|Kenneth Faried, F 25 MIN | 4-6 FG | 4-7 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | -10
We all love to praise Faried. For a rookie taken 22nd in the 2011 NBA Draft, he’s been impressive. But it’s games like these where Faried’s inexperience really shows. He was passive, perhaps intimidated, and failed to inject himself into the heart of the action. Like many Nuggets, Faried must figure out a way to be more aggressive on a consistent basis, especially on the glass. Six rebounds in 25 minutes just won’t cut it — not with his motor. He needs to establish better positioning under the rim and not hesitate to get physical with his counterparts.
|Danilo Gallinari, SF 28 MIN | 0-7 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 4 PTS | -4
What is going on with Gallinari? It’s as if he’s still injured. He’s not attacking — rather taking nothing but jump shots — and doesn’t appear to show any signs of wanting to be “The Man” he was in the beginning of the season. It’s as if he’s reverted back to the jump-shooting perimeter player prior he was prior to coming to Denver. If he’s still injured, then he needs to sit out; otherwise, he needs to start asserting himself in order to help the team win games. Had he been in attack mode on Wednesday, the Nuggets likely would have won.
|Kosta Koufos, C 23 MIN | 5-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 12 PTS | -11
Koufos was fantastic. In only 23 minutes he came up one rebound shy of a double-double. He also got it done on defense, blocking two of his opponent’s shots. He was always in the right spot at the right time to make the right play. Faried should take note.
|Arron Afflalo, SG 38 MIN | 5-11 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 12 PTS | -17
This was the first time Afflalo scored less than 15 points since March 23 — almost a month ago. He hit some big shots, but for whatever reason wasn’t as affective as he has been of late. Look for him to bounce back with a vintage performance on Saturday against the Suns.
|Ty Lawson, PG 37 MIN | 9-14 FG | 4-5 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 24 PTS | 0
Lawson was furious in his attempt to “out-speed” Chris Paul and he did a good job of it for the most part. I mentioned to one of my friends at the game how I don’t mind the Chris Paul-Ty Lawson match-up should the Nuggets face the Clippers in the first round and Wednesday was corroboration to that theory. Lawson likely won’t out-perform Paul every night, but if he can contain him and counter with his own flurry of points and assists, the Nuggets should be just fine.
|Al Harrington, PF 32 MIN | 4-12 FG | 4-4 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | +8
Harrington didn’t shoot the ball particularly well but he finished with a nice stat line overall. It’s clear that heading into the playoffs Harrington’s going to have to play a key role for the Nuggets off the bench, just as he has all year long. The fact that he’s doing it on a torn meniscus is all the more reason Nuggets fans should avoid blaming him for any sort of the team’s downfalls. The fact is: dude’s been in a Nuggets jersey for two years yet he already bleeds blue and yellow.
|Andre Miller, PG 26 MIN | 5-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 8 AST | 12 PTS | +4
For whatever reason I don’t remember much of Miller’s performance. I know he attacked the basket — like usual — and threw a few lob passes but other than that he seemed somewhat quiet. Nevertheless, putting up 12 points and eight assists on 50 percent shooting from the field as a backup is always beneficial to the team.
|Corey Brewer, SF 16 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -5
Just like he’s done all season, Brewer followed up a great performance with a complete dud. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen someone as wildly inconsistent as Brewer. He goes from savior to village goat on a nightly basis. Why he can’t find more stability in his performance is beyond me.
|JaVale McGee, C 15 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | +5
McGee deserves more time. Period. There’s just no reason he should be seeing 15 minutes in a game where the Nuggets desperately need a win. He can’t do anything in that amount of time — nobody can. Should he have had more production on the glass? Absolutely. But even so, it’s too difficult to judge somebody when they only receive a sparing minutes here and there in a highly competitive atmosphere.
Three Things We Saw
- Obliterated Outside: This game was lost because of one thing and one thing only: perimeter defense. People can say all they want about referees, flopping or whatever else it may be, but at the end of the day the Nuggets have no control over that aspect of the game. What they do have control over is their defense and once again it was a complete sham. At this point, I’m just perplexed beyond belief. Perimeter defense has been a problem for this team all season long, yet here we are with four games remaining in a tight playoff race where seeding is going to make all the difference and the Nuggets are STILL losing games because they can’t defend the 3-point line. To me, this is a million times more frustrating than the flopping and referees. It’s such a simple concept yet the Nuggets act as if it’s some kind of insoluble quantum mechanical theory. Not only did the Clippers make nine more 3-pointers than the Nuggets for a grand total of 27 points (an entire quarter’s worth), but they did so while shooting nearly 60 percent from the field!!! It’s just inexcusable on all levels and something George Karl must grasp, and change, if the Nuggets hope to have any success in the playoffs.
- Ill Will: As most of you know by now, Wilson Chandler will miss the rest of the season due to a hip injury. This is pretty devastating for Nuggets fans. Although he hasn’t been the force many thought he’d be upon returning from China, he’s still an excellent defender who can get his shot off when needed. With Harrington already fighting a torn meniscus, the Nuggets once-perceived depth for the playoffs — a huge advantage — is now looking fairly average. I hate to play the role of “Debbie Downer” (which fans seem to despise) but the Nuggets hopes of succeeding in the post season are significantly threatened without Chandler.
- Game of Inches: Though handed a loss in this game, I still believe the Nuggets best match-up in the playoffs is against the Clippers. With only a half game between both L.A. teams and that same distance between Denver and Dallas, it’s absolutely imperative the Nuggets do their best to win three of their next four games in order to ensure the highest seed possible. The Nuggets play Phoenix, Orlando, Oklahoma City and Minnesota down the stretch. Outside of the Thunder, the Nuggets should win each of those games — no excuses. None.
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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.