Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 113, Indiana Pacers 109

Denver Nuggets 113 Final

Recap | Box Score

109 Indiana Pacers
Nene, C 22 MIN | 5-9 FG | 1-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | +3
Nene went out early due to a calf injury, which HoopsWorld is reporting he’ll miss a few games because of, however till that point Nene was playing aggressive basketball and fairly good defense too.
Corey Brewer, SF 34 MIN | 8-16 FG | 2-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 19 PTS | +9
Brewer was without question the star of the game. He had more energy than anybody on the floor and may have single-handedly won the game with his relentless poise. He was hustling for every lose ball, playing lock-down defense and even displayed a versatile attacking repertoire that he had yet to fully capitalize on for an entire game this season. Brewer was clearly playing inspired ball due to the unfortunate passing of his father and put on one of the more memorable performances, from an emotional standpoint, that I can ever remember seeing from a Denver Nugget.
Kosta Koufos, C 26 MIN | 3-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | -1
A fairly overlooked aspect of Koufos’ game, to me, is his toughness. More than anyone on the team, Koufos comes to play on a nightly basis with attitude and pride which is often on full display when a scuffle breaks out or when an opponent attempts to show off. Koufos is always there first to stick up for his teammates and doesn’t back down from anybody. I thought this part of his game was evident against the Pacers even though he didn’t put up the most gaudy stat line.
Arron Afflalo, SG 36 MIN | 8-11 FG | 6-6 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 23 PTS | +4
Afflalo appears to have finally arrived. After not cracking the 20-point scoring mark all season, Afflalo has now done so in back-to-back contests. This is the Afflalo the Nuggets paid a hefty price to retain over the summer and one that needs to continue showing up if the Nuggets wish to make a strong push for the playoffs in the second half of the season.

Ty Lawson, PG
36 MIN | 10-17 FG | 5-7 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 27 PTS | +3
Lawson was excellent against the Pacers. Though his assists were down, his points were up and in game the Nuggets desperately needed to win, he delivered exactly what the team needed most: points. His 27 tied a season-high from opening night against Dallas while his .588 field goal percentage was the highest he’s shot since the 25th of January.
Al Harrington, PF 36 MIN | 4-18 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | +4
Harrington’s .222 field goal percentage was the worst he’s shot all season, and was only compounded by the fact that it took 18 shots to get to that point. Still, Big Al was hustling and showing leadership during timeouts which cannot go unnoticed.

Andre Miller, PG
21 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-4 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 6 PTS | -9
Miller’s stat line for 21 minutes was bad, but not near as bad as his on-court demeanor and effort on the defensive side of the ball. Through almost half the season Miller has been nothing short of a complete enigma. Some nights he’ll show up determined to make the best impact he can while other nights he’s the worst player on the court. Against the Pacers, he was the latter and it showed when he exited the game upon which the Nuggets immediately played inspired basketball.
Rudy Fernandez, SG 18 MIN | 2-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | +7
Fernandez was virtually nonexistent even though he saw a decent amount of minutes. This, typically isn’t good but since the Nuggets managed to scrape out a win, he can be somewhat forgiven, especially since he didn’t shoot the amount of ill-advised 3-pointers he has been lately.
Kenneth Faried, F 12 MIN | 1-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 3 PTS | 0
Faried didn’t receive ample playing time but didn’t necessarily impress in those minutes either. Though in nearly every game Faried looks confused offensively and finds himself removed from the action entirely, against the Pacers it was even worse than normal. But what made things worse was his lack of impact on the defensive side of the ball. Faried absolutely must be more aggressive on the glass if he wants to find himself on Karl’s “good side.”

Five Things We Saw

  1. The Born Identity: Aside from Koufos’ toughness, another aspect of the Nuggets that has gone largely unnoticed since this recent losing streak began is the lack of the fast-break offense. When the Nuggets were dominating early on, this was THE staple of the team: force turnovers and get out on the run. For whatever reason this has been totally absent lately, yet in the second quarter against the Pacers it suddenly reappeared and is a huge reason the Nuggets won it’s first game in the last six. If the Nuggets want to continue their winning ways, it would be wise to implement the fast break offense more often.
  2. Numbers Game: The Pacers out-dueled the Nuggets in many ways on Saturday night. They shot better, passed the ball better and blocked more shots, but in three crucial categories they were outperformed by the Nuggets. Those three areas: rebounding, turnovers and points. Think about it for a second. Points obviously matters most, but by rebounding and not turning the ball over the Nuggets didn’t beat themselves for once! These are the categories that winning teams dominate. Up to this point, the Nuggets haven’t done well in this area. Let’s hope this changes soon.
  3. Reversal of Fortunes: In a shocking development this season, after playing 28 games, the Nuggets have a better road record than they do home. If you had told me this would be the case before the season started I would have said you’re crazy. This is a good thing however, in that the Nuggets will surely be able to start playing better at home. The fact that they are winning and playing well on the road for the first time in years — that’s just icing on the cake once the team turns things around for good. To follow the emerging theme of this recap: Good teams, win on the road.
  4. Andre – 3000: Though I already touched on it before, more commenting is apt in this department. Right now, Andre Miller is starting to become a problem. He’s still got loads of talent, is one of the smarter guys on the floor and can score at will when he wants, yet for some reason Miller looks completely aloof and apathetic during crucial stretches of games. But above all else, his defense is beyond atrocious. There are times when he won’t even attempt to guard his man and instead waits to for the opportunity when he can let him pass by and therefore burden one of his teammates with task of guarding another guy. Though he’s still putting up respectable numbers, you have to wonder what exactly is going through his head at this point, and though you never like to overreact, you also have to wonder just how valuable Miller is to the team as currently constructed and how much he’d be worth on the open market. Considering his defense and the Nuggets still being the highest scoring team in the league, there’s a good chance Stone might be a better option moving forward the rest of the season.
  5. Full Salute: Once again, I’d just like to mention the incredible effort Corey Brewer put forth in his first game since returning from a leave of absence due to his father’s passing. Brewer could have easily (and rightfully) been unfocused and distracted by the overwhelming grief of his father’s death yet somehow bravely managed to remain the most dedicated, focused player on either team throughout the night. Brewer’s performance and overall situation at the moment go beyond basketball, yet he willed the Nuggets to one of the more important victories of the year. For this, Roundball Mining Company salutes you, Corey Brewer, for your unwavering valor in the face of life’s most difficult obstacles.
  • Jrsmithisnumber1

    Anybody have a link to the game?

  • Jrsmithisnumber1

    Seems like Andre gets scored on every time. He is playing absolutely terrible.

  • gk4prez

    Who would have thought that less Rudy and less Dre would result in the Nuggets getting a much needed win?

    Now, that the Nuggets won you can’t go jinxing things and start doing rapid reactions again. lol

    • Ernie

      I second that! Delayed rapid reaction until the win streak is over.

      • ParkHillNative

        At this point it might as well just be called a plain old “Reaction.” Just drop the “Rapid” part.

    • SmokinNugs

      More Brewer, Stone, Faried, less Andre, Rudy. We need to use more of this bench depth.

      I’d love to see Andre dealt. Ty will only get better running 100% of the offense too. Rookie year he shared with Billups, last year he shared with Billups/Felton, this year he’s sharing with Andre. Give the man control of his team!

  • Cider

    Didn’t get to watch the second half and was multi-tasking for most of first half, but it looks like Afflalo had a good game where it wasn’t in garbage time, along with Lawson and Brewer putting up nice stats. Good to see Brewer playing so well after his absence.

  • Trevor

    “Timofey is definitely our best big guy,” Karl said. “He protects the paint very well, protects the basket very well, is our best pick-and-roll defender.”

    That quote is on the ESPN Recap page. It has me scratching my head.

  • Landry

    A’s for the squad except andre

    Oh Andre…

    you get an D because we won

    • Landry

      *a

  • Alex

    It was great to see us get back to playing our style of basketball (when andre and rudy werent on the floor). Also it was nice to see Faried get meaningful minutes and I think tonight helps to prove that we are better without rudy and andre. Last of all it was great to see Corey back out there playing so great after the loss of his dad.

  • evan

    Didnt watch it too intently, had some company over. But it was on in the background. I convinced my non-nugget friends to pick them for their STFC so they could root for my team.

    anyway, rudy played bad. corey played good. Lawson was attacking(finally), Nene was being nene. aka: soft moves and passing alot, but still played well. Faried…. It seems as if his rebound title is hurting him in the NBA, because all the players don’t take him lightly, and instead throw him around.. clear fouls that the refs refuse to see. Didnt pay attention enough to see andre alot, or any others.
    Oh, brewer was playing like a baddass. and AAA is beinging to step up.

    glad to finally finally, FINALLY get 16 wins. Not 8th in the west anymore.

  • Michael (another aussie Nugz fan)

    It took a 12 point lead to dwindle down to 2 before Karl finally realised and dragged miller out and put Brewer back in and we steadied.

    I would not have been overly upset (like I have been the previous games) if we lost this game. Mainly because the team finally started playing with a bit of energy and were attacking.

    Ty wasn’t hesitating, he either pulled up quick for the jumper or drove to the basket aggressively.

    AAA was playing better D, hitting open shots and finishing at the rim.

    Brewer was the key ingredient, he provided the energy and hustle that motivated the others while scoring 19 points.

    Miller was slow and was too busy arguing about calls and his game suffered and did not recover.

    Nene was hitting jump shots (but not free throws) and trying to post up, however was being beaten by West in the pick and pop, which is normal when Nene faces West. Nene left the game after 22 minutes with a strained left calf and is day-to-day.

    Faried was doing a reasonable job defensively against West but his inexperience showed. He played agressively and drew several fouls on Amundson, got a nice block and oop from Dre. He is still extremely raw offensively and is getting better defensively however he still gambles on D trying for steals which causes issues.

    Al is looking like he is starting to tire from all the extra minutes. He jacked up too many deep 3′s (0-6) and finished 4-18 for only 10 points.

    Rudy didn’t play too bad, he didn’t hoist bad shots 1-2 on 3′s 2-4 overall for 7 points.

    Kosta played well, containing Hibbert to 12 points and 5 boards while scoring 7 and grabbing 7 boards himself.

    It wasn’t a pretty game but it was a step in the right direction, however with Nene getting injured I don’t know if the line-up will change again.
    Having Brewer I think was the key to this game and inserting him into the starting line-up was a good move by Karl.

  • Denver4ever

    I think these injuries are blessings in disguise. These injuries opened up the door for Faried and Stone. Although we did not see what Stone is really made up of, but at least Faried made up for our lack of delight seeing these guys play. Knowing that most of us have given up on ‘Dre, it’s time for Karl to realize that the backup PG role should be given right away to Stone. Miller should be traded to a team where he could become a starter.

  • sally porter

    With out Bird.. no more interest…..

  • Hank

    Koufos sucks

    we mozgov back…or a trade

    • r21

      Koufos has been in foul problems the latest matches but besides that, since Mozgov was injured he ‘s been great. He plays good D (especially yesterday against the All star Hibbert), he has good post moves, and he probably is the best rebounder in the team (if not him, Faried). He doesnt suck, and the role of backup center suits to him perfectly.

    • Andrew

      Why do you say Koufos sucks? I like his toughness and rebounding, and he does have some post moves and can play defense. He’s not an all-star, but he (like Moz) has been steadily improving all year long. I would even go so far as to say the only reason the Nuggets have a legitimate chance of advancing in the playoffs is because of the improving play of these two bigs. Without them, the Nuggs are another first round exit come playoff time.

      • Hank

        good point

  • Shawn

    ^^ Denver4ever is completely right. Andre needs to go. He slows down the game too much, plays horrid defense, and isnt a good fit for the nuggets. We play better when Ty is out there running the point with speed, and since Ty can play almost the whole game, stone makes more sense as a back up. Ever better is the fact that there are teams out there that would trade for miller, because he fits their play style better. It was really nice to see afflalo step up in crunch time, and on top of that he guarded Danny granger, showing he can be clutch on offense and defense. The biggest need for the nuggets is to keep around that same energy Corey brought into the game today. Faried has been a sparkplug whenever inserted in the game,
    Fighting even his teammates for boards. If that kind of effort can get to the other players (especially nene) we could make some serious noise in the playoffs.

  • steve

    “WILL THE REAL ARRON AFFLALO PLEASE STAND UP? Let me repeat…WILL THE REAL ARRON AFFLALO PLEASE STAND UP?” Thank you, told you guys not to write off AA just yet. He’s the main reason we didnt lose by 30 to GSW 2 games ago and a big reason for the win last night. He was slumping. Came to the team late after being a FA and then got injured early on. Obviously these are just excused but at times guys go through funks. It’s only a 2 game sample but he’s finally showing that he can step up and knock down some shots and take over if need be like we need him too.

  • steve

    I’m not sure exactly how the CBA works…but from the looks of it Chandler’s team COULD BE on the edge of not making the playoffs. They are 1 game up for the 8th and final spot with 1 game remaining. They face the #2 ranked team while the 9th place team currently faces a really bad team. Both games are played Feb 15th. The teams split their season series 1-1 so not sure how tie breaker works. Can anyone confirm if there is a chance his team is left out of the playoffs? It would just maket things interesting if he indeed comes back over sooner than later. btw, JR Smith will be released from CBA on Feb 15th when their season is complete since they are now officially out of playoffs.

    • Omar

      saw that as well, don’t know how they are going to handle that situation if the teams are both tied but we won’t have to wait long to find out. let’s cross our fingers and hope chandler’s team is the one that misses the playoffs.

    • gk4prez

      I just read an article saying that his team did make the playoffs, so he won’t be available to sign on Feb. the 16th like JR.

  • Alex

    Great write up and it was absolutely great to be able to watch the performance that Corey Brewer put on last night. I think he is a great fit for this team and I hope he continues to get his share of good minutes. Then with Andre I agree where Stone would probably be the better fit for this team that needs to play good defense and get out on the break. Is there any way that the Nuggets could some how just dump him for a 2nd round pick or something? And last of all it’s great to see AAA playing the style of ball we are use to seeing from him

  • NuggLove

    Hey, RMC. Guangsha Lions just lost to Jiangsu Dragons(last place), 107-110. They are currently 17-15. Hopefully they lose their last game against the second-best Beijing Ducks and hopefully the team chasing the 8th spot, Qingdao Double Star, would win their last game against the second-to-the-last Foshan.

  • Trip

    I dont think that anybody is giving Andre Miller enough credit. He may have had a few bad games lately, but so has pretty much everybody else. We would have been killed by the sixers a couple weeks ago if andre didnt step up and put that game away. He had multiple double-doubles during the winning streak and constantly leads the team in assists. He is a good compliment to Lawson, and gets the assists that Lawson does not, plus he is a great veteran leader that this team really needs, I dont think that getting rid of him should even be a thought for this team right now. But thats just my opinion.

    • Andrew

      I hear what you are saying, Trip, but the signs are there that Miller is aging rapidly, and I think the Nuggets really need to get some value while they can. Andre did, indeed, win that Philly game for them, but that was just one regular season game. Come playoff time, I do not think he will be even as valuable as he is now, because other teams will specifically target and exploit him when the Nuggets are on defense. Watch him on defense the next time the Nuggets play. It’s actually a little sad.

      • kt

        Honestly, it’s coach GK’s fault more than Miller. When GK puts Ty and Miller on the floor together, it is just a defensive disaster waiting to happen. On offense, it doesn’t make sense to have both on the floor either because there styles are so different.

        Perhaps the answer is just to use Miller as a traditional backup. I think GK had a lot of success using Ray Felton + Ty last year that he thought Miller could plug in to Ray’s spot and all would be good. Unfortunately, Ray is a much better fit and Miller is better off as either a traditional backup for Ty or traded for someone more useful.

  • Andrew

    I’m in total agreement with the folks who say trade Miller while he still has value and some team is desperate for a point heading into the All-Star break! Package him with Birdman and get a dependable shooter and a pick or something!!!! C’mon, Masai, this is what the good GMs do!

    • steve

      andrew, to be honest nobody would take on 2 aging players like that especially one with birdmans contract. Yes someone may need a pg but all you will get in return is someone of equal value with a simliar contract and maybe a 2nd rd pick. Teams just cant trade for an 8 mill player like dre and give nothing for cap reasons. Birdman makes another 4+ for 2 more years after this.

      Only 2 possible trades RIGHT now that i see…

      Andre Miller to the Hawks for Hinrich and a 2nd. hinrich makes similar money. Since teague is struggling as of late they may want an upgrade at pg for the playoffs and hinrich still stinkin but id much rather have Hinrich than dre honestly.

      Andre Miller and Rudy Fernandez for Kris Humphries and Jordan Farmar – Honestly Id LOVE for this to happen and the reason the Nets would do is is because they clear Farmar’s contract next year off the books so save money for D12. They already tried doing this by sending farmar and morrow to memphis for Mayo. Nets would only do this is they knew they’d land d12 and just were tanking for season to save money.

      Outside of this, nobody besides ATL needs the pg at this time that would take on a guy like dre. possibly blazers and jazz need pg’s but interdivision trades rarely happen.

      • Joel

        The Lakers do have a need for a PG… Not sure who we’d want in return, though. Doubt Miller + Mozgov + Wilson Chandler would be enough to get Bynum, though that would be interesting.

      • Andrew

        Valid point re Bird, Steve. Just wishful thinking on my part. Also, I would like either of the trade scenarios you mention for Andre.

  • SmokinNugs

    I think Stone can match Andre’s assists per game in the same number of minutes.

    Even if we don’t deal Miller, he should split backup PG minutes 50/50 with Stone. He won’t like that, but less Miller is good for the Nuggets.

    So with Nene out that means Faried is gonna keep getting minutes right? Excellent!

  • chronosynclastic infundibula

    I was very happy for Afflalo and Ty Lawson. It was nice to see them live up to their potential on the road against a good defensive team. Corey Brewer is absolutely a good energy and defense guy, I think even with Chandler’s return Corey will still have a clear role. But if the Nuggets have to chose one (free up some money to resign Chandler long term or keep Brewer instead) then Chandler is clearly the better choice as Denver already has a “3 and D” guy in Afflalo.

    Miller has lead the team to a victory on several occasions, however the main reason I wouldn’t mind seeing him traded is because I don’t like how Karl uses him. Miller, Harrington, and Fernandez need to use more energy on defense even though Karl has them guard larger players (which I don’t like). So long as the Nuggets focus on aggressive defense they have a chance to win, despite injuries. I hope Karl gets them ready to play some D this week.

  • evan

    Trade our whole team for Jeremy Lin!

  • steve

    btw, just read an article in the CBA in china that the last playoff spot is down to the last game. So, if chandlers team loses against one of hte best teams in the league and the other team wins who faces a terrible team, my guess is chandler comes home in a few days!

    “Seven of eight playoff spots have been sealed after the 33nd round of CBA’s regular season. With one round left, Qingdao and Guangsha will fight for the last berth.”

    Chandler plays for Guangsha.

  • nugoftruth

    Dre has got to go. I would take a complete project or a 2nd rounder or whatever I could get. Don’t get me wrong, I think miller is an alright point but he could not be more wrong for this system. We need a push the pace point with low turnover numbers. I think stone would be a decent fit for this season at least. I wouldn’t mind seeing what we have there. The thing that is really killing us is Lawson deferring to miller. If Lawson is on the floor, he should be the one with the ball in his hands. His drives and kick outs force the defense to move and in turn force the nuggets to move on offense. It is our only half court offense until Nene finds a way to finish at the rim.

    • SmokinNugs

      I totally agree. Lawson has been sharing PG duties since he joined the Nuggets, Billips, Felton, Miller. Give him the reigns and watch him go.

      Miller doesn’t play good enough D or shoot well enough to have any reason to be on the floor other than ball handling. Since Ty can shoot, he has to defer the ball handling to Andre I guess? I’d love to see Dre go

  • al68

    denver necesita un base que no de problemas y fiable tipo Calderon aunque juegue lento se adapta a cualquier tipo de juego y como jugador europeo de vieja escuela le importa mas ganar que ser titular.

    trade calderon x miller= + tranquilidad, + tiro exterior, – TO.

  • al68

    denver necesita un base que no de problemas y fiable tipo Calderon aunque juegue lento se adapta a cualquier tipo de juego y como jugador europeo de vieja escuela le importa mas ganar que ser titular.

    trade calderon+barbosa x miller+fernandez= + tranquilidad, + tiro exterior, – TO.

    • NuggFanforLife

      Hey, dude. I didn’t really understand what you said much but I think that’s a good suggestion except that Fernandez is a shooting guard. The trade should have been a three-team deal:

      Toronto gets:
      Fernandez, Miller, Flynn
      Houton gets:
      Calderon
      Denver gets:
      Barbosa, Forbes
      -I’m not good at this 3-team deals. Do you think of other good teams to give Miller out?

      • al68

        Calderon es un buen tirador muy inteligente no hace TO aunque su juego es mas lento creo que es el tipo de jugador que gusta a GK, de Miller y Rudy no espero mucho y estan fuera en 5-2012. Barbosa es igual que Brewer pero mas bajo.

  • NuggFanforLife

    Stone is more deserving to become a backup PG. We need to trade Miller for a guy who accepts being the 2nd PG off the bench. We can’t let Stone get buried in the bench for a long time. His on-court vision has been more than fantastic and he can PUSH THE PACE UNLIKE MILLER. He’s like a PG-version of Faried: can put up the desired stats in just short minutes. I think, a trade with the Raptors to acquire Barbosa will be great or made a trade with the Rockets to acquire Flynn.