Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 90 Oklahoma City Thunder 103

Oklahoma City Thunder 103 Final
Recap | Box Score
90 Denver Nuggets
Kenneth Faried, F 20 MIN | 3-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 8 PTS | -7

There wasn’t much to write home about in a game like this, but Faried was clearly a bright spot. Great energy, great hustle, and nonstop aggression on both ends of the court. The fact he saw the fewest minutes of all starters is a travesty. With Nene out of the picture, George Karl has to come around to him eventually for the Nuggets to have a chance at success.

Danilo Gallinari, SF 32 MIN | 6-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 15 PTS | -5

32 minutes is a great sign. Physically, Gallo looked much better than he did in his first few games back from injury. It’s tough to complain about this performance, but I do think 7 three pointers and no free throw attempts is a bit too unbalanced. Gallo is ready to be more aggressive with his offense and the Nuggets need him to take on a larger role.

Timofey Mozgov, C 12 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | -11

Tough to watch. Seriously brutal. Way too many minutes. Needs to pick it up soon. Running out of short sentences here. At some point he has to learn how to not body check his man every time he’s defending the ball.

Arron Afflalo, SG 30 MIN | 4-11 FG | 2-3 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 10 PTS | -1

A really poor shooting performance, but I saw him giving significantly better effort than most of his teammates on both ends. Afflalo is at his best when he’s moving with out the ball, cutting to the basket and shooting off screens. There was no off-ball movement for Denver tonight and just looking at the box score doesn’t tell you how hard he was playing.

Ty Lawson, PG 36 MIN | 4-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 8 REB | 5 AST | 9 PTS | -8

Lawson started slow and was never able to get himself going. He’s always been bothered by the Thunder’s interior defense which is part of the reason OKC is such a a terrible matchup for the Nuggets. Let’s hope JaVale McGee can run a pick and roll because Ty could use an occasional screen and some kind of effort by a big man to help him create.

Al Harrington, PF 26 MIN | 1-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 5 PTS | -15

Harrington’s worst shooting game of the year, and another instance in which the Thunder just badly exposed the Nuggets for playing him so much. He was either stuck on Kevin Durant, Nick Collison or Serge Ibaka, none of whom he has any chance of guarding. Al also got hurt in the fourth quarter and I feel bad for him, but he played a brutally bad game.

Andre Miller, PG 24 MIN | 7-9 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 17 PTS | -14

Probably Andre Miller’s second best game of the season, and it comes with 4 turnovers and a -14 in 24 minutes. This kind of outcome when Andre Miller has a good game isn’t all that unusual, and that kind of tells you the whole story when it comes 2012 season and Andre Miller.

Chris Andersen, C 15 MIN | 1-3 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | +1

Birdman did his job. He provided energy off the bench and outside of Faried, was the best Nuggets big on the floor.He took several shots you did not want him taking, but Denver just had way bigger problems than Bird in this one.

Corey Brewer, SF 10 MIN | 2-4 FG | 2-4 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -5

10 minutes, 3 fouls, and not a whole lot else. Brewer can be so wildly up and down each possession which makes it very difficult to evaluate him. With Rudy returning to the lineup, it seems like Brew is getting lost in the shuffle a little bit.

Rudy Fernandez, SG 18 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 5 PTS | -9

Took some really questionable shots, made some really questionable passes, played some really questionable defense. On the other hand, Rudy did provide a nice spark off the bench in the first half. Can his presence have a consistently positive impact over an entire game though? That’s questionable.

Kosta Koufos, C 16 MIN | 2-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 5 PTS | -1

It’s good to see Koufos healthy and back in the lineup. He made some nice hustle plays and also appeared to have a bit of rust on his game thanks to his extended absence from the rotation.

Julyan Stone, G 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | +5

Got some good news that he won’t be waived to make room for Chandler. It looks like Rony Turiaf will be bought out of his deal to free up a roster spot for Wilson Chandler.

Jordan Hamilton, G 1 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | +5

Garbage time hero.

Three Things We Saw

  1. It’s tough to feel good about where the Nuggets are at right now. They’re amazingly 6-3 since the break, but aren’t playing inspiring ball. I mentioned in the last recap how the defense is so broken it’s a miracle Denver wins as many games as they do. I really don’t see a consistent effort on both ends of the floor, especially on the Nuggets’ home court. A roster shakeup was probably the right thing to do as this team just hasn’t developed any cohesion or trust. They win games when they run out and score a lot of points in transition, which just isn’t going to happen every single game, especially against the better teams.
  2. Part of the reason I believe the trade was made is the Nuggets realizing they can’t realistically compete on the Thunder’s level with what they have. It will likely take several years of first finding an identity and then figuring out how to build a system for success around that. Retooling and reshaping the team that was formed after the Melo trade never made very much sense. There just wasn’t enough evidence to suggest a team like that could win anything.
  3. Half court offense remains a big obstacle in terms of Denver improving with McGee and (possibly) Wilson Chandler coming on board. Without a post up threat or anyone who can create their own shot, Miller and Lawson are stuck playing 1 on 1 a majority of the time. Gallo is a player who I feel doesn’t really create his own shot and needs other playmakers on the floor to succeed. There will be plenty of touches for Chandler and McGee whenever they do come on board, the big question is whether or not they will actually help Lawson and Miller create better looks, something they are not able to do with this group.
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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.
  • Irritated Fan

    Bye bye Nene

  • Omar

    i wanna see this team next year

    lawson/goran dragic
    afflalo/(a scoring 2 guard ala jr smith) OJ Mayo?
    faried/john henson or perry jones
    mcgee/mozgov/ draft fab melo

    since denver cleared up some room we can try to add a scoring guard like oj mayo or someone else. i like mayo though since he can also play pg.

    • Aaron

      Denver Would NEVER Brinq in 2 SG Like Mayo And Smith And Neither Of Them Are 3rd Stringers, And Btw We Cant Get 3 Top 15 Picks This Year To Get Those Guys?!?!?!?!?!?!?! (Fab Melo, Perry Jones And John Henson) Thaatz A VERY Unrealistic Roster.

      • Aaron

        Perry Jones And Fab Memo Aren’t 3rd Stringers Either

    • Ricardo

      Since Miller is leaving via free agency, I think the nuggets should draft a pg to back-up Lawson. Brewer may be moved to the back-up sg spot, so I don’t think they have to fill that position. And Harrington is our back-up power forward for now, but I would like them to trade him in the offseason and get a more defensive-minded power forward in the trade or in free agency, now that they are going to sign Chandler to a long-term contract.

  • tom

    We have to waive someone now right Rudy anyone?

    • russscot

      It’s gonna be Turiaf

    • aussienuggzfan

      i wish

  • Lane

    As much as I like Nene in general, isn’t he you’re third or fourth option in a tight game, playoff or otherwise? So that means he isn’t worth what the Nugs were going to have to pay him, especially considering his lack of defense and elite rebounding.
    McGee has been a bonehead so far, but let’s give him a shot in a contract year, on a good team.
    He had 21 and 15 against the Spurs last week on a crap team.
    If he doesnt produce, we still have that trade exemption and we can sign Lawson. Good move front office!

  • chronosynchlastic Infundibula

    Where to begin. This loss is not surprising in the least. Denver is far from OKC and after losing Nene even further, for now. In terms of cap space, flexibility, and simply coming to terms with the fact that this team won’t win a championship this year, the trade was a good one.

    On the other hand, knowing Karl’s impatience and dislike of immaturity, coupled together with his love of small ball, I think losing Nene means more 3-4 guard crunch time line-ups with either Faried, Harrington, Chandler, or Gallo manning the 5. Unless McGee can prove himself to Karl I highly doubt he’ll get enough playing time.

    I hope McGee can mature and pan out to be part of this team’s future. If not at least we can start calling him Javale McNugget to further his reputation as a childish-clown.

    In other news, I am thrilled that we re-signed Chandler to a long term, and for cheap!!

    This team is only a coach, a post player, a team Defense, and a prayer away from getting out of the first round!

  • Dubz

    I’d say I definitely expected this tonight. Nene is a good guy and I’m sure he’ll be missed in that locker room. However, receiving the cap space to sign Chandler is definitely worth the trade IMO. Chandler really fills a lot of voids on this current team (Perimeter/Interior defense, 3 point shooting, ability to guard athletic bigs) and can play many different positions well. A range of guys I can see him guarding in the WC are Pau Gasol, Durant, Gay, Griffin, Milsap, Aldridge, and many others. McGee will be a project but I think Karl will be able to develop him and use him properly. I really think our crunch time lineup should be McGee/Faried, Chandler, Gallinari, Afflalo, and Lawson. Pretty solid if you ask me. This team can be scary for the remainder of this year and for years to come. I believe in Masai!!

  • al68

    creo que este equipo ha perdido el poco liderazgo que le quedaba, no hay un jugador al que mirar cuando la situacion esta dificil,

    Aafflalo para mi es el jugador mas sobrevalorado de Denver, termina con todas las ventajas que se consiguen moviendo el balon es un buen defensor pero no un excelente defensor.
    En los forwards no veo ningun que desequilibre a dia de hoy ni Gallo ni Harrington ni Faried, veo un futuro dificil si no conseguimos al menos una estrella menor tipo Ellis, Tireke evans, o via draft.

    A ver si conseguimos algo bueno este verano porque las buenas sensaciones del año pasado se estan diluyendo como un azucarillo en el cafe y no hacemos las pifias de este año fichando a Nene y Afflalo por mucho mas de lo que valen especialmente este último.

  • Thomas

    This game is exhibit A on what is killing this team – the coach.

    Let’s face it, Masai was smart by trading Nene, but in the process he gave up on this season. The trade happened because of Faried’s potential as a building block. J Mcgee is not in the long term plan.

    Problem now is that we still have a coach who is in love with his own theory – playing Al Harrington to death and madly reliant on giving Andre Miller PT. Now, he just restarted his tendency to immediately give PT to his other favorite player, Rudy, which kills us as it comes at the expense of Brewer’s minutes and far superior defensive skills. We still have no defined starters (30 minutes per game) and not enough minutes for so many players to see the floor.

    If Masai has any balls, he has to cut Karl as soon as possible, or risk alienating this team. He has to let go players that don’t fit with the direction we are heading (young, athletic and selfless).

    We are losing time, as yesterday’s game shows. Faried played 20 minutes only. Harrington played 25 and got 1 offensive rebound. Andre Miller got 24 minutes, Stone got less than 1. Rudy played 18 minutes and Brewer less than 10. J Hamilton played less than a minute.

    It doesn’t make any sense at all to play those players – we are still losing games. We are losing them BECAUSE we are playing them, and in the process we are sacrificing the development of our young players that have much more potential than these mediocre career players that have lost pretty much everywhere they played. There is a reason they haven’t won much and are journeymen!

    I gave up watching our games as it’s just borderline offensive to one’s intelligence to see what our coach does night in and night out. I’m hoping things change so that there may be a reason to watch games next year.

  • Gerardo

    George Karl has to realize the reason Masai Traded Nene was so Faried can develop.. He was playing well but he only played 20 minutes.. I don’t get why Harrington played more minutes he didn’t do anything… And also i don’t get why J Ham and stone don’t get more playing time.. Rudy also didn’t really do anything.. But anyways i don’t think Masai gave up on this season i like the trade it gives us cap room and a nice big with lots of potential. And lets be honest nene was never going to live up to that contract. He plays soft, shows up for one game and is gone the next three.. With McGee is gives a true center, we haven’t had a real center since camby, And he also gives us a shot blocker because other then Bird we don’t really have another one.. But this trade will only work if George karl dosnt keep McGee in his dog house like Jr Smith.. if he does hes just going to be the player.. I really hope George Karl is gone, i really do believe he is holding this team back. Hes playing the hell out of the Veterans while we have young legs on the bench.. i dont see why he doesnt play Stone, hes a good defender, pass first point guard, great vision, and Jhamm as we saw in the clippers game he is explosive, he is a scorer reminded me a lot about Jr Smith… and yet these guys rot on the bench for Rudy Fernandez who is probably going back to spain at the end of the season and Andre Miller a guy who has no faith in this team.. Geroge Karl has to realize that He should go down with his young guys at the end of games, get miller or Harrington out of crunch time unless they have the hot hand. I would rather go down with guys that have a future on this team… and i dont think Karl will ever realize that.. he’d go small or play the veterans for 18 straight minutes.. and for those reasons i think hes holding this team back.. i hope masai’s next move is firing karl…..

  • Trip

    It still would have been a long shot, but as soon as Ibaka came back in the game after his 3rd, Harrington should have driven on him every single trip down the court in order to get him more fouls. Also even more importantly when Durant got 5 fouls and stayed in the game Gallo should have gotten the ball every time, because he could either get Durant to foul out, or Durant would have to play soft defense which happened on 2 occasions Gallo had an easy lay in/ dunk under the rim, and Ty just backed him off so far that he got an easy 6-8 foot uncontested shot. The entire time Durant had the 5 fouls only twice did they try to exploit that. That was a huge key to the loss

  • Kyle Obergfell

    One last stat…

    11 rebounds in 10 minutes.

    That’s just FKN insane…