|Corey Brewer, SF 25 MIN | 0-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -18
As those who frequent this site know, we’re not prone to handing out Fs on the regular. You have to be bad to receive one and on Wednesday, that was certainly the case with Corey Brewer. In 25 minutes of action Brewer only recorded one rebound — that was it! No points, assists, blocks, steals — nothing. Brewer has proven to be a serviceable role player off the bench for short stretches, but after this performance, his starter days should probably be over. To cap off his rough night Brewer threw away the inbound pass to Jason Smith (who’s from Colorado by the way) that could have resulted with a game winning shot for the Nuggets.
|Kenneth Faried, F 27 MIN | 5-8 FG | 3-7 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 13 PTS | -7
You have to credit Manimal for getting the Nuggets back in this game. Without him, the team likely would have lost by double digits. That’s sad. But it goes to show how valuable Faried is. The one area where he still needs to improve (besides perimeter defense) is rebounding. Yes, it sounds weird, but rebounding is Faried’s best strength and all too often he’s getting boxed out by more physical players. His positioning under the basket has to become better and it starts with getting more aggressive.
|JaVale McGee, C 15 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | -12
His stat line is deceiving. McGee was close to awful on Wednesday. He was trying to dribble the ball up the floor like a point guard and finish in traffic like LeBron James. It’s fair to say that after seeing McGee’s Dr. Jekyll, we’re now seeing his Mr. Hyde, and it ain’t pretty.
|Arron Afflalo, SG 40 MIN | 4-14 FG | 6-7 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 15 PTS | -5
Afflalo didn’t shoot well but he had a nice outing nonetheless. He tied his career high in assists, with seven, and made a few tough baskets when the Nuggets were in trouble. Unfortunately the thing that will stand out most with fans was the way he fell for a pretty mediocre pump-fake by Eric Gordon that ended up sealing the game for the Hornets.
|Ty Lawson, PG 42 MIN | 7-15 FG | 6-7 FT | 1 REB | 6 AST | 22 PTS | -4
Lawson was a standout. On a night when many Nuggets couldn’t get their shot to fall, Lawson figured out a way to score and affect the game in other areas as well. He had a solid night all around — there’s just not much else to say. He’s clearly the Nuggets best player at the moment and as great as that is, it’s still a harsh reminder of how far this team has to go before it can contend for a title.
|Al Harrington, PF 33 MIN | 6-15 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 14 PTS | +10
Many fans are roasting Big Al on Twitter. It seems nobody likes him these days. In my opinion he’s become a scapegoat for misplaced frustration. It’s not his fault he’s assigned to play out of position on a nightly basis. Sure, he takes a few bad shots — who doesn’t? He plays mediocre defense on a team that plays mediocre defense. What I like is his passion. This season has been a wash thus far, but Harrington is still out there bleeding blue and yellow, giving it his all. It was nice to see him stand up for his teammate by criticizing the referees when nobody else would. He also hit a clutch 3-pointer that gave the Nuggets a chance to steal a game they had no business winning in the first place.
|Andre Miller, PG 21 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 6 PTS | +6
This was not a typical Miller game. He was sprightly, especially on defense, and looked very focused from the get-go. He received a bogus Flagrant Two foul on Carl Landry who proceeded to pout with his head in his lap for about 20 minutes after contact ensued (which was likely the reason it stayed a Flagrant Two instead of a One). Aside from that blemish, Miller was enthusiastic and impressive, even though he still played one-on-one basketball for the most part.
|Kosta Koufos, C 22 MIN | 3-4 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | +5
Why Koufos didn’t see more minutes is something that will never be answered and will die as one of the greatest Nuggets mysteries on the day of April 4, 2012. He was far and above the Nuggets best player for a large stretch of the first half, playing tough, inspired basketball when nobody else seemed to care. His post presence was much-needed, but more than anything his defense was a breath of fresh air that really shot some life into the Nuggets. He would have likely been a huge asset to have down the stretch, but… Karl benched him.
|Jordan Hamilton, G 16 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 7 PTS | +15
Hamilton was one of the other “bright” storylines of the evening. He really made use of his time and finally broke out of his shell. Hamilton has to be more aggressive and less tentative. It’s nice to see he’s conscious about not making mistakes, but he needs to play free in order to truly maximize his talent. I know it might sound crazy, but there’s a good chance Hamilton is already one of the better players on this roster. Karl doesn’t like rookies and it’s too bad because if Hamilton had seen more time this year he might finally be comfortable enough to take over the game offensively when the Nuggets are struggling to put points on the board. With the way Brewer played, perhaps Hamilton is finally in line for the minutes he deserves.
Three Things We Saw
- Microsoft: The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the term micromanagement: “to manage especially with excessive control or attention to details.” This word clearly does not exist George Karl’s vocabulary. After the 8:12 mark of the fourth quarter when he inserted Jordan Hamilton into the game (which I thought was a good move, but perplexing nonetheless), Karl made only two more substitutions: one for Kenneth Faried and one for Corey Brewer, who’s sole job was to inbound the ball — which he could not do and which ultimately sealed the win for the opponent. Meanwhile, Hornets head coach Monty Williams made seven different substitutions. One of those was inserting Jason Smith into the lineup at the same time Corey Brewer came in for the Nuggets. Smith went on to steal the failed inbound-pass attempt by Brewer which ended up being a microcosm of George Karl’s poor in-game micromanaging skills. And that my friends, is Nuggets Business 101: Why micromanagement wins games in the NBA.
- Rookie Retaliation: For the second time this year, two rookies have ended up being some of the best players on the floor for the Nuggets. Coincidentally (or not, depending on whether you’d like to acknowledge my sarcasm), both of these instances have come in games where Kenneth Faried and Jordan Hamilton have received extended minutes. So, let’s do some math here: Faried + Hamilton + extended minutes = … You guessed it… Success!!! What a shocker!!! Somebody please send George Karl a telegram because it’s the year 2012 and we’ve come to the conclusion that rookies actually can play basketball! (Remember, if you chose to accept the sarcasm, we’ll throw in an extra dose of facetiousness for free!!!)
- Mini-sting: Besides their general disposition towards the game of basketball, if you want to point to one thing that lost the Nuggets the game tonight, it was their pick-and-roll defense against New Orleans in the third quarter. The Hornets repeatedly went to this gameplan and the Nuggets repeatedly failed to adjust. Instead of positioning themselves to prevent getting screened in the first place, or even fighting around the screens, the Nuggets decided to lazily switch, leaving mismatches galore and an unorganized mire of dead bodies which New Orleans did not hesitate to walk (or shoot) across on their way to the basket. We talk all the time about the Nuggets fragility and their inability to handle adversity — well, we saw it again, and like always, it was just enough to knock the Nuggets down a spot in the Western Conference standings.
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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.
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