|Corey Brewer, SF 35 MIN | 3-10 FG | 6-7 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 12 PTS | +1
Brewer is usually an energetic spark of mayhem, but spent most of the evening hoisting up ill-advised 3-pointers and taking bad shots in general. Even his defense was mediocre, which is never a good sign.
|Kenneth Faried, F 22 MIN | 5-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | 0
Look at the numbers. In 22 minutes Faried put up way better stats than Mozgov or Koufos yet he was relegated to the bench throughout the heart of the game. His defense on Blake Griffin virtually eliminated one of the Clippers’ best offensive weapons while his tenacity for 50-50 balls was top notch. Had Faried received more time, which he deserved, the outcome of this game may have been different.
|Timofey Mozgov, C 23 MIN | 2-9 FG | 1-1 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | -4
Just when I was lightening up on Mozgov he goes off and has a game like this. It’s funny how Karl always preaches about rookies and their mistakes, yet Mozgov is by far the worst offender in this category, and for whatever reason seems to have some of the best job security on the team. What gives?
|Andre Miller, PG 35 MIN | 3-15 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 8 AST | 8 PTS | -9
Miller was actually seen playing defense on a few occasions but was a ball stopper on far too many offensive possessions. Worst of all, he wasn’t making any of his shots. It’s nice to see eight assists, but really, none of them were all that spectacular. In 35 minutes, he needs to produce better.
|Arron Afflalo, SG 38 MIN | 7-10 FG | 4-5 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 20 PTS | -14
Afflalo has very quietly had a fantastic little stretch over the last several weeks. This is now the sixth time in the last eight games that he has scored at least 20 points. The best part about this one, however, was the fact that it was done efficiently. Afflalo’s offense is, without question, improving right before our eyes.
|Al Harrington, PF 29 MIN | 3-13 FG | 5-10 FT | 6 REB | 5 AST | 11 PTS | -11
Up until the fourth quarter Al Harrington was either going to receive an “A” because the Nuggets won due to him kicking it into overdrive, or a “D” because he took way too many shots he shouldn’t have and totally killed the flow of the offense. Obviously the latter ensued and as a result Harrington turned in one of the more perplexing performances he’s had all season. Big Al was far too selfish and shouldn’t even have been in the game the last half of the closing quarter because of it.
|Kosta Koufos, C 22 MIN | 4-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | +1
You’d like to see Koufos hit the boards a bit harder but his effort, as always, was there and so were a few nice baskets too. Unlike Mozgov, Koufos hardly committed a glaring error and did the job he was assigned to.
|Julyan Stone, G 13 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 PTS | +1
Stone was either nervous, off or possibly both. He had a few nice assists and was a floor general on offense but simply could not make the type of defensive impact we’ve come to see from him in the last few games. He also had some bad fouls that could have been avoided. Still, Stone’s effort on defense shouldn’t be overlooked as it was the best of any Nugget on the floor.
|Jordan Hamilton, G 24 MIN | 6-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 18 PTS | -5
Wow. What a performance by Hamilton. As I tweeted, if not for him, I’d have been left without any hair; instead, I still have a few strands. We’ll touch on Hamilton more in the “Things We Saw” section but for starters, keep in mind just how smart he played. He took no bad shots, passed when he was heavily guarded, played solid defense and even skied for a few boards. His shooting was clearly (and I mean CLEARLY) worlds better than Rudy Fernandez, but keep in mind, this is a small sample size. It should also be noted that Hamilton was the only Nugget to stay after the final whistle and congratulate the Clippers on the win, while the rest of the team hurried off to the locker room with heads hung low.
Three Things We Saw
- Rookie Report: You know the show “Hey Rookie, Welcome to the NFL” on NFL Network? They should make an NBA version titled “Hey Rookie, Welcome to the NBA, Where Old Fashioned Coaches Inexplicably Bench You No Matter How Much Talent You Possess Simply Because You Have the Word ‘Rookie’ Attached to Your Name.” After seeing Hamilton’s performance tonight, I’m at a loss for words. Even if Hamilton did just have a hot start, you can’t discount the eye test. He looked good, as in GOOD good. His three-point stroke can not even be compared to Rudy’s off-balance, awkward, legs-glued-together shot attempt that has rarely hit this season. My whole thing is not to put Rudy out of a job, but simply to figure out what his role is. If Rudy is in for three-point shooting — which is what the case appears to be — then how has Hamilton not beat him out in practice? Again, small sample size, but man, Hamilton was impressive. Aside from “J-Ham”, Faried — who by the way is also a rookie — was impressive as well. Yes, the two best players for Denver on Wednesday, were both rookies and because of that, neither received the rightful amount of minutes they deserved, which is truly a shame.
- Requiem for a Collapse: Holy… nevermind. All you need to know is this: At the 4:02 minute mark of the fourth quarter the Nuggets were up by one. After that, the Nuggets went on to miss every single one of its last 13 shot attempts to close out the game, including two air-balls from Big Al and Brewer. Furthermore, at the 3:29 mark with the Clippers up by only three, Karl decided to roll with his patented small ball lineup which placed 6-foot-7 Faried at center. This was nothing short of a disaster, as the Clippers went on to out-rebound the Nuggets 10-6, with two of the Nuggets six rebounds coming in the last 30 seconds of the game — when it was already over. We complain a lot about Karl’s rotations, especially at the end of games, and against the Clippers he did nothing to encourage Nuggets Nation this will be any better moving forward.
- Winning!: Do you realize the definition of the word “win” is “to get possession of by effort or fortune; to obtain by work; earn”? Now, when the game is on the line in the fourth quarter and both teams are within a few points, that would qualify a “winnable” game, correct? Therefore, in order to secure a “win” one basically has to outwork its opponent, right? Question: When does this ever happen with the Nuggets!?!? The latest entry into this depressing line of chapters came against the Clippers when the Nuggets didn’t even collapse, but handed the game to its opponent on a silver platter with a note wrapped underneath asking if there was anything else they could possibly do to assist the Clippers in making their win more enjoyable. Losing is one thing, but losing in a heartbreaking fashion on a frequent basis is a whole different story. The odds of how much longer fans will be able to tolerate these types of crushing performances is decreasing by the day.
— Like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and a countless amount of others I’m probably unaware of, the Denver Nuggets allowed a star member of the opposing team go off for a season high. This time around, it was Chris Paul, who finished the game with 36 points and nine assists.
— The true residual effects of these types of losses won’t be felt until May. Everyone hates the palpable feeling of a heartbreaking loss, but that’s fleeting. What really hurts is getting to the playoffs and needing just one or two more wins to achieve home-court advantage or at least a better match-up. Remember this one about two months down the road.
— In his first real minutes of the season Hamilton was already trending on Twitter after just one half of basketball. That, speaks for itself.
— Riddle me this: When Kenneth Faried was doing a superb job on defending Blake Griffin, why did the Nuggets suddenly decide to double him? This left countless Clippers open for three-point shots (which, thankfully they missed or else this game would have been ugly) and caused Denver to get in foul trouble earlier than need be.
— Al Harrington can score the rock. We all know this. But tonight was really the first time his selfishness cost the team some points. If he had just swung the ball a few more times and given it up instead of uncontrollably trying to back his man down in an isolation, the Nuggets seriously might have won this game.
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