Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 113 Minnesota Timberwolves 107

Minnesota Timberwolves 107 Final
Recap | Box Score
113 Denver Nuggets
Kenneth Faried, F 36 MIN | 5-9 FG | 6-8 FT | 12 REB | 2 AST | 16 PTS | +9

Faried’s second consecutive double-double earns him a solid grade, but it’s worth mentioning he had 14 and 10 at halftime and shot 0-2 while grabbing only two rebounds in 17 second-half minutes. It’s nitpicking when your rookie power forward has a game like this, but Faried can work on being a steadier player for all 48 minutes. Thankfully, when rewarded with appropriate playing time like the 36 minutes he received tonight, there’s no way Faried doesn’t improve. Even when struggling, his effort never wavers and he finds a way to make winning plays.

Danilo Gallinari, SF 35 MIN | 7-16 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 18 PTS | +6

Gallo made the biggest shots of the night, but took some poor ones and understandably struggled to find his rhythm only a few weeks removed from breaking his left thumb. Gallo’s playmaking and passing ability were superb, but he also had 5 fouls and really drifted in and out of the game defensively (to be fair, so did the rest of his teammates)

Kosta Koufos, C 15 MIN | 3-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | +2

Koufos struggled defending Pekovic, but still managed another perfectly adequate performance in limited minutes. Koufos has improved his defense over the course of the season, but can be foul-prone and erratic in terms of his rebounding.

Arron Afflalo, SG 37 MIN | 7-14 FG | 4-6 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 21 PTS | +5

Afflalo was the one player who was consistently good on offense. Without his timely shot-making in the third quarter, Denver might have fallen apart altogether. This was far from Afflalo’s best game defensively, but he’s been a steady contributor in one way or another just about every night.

Ty Lawson, PG 35 MIN | 9-17 FG | 6-6 FT | 5 REB | 8 AST | 24 PTS | +11

This was a much more complete effort from Ty Lawson on both ends. He was aggressive and physical throughout. More importantly, he finally took advantage of a favorable matchup against Jose Barea and Malcolm Lee. Ty played with a lot of energy but also had a hand in allowing the offense to go stagnant and ultimately give up a 24-point lead to a Timberwolves team without any of their best players on the floor.

Al Harrington, PF 22 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | -3

Harrington just didn’t have it tonight and was visibly struggling to keep up with the younger, more athletic Minnesota forwards. For the first time in very many games this season, Harrington sat out the final seven minutes of the fourth quarter. Big Al did make his threes in the first half and it is tough to evaluate him knowing he’s playing with a torn meniscus, even admitting it’s affecting his ability to defend and rebound.

Andre Miller, PG 27 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 0 PTS | +6

Now there’s the Miller I know. While I gave Andre a ton of credit for his improved energy and effort over the past few weeks, you can’t help but notice he’s a guy who coasts through games and doesn’t play hard all the time. If you want an example, watch the entire fourth quarter. Defensively, he was Andre Miller. Offensively, his own ill-advised decision making led to string of frustrating plays that culminated in him moping around the court in all too familiar fashion.

Corey Brewer, SF 16 MIN | 3-7 FG | 2-3 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 8 PTS | -10

Brewer continues to be one of the most frustrating players on the team. He’s constantly fighting the urge to get up 15 shots every game and on defense, where Brewer’s supposed to make his mark, all he does is wildly hawk the ball or flop in hopes of causing a turnover. Hopefully, someone can remind Brewer that a stop and a defensive rebound can be just as good as a forced turnover.

JaVale McGee, C 17 MIN | 3-4 FG | 2-4 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | +4

McGee didn’t get a lot of rebounds, but he made all sorts of hustle plays that netted the Nuggets several extra possessions. In fact, McGee was playing with Manimal-like energy his entire 17-minute stint. He continues to be a big time presence in the paint and a promising team defender who can’t help but throw in two or three boneheaded mistakes every game. In terms of pure talent, I think he is one of the better players on the team and a potential game changer if he can find a way to settle down and fit in.

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Charlie Yao

Contributor at Roundball Mining Company since 2010. Unhealthily obsessed with Nuggets basketball since 2002. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram at the links on the left.
  • Skyler

    “Injuries are a difficult area for any coach. It becomes very frustrating when we’ve had a lot of them,” Karl said. “I get kind of annoyed because I listen to all these other games and everybody talks about their injuries. It seems like (broadcasters) never talk about our injuries.

    “I don’t think we’re underachieving this year. I think we’re overachieving.”

    -George Karl

    • Skyler

      Its hard to believe he thinks we are overachieving when we are in 8th place and loaded with talent

      • Ryan

        I saw that quote as well. Just goes along with Karl’s middling aspirations and culture of mediocrity…

        • Michael

          Exactly, that is the issue. Because George is content with being a middle of a pack team we will never break through. I think the talent we have now is very balanced, and with an ambitious coach that is willing to play rookies when they are deserving of minutes (Jordan Hamilton and Kenneth Faried first half of the season) we will be contenders.

    • Daniel

      Another rousing halftime speech and questionable rotations in the 4th qtr for GK. We blow a 24 point lead to a T-wolves team with no Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, or Luke Ridnour. Inexcusable. Those quotes reflect exactly what pisses me off about GK. He makes excuses and is happy with mediocrity. He’s been mediocre his whole career, why change now.

      http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/fire-george-karl-now/

  • Ayo

    This was a scary game. Coming into the second half with a 20 point lead only to watch it slowly chip away as we stopped trying to penetrate into the paint. I like our scoring numbers though, a balanced attack between AAA, Lawson, Gallo, and Faried. Corey Brewer gave a great spark with 3 steals, Koufas and McGee also played very well.

    • CJP32

      Brewer came in the 4th and shut Williams down. His defense was crucial at that point. Too bad some of the other players cant play defense!

  • Kyle Obergfell

    this team is overachieving by getting past their coach.

    Winning has a way of making us all one big
    happy family .. but serious.y..

    Who coaches more lopsided turns than George Karl?

    there’s always a time out.. a few new fresh players..
    maybe slowing down the momentum….

  • TJ McBride

    George Karl after the game said that he is extremely upset with his younger players and they cant always depend on the brains of Andre and Al. are you freaking kidding me? Mr. i shoot every three i can and then andre sticky hands? man he really doesnt realize that Ty and faried hit massive FT and Gallo hit huge jumpers in the 4th GK doesnt realize what is happening with his team

    • Jim

      I listened to that interview and I mostly agree with him. He’s pissed off at how inconsistent we play. This third quarter being a perfect example. That is a good sign for gk. get pissed. Demand more. Call out the players that need to step up. He was still playing Ty gallo and faried at the end of the game at least.

      I coach 9 year olds. Flipping on them can work. Gk needs some new approaches this year. I’m happy to hear him be pissed.

      Don’t agree with the injuries and veterans side of his argument tho.

      • TJ McBride

        yeah im ok with him getting upset at blowing the lead but to say that we cant always rely on Al and Dré is just blind favoritism

  • Ernie

    I feel bad for Kevin Love but what he was doing isn’t basketball. We didn’t grow up on the playground sliding 1 inch from someone without giving them room to turn. Defense used to be about contesting shots, now it’s about sneaking into space and falling down. The game will be better for everyone if they get this fixed.

    I am predicting if the Nuggets play every team without its top two players that they will go undefeated the rest of the way. 2 down, 8 to go.

  • Ryan

    Next seven games are all difficult, against playoff/potential playoff teams. It will be interesting to see if the Nuggets rise to the challenge or settle for Karl’s excuses. I’m hoping for the former, but expecting the latter. On a more positive note, JaVale McGee single-handedly won this game by KOing Love, not sure if we win if Love is playing at his normal level…

  • evan

    Lets bitch about another win guys!

    Man I love the team but the fans are really starting to annoy me.

    • Ernie

      So after a win at home against a team without it’s two best players where they gave up a 24 point lead and were outplayed in the 2nd half significantly you expect everyone to come here and just say, “Yes!”. Why? What’s wrong with discussing the issues?

    • DH

      “I think it’s the worst win of the year,” Nuggets coach George Karl said.

      All wins are not equal. People come here to comment on what they saw. If you didn’t see anything bad in coughing up a 24-point lead to a non-playoff team without it’s best player and without it’s top 2 point guards, that’s fine. But if others did see things they didn’t like, they should feel free to comment on those things, IMO.

  • HD

    mcgee playyed bad, looked lost again…stil a dub is a dub. on to the next one

    • ryanvdonk

      he was hit and miss, was surprised he came out on one of the shifts he was playing well, only to go to small ball

  • Aaron

    Woww That Was Close..Karl Needs To Quit With The Excuses Tho. Its So Annoying To Listen To Him After Games Now. O Well..

    Go Nuggets!

  • Tom

    I hope Kobe plays against us in the next game. Just play man-up on him and let him shoot jumpers all game. He’ll take away more efficient touches from Bynum and Gasol. I wonder what the game plan is against that monster front line. You have to play Koufos, McGee, and Mozgov bigger minutes, right? If Bynum and Gasol each play 35 minutes, then you have to get at least 35 minutes between M, K, & G, I would think, because there’s no one else on the team big enough to handle Bynum and Gasol. Can Faried handle Gasol? I guess we’ll find out.

    • Aaron

      I Think Denver Could Easily Up Set L.A. in The Playoffs Which Might End Up Being Our Playoff Mathup. Only Problem is Two Words…GEORGE KARL!! I’m Scared He’ll Try An Go “Small Ball” Against The Lakers And Bynum An Gasol An Get Out Rebounded By 20 Boards A Game. Other Then That I Think We Could Win in 5-6 Games.

  • Jim

    So wtf with the second half? Clearly we had less energy and that is not ok but I didn’t see the usual shitty d. Barea started messing around and Matthews got hot and all of a sudden 18-20 pts turned into 9. Where was the lapse? We definitely got all wimpy/lazy/timid on the offensive end with all jumpers too.

    We need wins. Lakers and two games with Houston. Money time.

  • CJP32

    Charlie, a C- for Brewer?? Did you not watch the game? He had 8 pts in 8 mins of playing time in the 1st half. In the 4th qtr when put on Derrick Williams, he played exceptional defense and recorded 2 steals. Yes he shot 3-7, but one shot was a half court buzzer beater. I would say Brewer was instrumental in slowing down the Wolves hottest shooter.

    • Thomas

      He doesn’t like Brewer and sees no fault in Al’s game. That part I don’t get.

    • magster

      Those 2 steals in the 4th stopped the bleeding for Denver. C- was too harsh on Brewer.

  • Whimanji

    In the NBA it’s a game of runs. Yes it wasn’t a pretty finish but the great part is that we battled thru. It can only help confidence. When we lose GK says we r fine and when we win he is pissed. I guess it’s right if he thinks this team is overachieving. No coach should ever say his team is overachieving even if they are. GK is obviously put I it now and it shows that his time has come. Keep playing hard and lets get into the big dance!

  • Whimanji

    I’m sorry but I hve lost all respect for u Coach Karl. Can’t wait for a new voice on the team next year!

  • Prizzy

    Despite all our shortcomings I think this team is gonna make some major noise in the playoffs should they make it. OKC is the only matchup that I fear and we played them pretty even in the 1st round of last year. We always play to the level of the competition. Just get there Nuggs and worry about GK’s complacency once the season is over.

  • al68

    que defensa en la segunda mitad!!!!!!!!.

  • al68

    Harrington no debía haber jugado mas de 12 min su defensa fue de pena igual que la de Miller ¿¿¿y la mantiene en los últimos minutos!!!!!!.

    Es desesperante ver las jugadas que intenta Mcgee este chico es malo y lo peor de todo es que se cree muy bueno.

    Porque en la primera mitad se mueve el balon y se defiende y en la segunda no se hace nada jugadas 1×1 sin sentido tiros forzados, se les permiten contraataques a wolves.

    Este equipo necesita intensidad y mano dura como hacen aqui en europa los entrenadores de la antigua Yugoslavia.

    En lo positivo muy buena primera parte, y gran decision y muestra de caracter de Gallo, buena defensa final de Brewer (todo lo contrario que harrington ¿¿B-!!!!!!!), y agresividad de Lawson aprovechando quetenía delante a Jose Juan, como siempre muy buena la intensidad y animo que contagia Faried.

    Lo mas importante es que se ha ganado, y se ve que necesitamos la defensa de Chandler, sin sus alocados tiros, para hacer algo en PO si llegamos

  • Ban Johnson

    “In terms of pure talent, I think he (McGee) is one of the better players on the team”

    This is an understatement.

    McGee would probably be the 2nd player picked this year if he were coming out of college (and a couple years younger). Last draft he may have been the 1st. In a good game, 3 or 4 times he’ll do something that will make your eyes bulge out at the pure potential. The problem, of course, is that he’s 24, about the age when most people start to give up on a player’s potential and accept him for who he is.

    But in terms of pure talent (potential), on the Nuggets really only Gallo is in his league. Ty, massively talented in his own way, would be another notch below.

    There have been some big guys who didn’t blossom until later. Maybe McGee will be one of them; he doesn’t seem like a bad guy.

    • Dubz

      Problem is I think he really lacks in the IQ department and that’s very difficult for a coach to overcome. These boneheaded mistakes are a disturbing trend that doesn’t seem to want to end. I obviously want nothing but success for him, but I’m not sure if he has much going on upstairs if you know what I mean.

  • HD

    I thought cbrew had two really big steals that were game changers? and he gets a c? hmmmm I’m confused.

  • Thomas

    The worst coach in the league had himself another awful coaching game – if you can even call it that.

    Let’s break down his “strategy”:

    – Start with true center that doesn’t score but plays sound D. Each starter is in their optimal playing position (PG is PG, SG is SG, etc) and the team is designed to rebound and run. Play them for no more than 7 minutes.

    – Change completely our pace by taking out the center and the rebounder, inserting a half-court, slow-the-tempo PG and a power forward at center, one that plays bad D nonetheless. Lose the rebounding edge, despite the fact that the other team lost its best rebounder and plays small.

    – Insert the two-guard line-up and bring in the other center. Make your starting PG a second fiddle.

    GK makes some variations to this pattern, but this is the core of what he does. He ignores favorable match-ups. He has an unconditional favoritism towards 2 veterans (Al and Andre) – unfortunately the local media and fans seem to have one too, which is baffling considering their long-term record of mediocrity.

    If you watch games, you will notice that the starting five never gets more than 15 minutes of playing time AS A UNIT.

    Our only hope in the playoffs (if we make it) rely on this starting five unit and the cohesion they develop until the playoffs. Unfortunately, our coach is stubborn with his failed ideas and thinks that he can make a splash with these wild line-ups.

    And, by the way, why isn’t Hamilton getting some burn lately? Guy should be a frequent contributor, has loads of talent and showing significant progress. If Popovich was his coach, for sure he would be a starter in a year.

    Fire him already, will you?

  • steve

    Koufos seems to be a favorite on here as far as the grades go. Several times lately he’s been given a B when it should be a C or D even. 2 rebounds in 15 min from your C is atrocious.

    On another note, i’m not sure we’d be a .500 team without AAA. He has single handedly willed this team to stay in games in alot of games this year. He’s probably my favorite nug along with Faried.

    • Kyle Obergfell

      I agree Steve.
      KK has not been anything to write home about.
      But I guess it’s a Mosgov curve.

      Geez how much harm could it do to play Birdman?

      Every other experiment has been tried.

  • paul

    Like your analysis but please stop referring to McGee as a ‘bonehead’. They all make mistakes. We all do. But using that term repeatedly with McGee is not a good long term strategy.

  • Ernie

    I think I’ve figured out GK’s thoughts about going small. He is absolutely terrified of when the other team goes small because our centers can not defend on the perimeter, and decided that when that happens he will always match up small for small. The decision is never to go big and punish the other team by going inside on mismatches, because we don’t really have a center with reliable post moves. And for some reason we don’t really play zone to take advantage of McGee’s shot blocking and limit his 1 on 1 defensive liability.

    Fortunately if they play the Lakers he needs to keep a big team in there to match up. That’s why getting the 6th seed is so important. Of course if we get blown out tomorrow night it might prove to be a fruitless exercise.

    • Kyle Obergfell

      Yeah.. that makes a lot of sense…

      especially with the results he’s been getting

      Are you for real?
      This isn’t the first time they’ve squandered a big lead.
      it’s to be expected with GK

      who else in the NBA does that?
      Nobody else that I know.

      Up 24 points?
      He’s always finding a way to leave the door open.

      • Ernie

        Kyle, this is the second time I give analysis and you give me garbage back. If you want to give analysis back I’m all for that. If you want to keep giving the “Dude, did you ever play basketball” and the “Are you for real” then I really don’t need it and can’t imagine anyone else does.

        • Kyle Obergfell

          You are the one defending him.

          I’m not on you as much as I am on GK..

          It was never meant to be personal.

          It never was.
          Other than your opinion that he makes
          no difference either way.

          Which honestly?
          Yeah.. still doesn’t make any sense.

          • Kyle Obergfell

            btw Ernie..

            as far as the persecutory complex..
            look at the game thread previous to this one…
            (39 pt win over GS)

            2nd comment down when I said
            “Does anyone want to say this team just isn’t that talented”

            and find where this all began.

            • Ernie

              Really, you were hurt that I used a bunch of facts to explain why the GS win didn’t really prove anything about our talent and ended it with a quote from a movie we all know and use? Don’t know what to say to that.

              Respond with analysis back and I’m fine. Enough with the blather and questions that don’t matter like how much basketball I have played and the like.

          • Ernie

            I wasn’t defending GK, I was explaining what I thought was his strategy. There is a difference.

            • Kyle Obergfell

              what facts?
              and upon who’s authority?

              and really.. you flip flop.

              First the coach has nothing to do with W/L
              Next you apologize for him, rationalize..

              let’s just call it what it is..
              a difference in opinion.

              But saying the coach has nothing to do with things..
              that honestly did invite the question of knowledge of the game.

              If any players feel that way.. it’s chaos (even more so)
              And maybe they do feel that way.

              You have a collective 8-9 players in there
              there has to be some kind of fluid plan

              Even playing street ball.. there are always a few players
              not working with the other four

              If you don’t organize all these moving parts..
              you’re getting outnumbered quick.

              Which seems to be the case with these wild swings
              in scoring runs and the 29th ranked defense.

              • Ernie

                What facts? Interesting. Here was my quote:

                “They played a crappy Golden State team whose ownership is making Jackson start 3 rookies because they want to lose in order to get a top 7 pick this year, playing without its two best players (Curry and Bogut) or a center and at home. Yes it was fun, but as the Wolf said in Pulp Fiction, “Let’s not go….each others…just yet”.”

                Fact 1: They played a crappy Golden State team. GS is 22-35. I’d say that is crappy, it is the 7th worst record in the league.

                Fact 2: Ownership wants to lose to get a top 7 pick. This is because if it isn’t a top 7 pick it is unprotected and goes to Utah from a previous trade. They want the pick in a loaded draft and don’t want to wait until next year. Again this seems to be a univerally accepted truth.

                Fact 3: Playing without it’s 2 best players (Curry and Bogut). Who else is better than Curry and Bogut? I was pretty sure that was an acceptable thought after the Ellis trade. You would rather have whom on that team than a healthy Curry or Bogut?

                Fact 4: The game was at home. Can we agree on this one?

            • Ernie

              As for flip flopping, no it hasn’t happened. I don’t like what GK is doing with the small lineups and not playing the rookies, but I try to understand it. And ultimately I think the issue with this team is the lack of leadership from the players and not him. Sorry if that was confusing to you. But it hasn’t changed. Not even once.

              Again just direct any points/arguments to the team and I’m fine. I get that you think the team is super talented and all the problems are from GK. That’s fine, you are allowed to feel that way. But the “YOU flip flop, are YOU for real, did YOU even play dude, YOU rationalize” doesn’t do us or anyone else on the board any good.

              • Kyle Obergfell

                the team is super talented Eddie..

                they are also super young.

                There is a lot of problem with that.

                Again.. that would be a coaching problem.

                And that .. like everything.. is merely my humble opinion.

  • Ryan

    Best unit of the night was Ty, AAA, Faried, KK, and Gallo. Of course, Karl won’t give them 25+ minutes together and subjects us to 2 PG/small ball far more often. While I give Al credit for playing with a bad knee, he shouldn’t be playing 20+ minutes, he’s just too much of a defensive liability. Indirectly, Karl is probably somewhat responsible for Al’s knee problem by running him into the ground with too many minutes in a compressed schedule.

    • Thomas

      That’s the starting unit, the only one that is fundamentally sound at both ends of the floor.

      Koufos is not a scorer, won’t fill up the stat sheet, but he is a very good positional player and makes few mistakes. If he played 25+ minutes a night, alongside Faried and Gallo, we would be in good hands.

      Unfortunately, our coach and most of our fans focus on player points scored, assists, experience. Al and Andre are heroes for playing hurt, they are “helping” the team. This couldn’t be the further from the truth. They help you win as many games as they help you lose. Their careers prove it, not to mention the fact that they’ve been around a lot of teams with little playoff success.

      Team defense and rebounding, alongside with a fast transition to offense, is what can make this team competitive come playoff time. None of these attributes will be explored as long as Karl is here. His desire to change rotations is maddening.

      Faried, Gallo and KK could develop into one of the most efficient front courts in the league. With a guy like Faried, you should always win the rebounding edge as long as you play him enough and alongside a true center. When he’s not playing, you should play bigger, not smaller.

      I see so many flaws in our game strategy that I honestly think we are being coached by a guy that doesn’t care much about winning as he does about proving his belief system. An “ego-coach”, exactly what this team doesn’t need.

      • DH

        “Unfortunately, our coach and most of our fans focus on player points scored, assists, experience.”

        I’m glad you said “most” of our fans, because I certainly don’t. I want rebounding and defense, especially in crunch time. Yeah, it’s not sexy, but how do you win if you can’t get a rebound or stop the other team when it counts most?

        Also, speaking of things that don’t show up in stats, you can’t quantify what it means when the other team decides not to run a post play or drive to the rim at a crucial point in the game because a 7-footer is waiting for them. Instead, when they play the Nugs, they see a mismatch with our perimeter-oriented power forward playing their center and/or they see no shot blocker to stop their drives. In most cases, they also have a mismatch with our shooting guard playing small forward and our backup PG playing 2-guard. We give them mismatches and advantages all over the place. It’s no wonder that at the end of close games we usually end up jacking up a bunch of 3’s while the other team gets high-quality shots.

        • Thomas

          Couldn’t agree more.

  • GIANLUCA

    i’m an ITALIAN fun of NUGGETS…

    i see the NBA from ITALY .. and UTAH-HOUSTON-PHOENIX have a BIG COACH

    DENVER HAVE A LOSER COACH .. KARL !!!

    KARL FIRE or DENVER CAN’T WIN NBA and
    DANILO FARIED LAWSON 2015 GO AWAY OF DENVER

    • Ernie

      VIVA Italian fans of the Nuggets!

  • Ackermann

    UP Down UP Down UP Down, Injury bad-Coaching Injury Bad-Coaching…….Beat the best loss to the worst……….. Sounds like young talented”immature” team they never go far in playoffs but could up set some one………. just Maybe for one series!
    HAHA it is what it is,

    Wish more of u blogers played higher level of ball then High school b4 u think u know how to run a team or coach

  • Ackermann

    ;)