Rapid Reaction: Memphis Grizzlies 103, Denver Nuggets 102 [Updated]

Denver Nuggets 102 FinalRecap | Box Score 103 Memphis Grizzlies
Al Harrington, PF 25 MIN | 0-3 FG | 4-6 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -12
Four points in 25 minutes? That’s not the Big Al we’ve come to know this season. There’s no doubt that at this point, Al is struggling mightily to be effective while on the floor.
Corey Brewer, SF 32 MIN | 10-14 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 26 PTS | +2
Brewer was two points shy of a career high in points but did set a career high in three-point baskets made with five. It was his deadly behind-the-arc shooting that got the Nuggets back in the game and ultimately gave them a chance to win. Brewer has been and continues to be one of the more reliable players on the Nuggets roster, especially when it matters most.
Kosta Koufos, C 6 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -10
No stats and three missed shots in six minutes isn’t the definition of productivity. With Mozgov back and Bird productive with rest the center position is going to be filled by whoever is producing.  Koufos was outproduced by Mozgov and Birdman.
Arron Afflalo, SG 24 MIN | 2-7 FG | 3-5 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 8 PTS | -21
Afflao hit a big 3-pointer but was once again fairly quite in his time given. After scoring 20 points in three straight games, Afflalo has come back down to Earth.  Plus his defense continues to be sub par.
Ty Lawson, PG 38 MIN | 8-14 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 18 PTS | -8
A nice, well-rounded game by Lawson overall. These are the types of outings we need to see on a more consistent basis from the young point guard.
Andre Miller, PG 30 MIN | 5-13 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 9 AST | 13 PTS | +11
Miller finally scored in the double digits for the first time since Feb. 8 while his nine assists were the most he’s tallied since Jan. 29. Miller hit some big shots down the stretch, although it should be noted that they were 3-pointers which is certainly not his specialty.
Chris Andersen, C 24 MIN | 3-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 7 PTS | +5
Birdman put up a decent stat line all things considered. Getting more than five rebounds must be considered a somewhat successful night for the “Bird.”  Throw in some solid defense on Gasol and Birdman was Denver’s best bet at center on this night.
Rudy Fernandez, SG 21 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | +17
Only six points in 21 minutes while missing all three of his three-point attempts doesn’t look good in the box score.  Rudy did play some solid defense in the fourth quarter though and certainly helped the cause.
Timofey Mozgov, C 16 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -3
Mozgov finally returned and while he failed to do much offensively, his four rebounds and one blocked shot helped the Nuggets on the other end of the floor where his services are needed most.  He looked like he tweaked his ankle.  Let’s hope it is nothing serious.
Kenneth Faried, F 25 MIN | 9-15 FG | 0-1 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 18 PTS | +14
If not for the botched block out at the end of the game, Faried would have turned in a phenomenal performance all around. It’s amazing how much better he is offensively than I had originally thought, and while this is refreshing it’s tough to overlook the small things Faried still needs to improve on. Boxing out, setting firm screens and getting better position everywhere on the court are still areas where Faried looks lost. This game will likely be a wake up call in more ways than one for the “Manimal.”

Five Things We Saw (by Jeremy and Kalen)

  1. Just a Heartbreaking Loss: This was exactly the kind of game we were looking for from the depleted Nuggets.  Despite getting into a deep hole, the team showed heart and pride.  It could have easily turned into another embarrassing rout.  However, the team dug in on both ends.  Brewer had the best half of basketball of his life and Faried was all over the place on both ends of the court.  Despite the loss, the Nuggets have proven to themselves that they can be competitive, play good defense and solid offense with the players who are currently available.  Still, to see that ball go through the hoop just before the red lights came on was the most devastated I have been since last season’s playoffs.
  2. Baffling:  How does the all time leading rebounder in college basketball not box out on the most important play of the game?  I suspect Faried was thinking the same thing I was when Rudy Gay’s shot was in the air, “If that shot misses, Denver wins.”  When it missed for a split second I thought the game was over until I realized the ball was tipped in just prior to the end of the game.  If you want a silver lining, you can bet that Faried is not going to get caught watching the ball in that situation ever again.
  3. Miller Must Read RMC:  After lambasting Andre Miller for his sad defense after the loss in Dallas, Miller played what was certainly his best defensive game of the season.  In the fourth quarter he was even fighting over screens and directing traffic.  Now, hopefully it will not be the last time Miller puts forth that kind of effort without the ball in his hands.
  4. Kudos to Karl:  Despite the fact Faried was playing a great game and Harrington continued to provide nothing of substance I was just waiting for Karl to sub the “trusted” Harrington in for Faried to close out the game.  Fortunately, Karl did the right thing, as obvious as it was, and kept Faried in the game.  However, part of me thinks Harrington would have made sure Cunningham did not get to the ball to win the game in the end.
  5. Slim Slow Slider (from Kalen):  Though the Nuggets nearly won this game, the bottom line is that a loss is still a loss, and right now the Nuggets are accumulating a lot of these. If the Nuggets lose to Oklahoma City on Sunday is will be their 10th loss in the last 13 games. While injuries have played a large part in this downfall, there’s still no excuse to play this poorly with the amount of talent the Nuggets have on its roster. If not for Corey Brewer’s surprising long-range shooting, the Nuggets could easily be looking at back-to-back embarrassing losses where their opponents lead at one time grew larger than 20 points. As of now, it appears there is a fundamental problem with the way this team is mentally approaching basketball games.
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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)

  • Dubz

    This one really hurt but I’m glad to see that we actually shook off a slow, emotionless start and finished with some serious energy. You could see the disappointment in the guys faces after the game which was refreshing to say the least. On the box out by Faried, it’s a shame he had to “lose” the game for the Nuggets. On the other hand, I’ll give credit where credit is due, and I credit karl for having Faried in the game during crunch time. This loss sits much better with me knowing Faried will learn from this game and grow from it. That’s why I was pretty upset when Karl benched Gallinari in a few games during crunch time when Gallinari was struggling. This is the perfect time for these young guys to gain experience in these types of situations and develop a crunch time chemistry and hierarchy. This loss hurts, but I’m not upset with the team.

    • kt

      It might sound weird but I’m kinda glad Faried messed that up. He is definitely a proud player and definitely proud of his rebounding game. Losing the game in the department he is suppose to OWN at…I hope he takes it to heart and works harder. It might even make him a better player then he already is.

      By the way, Faried with 18 points on 15 shots? That’s pretty amazing for someone has ‘pretty much no offensive game’. Now all we need is better free throw shooting :D

  • kt

    After seeing a performance like this, I really don’t understand where GK’s fascination with small ball comes from. Starting Big Al with Kx2 is just a bad idea. He is clearly a player that has had and will have success in the second unit as a scoring machine. Id like to see some more experiments with bigger lineups. Koufos has a nice little mid range game so having him paired with Mozy at points in the game isn’t crazy. I’d think a Mozy/Koufos/Al/Brewer/Ty combo would be kinda deadly. Swap out Mozy for faried and you have a pretty big team that can run the floor with the best of them.

    Not sure about you guys, but i’m really sick of seeing an undersized nuggets guard/forward guarding a bigger guy with Denver doubling said bigger guy every play. 9 times out of 10 against a good team, they swing the ball to the weak side and shoot an easy 3 pointer.

    And for the love of everything that is great about basketball, learn some half court offense! Anything! Just one new play! All I ever see is ty/miller at the top of the 3 point line, weak screen/roll from a big then the guard either running into traffic and kicking out OR a pass to the big. When they zone up (like in Dallas), they completely tear the nuggets apart. The only reason we made it “close” tonight was because of the hot shooting from Brewer. No offense, but at this point, a college team has a better playbook in the half court then the nuggets, which is the fault of none other than GK himself.

  • NuggLove

    The game-winning tip by Cunningham was just a microcosm of what this team is lacking basically this season, rebounding. When Faried finally played his best Nugget-game yet, I think it was too late because it took so long for George Karl to develop young players. I’m not saying it’s Faried’s fault for his failed boxout, but how he fares out with the coaching staff namely George Karl, it is actually the old man’s fault why it took a Nene-Mozgov-and-Gallo-injury-package to give Kenneth real playing time. Btw, allowing 100 points or more to Memphis (a point where they are undefeated) was just part of this horror story of the Nuggets the whole season. Believe it or not, it was just the K-Mart’s enforcement, Birdman’s renewal, Billups’ mentoring abilities, and Melo’s improved defense that helped us reached the West Finals 3 years ago. And unsurprisingly the credit does not go to George Karl. What would have happened to Denver if Billups didn’t return that time? They were having a 1-3 record then and likely will sink down the abyss. RMC, ousting Karl is highly needed. FYI he is one of the two 1000-win coaches to have ZERO FINALS APPEARANCES. The other one? Don Nelson. Has coached for 20+ years and yet no titles!?!?!?!? Just like you said, it has been clear that his ouster is badly and I mean badly needed.

    • gk4prez

      GK has a finals appearance, but no ring, so scratch him off of that list.

      • ryan

        96 sonics vs bulls. Glove and the reignman. he lost that series cause rodman owned the boards.

  • NuggLove

    And how about players? His “trust” guys just seem to boil my kettle every minute. Big Al in no surprise has reverted to being El Busto. Rudy Fernandez continues to be inconsistent – no wonder he got traded from Portland and Dallas. And worst of all? Andre Miller. To me, he’s our PG-version of ‘Melo. He’s hogging minutes to some of our great players or hogging opportunities for some to prove themselves. It was because of his presence why Kleiza and Forbes can’t play. It was because of his absence why JR and Nene developed further (though it wasn’t really clear). It was also because of his absence why the Nuggets have finally embraced moving the ball. And to the part of Miller, he’s hogging minutes and opportunities to a CLEARLY BETTER POINT GUARD NAMED JULYAN STONE. Wouldn’t it be clear to trade Miller for a guy willing to be the second PG off the bench and is willing to play shooting so he can get a chunk of minutes. Hopefully, if only we fans are the GMs.

  • Alex

    Was glad to see someone play with some emotion, we were set to get blown out again but thanks to Corey brewer and Faried for playing with some much needed emotion on this team. Thanks to that spark you could actually tell that down the stretch we were playing with a desire to win and win badly.

    One more thing with Faried is, in the past games by only playing 24 minutes he has posted near double doubles and that is with him being really fresh and inexperienced. There is no doubt in my mind that he will be a big part of this team moving forward. It was great to see him score that clutch bucket inside the last minute and a half. Once he grows more offensively and gains experience all I got to say is watch out.

    And last of all I just want to say Corey Brewer is a great fit for this team and I love what he brings.

  • gk4prez

    As much as I would like to get upset with the team for losing this game I can’t do it. If they would have finished this game the way that they started it, then it would be another story, but they didn’t. I can’t even get mad at GK for his 2 pg lineup in this game because that was the combo that was working the best out of the players that he did play (it wouldn’t have hurt anything at all to try Stone or Hamilton early in this game for a few minutes just to see if one of them could have provided a spark). At halftime I was upset with Brewer, he had an empty statline, but my goodness did he wake up and take off in the 3rd.

    I was also impressed with the combo of Andersen and Faried playing together in the 2nd half, they complimented one other well, which I would have never envisioned happening if I didn’t witness it first hand.

    The only thing I can really find any fault with in this game is the terrible start, these bad starts have got to stop. It is very difficult to recover from such an initial onslaught like that. It is difficult enough for a team to win a game when they don’t get 20 points in a quarter (any quarter), but compound that with giving up 34 points to the opponent and you have the makings for a loss, which was the end result.

    Awflalo is decent when he is on, but totally useless when he isn’t, and in this game he wasn’t on. You would think that with his size and strength at the position that he would rebound well, but he is very poor in this area. It is one of those little things he could do when other parts of his game aren’t there, but he doesn’t do it. He also gave up two and 1’s in this game, which was nothing more than lazy defense. I am really not trying to single him out, but I guess that I am because he is about out of excuses for his lackluster play. I will give GK some credit for recognizing it and going with someone else down the stretch.

    I am usually one of the first Nuggets fans to single out Dre and Rudy, but they both did some good things out there tonight. I cringe when Rudy takes an open 3, but when he takes 3’s like the two he took late in this game (out of rhythm, feet close together, not squared up, and fading to the side), I want to jump through the screen and kill him.

    Harrington is slowly reverting back to amnesty Al, birthday or not, the guy played like crap in this game and he has played like crap for several games in a row now, which is a shame because he was playing great before this stretch began. I didn’t realize he was born on the same day that his airness was, that is a pretty cool tidbit of info.

    Koufos is very much like Awflalo, he is either on or he is way off. He just didn’t have it going in the few minutes that he played, and I don’t blame GK at all for not starting him in the 2nd half. The only thing he did in the 6 minutes he played was miss a jump hook and turn the ball over. Of all the players on the team, he disappoints me the most because he has all of the tools to be a beast in the paint, but for some reason he will not play aggressive or above the rim.

  • Andrew

    I agree with most of the scores, but K2’s “D” is unfair. Maybe he started slow, but his leash was only four minutes long. Geez, Miller got almost 20 before he started finally showing life.

    Miller payed well towards the end offensively, but he is like fool’s gold. It was his defensive liabilities in the first place that contributed to the hole the Nuggs were in.

    I still say trade Miller, Bird and Rudy, if possible and get an enforcer and a consistent shooter.

    I also agree that Big Al should not be starting. When Nene gets back (before we get Gallo/Chandler), what do you all think about these lineups?

    Starters: K2 (or Moz)/Nene/Faried/Brewer/Ty,
    Bench: Moz/(or K2)/Bird/Big Al/AAA (or Rudy)/Stone (or Miller) off of the bench.

    To me, that first team, with K2, Nene, Faried and Brewer, could really grind the front line of some other teams. K2 and Faried well help free up Nene to play better and Faried would beat the hell out of any small forward on him. Then, the bench could come in and light ‘em up.

    Just wondering.

    • Desean

      At this stage faried doesn’t have enough perimeter skills and teams would stack the paint with this lineup. I still think there are teams where nene should start at center with faried

  • jc

    this is a hard faught game given away in the final secends there were down 24 at one point heading in to sundays game @ okc i think they have a real shot

    • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com Jeremy

      OKC is at least felling some of Denver’s pain with Perkins out with a bad knee and Westbrook leaving the game tonight with an ankle sprain.

  • Nuggie Fan in Italy

    I didn’t get to see the game live, but you have no idea how refreshing it was to wake up and see that our Nuggets lost by 1 point instead of 20. Granted, it is still a loss, but I knew when I saw the score that Denver actually FOUGHT for this one.

    I did watch the highlights, and the last-second tip was a heartbreaker. I felt like I had actually watched the whole game and was then let-down by the final play. I just hope that the Nuggets take the positive momentum from this game and use it in future match-ups. Nothing is more painful to watch than when the Nuggets play uninspired basketball, and while I haven’t seen most of the games in this current slump, I know that most of the losses have been the result of uninspired play on both ends of the floor and from the coaching staff.

    Has anyone else seen that ESPN (the Extra-SPeculative Network) has reported that the Nuggets are apparently shopping Bird for a trade? Makes me wonder if he was actually shelved earlier this season, and is now getting playing time to show off his skills. Thoughts?

    • kt

      yah I saw the bird trade rumour on espn insider. It would be great to get more info on this from someone who’s seen the article in question.

  • al68

    La actitud ha cambiado esperemos que dure.

    Que pena que Faried en el partido que ha demostrado que puede ser un gran jugador pierda en último rebote de manera tan infantil, creo que este chico nos puede llenar el puesto de PF muchos años.

    Todo el año la defensa esta siendo muy debil espero que con la vuelta de nene y la llegada de Chandler esto cambie.

    Este equipo necesita jugar la mayor parte del tiempo con un PG y con Nene (cuando regrese)y Faried o Gallo de C y PF y Brewer y Chandler de SG y SF.

    En otro aspacto que hemos bajado mucho ha sido en el movimiento de balon ya no hay fluidez y en nuestro sitema de juego eso solo se consigue con velocidad y buena parte de esto es por Lawson que no sabe ver lo que se necesita en cada momento ademas de por su bajon físico creo que esta sobrevalorado.

    Vosotros que vivis en Denver pagar un psicologo a Rudy que desde la lesiòn de Ariza tiene pánico a entrar en la zona y esto era lo que le hacia ser un gran jugador en europa y no uno del montòn como es ahora.

    Mañana si no estamos muy desmoralizados ganamos seguro.

  • NuggFan forLife

    RMC, did you know that No NBA star has become one because of Karl? This is shown in his chance to give Stone playing time. This performance by Miller does not look bad but you do see these games from an inconsistent player. Good thing Brewer saved us from being thrashed by a team so-so on offense. Miller can’t become a replica of Ty Lawson. He slows down the offense, something that we fans find not entertaining on the Nuggets. Stone is the real replica of Lawson. He makes pinpoint passes, plays great AND CONSISTENT defense, sets the pace, and is unselfish overall. Better trade Miller like this:
    Denver trades:
    Andre Miller
    in exchange for:
    Jonny Flynn
    Gary Forbes
    -This is actually a three-team trade were Miller could end up with the Raptors as the Rockets receive Jose Calderon since it is very clear that Miller wants to start. Hopefully this could give Stone that backup PG role.

    • al68

      creo que Lawson no necesita replica sino un original.

      Lawson no puede ser el starter PG de un equipo que quiera jugar una final de la nba.

      lawson + miller

      rondo+bradley

  • Sam

    I think Harrington should be given an A purely do to the fact that he only had 3 field goal attempts. I hope this game proves to Karl that Faried deserves minutes above Bird, and probably above Harrington. Faried is the “spark” that the Nuggets need off of the bench. He is the hustle player that Bird used to be. He deserves minutes, and really probably need to play for the Nuggets to be affective on the second team.

    And yet again, Karl fails to give this team ANY fire whatsoever. He continues to show no emotion, continues to play ineffective players, and guess what? They continue to LOSE. Something needs to give here, before this team falls too far behind that they can’t dig themselves out when Gallo and Chandler rejoin the team…

  • Ricardo

    Faried demonstrated he could be a great player for the nuggets and that he could be good in crunch time, eventhough he didn’t rebound in that last play. And one thing I notice is that the nuggets played well when Brewer and Faried were together on the court and that’s one thing GK should do more often.

    Lawson played well in this game, but Miller can’t play the same way when he comes off the bench. I think Stone could be a better PG coming off the bench, he’s better defensively and could help on defending the perimeter better than Miller.

    And one last thing is that GK should give Hamilton more playing time and reduce Fernandez’s. Hamilton plays with more energy in offense than Fernandez. And this shown when in the Dallas game, he had 10 pts in 9 mins and that’s way more points than the 6 pts. that Fernandez got in 21 minutes last night.

    Imagine the nuggets having Stone, Hamilton, Brewer, Faried, and Koufos in the second unit, it could be pretty dangerous.

    • al68

      Soy español y desgraciadamente pienso lo mismo que tu, Rudy debe jugar menos e intentar jugar mas minutos con Hamilton que tiene mas futuro que Rudy, lo unico que no me convence de Hamilton es su actitud porque clase creo que le sobra.

      Respecto a Faried hay que aprovechar su estado de forma y enseñarle mas IQ los tecnicos y los jugadores veteranos.

  • DH

    Faried showed why he should be getting minutes, and I was as surprised and grateful as anyone when Karl left him in during crunch time. But he also showed why Karl has a hard time trusting rookies when he failed to box out at the end. I really don’t want to defend Karl, but I’m sure that’s the kind of thing he fears from young players. However, with more PT/experience prior to this game, maybe he would have made that play.

    On Andre Miller… From the time that our final roster was set, I felt like ‘dre was not a fit for our up-tempo team, and that he was a good candidate to be traded near the deadline. That feeling only increased when I saw that Stone could do a decent job manning the backup PG position. Then it became apparent that he wasn’t happy in Denver and his effort was sporadic, at best. The last straw for me was when he played like the Andre Miller I remember against Philly. Obviously, he can turn it on when he wants to (like when he wants to prove something to a former team), but he isn’t willing to do so on a nightly basis. So I’m done with him. As a more than competent point guard, he should be a trade candidate for a contender with point guard issues. And as a player with a fairly large expiring contract, other teams might want him for salary reasons. I would like to ask Jeremy, Charlie and Kalen which teams they think might want him, and what they think we could get for him. If I understand correctly, we could receive draft pick compensation (ala the Camby trade) and gain some cap space (maybe to help lock up W. Chandler?) What kind of pick(s) do you think we could get for him?

  • steve

    dont feel too bad guys. The grizz did the exact same thing to the warriors last night again. This time it was Tony Allen tapping in Gay’s miss while an experienced Dorell Wright didnt box out. Same play 2 nights in a row. Same result except different player tapped it in.

  • Amel

    FFS, is it that difficult to teach the guys 2 or offense plays and a little bit defense?! I can’t even remember the ast time Denver played defense and a normal half court offense. Both categories have been abysmal this season, especially in the last 10-15 games! Karl needs to do something! Right now!

    • Amel

      Edit: …2 or 3 offense plays…

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