Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 105 Houston Rockets 102

Denver Nuggets 105 Final
Recap | Box Score
102 Houston Rockets
Kenneth Faried, F 22 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | 0

Even in a pretty forgettable overall performance, Faried still produced four or five of the most memorable highlight plays of the night. While you can make a case Faried’s outstanding hustle and energy swung the game’s momentum in several critical moments, much of his 22-minute stint consisted of uninspiring filler. Faried can no longer afford to fade into the background as the role-playing energy guy chipping in 4 points and 4 boards in limited minutes. He needs to stay on the court and produce what’s expected of him, especially on the defensive end where Faried needs to develop some consistency.

Danilo Gallinari, SF 34 MIN | 3-9 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 11 PTS | +12

The numbers paint a very misleading picture of how valuable Gallo was, especially in the second and third quarters where the Nuggets found themselves dangerously close to letting the Rockets seize total control. He didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, but Gallo’s passing, decision making, and excellent shot selection have had the Nuggets offense looking more and more like one of the most dangerous in the NBA.

Kosta Koufos, C 14 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | -3

Koufos has more or less been invisible since his move from the bench to the starting lineup. While Koufos has been far from bad, you can’t say he’s made the most of his new opportunity as his minutes have remained the same while his production has dipped across the board. I’ve noticed him struggling against the more physical bruisers down low and Sam Dalembert proved to be no exception.

Arron Afflalo, SG 42 MIN | 10-16 FG | 5-6 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 26 PTS | +11

Another solid all-around effort out of Afflalo, who flat out carried the Nuggets through a trying first half. Afflalo was the one player who I thought embraced the challenge of winning this game and was completely unfazed by the pressure. It was business as usual for Arron, who has turned a rough start to the season into the best campaign of his young career.

Ty Lawson, PG 36 MIN | 9-15 FG | 5-8 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 25 PTS | -12

Lawson really controlled the game down the stretch. It was far from pretty, but Ty got it done when it mattered most. We saw a much more balanced scoring attack out of Lawson along with a more aggressive attitude and an Afflalo-like approach in terms of effort. Lawson hit a huge three pointer down the stretch and also helped carry the offense with his penetration and ability to get to the line.

Al Harrington, PF 28 MIN | 4-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 15 PTS | +7

After a quiet start to his night, Harrington came alive during a crucial third quarter stretch that culminated in the Nuggets taking their first honest lead of the game and eventually closing it out with a win. Torn menisucs and all, Harrington is proving he can still be a dangerous offensive threat off the bench. In many ways, Harrington’s shooting and scoring is what opens things up the Nuggets offense, which is heavily reliant on the bench.

Andre Miller, PG 26 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 13 AST | 4 PTS | +2

Lethargic is the only word to describe Andre Miller’s first-half performance. It was almost surreal seeing him carelessly throw away possessions and casually jog back up the floor in a game with so much at stake for both teams. Eventually, Miller got this act together and provided a steady hand of leadership down the stretch, but it has to be noted that Miller only showed up for the second half and was nowhere to be seen in the first.

Corey Brewer, SF 18 MIN | 4-5 FG | 2-3 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | +8

It’s been tough for Brewer to find an appropriate role, as he was starting a good portion of the season for the injured Gallinari and never worked himself into a comfortable groove with the rest of his teammates. Brewer basically found the perfect role backing up Gallo, and turned in the finest 18 minutes of his Nuggets career,. Offensively, Brewer took a good balance of inside and outside shots and showed much better focus in terms of defending the perimeter.

Timofey Mozgov, C 4 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | -7

The Nuggets were struggling to find answers for Sam Dalembert and Mozgov got a brief 4-minute opportunity in the second half. There wasn’t a lot to judge his performance by in four minutes, but it’s safe to say Mozgov didn’t particularly stand out.

JaVale McGee, C 17 MIN | 4-5 FG | 1-4 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | -3

McGee once again stayed solid for the duration of his limited time on the floor. Without Marcus Camby available for much of the past two contests, Denver was able to get away playing heavy amounts of small ball and McGee hasn’t been relied on for much. JaVale continues to be a hard worker who shows flashes of tremendous athletic ability. It should be interesting to see how he is brought along as the playoffs draw near and the Nuggets face tougher competition inside.

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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.

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  • Ayo

    Great game! I came in at the last quarter so I missed a good amount but a gratifying win over the Rockets.7th place sounds so sweet, maybe we can claim sixth if the Mavs start screwing up.

    • Mac Miller

      The Mavs lost tonight so we’re in the 6th seed by half a game. Woo!

  • Paul

    Im not a usual poster, and I dont get to watch all the games, in fact I watch very few, but I do follow the nuggets thoroughly. I would just like to say I love the win, it was very huge, but everyone is going to be saying that.

    My point I would like to make is about the assists this year. I love that fact that they are almost always in the upper 20s. I know its up due to the fast pace, but it has always been a way to tell how the nuggs are playin. The assists usually mean good ball movement or cuts to the basket. We had 26 today. I believe last year we won almost every game where we had 20+ assists. This really excites me about the nuggets. They are a very young team and individuals will continue to improve and mature, which only makes for a better nuggets team next year.

    Im not saying this year is over, or that we are going to lose in the playoffs, but im more excited for next year and watching these players mature and share the ball.

  • Evan

    Clutch win from the Nugs tonight. Every game, Afflalo looks like the star that we all thought Danilo would be. He deserves some recognition. Even though the 7 seed sounds nice, I have my sights set on the 5th. The Clips are playing OKC, so after their loss we’ll be three games back on them for the 4th seed. We play them next week too, so there’s a good chance to make up a game. We’re 1.5 back from Memphis, but they have a cupcake schedule, so they’ll probably get 4th. After Dallas loses to the Jazz tonight, (they’re down 7 in the 4th) we’ll be tied with them for #6. The question is, would we rather play the Grizzlies, the Clippers, or the Lakers?

    • Chuck

      Clippers, spurs, thunder. I don’t wat lakers or grizzlies in first round

  • TJ McBride

    This game was huge. If the nuggets can buy in like they did tonight, they can play with the lakers or clippers and beat them i the first round. it might not even be a stretch to say they could play with the spurs as well. i feel like the nuggets are playing excited again. there finally playing with passion and heart and that is what won this game. they werent scoring at will and they werent getting stops all night. this was a hard-nosed and scrappy win that came directly from passion and heart. im feeling like this could finally be THE turning point in the season. beating the team you were fighting with for the 8th spot both times on a home-and-home on back to back nights is an extremely tough feat to accomplish. im sure im not the only fan thinking that the nuggets might be hitting there stride at the PERFECT time. if they can beat the clippers, suns, magic, and t-wolves they will go into the playoffs in the 6th or even 5th spot with tons of momentum. the nuggets might just be the sleeper team in the playoffs because they play solid road ball and have finally started to dominate at home. teams need to watch out now.

    • http://espn Gary

      Easy there Tiger…this was Houston i.e. definition of average. Nuggets won 2 ina row, but they weren’t easy wins aby any stretch of the imagination. The onyl team they have even have a shot to upset in the 4th round are the Clippers and that’s a long shot. Ironically being 6th probably gives us our worse matchup in the Fakers. I’d give the Nuggets a better shot against anyone else. Mentally and physically they just don’t measure up to those dirty mo.fo’s..

  • Jim

    Dre, aaa, timid Ty, cbrew, gk…all have felt our wrath this year. They all came through tonight big time. Kudos. Growing up, playing d. Feels good tonight.

  • Ban Johnson

    Don’t forget the 2 vets — Andre and Al. They really steadied the offense down the stretch.

    Harrington with some terrific box-outs late in the 4th too; he rebounded well enough for the Nuggets to get away with small-ball in crunch time.

  • Mason

    I’d prefer to play the Lakers or the Clippers honestly. OKC and Memphis match up much too well against us in that they have a strong defensive presence on the inside. The Clippers are our best chance I think. Also, the Nuggets really need to clean up their help defense. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re the worst team in the league at 3-point defense… I think, and hope that Wilson Chandler can fix this.

    • dayv

      I was just about to ask this question but I agree 100%. If it came down to it though I think I’d rather take the Clippers. And even as odd as it sounds I would rather have to play the Lakers with Kobe back in the lineup. AAA covered him well when he played meanwhile Gasol and Bynum were looking to run all over us.

  • Ernie

    Dallas goes down in 3OT and the Nugs are in 6th! It might be the most happy I’ve ever been to be in 6th place. Or really should be. 5 games left…

    My only complaint tonight was leaving Miller in to defend with less than 5 seconds left. He’s the worst defender on the team, really didn’t make any sense. But a great win so savor.

    • NuggFan forLife

      Dude, I think you have to remove the “worst defender” tag off of Miller. He’s changed this month and he’s finally become more of a better offensive player as a result. I think Miller has finally shown up as a leader who has had enough of playoff frustrations and tries to will this young team to success.

      • Ernie

        Dude, who is a worse defender on the team than Miller that is a guard? If you can’t come up with someone then Miller is by definition the worst. And should not be in there when the team just needs a stop.

  • CJP32

    Another great team effort by the Nuggets. Defense again won this game. Al, Dre and Brewer off the bench were huge, Ty and AAA have really stepped up, Gallo has kinda taken a back seat. McGee is playing OK, but nothing spectacular. I think we really should leave Wilson Chandler on the bench, the team we have right now is clicking, 7-3 over our last 10. With the Dallas loss, we can really make this Playoff run great, if we can face the Clippers or Spurs, I think we could do ok.

  • Trevor

    If it wasn’t for the lack of training camp and coming into the season out of shape Arron Afflalo could be averaging 20 PPG. He is the nuggets best and most consistent player since the All-Star break. That fade away jump shoot in the paint is money!

  • al68

    No creo que tengamos equipo para hacer mucho mas de lo que hacemos tenemos jugadores bastante mediocres y hemos tenido muchas lesiones.

    A pesar de las asistencias que damos el movimiento de balon es muy malo cuando pasa por AAA y Gallo sobre todo AAA deberia ser finalizador de jugadas como las que hace con Miller tiene que buscar mas los open shots y dejar de botar buscando el tiro gasta mucho tiempo de posesion y el ataque se resiente mucho lo mismo pasa con Gallo pero él es peor tirador que AAA y eso perjudica aún más.

    Espero que se recupere bien para el próximo año Chandler porque me parecía el jugador más completo de denver en defensa y ataque.

    Algo que sigo sin entender PORQUE MILLER ESTA ES LA ULTIMAS JUGADAS NO DEFIENDE NADA, hoy el tiro de houston fue sin oposición suerte que falló.

    Otro gran partido de Brewer ha sido fundamental es las 2 victorias.

    Harrington tiene mucha raza es lo que necesitabamos tambien nos vendría bien un poco de Andersen.

  • GIANLUCA

    if KARL FIRE , the NUGGETS can win NBA IN 2013 !!!
    yesterday AAA pass the ball at GALLO and this is good

    ITALIA FAN – SIENA ( palio di siena : ) – W DENVER

    ps but DALAMBERT play ??? :)

    • al68

      Preciosa Siena estuve el año pasado en la Toscana y todo me gusto Pisa, San Gimignano, Florencia por cierto me gusto mas la catedral de siena que la de florencia.

      Volviendo al basket creo que este año Gallo no esta bien y no deberia acaparar tanto el balon y forzar tanto lo bueno es que es un jugador comprometido y cuando no le salen las cosas en ataque por lo menos defiende mejor.

  • GIANLUCA

    NUGGETS 2013

    LAWSON – UDRIH – VASQUEZ
    AFFLALO – OJ MAYO – BELINELLI
    GALLINARI – W.CHANDLER
    FARIED – HARRINGTON
    GARNETT – KOUFOS – MCGEE

    coach NO KARL

    FIRE : karl – miller – brewer – mozgov

  • Hawkeye-X

    GianLuca – BITE ME!

    Fire yourself!

    Karl is still a damn good coach.

    • Ernie

      GianLuca is our Nuggets fan from Italy, likely because of Gallo. Let us be more kind to our Denver Nuggets fans from far away and encourage their discussion.

    • GIANLUCA

      i’m an expert of basketball and if WE ( NUGGETS XD ) WANT WIN nba WE MUST DEFENSE !!!

      gallo-AA-faried … are great defense but with karl..

      what have win KARL IN THE BENCH ?

      nothing and he go alwais in playoff because he have BILLUPS-IVERSON-ANTHONY ecc
      the nuggets in this 10 year have 1 team that in the west can :

      PARTECIPATE 2 NBA FINALS
      PARTECIPATE 4 CONF. FINALS
      ARRIVED 2° or 3° IN REGULAR SEASON

      karl : only WEST FINALS 2009 … FIRE!!!

      ps the nba produced 1 special ( THE ASSOCIATONS ) , and speak about NUGGETS…

      4 YOU THE NUGGETS , IN THE YEAR OF THE SPECIAL DON’T GO TO PLAyOFF ???

      stern is intelligens… 4 the LAKERS want THE NUGGETS IN 1° ROUND…
      AND I , BECAUSE I AM A FAN OF NUGGETS ( no ONLY 4 gallo , i love birdman faried lawson harrington koufos and DENVER PEOPLE AND CITY …
      I’M IN ACCORDING WITH STERN .. NUGGETS ( with karl ) can win only with LAKERS ( 2 game max )

      i think that MASAI IS INTELLIGENT .. THIS SUMMER HE CAN DEMOSTRATE —> karl to work in MINIERA XD

  • http://espn Gary

    The issue here is that we still struggle against legit competition. Last two games Nuggets have probably played to their level desperate best and barely beat out Houston i.e. average. We are still the 7th best team in the best based on talent and mental strength. And our coaching is more of a detriment than a lifting factor come play-offs. Fakers and OKC are probably our worst first round matchups and seeded 6th we will run into one of those. Clippers are best shot at an upset, but still a very long one. Don’t think the Grizz can get to 3rd/4th, but if they do, they are not good news either.
    Liking the development of the (young) core led by AAA & Lawson and excited for next year. But GK has to go depart regardless and anything more than 4 games this post-season would be a good bonus.