Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 101 Golden State Warriors 109

Golden State Warriors 109 Final
Recap | Box Score
101 Denver Nuggets
Rudy Fernandez, SG 37 MIN | 4-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 9 PTS | -17
Rudy’s up and down season continues as he got his first start of the year and failed to make an impression. He is too small to match up with small forwards and his defense so wildly erratic it’s hard to trust him with a significant role. While Rudy plays hard, he does nothing consistently well and it’s hard to depend on him for anything. The biggest problems for me is he can’t make open threes and he puts his teammates in poor positions on defense by gambling for steals and failing to rotate.
Kenneth Faried, F 23 MIN | 3-7 FG | 2-4 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | +1
Faried had a fantastic start, posting up David Lee for a score and forcing him into a turnover on the other end. Unfortunately he really tired out about 5 minutes into the game and it became clear Karl didn’t plan on playing him much anyway. I like the small steps he’s taken towards becoming a better offensive player and I think it’s becoming clear that whenever this kid starts getting minutes he’ll put up double doubles. He lost his minutes to Harrington in the second half which was Karl’s plan all along.
Nene, C 31 MIN | 6-7 FG | 3-6 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 15 PTS | -9
Nene moved over to Center and while he was clearly the Nuggets best option offensively, he played passive and couldn’t be counted on for consistent scoring. Nene just sort of went through the motions expecting his teammates to pick it up and start winning the game. The team has no flow or rhythm on the court and without that Nene doesn’t know how to get himself going. He just didn’t affect the game one way or the other and kind of blended in. Although he scored 15 total, 3 points is all he contributed in the second half.
Arron Afflalo, SG 36 MIN | 8-16 FG | 5-5 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 26 PTS | +3
Afflalo clearly had his best statistical performance of the season but he was a complete black hole on offense. No assists and another string of poor shot selection despite the fact he was hot most of the night. Afflalo getting his confidence and swagger back is good, but he continues to make bad mistakes in transition at the worst possible times. I would trade some of his scoring output for the defensive consistency we saw last season, but he just ended up fouling a lot and failing to get his teammates to work together. Now that Afflalo’s playing better, perhaps he can have a more positive impact as a leader.
Ty Lawson, PG 36 MIN | 4-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 10 AST | 11 PTS | -13
He was just destroyed by Stephen Curry. The fact Lawson can have his worst game of the season and end up with a double double says a lot, but you can’t give him credit for doing anything well tonight. He came out tentative and attempted nothing at the rim. Defensively, Lawson was abused by anyone he guarded and he just sort of lost his will in the second half.
Al Harrington, PF 24 MIN | 4-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | -7
Harrington has had a long career in the NBA. For more than a decade he’s been known as a guy who puts up numbers on bad teams and doesn’t play any defense. He’s falling back into that familiar role in Denver after a promising start to the year. One thing I just can’t help noticing in all these losses is how badly the defense falls off when Harrington and Miller come in off the bench. He needs to rededicate himself to defending and trying to raise the intensity level of the second unit.
Andre Miller, PG 22 MIN | 3-8 FG | 2-4 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 8 PTS | -11
Remember George Karl’s infamous speech about not holding the ball? There is no bigger offender than Andre Miller. He’s just kind of coasting through this season, a clear indication it’s just not the right long-term fit. When he comes into the game he just casts a dark shadow of indifference over the team’s collective spirit. The speed of the game comes to a total halt and the Nuggets can’t hang with anyone. I just don’t see how it makes sense to keep him here. He will certainly seek a better situation during free agency when his options open up. For now, he’s stuck and so are the Nuggets.
Kosta Koufos, C 17 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-4 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | +1
Koufos had another extremely productive stint in limited minutes. Although he’s proven himself worthy of a significant role, Koufos is stuck in the same boat as the rookies as guys who will play limited minutes no matter what so that Karl can get the veterans in. 2K was assertive on the offensive end and while you’d like to see him get closer to the basket, he’s showing improvement and that’s all you can ask of the promising young Center.
Julyan Stone, G 10 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 2 PTS | +2
Stone was a victim of Karl’s rotations yet again. He saw some early action as one of the first guys off the bench, but was subsequently banished to the end of the bench until garbage time. It’s very difficult to assess where Julyan might fit in until he gets a fair shot at proving himself. During garbage time, Stone played point guard and got the Nuggets playing their most energetic ball of the night. The Nuggets seem to want him and Faried involved more despite Karl’s refusal to give either a real shot.
Jordan Hamilton, G 5 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 5 PTS | +10
This is more of an incomplete, but I couldn’t help but notice he was extremely active and a nice compliment to Afflalo in his garbage time stint. Hamilton is very aggressive with the ball in his hands and sometimes loses control, but he seemed like an unselfish player capable of making things happen off the dribble. Jordan has a quick release and good form on his jump shot so you wonder how he might do with some more confidence in a real game situation.

One Thing We Saw

  1. The Nuggets are starting to give up on themselves. It goes beyond struggling with injuries and a rough patch of schedule. Getting blown out at home for the fourth time this season under these circumstances is an eye opener. It’s a sign of a young, vulnerable team struggling with adversity. Beyond that, it’s reached a point where you just can’t keep selling the idea of holding on and keeping the faith. At this point you have to look at the organization from all sides and realize that the Denver Nuggets are a franchise moving in the wrong direction.
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Charlie Yao

Managing Editor at Roundball Mining Company and writer since 2010. Unhealthily obsessed with Nuggets basketball since 2002. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram at the links on the left.
  • tom

    fernandez, harrington and miller have to go. We are stuck in the middle with these players. Chandler will take Fer and harringtons minutes anyway

    • Dubz

      I’ve kind of been the Harrington apologist on this site and I’m fully aware of it. He’s not playing well, but he certainly should not be traded. He’s playing out of position. He’s a huge mismatch at the SF position but not at the PF position (same goes for Gallinari). Harrington and Nene aren’t big rebounders/shot blockers and don’t know how to clog the lane, it’s simply not their game. Al’s obviously struggling at times, but he looks very frustrated. He simply can’t play PF for long stretches. He gets burned out on the defensive end and the team needs his scoring. He’s basically the only player on this team who’s not hurt that can consistently create his own shot.

    • Andrew

      Agree, but can we include Karl in the package with Miller/Harrington and Rudy and get back a PF that can defend the post and a guard who can shoot? I would so much rather have Kmart and JR and ditch Karl.

      This would have been a much better team:
      Starters: K2/Nene/Gallo/AAA/Ty law.
      Bench: Moz/KMart/Faried/Chandler/JR/Stone/JHam

      • Mark

        Andrew, I liked your comment. This is my first post here, but I’ve been saying to friends since the offseason, “How can we possibly win without a guard who you can rely on to hit a clutch wide-open 3?” Billups, JR, and Felton were money on a wide-open 3. Now who do we have? Rudy Fernandez and Andre Miller??? Please. I love the way Ty plays, but is he ever going to improve his shooting? I hate that Karl would rather lose while playing his style of ball, than win with JR. You’re only wrong about one thing – no way does Kenyon come in off the bench in any system.

  • Dubz

    Wow. I’ve been very patient with this team for I knew it wouldn’t be quite the smooth sailing that it was for the beginning part of the season. However, players seem burned out, confused, and indifferent while Karl makes no attempt to disarm some of the troubling trends on this team. When we’re down 15 or so, how does he have the nerve to go SMALLER with Lawson, Miller, Afflalo, Fernandez, and Nene?? I don’t want to sound capitulated, but there needs to be change on this team. Miller is a terrible defender without having to guard 2’s all night long. Afflalo only scores big in games where we get blown out. Nene is softer than my memory foam pillow. Fernandez has poorer defensive fundamentals than the kids at my local high school. I can go on and on. The problem is Karl is having these poor defenders/scorers either guard/attack guys who are either 3+ inches taller or 25+ pounds heavier than they are. This team looks totally exhausted and I don’t blame them. They’re undersized every night and Karl doesn’t use his depth to help spell some of the guys receiving consistent minutes. I will say once again, I game Karl a lot of credit when this team was winning with his small ball philosophy. He now needs to receive 80%+ of the blame for these losses. There’s no consistency with his lineups. Some players look afraid to make mistakes because they might not get on the floor again (Koufos, Faried) and Karl’s half court offense is a complete joke. Lawson is clearly struggling and looks like he’s receiving no coaching whatsoever. I know some don’t agree but this team desperately needs Wilson Chandler and now. Harrington simply is not a PF, especially not for long stretches. Wilson can play the PF position with ferocity and can free up a lot of other positions on the team. He can also play SF while Gallo is hurt and play SG when Afflalo is struggling. I’m not sure if Wilson can over come Karl’s ATTEMPTS to destroy this team, but at least he can try. Frustrating, this team should never be losing by 20 points at home to the Warriors. Ever.

    • Jason

      I agree with a lot of what you said. The rotations are definitely killing us.

      But I have to correct you on one thing – Harring IS MOST DEFINITELY a PF. That IS his position. If he played SF, he would get burned on Defense. He has the ability to guard most PF’s in this league, and does a fairly good job of it. Part of the problem is Karl likes to switch everything so Harrington finds himself guarding Center’s, which is a problem. Also, in Q4 when Karl goes to his “trust” lineup, Nene plays Center, so you have two PF’s guarding most often more traditional lineups.

      • Dubz

        I would say Harrington is kind of a combo at the SF/PF. However, his greatest success has come at the SF position. This is true for when he played for the Knicks and the Nuggets. He CAN obviously guard PF’s, but it’s not his strength. Despite his size, Harrington is more of a finesse player. Same goes for Nene. You could say Nene is a C, but his more natural position is PF. You’re also dead on about Harrington having to switch onto Centers. It makes him look like a poor defender but he’s put in a situation destined to fail.

      • http://roundballminingcompany.com Kalen

        I disagree, Harrington is a small forward. If he plays like a small forward, shoots like a small forward and moves like a small forward, then he’s a small forward. Nothing about his game screams “power forward.” I don’t know why you don’t think he can guard small forwards, he does it all the time and does a decent job at it too. Pau Gasol is a power forward, not Al Harrington.

        • Dubz

          Completely agree

  • noah

    I have never seen the nuggets look so utterly pathetic in an 8 game span in my entire life. Im not going to waste my time criticizing every pathetic detail. Everyone has been terrible. Infact, seeing any player recieve an A grade in these last few games only makes me feel sicker, regardless of whether or not their individual play actually earned that grade. We go from title contender to surefire lottery team within the span of a week. Im at a loss for words…

  • lya

    Guys this is a good team we will get a group of stars theres always the word superstar. The spurs have parker, duncan, and ginobli three stars. I have really high hopes that ty or galo heck maybe even afflalo can be that guy or guys. People keep saying i thought depth was the best part if this team… well it is but if you dont have three of your guys you cant utilize your depth because theres not enough depth. Your thinking that sounds dumb thats because it is its that simple when you have three key injured or out player your not as deep. The nugggets are flat out tired i really think we go deep in the bench vs indiana give the starters a rest two days after till pheonix. We will get better karl is a great coach and key to this team when hit with adversity yall crumble im gunna stay strong you watch nuggets will be back!!!

  • Alex

    Wouldn’t it be smart for the future to try to trade miller and Rudy for like a draft pick to just get rid of them. I mean at this point it’s not working and is clearly no long term plan, so why not let stone, Faried, and Hamilton get some playing time and grow. With the rookies they at least play with some passion and energy and fit the team better. The best part of the whole game was at the end when they almost led us back to a chance at a close finish.
    Also we need to bring in a defensive spealist or something because its looking really bad when every team is getting open three after open three all night long.

    • Andrew

      I agree, Alex, but doubtful the Nuggs could get much for Miller or Rudy. Maybe some team desperate for a point would take Miller. But, yeah, maybe trade them both for a 2nd round pick and a few towels.

      • Jason

        It almost seems Karl is afraid to not play those two. I don’t get it. Our D is suffering, and those two are probably the biggest reasons why.

  • http://roundballminingcompany.com Kalen

    Just a heads up, these numbers aren’t right. Looks like the Rapid Reaction stopped at halftime or something…

  • Aaron

    Ayy..Lawson Actually Got 11 Points And 10 Assists..Faried Got 8 Points And 10 Rebounds..Are Those The Same EXACT Stats As Last Game?

  • Andrew

    Yeah, and K2 had at last 6 rebounds.

  • Charlie

    Yeah, stats should be all fixed now I didn’t realize it grabbed the wrong game

  • ParkHillNative

    Wow, this is depressing.

    What I noticed — someone tell me if I’m off on this: the Warriors just looked determined to get back on defense in transition. I didn’t watch every minute of the game, but for all the stretches I did watch, including all of the 1st quarter, I don’t remember seeing the Nuggets get a single easy fast break basket.

    The defense is horrible, too. Every single game, somebody is lighting up the Nugs from the 3-point line.

    I’m beginning to fear that the 14-5 start to the year was just a fluke.

  • NuggLove

    Wow! The guys look gay tonight. They didn’t bring not have the balls, the guts, the spirit, and the intensity to put up a fight. Since their best player (Gallo) left, their spirit just run away from them. But I think the coach would have done something about this. But no, he can’t. It wasn’t the player’s fault only, it was also the coach’s. It’s okay to have a losing streak as bad as this but we’re don’t have something to prove that were an elite team.

  • NuggLove

    Karl wasn’t fired (yet) and that’s what the team gets, a bullsh*t loss to the bad Warriors team. How come the better teams in the league don’t get gassed as much as we do? Now that shows that the schedule isn’t much of a problem. We are top 3 in depth so injuries are never an excuse. Speaking of depth? I just don’t understand why it took so much time for Karl to use Faried and Stone in meaningful minutes? At the time when George finally used his depth, Faried and Stone can’t show their full selves especially Stone. Kenneth did play well as a starter but Stone? let’s just say this all stupid George Karl’s fault of starting him as a non-PG. Simple question? Is there really a better alternative for firing Karl? Maybe, signing Wilson Chandler but will it really change our woes in rebounding, free throws, and defense? Only Defense but never are the rest.

  • Trip

    The thing that i have noticed the most, and it has been a re-occurring factor in every game, is that the bigs never actually set picks. They have had success in the past at slipping screens and getting easy layups that they default to slipping the screen every time so other teams defenses have adjusted really well to that. ON the other hand our pick and roll defense is terrible, it seems like we can do nothing right, if we go over the top they drive the lane, if we switch we get horrible mismatches that get exploited and if we go underneath we are killed by every team draining 3’s. I think the bigs need to work on actually setting the screens so that lawson can penetrate and do what he does best, and on the defensive end they need to hedge and then quickly get to their man with hands out in the passing lanes.

    Also this free throw situation is just horrible.

    • skithebert

      agreed. the no pick setting is my pet peeve.

      all we need to do is watch film of all the teams we play to learn how to run/defend the pick and roll. it’s been killing us on both ends all year

  • NuggLove

    HEY, RMC! This should our new head coach, new ast coach, made trade in the future, and our future roster:

    Coach: Larry Brown
    Asstnt Coach: Chauncey Billups

    in exchange for:
    cash (from Houston)

    New Roster:
    PG – Lawson/Stone/Barbosa
    SG – Afflalo/Brewer/Hamilton
    SF – Gallo/Chandler/Forbes
    PF – Faried/Harrington/Andersen
    C – Mozgov/Koufos/Thabeet

    -I don’t know about the Houston trade there but Nene seems to be powerless when he faces guys as tall or as long as Thabeet which is reason why Hasheem and (it should be) a huge amount of cash are as valuable as Nene. It will only be stupid trade if Nene would have played like he’s worth 67 Milliion. With a history of developing castaways into good role players, I’m confident that the Thabeet’s reputation as a bust will be gone.

  • gk4prez

    I have seen enough of Rudy Fernandez to last a lifetime. He is 5/25 on his last 25 attempts from behind the arc, that’s 20% and he averages close to 5 attempts per contest. He is afraid of contact, so he doesn’t drive and when he does, he rarely finishes with a bucket. From the charity stripe he shoots below 70%. To his credit, he is an adequate passer, but he turns it over as often as he assists.

    On defense, he gambles for the steal almost every trip down the floor, which leaves the other 4 players playing 4 on 5 and a wide open money ball 3 is usually the result. He can’t stay in front of his man, doesn’t rebound, and his flops generally result in no whistle, which again leaves the other 4 players playing 4 on 5.

    I just don’t get how he can have such a long leash in comparison to the one that JR had. In fact, I think he is a much worse version of JR.

    When GK put the 3 rookies in after the outcome of the game was for the most part already decided, the team started playing like a team. Stone was allowed to play his natural position, Hamilton was active, Faried was active, and Afflalo started showing glimpses of the real Afflalo.

    This again brings me back to Rudy, Hamilton showed me more in the 4 minutes of garbage time then Rudy did in the 2 and 1/2 quarters leading up to Hamilton’s playing time, so why can he not get a few minutes here and there to actually develop? Almost all of Rudy’s stats occurred in the 1st quarter. After the 1st, he had 1 assist, 3 turnovers and went 0/8 on his fga. End the Rudy experiment, it isn’t working.

    I am not even going to get started on Dre/Stone because that would end in another rant.

    • http://roundballminingcompany.com Kalen

      It’s becoming even more evident (if it wasn’t already) that George Karl just didn’t like J.R. and his antics. You’re totally right, Rudy takes just as many bad shots if not more than J.R. yet because he’s quite Karl gives him a pass. Inexcusable in my opinion.

  • http://www.firegk.com Gerardo

    George Karl has to go!!!! Jeff Van Gundy, Larry Brown, or Rudy Tomjanovich would all do a better job then George Karl!!!!! Theres a reason why he hasnt won a title in 24 years!!!! Also trade Nene he plays with no BALLS!!!! He the softest 6’11” guy ive ever seen!!! And trade miller, fernandez, and if theres any takers for Brid trade him to!!!! WE WILL NEVER WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP WITH GEORGE KARL AS OUR COACH!!!!

    • NuggLove

      Gerardo, you got it man. I forgot those two guys (Rudy and Jeff) can also do a better job than Karl. All the 3 should-be replacements don’t use smallball MEANINGFULLY. They also give MORE IMPORTANCE on their bigmen. Free throws? Better need a FT-shooting coach right now.

  • aussienuggzfan

    I wanna see the garbage 5 from last game,
    start the next game.
    The energy on defense was amazing and I really think that they are extremely talented players. Need to teach some of the older guys a lesson.

    I gotta say a B+ for afflalo was a bit harsh, he looked like one of the only guys who really cared out there

    • Alex

      At the very least starting those guys would maybe send a message to the other guys to pick up the intensity. Also if Afflalo continues to play like that with those guys then maybe move him to second string and let Chandler start at SG, just a thought and who knows maybe it would work.

    • Trip

      Not wanting to use injuries as an excuse ever, but vs Indiana they should start these 5 give Nene, Harrington and Lawson a game off, they have all been playing sluggish and have all been pretty banged up. I would have said sit Afflalo too just for the rest, but after the last couple games, the last game especially, he is starting to find his rhythm going and we could definitly use a hot hand with gallo out.

  • Thomas

    Agree with most everything you said Charlie.

    Josh Kroenke, take notice if you are reading (you should). Start thinking about Karl’s replacement for next season – someone who allows talent to develop. Wouldn’t hurt to also have a serious pep talk with Karl to require him to give more minutes to the younger guys. He is stubborn so he won’t cave in – then you have a reason to dump him come Summer.

    There are some players with excellent potential that this team should develop now, like Faried, Stone, Hamilton and KK. Not saying they will all be great contributors, but maybe a couple can be special for the long run.

  • Drew

    Everyone gets Fs. A loss to the Warriors at home in inexcusable

  • SmokinNugs

    Faried had the most rebounds of anyone on the team, get him some more minutes!

    Swap the minutes:
    In Stone Out Andre
    In Hamilton Out Rudy

    Most exciting part of the game for me was the last 5 minutes. It was fun seeing AAA going and the Nuggets showing some hustle. I like that GK was calling timeouts and running plays for the bench guys too at the end. He obviously didn’t expect them to take the game but he was treating the situation as though they could. Good to see him coach the youngsters and not just hang them out to dry. There was almost a glimmer of hope there at the end… on to the next one!

  • http://espn Gary

    Start the renovation job early if ya got the opportunity. This boat is taking in a lot of water, abandon before it sinks and use your talents to build a stronger one starting right now. Miller, Rudy, bird & Gk need to be on the next flt. out of Denver. I still have faith in the FO, so start building for the future right now. Get the youngsters and kids in there and get more young talent on the roster through smart trades, FA & draft.
    And no-one try to play the over reaction card here…they have now lost the last thing that was always a given for them…home court advantage.
    GK is a good coach but he will not buy into the starting afresh and going young model, he’s got too much ego and leagcy at stake. We need to get a progressive coach who’ll be willing to make adjustments on the fly and doesn’t have a legay to protect in Denver. Masai was a smart hire in the FO, now need to replicate it on the courtside with some fresh blood.
    No matter how bad the injury situation, legit teams will never go on such embarrassing loosing streaks against the minnows of the league.

    • SmokinNugs

      The Clippers beat the Thunder….. tough to call them a bad team

  • Bryan

    Karl’s contempt for rookies and obliviousness to the condensed schedule are catching up to the Nuggets, imo. Harrington and Miller are old and so shouldn’t be logging the minutes they are. Harrington especially looks like he’s starting to run out of gas.

    And if he’d bothered to give the rookies some meaningful time, they would br further along in there development and better suited to play now that they’re needed.

    I thought George Karl was a defensive minded coach? Everyone is talking about their shooting but their defense has been awful. It’d probably help some if Karl abandoned the stupid 3 guard line up.

    • SmokinNugs

      Did you not see GK calling timeouts and drawing up plays for those rookies he “has contempt for?” The game was obviously out of hand but he went out of his way to continue to coach them as though they were only down a few points. Earned some credit in my book, not the rookie hater we thought he was.

      • Kevin

        I was more impressed with the rookies who gave it all and changed the momentum of the game. GK took his hands out of his face and thought “wow, maybe I can do something.” I give props to the rookies, who can’t buy a minute of quality time on not giving up. Not GK being an opportunist.

        • Trip

          Lets hope that 5 minutes lit a fire under the entire team and we see that extra effort from everyone the next game. Maybe the rooks bought themselves some future pt in some upcoming games.

  • Kevin

    Alright hold on here. Rudy started off with a hot hand last night, and what did GK do? He played him for 21 straight minutes. Name another player that gets played for 21 straight minutes in the first off. Lebron doesn’t do it. Kobe doesn’t do it. Rudy was worn out before the 2nd quarter began.

    That is GK’s coaching summed up. He doesn’t think about the future, just the here and now. 8 man rotation in a compacted season? Stupid. Now he has to turn to the rookies/deep end of the bench he didn’t give a shit about. The guy is stubborn, refuses to adapt, or think 2 steps ahead. Those rookies should have been interjected at times during b2b and b2b2b to rest tired bodies. What happened instead? They rode pine while Lawson, Nene, Gallo, Moz, and AAA (all 5 fucking starters) racked up injuries as well as wearing out Miller and Harrington. I saw 3 kids last night with AAA and Koufos go on a 20-7 run that scared the Warriors a bit, and you’re telling me that we can’t find a little time for Faried, J-Ham, and Stone? Fuck you, GK! That’s why you get crushed in the playoffs.

    • Kevin

      First half* and before the 2nd half*.

      Stupid typos

  • Trip

    I have always been a huge fan of Nene. I would hate to see him play anywhere else, he just isnt showing that dominance that he is capable of. In this game everything should have been run through Nene. None of the GS bigs should have been able to stop him. I got to see Udoh play in a lot in college and he is a great athlete and shot blocker, but Nene is so much bigger than he is and should have posted him on the low block and just backed him under the rim eliminating his shot blocking.

    Another huge question; What happened to the fast pace, running the floor nuggets that average 107 points a game? The halfcourt offense has been terrible so why not push everything even after made baskets, if nothing else it makes the other team have to use their bench early and often keeping anybody from getting into a rhythm like curry did.