Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 100 Los Angeles Lakers 104

A very disappointing night for the Denver Nuggets. The boys in blue played much better, but it still was not enough as another second half rally fell short.

Denver Nuggets 100 Final
| Box Score
104 Los Angeles Lakers
Kenneth Faried, F 26 MIN | 5-7 FG | 4-4 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 14 PTS | -14
Faried continues to battle every minute he is on the court and he has been the most consistent Nugget in the two games. I have no idea why the Lakers do not post Gasol up when Faried is guarding him. Sadly, instead of his first career playoff double-double, this game will be remembered for his two costly turnovers and a couple of other mental mistakes in the closing minutes. Also, his six offensive rebounds are fantastic, but only four defensive rebounds is problematic.
Danilo Gallinari, SF 27 MIN | 5-18 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 13 PTS | -14
Gallinari wants to be a go-to scorer for Denver, but even without Metta World Peace hounding him Gallo had an atrocious shooting night. He puts forth effort on defense and he set a new career high with four offensive rebounds. Denver needs him to do more than shoot on offense. Zero assists is unacceptable.
Kosta Koufos, C 12 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -13
Kosta is pretty much a non factor. He rebounded well and did his best to body up with Bynum, but it is clear Karl does not have much faith in him as he never reenters the game after his initial stint to start each half.
Arron Afflalo, SG 31 MIN | 4-12 FG | 3-4 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | -12
Just when you thought things could not get worse for AAA he played possibly his worst offensive game of the season. I think all five of his threes were uncontested and he was trying to hard to score, in his many pointless forays up the floor and into the paint with the ball he was so focused on shooting he missed numerous opportunities to set a teammate up with a decent look. Defensively, he did as well as could be expected on Kobe. The Black Mamba was on fire and no one was going to look good checking him tonight.
Ty Lawson, PG 37 MIN | 11-17 FG | 3-3 FT | 1 REB | 7 AST | 25 PTS | +1
After an uninspired first half, Lawson finally found his game. He did a very good job of penetrating and running. He also appeared to learn his lesson from game one as he used his pull up jumper to get good looks and he only over penetrated once. Defensively he was unremarkable, but solid. As long as Lawson can continue his aggressive and effective play, the Nuggets have a chance of winning a game in Denver.
Al Harrington, PF 22 MIN | 4-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 11 PTS | +16
Al has one gear and one gear only on offense. He was very aggressive in looking for his shot and it paid off early with a couple of made threes, but after that things got ugly. Harrington only converted one of his final nine attempts and when Al is not scoring, he is not helping.
Andre Miller, PG 30 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 8 AST | 0 PTS | +9
Andre was not able to score the way he has in the previous two games against the Lakers, but he continued to find teammates for open looks and was constantly looking up the floor to get the ball to whoever was running out in transition. Miller also played hard on defense and drew a crucial charge on a possession late in the game after rotating from one side of the floor to the other.
Corey Brewer, SF 19 MIN | 5-7 FG | 3-5 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 13 PTS | +4
Brewer brought his fantastic energy and made enough good plays it sure seemed like he was on the court for more than 19 minutes. He forced three steals and ran the floor hard as always. He was abused by Kobe in the few minutes he covered him due to his lack of girth, which made it difficult to keep him on the floor more than 19 minutes.
Timofey Mozgov, C 11 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | +5
It boggles my mind why George Karl plays Mozgov when Bynum is not on the court. Mozgov had another typical Mozgov game. He played good post defense, but as several readers have pointed out, he does not rebound as well as Koufos and McGee nabbing only two defensive rebounds in his 11 minutes. Mozgov did convert on a couple of offensive boards, but his feathery soft jumper has left him further reducing his effectiveness on offense.
JaVale McGee, C 24 MIN | 2-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 5 PTS | -2
Hopefully McGee found his playoff legs in game two. After missing his first two shots including a very easy layup he finally made a field goal and converted on two of his final four shots. As the game wore on McGee’s confidence grew. He really controlled the paint in the fourth quarter on defense blocking five Laker shots, including two from Bynum in a five minute span. McGee also pulled down six defensive rebounds to lead the team. McGee is the one Nugget who can handle LA’s length at both ends and the Nuggets could really benefit from a confidence building outing like this one.

Game Two Wrap-Up and Additional Nuggets (by Charlie)

94 percent.

That is the problem with moral victories. While the Nuggets avoided another game one debacle with much better effort and execution, they still lose a game they can feel good about and fall into a 0-2 series hole against the Lakers. The team that wins the first two of a seven game series goes on to win the series 94% of the time.

It kind of makes you wonder if there actually was anything to feel good about after all.

Truthfully, the Nuggets executed their game plan and challenged the Lakers for the first time all series. While the Nuggets never led and the Lakers seemed to be cruising to another easy win, Denver kept fighting back and remained resilient under increasingly dire circumstances.

Denver scored 30 fast break points, 60 points in the paint, and 21 points off turnovers – besting the Lakers in all three categories and following a formula that should have led a Nuggets victory. It still wasn’t enough as Kobe dominated the game and the Lakers size once again proved too much for the inexperienced Nuggets to handle.

Denver could not make an open shot all night. The starting lineup was once again so anemic and dysfunctional on both ends of the court that it seemed like the Lakers were constantly nursing a double-digit lead. Ty Lawson showed up with a breakout playoff performance, but everyone else regressed as the Nuggets just couldn’t get everyone on the same page at once.

It seemed like Denver played their game tonight, but the margin of error is just way too small to overcome. Lose track of Kobe for a couple possessions? A five-point deficit suddenly becomes 12. Miss a wide open jumper while making a run? The entire team goes cold. Play great defense and force a contested three at the end of the shot clock? The defensive rebound bounces the other way and becomes a dagger.

It was just that type of night. Denver did a lot of good things and unlike game one, there are some genuine positives to take away and some real adjustments to make that should help the Nuggets improve going forward. Unfortunately, that 94% cloud hangs over the remainder of the series as Denver faces an uphill battle and a slim margin for error that is now nonexistent. Literally everything has to go perfect and luck has to factor in for Denver to get back in this.

We’ll discuss the adjustments that need to made soon, like the atrocious starting lineup and the game of musical chairs at the Center position that has seen the Nuggets throw two unproductive stiffs at the most menacing front line in the NBA. In, the meantime, it’s best to take a little break before realizing the gravity of what the Nuggets are now facing heading back to Denver with an 0-2 series deficit.

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  • Marc


    • heykyleinsf

      I never thought we ever found a true full-time center…
      but the three white guy committee I thought would
      be interesting (Moz, KK, Bird)

      I don’t buy this “get in the game flow” stuff.
      We should control the tempo anyway.

  • CJP32

    Changes need to be made for Games 3 & 4. More minutes to Brewer/Dre, less for Afflalo/Gallo. We looked scared again to start with, and played with heart in the 2nd and 4th qtrs. A few minor changes here and there and I think we will be fine.

    Kobe wasn’t going to be stopped today, not by the Denver defenders, or the refs. 2 clearly blatant offensive fouls on Brewer were not called. Im not sure how you can shove a defender out of the way with your shoulder and not be called for it???

    Bynum set a Playoff career high in points and Gasol smoked Faried.

    Harrington was a positive 16 on the court, so his impact is good even though he shoots horribly. Gallo/Afflalo are just playing awful – wake up and lead this team.

  • evan

    Moz has a lot of tipouts not rebounds, witch is good because its hard to secure a rebound sometimes against pao and bynum.
    Kobe hit the hardest shots ive ever seen, over and over. That wont happen again any time soon. Lakers should be worried. Great game by nuggets, refs were bad as usual, but whatever.

    First quarter, first quarter, first quarter.

    My prediction: Nuggets win the first quarter in game 3 and win the game. Same with game 4. Game 5 lakers win first by 1-4 pts, nuggets rally and take a 3-1 advantage on lakers. Lakers win in the 4th in game 6 and it all comes down to a game… like this one… in game 7, except the nuggets will make the plays nessesary to win the series and face the DALAS MAVERICKS in round two of the play-offs.

    • Henry aka LWH and formerly KFH

      Are you watching the same Nuggets-Lakers opening round playoff series the rest of us are watching? You know, the one in the year 2012?

      • evan

        Yes, why?

  • evan


    • https://twitter.com/#!/teejmcbride1 teejmcbride1

      it was a typo he had a double double

    • Jeff


    • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com Jeremy

      Oops, that is fixed. I guess I am used to typing triple double after game 1. Thanks for pointing it out.

  • phibuffa

    Playoffs are about matchups. Everyone but Karl seems to know that. There were a multitude of things that kept the Nuggets from winning this game, but the bottom line was this:

    Fakers played Bynum/Gasol/Hill 96 minutes.
    Nuggets played McGee/Moz/Koufos 46 minutes.

    I agree that Koufos was not the answer against Bynum tonight and would like to see Karl start McGee/Moz on Bynum/Gasol. They have no shot if Karl insists on playing 6’8″ guys on 7 footers. None.

    Are we the only ones who see this? I did not hear it mentioned on either Altitude or TNT, either. How could this escape comment?

    • http://yahoo mile high

      Are u watching the same game as the rest of the nation? Whenever we matched bigs against bigs we got creamed. It was when we went smaller and started running that we started to get back in the game.

      U’re right about match-ups, but matching 2 average or developing bigs against 2 of the best bigs in the world will only get you killed.

      Karl was right to try to match our strength against their strength instead. Our strength is our speed and we can negate their size advantage only if we can keep running. Unless, of course, if we have a healthy Howard that we can throw at Bynum, that’s a different story.

      • phibuffa

        Maybe I was watching a different game. I did not watch the whole game (had to also watch the kids), but I only saw one brief stretch when the Nuggets had two seven footers in there at the same time. Did I miss a big stretch when they had two seven footers on Bynum and Gasol? I also saw Karl start Koufos on Bynum and Faried on Gasol. I also noticed that McGee blocked two of Bynum’s shots when he played him straight up. I lastly read the stat line that showed Denver’s bigs playing less than half the minutes of L.A.’s bigs.

        Denver will hopefully win one, with an outside chance at two, games in Denver playing the small ball…but they do not have a PRAYER of winning this series unless they play their bigs and their bigs perform.
        I know that is a tall order. I know it is unlikely, but IF McGee steps up and Moz and Koufos step up and do just a credible job of at least defending and boxing out Bynum and Gasol, the Nuggets have a shot. If nothing else, they would be helping them develop and/or decide whether they want to keep them for next year. What’s the point of playing in a style that might get you a game or two, but is a GUARANTEED to lose the series?

        C’mon, you saw how Gasol toyed with Faried in there. I love Faried, but that is a terrible matchup for him. Why not rotate the bigs and tell Moz and Koufos to take turns hacking the crap out of Bynum? They can kep Faried in there too, but put him on the small forward or something. Something, for the love of all things holy, Karl, try something.

  • Aaron

    Once Again Harrington Ball Bogged And Shot The Ball WAYYY To Much. And Of Course GK Screwed Up The Lineups And Let Bynum And Gasoline Go Off Again Because GK Doesnt Trust Big Guys Even Tho The Lakers Are Showing Him How Big Guys Can Dominate Games. Lawson And Faried Are The Only 2 Nuggets That Have Heart, Maybe Brewer But Other Then That Every Other Nugget Just Goes Threw The Motions And Plays Scared. I Honestly Wish We Could Win Without a “Super Star” But its Starting To Become Clear, U Need a Superstars To Win. Same With a Coach. GK Isn’t A Good Coach For A Fast Pace Team With Depth, And With Serviceable Centers. Huge Changes Need To Come ASAP.

    But Yaaa Go Nuggets!!!

    • Guy

      Yes you do need a Superstar. How do we get one?? If this team had one real star it would be dangerous. Our best players all have flaws. Lawsons not a leader and doesn’t shoot well enough, Faried’s too small, AAA not athletic enough…we really need Gallo to be the man and so far he’s not.

      • Aaron

        Trade Maybe 4 Of Our Better Players Like Mcgee, Harrington, Chandler, JHamm And a First Round Pick. All Young Players Besides Harrington. Wont Be a Top 5 Player But It Would Atleast Be a Legit All-Star.

        • Adam

          With that package, we would need to be getting Dwight Howard, including a guaranteed contract extension with Denver.

          • owen

            Someone above threw out making a package for an all star– in the short term it would suck, but maybe would attract another player or two of equal caliber we lost in the package

            • phibuffa

              I predict Masai and Lil Kroenke will do something big in the off-season. Not sure what, but they realize the puzzle is missing a piece and will try to fill it.

              • allAround

                Is missing a good coach ? 😀

                One good PF strong one that can box out, and a steady ( motivated I would say ) Miller (or a pass first PG that plays defence I have in mind a player in europe that is that kind of player but he is not fast enough …. now that I am thinking he is faster than Miller )

                Other than that we need a healthy Gallo …

    • Charlie

      I almost regret when Harrington hits his first two shots immediately after coming into the game. You just know he’s not gonna think twice about jacking another one up every time he touches the ball again.

      Harrington really played well and the Nuggets were better with him on the floor, but he shot way too much. Harrington is a good passer and knows how to part of a smooth running offense, but he just chucks so much. Man is it frustrating

  • Steve

    Did this really suprise anyone? KK should have an F and should be put on the bench and never come off again in this series.

    Mozgov plays Bynum well…he has the bulk to battle with him.

    McGee is a game changer and should play the bulk of the minutes.

    If you want Defensive rebounds…Bird is the best of the 4.

    Brewer…don’t get fooled by him. Take a couple of those prayers that went in. He is not a starter and is a sub with energy in small doses.

    AAA…….time to earn that contract. Playing like this will not get it done.

    Did anyone else hear the announcers on TNT talk about the SPURS beating the Lakers? C and or PF comes high to draw out Bynum and or Pau, then PG drives in the lane and then kick to an open shooter. If AA can not hit the shot, then put in JHAM….at least we have a chance for it to go in.

    Karl is not helping.

  • Thomas

    Koufus and mozgov suck. Start Magee and sub in Andersen. Not using BirdMan is a waste of talent.

    • HD

      with you on koufos sucking and Andersen’s talent being wasted but Mozgov played the best defense on Bynum tonigh…dude definitely does not suck

  • Greco21

    Koufos was very good his first 6 minutes. He had 6 rebounds in 6 minutes. Good floor spacing, good defense.

    Then the plan changed and he had to stay on the bench unti the end of half time.

    In the second half he was a part of the unit that did not box out. You can just count 4 times he was in between 2 players and Farried was cut behind screens.

    Just penaltize Kouf. It is the easy thing.

    • HD

      Koufos was out of position nearly his entire floor time. he got pushed and manhandled by all of there bigs. Yeah he was working hard on the glass early but to say he was very good is to lie.

      • Greco21

        I can go play by play if you want. His position while on offense is the weak side. Playing the weak side he managed 2 or 3 offensive rebounds.

        Defense wise he got an one-on-one with Bynum a couple of times. Bynum scored during his first play… and in 2 versus 1 situation in a fast break… He rebounded everything under his radar and then it was decided to be benched and never come back. Not to mention wide open looks that he was not passed. On the other hand Gasol had some wide open looks during KKs strecth on the floor.

        During the second half (and while you know you have a max 5 minutes playing time IF YOU DO NOT MAKE A TURNOVER) he had to face a low post isolated Kobe… 3 times… and he found himself at least 3 or 4 times among 2 or 3 Laker players with no teammate boxing out. No one switching to cover his weak side…

        • Greco21

          Just rewatched Kouf’s 11 minutes… Please watch them again and again… Where was Farried. I mean it was the Gasol party out there. 6-0 with Gasol 4 points.

          During the second half. Gasol points and assists. Kobe had a party and Afflalo was a turnover machine and everybody accounts the -14 points to Kouf… I mean mercy…

  • Thomas

    You can blame Faried and KK all you want, but if Harrington isn’t in there chucking 1-9 to end the game we might have won it.

    We may lose even if we make adjustments, but what is unacceptable is for our coach to come out after the game and say that we lost because of our rebounding in the 2nd half while he plays Faried for only 26 minutes and is in love with an old forward that plays no D and shoots like crazy and at a low percentage.

    Had Faried played another 10-12 minutes, he probably would have cost us one more turnover, maybe 2. But if he was in the game more, if Brewer was in more (23 minutes in game 1, 19 in game 2 – that makes no sense!!), instead of Harrington, we would have gotten some key rebounds and defensive stops that might have made the difference.

    Harrington has played 45 minutes in 2 games. He is 8 of 27 from the field. Out of every 2 possessions we get, he is shooting one of them. Half his time on the court he plays against the weak 2nd unit of the Lakers yet he still can’t hit above 40%.

    We can talk all we want about player details, but this falls all on George Karl – one of the worst coaches I’ve ever seen, particularly on the playoffs.

    I have never seen him outcoach anyone in the playoffs. If it weren’t for Payton and Billups (and maybe KMart) he would never have won a single playoff series.

  • ryanvdonk

    D- for Afflalo!!!!!!!! come on, this might have been his worst game in a nuggets uniform, he made some of the worst passes i’ve ever seen, has zero court vision on offense as he just puts his head down when he drives (there was at least three times he got it where if he looked up there was a wide open big at the rim), and tonight he couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn much less make a wide open shot. he was able to convert a few layups off beautiful passes by miller but that was it…and his defense has really declined, kobe blew by him at will. he also got lured into a few dumb fouls. i like AAA, he plays hard and with hart, but i think him taking an expanded role in the offense this season has hurt his energy on the defensive side. he can be a good spot up shooter (something the nuggets sorely need) and should focus more on that on offense, leaving more energy for the defensive end. if he’s that unaffective in the next game i hope karl has the balls to give hamilton some minutes, cause he is one of the few players who really understands how to be within the flow of the offense and be effective…he also doesn’t have mental lapses on blocking out his guy and giving up rebounds.

    and i couldn’t help but laugh when charles kept calling kosta couscous…

  • al68

    El resultado no demuestra la impotencia y falta de recursos que tiene denver.

    Sin tiro exterior, se hacia muy duro ver los tiros abiertos de Afflalo fallados la mano de piedra de Gallo, las posibilidades son minimas.

    Sigo sin entender como no juega mas Brewer que es el único que desestabiliza el juego previsible de los lakers.

    Nuestra defensa es de pena la mayor parte del tiempo mas de 100 puntos para un equipo como los lakers dice muy poco sobre nuestra defensa.

    Cuando eres un equipo peor y vas 2-0 es momento de arriesgar mas intentar alguna cosa nueva, yo intentaria al final del 1º cuarto con Hamilton que es nuestro mejor tirador, a ver si conseguimos abrir su defensa, sacar a andersen para intentar desestabilizar a Gasol y continuar jugando rapido.

    Estoy seguro que con Nene no estariamos asi nuestro juego interior al poste bajo es muy pobre.

  • ny nugs fan

    i like our starting 5 individually but for some reason as a unit it just aint working; they’re digging holes at the beginning of the game and then to start of the 3rd quarter that the team simply can’t climb out of… we make a nice run, but can’t overcome it

    afflalo is a smart player and he’ll figure out that as a great defender on a player like kobe that defending kobe may mean that he needs to give up some offense… or let the offense come to him as he defends kobe instead of forcing it; no need to feel like he’s defending kobe and also need to score; afflalo did a nice job in game 1 of frustrating kobe

    i enjoyed watching mcgee transport bynum’s shot into the front row (lol)

    let’s go nugs we just need 1 game at this stage!!!!

  • HermanVanNess

    Liked the effort but, the starting lineup too often looks like a Jr. High School team versus the Lakers set defense. They have no idea what to do in half court situations.

    That said, the Nuggets have to win their matchups where they have advantages. The Lakers are winning their mismatches. Kobe is superior to Afflalo. Bynum is superior to anyone checking him one on one.

    Simply put, Gallo has to be demonstratively better than Ebanks and Ty has to be consistently better than Sessions everytime out.

    I figure shots will fall at home and I expect the energy to be great but, unless Gallo and Ty win their matchups the Nuggets will be in trouble. Al has to be better than Hill and Dre has to be better than Blake as well.

    Lastly, the Nuggets may need to blow out the Lakers because I do not trust the Nuggets execution in a close game.

  • Frank

    Koufos is the worst player we send out on the floor. We were down 13-2 to start the game because of him getting lost in the post. Then we put in Mozgov and Mcgee and we claw our way even in points the rest of the half to be down 7. Then Koufos starts the second hald and right away we are down 19.

    I would love if someone would tell me the breakdown of Bynum’s points against our 3 centers, because despite playing half the minutes of Mcgee and about the same as Mozgov, I guarantee Koufos surrendered the most points to Bynum.

    I don’t understand why people on this blog are defending Koufos so much. Mozgov and Mcgee are both better defenders, and I’d rather have Mcgee out there on offense catching lobs and Mozgov running the floor at least than Koufos. Did you see that runner in the lane by Koufos that Bynum blocked like he was defending a high schooler. I mean that was such a weak and pathetic attempt by Koufos, and people on here are lauding him for having one or two tip ins.

    Mozgov should be starting and Mcgee should be the only other center getting minutes. If there is foul trouble bring in Birdman. NO MORE KOUFOS.

    Also, Afflalo is getting taken to school by Kobe. Kobe does this to most players, but Dahntay Jones for example could at least rough him up. Afflalo just gets in the same low stance about a foot away from Kobe just waiting to see what move he’s going to get beat with. He is a very overrated defender I get the impression that I’m often seeing opponents 2-guards going off on us (Foye, Mayo, Shannon Brown, etc)

    The bright spots from last night are the defense of Mozgov and Mcgee, Lawson’s aggression, and Gallo realizing that he needs to isolate and carry our half court offense. Clearly Gallo’s shot was off and its one of the many reasons we lost, but I don’t care he is our best half-court player and when they get set in their defense I’d much rather see Gallinari dribble-drive and/or pop than Harrington doing that useless spin move against Bynum or Andre’s old-person basketball imitation. Lawson needs to score about 20 points in the fast break every remaining game. And Koufous needs to be on the floor exactly ZERO more minutes this series. Then we have a chance to win.

    If we want to win, our crunch time lineup HAS to be:
    Gallinari (he defends Kobe better than AAA anyway)
    Harrington or Brewer at the 3 (hot hand)

    We would destroy them with this lineup. If the lakers think they are big I would like to see them try and finess pass in the post against this length.

    • HD


    • Greco21


      First quorter. While Koufos was on the floor the score was 14-13… that is -1. Simple math. Bynum scored once on Koufos. He scored on the fast break twice while Farried was lost. Gasol had a party. Passing and scoring.

      Concerning the -19 of the second quarter… Did you watch the game or you got only highlights? Just watch again. Do me a favor and then come and say who deserves 0 time on the floor. Again Gasol partying scoring and finding Bynum on a 2 against 1 situation… Nobody boxing out… and Al Harington switching EVERY SINGLE PICK witout recovering

      if you break down the points to the three centers and farried guess what… Koufos is the winner… Believe me.

      Rebounds ? Lets not talk about Rebounds.

      Now for his blocked shot. It was weak. At least he did not get blocked as many times as the other guys on game 1…


  • allAround

    Ok we show up at this game.

    Gallo missed shots was painfull however there is trust in him… Al on the other hand continues shooting without showing any emotion to my poor eyes .

    Personally I think Gasol is the key for this Laker team, if you stop Gasol then you win . I know that what I am saying may sound crazy since everyone is focusing on Kobe and Bynum, but Gasol is their actual “play-maker” inside the paint.

    If we somehow put Gasol out of their offence plan denying the ball reaching his hand then we have more chances. How we do that I do not know , should we play Farried less ??

    Next game we should win.

  • Legalize Denver nuggets

    Like every game this season, we had defensive deficiencies and inconsistent players. We are who we are. The fact is we put out a good effort and had a couple more open shots dropped and had fouls been called, we easily could have taken this one. Ugh it’s frustrating, but I’m confident we will keep our energy up and drop more shots at home. I don’t ever see the refs having our back tho. How many people need to push Lawson for him to get to the line? And of course limitless liberties can be taken by Kobe. I guess I’m just glad they didn’t call brewer for a foul those times when Kobe shouldered him.

    Anyway, I hope we pull a win or 2 out of this series, but the lakers are playing good bball right now. They should be considered a legit championship contender with all the injuries on other squads.

  • Ryan

    This game was exceptionally frustrating because of all the careless turnovers and inability to secure defensive rebounds. Just a couple more made free throws, made dunks/layups, and made (wide-open) jumpers and the Nuggets win this game. Al getting rejected by Kobe on a fast break dunk attempt and Brewer missing an easy dunk (got a bogus foul called on Sessions, made only 1 of 2 FTs) immediately come to mind. When a stiff like Jordan Hill gets 10 rebounds (5 offensive!!) against you, that indicates that you’re just not using solid fundamentals to box out your man.
    For the positives, the Nuggets fast-break really hurts the Lakers, as their big men can’t get back in time to defend the rim. The Nuggets got several easy baskets this way and that must continue in game 3. I thought McGee was surprisingly effective in defending Bynum. A couple times, Bynum out-muscled him and scored easy layups, but for the most part, McGee’s length gave Bynum fits and McGee contested well without fouling. Mozgov should be used like a thug in hockey, body Bynum hard and hack him hard when he gets inside position, try to get under Bynum’s skin a bit.
    Finally, I agree with Charlie that every time the Nuggets had a chance to pull ahead/take control, the Lakers got a timely offensive rebound, made a difficult shot, or forced the Nuggets into a turnover. Game 2 was encouraging, but the Nuggets must find a way to break through and win game 3. Go Nugs!!!

  • stevesf

    This team still needs to add a piece or 2 next year as you can tell. Everyone wanted to face LA and not OKC or SA in the 1st rd, including me. Well, now we see that we don’t match up with LA AT ALL. I think in time we can beat OKC and SA. They dont physically overwhelm us. BUT against LA, We can play well in stints, but i just dont see us beating them in a 7 game series. We will probably win 1 in Denver but i believe this is over in 5.

    We need a offensive minded big man. Mcgee is the shot blocker…faried is undersized but great rebounder. Neither have a good offensive game. We need a guy that can match up somewhat physically but also create issues on the offensive end for them. Al Harrington would be perfect if he was 2 inches taller but he just gives up to much size guarding other near 7 footers.

    In the draft, i’d love to go Arnette Moultrie from Miss st. We’d probably have to move up into the top 15 to get him though. He’s 6’11 athletic big man that can step away from the basket. He is a great rebounder, but not a shot blocker. Would be a good compliment to Faried and Mcgee. He could play alongside both.

    Maybe trading Mozgov and our 1st to move up 5-7 spots would work. Idk.

    • DH

      Yup, Moultrie is exactly who I want the Nuggets to go after in the draft. He’s got “stretch 4” potential, but is also a rebounder and has some game around the rim. And you’re right, we would have to move up in the draft to get him.

    • Guy

      I agree about Moultrie. I love Farried but he’s too small to guard guys like Gasol. They should start Mosfgov & McGee and bring Farried in when one of the 2 Laker big men go to the bench. The Nuggets desperately need shooting so this is another area they need to address via the draft or free agency. If we just hit most of our wide open shots this series would at least be 1-1.

  • Bobby W

    I think this was a good game for us. We need to realize that this team is not championship ready, but we have some interesting pieces. For the first time McGee looked dominant, watching the Lakers avoid the paint in the fourth was beautiful. We just need the whole team to rebound.

    GK should go big the most of the night. His main lineup should be Lawson, Gallo, Harrington, McGee, and Mosgov. Mozzy and McGee should play together since Mozzy has some range and can pull his defender out of the lane. Also I really like Gallo on Kobe, Kobe is no longer quick enough to drive on everyone, so he settles for jumpers a lot more. Lets get some length on him.

    This team still has upside and hopefully can push the Lakers this series and grow into a monster next year.

  • DH

    The good news…

    We’re getting closer. We have a lot of room to improve, and the Lakers can’t play much better. We seem to be figuring some things out, defensively. So the trend is good.

    If we would have hit just a reasonable number of our open shots, we would have won. For example, Gallo, Ty, and AAA are not “1 for 12” 3-point shooters, which is what they shot last night.

    Ty was terrific. I honestly thought he would never get going against this Lakers team. But he knows how to attack them now.

    McGee is still struggling on offense, but he no longer looks intimidated on defense. Without his blocks, the game would have been over much earlier.

    When some people were saying we’d be better off missing the playoffs, one of the things I pointed out was that the experience our young guys would get in the playoffs is invaluable. They are going to be so much better in next year’s playoffs because of this.

    And some general comments…

    I’m not going to argue about whether Koufos is better than Moz or vice versa. They are pretty even, with different strengths and weaknesses. In this game, though, it was obvious that Moz has to defend Bynum over Koufos. It was night and day.

    When Brewer came in, we took off. His style works well against the Lakers. His energy seems to up the tempo of the whole team. Karl was right to stick with him longer than usual. And I didn’t think his defense on Kobe was that bad (Afflalo’s either). Kobe just wouldn’t be denied, period.

    If we get a knock-down shooter next year, we’re going to be tough to stop. We really need that shooter now, though.

    I don’t care what the plus/minus says, GK’s biggest mistake, to me, was going with Al as long as he did in the second half. His shot was off after those first two 3’s, but that wasn’t even the most important thing. He couldn’t box out or defend (he’s on one leg, George!). And when McGee went for blocks, he didn’t rotate to McGee’s man in order to keep him off the offensive glass. I would have rather seen Gallo at the 4 (if GK refused to put Faried back in) than Al. At least he has two legs, was rebounding, is a little taller, and can defend – even though he was also having a terrible shooting night.

    The difference in the game was that we couldn’t hit open shots and they could. It’s easy to say this with 20/20 hindsight, but just because we have an open 3, it doesn’t mean we have to take it. Once Ty got going and started to find seams, I would have preferred it if we would have passed up some of those 3’s and worked for something closer to the rim.

  • gfacekillah8

    No more Koufos. AAA deserved an F in this game. Why is it that Ebanks makes quite a bit less than AAA yet he can make jumpers? totally unacceptable. Faried made some big free throws at the end but his mishandle of the ball on the long pass and subsequent and one foul on Bynum and then when he turned the ball over dribbling through the paint were CRUCIAL mistakes. when he bobbled the ball and gave up the and one that is a 5 point swing in the Lakers favor. that was the game in my opinion.

    if gallo can find his shot and we rotate mozgov and mcgee (who played much better this game) then i think we can take at least one of two at home. hope the nugs figure it out.

    • Guy

      Why does Lawson give Farried the ball 15ft from the basket with less than a minute left in the game?? Our best veteran players should have the ball in crunch time and Gallo had just hit a 3. This team always gets that deer in the headlights look at the end of games. Where’s the leadership??

  • John

    To be honest, Denver is still a couple of years away from being able to compete with the Lakers. They are playing for next year, and the year after that. They are playing for respect from the Refs, and other teams.

    It looks like they are about 1 game behind the Lakers in terms of intensity. If they had played last game like this game, they might have won the 2nd game.

    They hopefully can win some games at home, and create a resume to build on next year. Playing with more experience, focus (and less injuries) they might be able to get a higher seed, and play at least the first round with home court.

    This is a work in progress, and as long as they continue to play hard for the next 2-4 games, we, as fans, should be satisfied.

    • DH

      Agreed. I’ll just add that in addition to “playing hard”, I just want them to improve each game. They will be a much tougher out next year – especially, as you said, if they earn a higher seed.

  • will

    I know that adjusted plus minus isn’t great to rate individual players, but the fact remains that McGee (and Mozgov) has one of the worse in the league.

    Also don’t blame Karl for all our centers being subpar players and therefore playing small. Bynum and Gasol get minutes because they are good. If we had Nene this series would be much closer. At least we have a bunch of promising young players that will make Nuggets great in a couple years.

    • Guy

      Nene never did well against Gasol & Bynum either. That’s why we lost in the Conference Finals 3 years ago. It took 3 1/2 games but the Lakers finally figured out that if they through the ball into Gasol & Bynum they could impose their will on Nene and the Nuggets. Nene is better than any of the Centers we have but he isn’t a shot blocker or a great rebounder. A guy like Kenyon Martin, on the other hand, could make a difference.

  • bosc0

    Simple fact! we make 2 or 3 of those open jumpers we missed and we win. Not to mention……

    -Brewer “makes” that dunk and gets fouled.
    -Al has some awareness and doesn’t get blocked by Kobe.
    -Kennith doesn’t fumble 3 or 4 balls.
    -Kobe gets called for an offensive.
    -Kobe misses a few tough shots.

    A few of those go our way, we win.
    All in all, game 2 wasn’t that bad, we had our chances.

    AAA needs to step up and make those shots he’s been dropping for the past month. If he does, game on.

    Denver will win game 3 and 4, what they do in game 5 is any bodies guess.

  • Underdogs need adaptive coaching

    George did use our best Nuggets lineup (Lawson, Miller, Gallinari, Faried and McGee) against the Lakers late in the 4th quarter which briefly gave us a chance to make the outcome a one possession game to win or lose. George in the post game press conference talked about “talent vs teamness” in comparing the Lakers and the Nuggets success in the REGULAR SEASON…George you need to look at yourself in the mirror and ask if you are really being a “TEAM FIRST” coach if you are so reluctant, scared or unwilling to put the most talented players on the floor for 30-35 minutes per game and bench players (rookies or veterans) who are not producing PLAYOFF winning basketball? Brewer has earned backup minutes (15-18), Harrington would be our best backup who knows how to score in the clutch except he is injured (15-18), Mosgov only does better against the Laker bigs because they cannot exploit his lack of lateral quickness and so he can be more disruptive with his size (10-12), no backup minutes for Koufos in this series because McGee needs to be our primary defensive “gamechanger”, and Affalo may start but he has not earned starters minutes and thus Miller’s time should be increased to help Lawson run the offense. Offensively, the Nuggets did run better and be more aggressive, yet we will lose the series if we rely on perimeter shooting and not have enough pick and ROLL action that allows Faried and McGee to attack the rim with layups and dunks. To be Blunt about it, Faried and McGee in tandem have the offensive and defensive talent to rebound and protect the rim and to attack the rim with lobs and dunks with Miller’s help. This will balance the Nuggets run and gun style so that we can win games at home and on the road to win the series.

    George…you just have to have the guts to shorten your rotation and to trust that our most talented players will succeed together because in playoff basketball only “talent AND teamness” wins.

  • Ricardo

    AAA is not playing defense like he suppose to, Brewer should be defending Bryant more, Faried is getting creamed by Gasol, and Koufos is getting creamed by Bynum, but Mosgov should be starting again, it appeared he matches-up with Bynum pretty well.

    No doubt the nuggets may need to make some changes in the offseason like getting a back-up shooting-guard and a bigger starting power-forward in the draft and/or in free agency.

  • dnugs23

    When Ty goes the team goes. We can dissect the game as much as we want but the key that runs Denver’s engine is Ty Lawson. His aggressiveness in the third is what gave us life. We need him to be aggressive for the get go and we give ourselves the best chance. We won’t win this series but to really get playoff experience we need to get a few games and make this a competitive series. If we get swept than we don’t get any experience at all.

  • dnugs23

    Btw we need to match there bigs with our bigs. Faried is way to small for Pau. Come on GK take a few chances here. …….go Nugs!

  • Visionary

    I’m sorry, but nugget fans that don’t understand why Koufos should not play this series just don’t get it at all. First of all, I don’t understand the infatuation with the guy in the first place. Koufos is simply not good for this series because he lacks physical toughness. You can look at all the stats you want, it is not going to change this fact. I thought Mozgov did a solid job on Bynum, even better than McGee. But McGee had 2 huge blocks on Bynum which were confidence boosters for the team. I’d be interested to see a Mozgov/Bynum and McGee/Gasol match-up at the same time on the court. But please, stop the Koufos nonsense.

  • Eddie

    The nuggets are going to lose again on friday, that is the smart bet also i have bets and previews for all the games so come check it out! http://nbawagers.com/2012/05/lets-start-the-weekend-off-with-a-bang-for-your-buck/

  • ny nugs fan

    i think coach karl had the right idea with that starting line-up, it’s just the players didn’t get it done; you want gallo on the floor getting going early, and afflalo and lawson are a nice starting backourt, faried should be able to bother gasol a bit and koufos has shown to play best as starting center; the players coming off the bench should be able to fill in nicely following this starting line-up; makes a lot of sense and coach karl worked some matchups at the end of the year where you’d have to give him the benefit of the doubt

    i also gotta say that miller has been pretty good over the last two months and really stepped it up

    let’s go nugs!… just think about winning 1 game; trust me if the nugs win 1 the lakers will start clawing each others eyes out