard all year and earned the right to take that shot.
- Looking at the schedule, it’s impossible to have a more difficult game than the one tomorrow. Three games in a row, all with travel in bad weather. Not only that, they are traveling after late starts and getting in around four in the morning twice in a row. To top it all off they face one of the most dominant home teams in the league who are angry and highly motivated after a loss to the lowly Kings. Oh yeah, and they’re fully rested. Pray for a watchable game tomorrow night.
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