Rapid Reaction: L.A. Lakers 92, Denver Nuggets 88

Los Angeles Lakers 92 Final

Recap | Box Score

88 Denver Nuggets
Kenneth Faried, F 32 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-2 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -1
You have two options with Faried: either look at his stat line and excuse it as inexperience and being outmatched, or argue that it’s simply not good enough regardless of whether he’s a rookie or 10-year pro. I chose the latter. Faried showed in Game 3 that he’s more than capable of hitting the glass hard in a playoff game against much taller opponents. In Game 4 he was nowhere to be found. Seven boards are routine; six points is even worse. Faried did play good defense on Gasol but this was largely overshadowed by the fact that he was in terrible position to rebound the entire night. Faried must prove himself again in Game 5.
Danilo Gallinari, SF 35 MIN | 9-16 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 20 PTS | -11
If not for the flop that essentially ended the game, Gallinari likely would have received an A-plus. For the most part Gallinari was spectacular. He hit one jump shot after another and outside of Andre Miller was the only guy looking to score in an aggressive manner. His defense on Kobe should not be overlooked either. He played a large role in limiting Kobe down the stretch and keeping the game close as a result.
Timofey Mozgov, C 13 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -7
How are you supposed to grade Mozgov? Somebody inform me. He played solid post defense — like always — but was pretty unstable in every other aspect of the game. When he remained in for about five minutes to start the second half the Lakers immediately climbed their way back into the game which ended up being a huge momentum swing. While Mozgov does play better against the Lakers, I still think Koufos is a more reliable option, all things considered.
Arron Afflalo, SG 32 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 6 PTS | +1
After scoring over 15 points in all but one game during the month of April, Afflalo has now failed to score over 11 this entire series. It’s clear that guarding Kobe is taking a toll on him. His legs are probably tired, and as a result, prevent him from knocking down shots or being aggressive the way he usually is. He is 2-11 from downtown this series which is keeping the Nuggets from hitting momentum-changing 3-pointers like the Lakers — who aren’t a good outside shooting team — have in several games already. The bottom line is that Afflalo is an essential part of the Nuggets core, and without his given 15-plus points per game, the Nuggets are a different, much worse team.
Ty Lawson, PG 34 MIN | 5-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 6 AST | 11 PTS | +1
While he’s still averaging 17 points per game in the series as a whole, Lawson’s inconsistency is bothersome. Even if he had scored five more points this game, it would have been exactly what the doctor ordered for the Nuggets. Though he wasn’t exactly timid, he also wasn’t the definition of “threatening” either. If Lawson can bounce back in Game 5 and somehow lead the Nuggets to victory, his weaker performances can be overlooked — after all, inconsistency is a part of basketball. But if he has yet another sub-par outing, it will likely be back to the Trading Machine for Nuggets fans across the globe.
Al Harrington, PF 24 MIN | 4-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | -4
Harrington hit one big 3-pointer but otherwise spent most of his time being abuse by Bynum or Gasol in the post. That’s not really his fault however. Even against the most talented power forward-center duo in the league Karl continues to play Harrington out of position. There’s just not much he can do against Gasol and Bynum defensively. He tries, but he just isn’t effective. On offense, he couldn’t get his shot to fall either. It would have been nice to see him take a few less shots but none were atrocious in terms of location or selection. In the end, Big Al still deserves a round of applause for fighting through a broken nose and still giving it his all for Nuggets Nation.
Andre Miller, PG 31 MIN | 7-13 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 15 PTS | -1
We’ve been critical of Miller for his selfish style of play, but in games like these it can really pay off. While most of his teammates stood around kicking the dirt with their hands in their pockets, Miller got to work from the start and never let up. Not once did he hesitate to take advantage of a smaller defender in the post and was quick to get any sort of offense going once the Nuggets made it past halfcourt. Had he waited just a fraction of a second longer for the tip-in that was called a goaltend, the outcome of this game could have been different.
Corey Brewer, SF 13 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | -3
Brewer was energetic, hit some unbelievable shots and played stingy defense on whoever he was guarding. His hands, especially, were like little mini tornadoes. They were constantly moving in a flurry, and whenever the ball came near, it seemed to get deflected out of his opponent’s hands in some way or another. Brewer should have received more than 13 minutes as he was playing extremely well and just seemed to be having “one of those nights.”
JaVale McGee, C 27 MIN | 2-5 FG | 4-6 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | +5
McGee is another tough grade to dish out. On one hand, his paint presence alone means so much the Nuggets. He’s young, still maturing and learning every step of the way. At the same time, four rebounds in 27 minutes of action is extremely weak for a center as tall and athletic as McGee. The Lakers killed the Nuggets on the glass in Game 4, creating 10 extra possessions as a result. Had the Nuggets cut that number in half, this game would have been a different story. His paint presence — as evident by the four blocks — is a fantastic asset to have, but without rebounding it’s never going to be utilized the way it should be.
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Kalen Deremo

Kalen was born in Durango, CO, in 1988 and graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2013 with a degree in journalism. He's now an itinerant hoping to travel as much as possible before eventually succumbing to the "real world." Aside from writing Kalen likes movies, music, spicy food and the great outdoors. Edward Abbey is his current idol.
  • Aaron

    Woww Just Another Normal Nuggets And GK Playoff Series.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com Jeremy

    First round game fours over the years that would have tied the series at two games a piece:

    ’04 Min 84 Den 82 in Denver
    ’05 SA 126 Den 115 OT in Denver
    ’06 Clips 100 Den 86 in Denver
    ’07 SA 96 Den 89 in Denver
    ’08 LA 107 Den 101 in Denver
    ’10 Utah 117 Den 106 in Utah
    ’12 LA 92 Den 88 in Denver

    2009 was the run to the Conference Finals and that team won game four in Denver convincingly only to drop the next two games. 2011 Denver lost game three at home so game four was basically meaningless although they did win.

    • ParkHillNative

      Depressing list, but weren’t the Nuggets swept in ’08? I think if they’d won game 4 that year it would’ve made the series 3-1 Lakers, not 2-2.

  • Duane

    Nuggets made some horrible passes…could not keep LA off the boards, so there are no excuses.

    HOWEVER, a foul is a foul and Denver should have had the ball down 1 after Gasol threw a body shot at Gallo’s head

    • JOliver

      that was a solid screen.. sure, maybe he leaned into it a little, but not enough for the officials to make that call in that situation.. can’t blame the officials for this loss..

      • Phuzzy

        Here’s the issue I have with the refs. Reverse the role and it was Kobe or Gasol that got screened and the refs would call that 100% of the time. Even if it wasn’t a foul the only thing I want is a fairly called game. Too many instances of that in every game this series.

        A fairly called game doesn’t mean the overall free throw attempts for fouls called, it means at the pivotal moments when the calls mean the most, the refs need to be the most judicious.

        • Jason

          Yes, but that was a fairly called play. Gasol set up a perfectly good pick and Gallo ran into him. There was no foul committed. It was an easy non-call, and like the announcers said, it probably didn’t help his case that he exaggerated his fall. Total flop

  • Christian

    I know Miller touched the ball while it was on the rim, but I thought it looked like the ball was far enough off. Isn’t the rule that the ball has to be more than half outside the cylinder? I’m not clear on the rule.

    • JOliver

      I’m pretty sure the rule is that if any part of the ball is over the cylinder, then it’s a goal tend.. could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that’s the rule

    • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com Jeremy

      The ball has to be all the way outside the rim. It was definitely a goal tend. Horrible play by a veteran leader to wipe away two points in that situation. Miller’s sheepish grin after the play was even more upsetting. It was almost like he was saying, “I know I just cost us two points, but did you see how high I jumped!”

      • Dubz

        Yup I saw that grin too. In fact, that play was somewhat of a microcosm of his season as a whole. Seems like he’s been playing for himself instead of the team at different points this season. He shot waaaaaay too many shots down the stretch in this one too, this team can be so good when he’s looking to find the open man, not pad his stats with terrible shots and 18 secs left on the shot clock.

        • JOliver

          Yes, he took a lot of shots, but he was one of the few players who was making them all game long.. I’m nowhere near being a Miller advocate, but he earned the right to take those shots tonight. If it wasn’t for him, we may not have been in this game at all, thanks to the disappearing act by one Ty Lawson

          • Dubz

            I believe at one point he was 6-8, then proceeded to go 1-5 in the 4th. Andre Miller has NEVER been a threat to score, and he should not have been shooting some of those shots at the end of the game. As a PG, it’s his job to set up his fellow players, then look for his shot 2nd. There were multiple plays where he dribbled the ball down the court and took a shot without passing the ball a single time. That’s inexcusable in my mind, especially doing it several times.

          • GK4Prez

            Dre was 2/7 in the second half, and finished with 3 assists and 4 turnovers. He played great in the first half and was terrible in the second half.

            • al68

              Tienes razon es el cancer del equipo con su casi nulo compromiso sin intensidad ademas hace el ultimo palmeo por falta de concentracion y eso que es el mas veterano y el supuesto lider menos mal que ya se va. Me parece una broma calificarle con una A.

              Perdimos solos el partido la pantalla que hace Gasol es legal y como europeo que soy y veo los partidos de aqui intento lo que funciona en Europa que es presionar a los arbitros en casa en los momentos decisivos aqui siempre hubieran pitado falta contra LA.

              Yo esta vez no le echo la culpa a GK muchas buenas jugadas fueron fallados por los jugadores sobre todo tiros abiertos de Lawson y Afflalo, los fallos de Faried son normales en un rookie, defendieron con buen criterio a Bryant y las 2 torres.

              PARA MI LO PEOR LA ASQUEROSA ACTITUD DE MILLER. por eso no ha ganado ninguna serie de playoffs.

              Creo que si no sacamos a Miller podemos ganar el 5º partido y luego ya veremos.

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

          The most telling part of the season ending is the Faried benching and Big Al taking way to many shots. Karl went right back to not trusting rookies and putting the entire season on the shoulders of the broken nosed and torn minucus of Harrington.

          • GK4Prez

            Is it surprising that the game Denver won was the game that Al was out in the second half with a broken nose? It was also the only game that Jordan Hill didn’t hit double digits in rebounds. GK was forced to play a conventional lineup and for some strange reason, it worked.

            • DH

              In Games 2 and 3, it was obvious that if Al isn’t lighting up the scoreboard, he’s a detriment, especially while he’s playing with a bad knee. He’s a big reason that Jordan Hill has looked like a Sixth Man of the Year candidate against us. Even when he’s not guarding Hill, if our center goes for a block, Al can’t/doesn’t rotate to Hill to box him out. I thought if Karl hadn’t let Al stay on for such a long stretch in the second half of Game 2, it might have been the difference. And when Karl was about to do the same thing in Game 3, Al got hurt and we started rebounding everything and scoring inside. I was thrilled that Karl was forced to go back to Faried, although I certainly didn’t want to see Al get injured.

              In this game, though, I have to say that Faried was not having the same impact as in the previous game, and Al wasn’t hurting us quite as much. I’m not sure that playing Al less would have been the difference, with one exception… When McGee got gassed with about four minutes left in the game and Karl had to rest him, he put Al in to guard Bynum. Basically he said, “Here you go Lakers, take 2 points”, which is exactly what happened. Karl should have put Moz in there and at least given us a chance to defend Bynum. It was horrible decision in a very tight game.

      • Christian

        Thanks for the clarification.

  • Dubz

    I would love to see the George Karl apologists try to come up with some kind of defense for his coaching tonight. Understandably Karl was only part of the problem, but a significant part (Puts in Harrington for McGee late in the 4th, for I believe one defensive play, Bynum shoots an easy hook shot over Harrington, then Karl subs McGee back in for Harrington. WTF?) The Nuggets have also been plagued by atrocious 3rd quarter play under Karl’s reign and it was no different tonight. On another note, I have no idea what’s wrong with Afflalo but he better have some answers. If the logic was for him to save energy on offense in order to better guard Bryant, I’d be all in. But his defense is sub par at best, and his offense is awful. I could go on and on but it seems like I care more about this team than the people coaching/playing the games. Pathetic.

    • steve c

      The nuggets were not gonna win the NBA championship this year…right? And JaVale was exhausted, he was coming out
      one way or another . With the level of injuries and compressed season what did ya expect? And according to some…lack of a “super star” I think they have done well. NO 2 seasons are the same. There is no reason to blame this loss on GK, or Andre Miller, after all he kept this game close, and hey man were talking Lakers here. I’m not giving up just yet, but this is good exp. for a lot of real young players, we will get whats coming to us. Ya got to believe.

      • Dubz

        Just because I’m criticizing a poor effort from my team, doesn’t mean I don’t believe. In fact, it means I believe and care enough to call them out on a bad performance in a critical game. If I didn’t think this team had it in them, I’d accept the loss and move on. It’s how we lost that upsets me. Yes, McGee was winded, that’s not my problem. It’s that GK subbed in an undersized PF to guard a massive C, and the Lakers exploited the mismatch immediately. Put in Mozgov for the play, or another big, not an injured guy who’s 6’9. I think GK has done a descent job the last couple games, but this game was a poor effort on his part. Regardless the personnel, these kinds of performances keep on happening under Karl. I’m not the only one who notices it, trust me.

        • GK4Prez

          He did reach a milestone tonight by getting his 100th playoff loss in the books. I wonder how long it will take him to get to that many wins, my money says he will never reach that milestone.

  • Phuzzy

    What can you say? Any close game down the stretch will always go the Lakers way. It’s not right, but we all know it’s true.

    The Nugs played tough. Not always smart, but they played a pretty tough game and I respect that.

    Give ‘em hell in game 5!

  • Phuzzy

    I’m not the biggest Miller fan but what open man do you speak of? Brewer? Faried? Gallo from outside 18? Lawson? Afflalo so far in the playoffs? Their only outside threat is Al and Miller doesn’t finish well enough to make the bigs a legit drive and dump-off play feasible.

    Bottom line is this team doesn’t always have better options than Miller driving and trying to throw one in. I really do think he’s mostly playing team ball in the playoffs. What kills me is anytime he jacks up a 3 (same for Brewer).

    • Dubz

      I definitely agree that they don’t always have a better option than Miller throwing one in, but most of the time they do. Frankly, I’d rather anyone of the guys you just mentioned to shoot a contested shot over Miller shooting a contested shot. That’s not Millers job. Period. I want to clarify that I don’t blame him for this loss at all, there’s a ton of blame to go around. It’s just that I hate seeing us lose a hold (granted minor hold) of a game while Miller is taking some poor shots. Understandably no one was assertive, especially not Ty which is an entire different subject, but it just doesn’t look or feel right when Millers the guy taking all these shots.

    • Frontrange

      RE-watch the game and try to determine who the Nugs MVP was?

      When my son asked last night who was the MVP, after hestitating, I said “Miller, I guess.”

      There was no Nugget w/o sin last night but Miller had a huge first half, and forced a few turnovers, and certainly saved a McGee blown “D” by stealing and easy dunk pass to Gasol. Who would you say played better? Gallo with the key flop, and being blocked by Steve Blake? Ty w/ missed three and no big drives down the stretch? Farried & McGee who couldn’t keep Jordon Hill from dominating the paint?

  • Omar

    gonna need to make some big changes this off-season. need to upgrade our 2 position and find a way to make our bench deeper.

    • JOliver

      Our depth isn’t the problem.. the problem is we don’t have any “difference makers”. We need a go to guy, a “superstar” who gets it done when the game is one the line, not more depth.

      • Phuzzy

        I don’t discount that logic but I think they need to settle on 2 to 3 options to close out games and I think GK needs to actually practice and run some plays. I’ve heard him flat out say “We’re not running any play’s, just go play basketball”

        That may be fine as a philosophy but look at a guy like Pop in SA. They kill it after time outs, inbound plays, and that time when you need a solid possession and points.

        Also when you run a play the rest of the team knows what it is and can get into position to rebound instead of trying to react to a random shot.

        • Dubz

          I agree 100%. Look at all the teams considered to be “contenders” this season. Chicago has Thibodeau, Miam has Spoelstra, Boston has Rivers, SA has Pop, OKC has Brooks, and LA has Brown. All coaches who are technically “defense first” and run sound half court offenses with a number of set plays. Defense and good half court offense wins championships.

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

    Even with the loss tonight, and most likely the series, the Nuggets have proven themselves. With all of the injuries and how young we are as a team they have shown that they will be contending for years to come not just based on the players but the amazing trades and drafting of Masai. He found the gem of the draft in finding Kenneth Faried. He obtained half of the knicks roster for Carmelo and got a steal with JaVale McGee for the aging Nenè. If we can resign JaVale for a decent price we will have gotten a steal for Nenè. Also the trade of Nenè gave the Nuggets room to resign Ty Lawson. If the Nuggets don’t win another game this season it is still a success in a way with the playoff experience for all of the younger players. I have faith for the future and I am extremely hopeful for the next 5 years of Denver Nuggets basketball.

    • nug show

      I agree completely.

    • steve c

      Right on teej… I think you have got the right idea. This team has never had a chance to gel, but they will. And they will make some noise.

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

        We have found a young group that has gelled well. With Faried Ty AAA Gallo and McGee. I can honestly see that lineup starting three years from now. And when we get a good draft the next couple seasons we will develop role players to make more of a difference off the bench.

        • NuggFan forLife

          They will be better next season. Trust me. Just look at the Thunder.

          • Frontrange

            Hope so . .but the Thunder always had Durant (and Westbrooke) . .the Nugs don’t have any player in their class.

            • Guy

              Don’t forget James Harden & Serge Ibaka. Harden’s a beast and Ibaka has over 100 more blocked shots than anyone else.

        • ryanvdonk

          honestly, i could see AAA not starting as soon as halfway through next year, he is a great energy and effort guy, but he just doesn’t have the shooting touch or quicks to take the next step on offense, or the athleticism or length to be a great defender. hamilton is really a talent who i think is undervalued on this team and could become a high level scorer. he has the athleticism and size to take advantage of most shooting guards and seems to truly understand how to get his shots without forcing drives into double teams and stay within the flow of the offense. he is also one of our few wing players who makes the effort to block out his man and no give up silly offensive rebounds to the other team.

          • heykyleinsf

            I didn’t realize it myself until someone said AAA is
            one of the top 3 shooting guards in the NBA.

            I thought it was ridiculous to begin with.. then I
            really took a look around the NBA…
            and it’s clear.

            Affalo is simply over-rated. Just look at all the NBA
            rosters for starting SGs.

            If Magee stays and develops.. then the most urgent
            upgrade on the roster is an elite SG.
            Lawson, Gallo, Magee, Faried…
            and one more piece.

            It ain’t Affalo.. unless off the bench.
            We deserve better.. and I have been exhausting
            myself all year trying to understand why he is
            so popular.. I just don’t see these intangibles
            he supposedly has.. I don’t see the defense he
            supposedly has (on a 29th ranked team especially)

            I would love our chances moving forward if we
            could address that position. Most urgent need
            at this point that I see. AAA isn’t cutting it.

  • dnugs23

    The only thing I want to say and ask is why does Ty Lawson play so passive after two huge games? If he wants to be an all tar in this league( which I think he can) he needs the same
    Mind set as someone like Westbrook. Attack attack and attack!!! This team only runs and wins when Ty is aggressive. I hope we keep the same core guys and get a new voice on the bench. Go Nugs!

  • nug show

    Tough loss to say the least. It really felt like we should have won. That ridiculously drunk women killed our run at the end of the 2nd. I blame her and Gallinari.

    His desperate flopping at the end of the game was hard to watch. It’s the playoffs… you have to play D, you won’t get bailed out. Afflalo was playing excellent D on Kobe and although he struggled offensively, I feel like he would have been more valuable to the team than Gallo in the last few minutes of the game.

    Ty’s lack of aggressive play in the 2nd half hurt us badly. I don’t see why people are writing off Miller’s performance though. He made a costly error, but was a huge spark for us (not to mention Javale missed a beautiful behind the head pass from Miller that should have led to an enormous game-tying slam dunk).

    • JOliver

      I guess they’re writing off Miller’s performance for the same reason you’re writing off Gallo’s: one bad play. Gallo actually played really well this game but made an unfortunate mistake at the end, but that’s not what cost us the game. The fact that we gave up so many rebounds and so many second chance points prior to that play is the reason we lost.

      • GK4Prez

        JO is right, there was plenty of blame to go around for this loss.

  • Sam Adhikari

    Don’t get all the people hammering George Karl. Our team is not built right. I’m proud of their effort the last two games. They played their hearts out.

    When you have a lineup of TWO point guards (Lawson, Miller), TWO raw, undeveloped athletic freaks who can’t shoot (Faried, McGee), and only one guy who can create his own shot (Galinari), playing crunch time your offense is way too predictable.

    This kind of lineup wins games in the regular season, but when the game is close & the pace slows down it doesn’t work. I have been watching Nuggets basketball for too long. When the score differential was around 5 with 10 mins left in the fourth quarter, it felt like one of those games where we’d lose a close one at the end.

    Nuggets have to put away opponents within 5 mins left in the fourth quarter. We CANNOT let em hang around. Our team is not constructed to take jabs and answer back and forth. Don’t have Melo and Chauncey anymore.

    Oh, and Afflalo is getting a little exposed. Last year he excelled with all the attention to Melo and Billups. He was just in the corner hitting open shots. Now, the defense is staying on him and he can’t get any good looks.

    He’s 13-39 2-11 from 3’s. 33% FG in this series. Yeah, we overpaid him big time.

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

      i dont agree with what you said about Afflalo. It takes time to adjust from being role player to go to guy. He’ll step up. We need to give him more time to become one of the focal points of our offense.

      • Sam Adhikari

        Afflalo doesn’t have it in him to be a go-to guy. A go-to guy can create his own shot and make it at a consistent level. Afflalo can’t.

        Afflalo’s primary job is to play lockdown defense and hit 3’s. He’s a role player. We overpaid him bigtime.

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

          Since the all-star break he was getting his own shot very constantly. JJ is right. He has an extremely tough matchup with Kobe and used most of his energy playing defense. That is why Gallo had rough offensive nights during games 2 and 3 but not games 1 and 4. He will step up and his play after the all-star break really proved that. He was a leader on the court.

        • NickL

          yep. look at 82games; look at any advanced stats. AAA is our weakest starter. What does he do at a high level? He’s a 2-guard who can’t create his own shot on a team that desperately needs someone to do that; has he done a better job on Kobe than Gallo has this series?

        • al68

          Afflalo, Gallo overpaid. Chandler maybe. Next Year Mcgee overpaid.

    • Thomas

      Afflalo is shooting 13-39 in 121 minutes. George Karl’s favorite player, perennial loser Al Harrington, is shooting 14-42 in 84 minutes! One shot every 2 possessions, for a guy that never shoots more than 40% in the playoffs.

      Guy tears his knee, breaks his nose, plays awful on both ends of the floor and is rewarded with playing time. Only game he had less than 20 minutes on the floor, we win.

      Being Karl the head coach, I’m not at all surprised by this. What coach would see his team dominate and win game 3 and instead of following the same strategy the next game, immediately go back to his failed ways of trusting Al and taking the ball out of Ty’s hand and giving the keys to Andre Miller.

      I just can’t watch Karl coached team’s anymore. It is just too idiotic a “strategy” to a point that you know exactly what he will do and you are certain that it doesn’t work. A playoff team led by Miller as PG and with Harrington on board for extended minutes WILL NEVER win a playoff series, NEVER.

      Please, please, please get rid of Karl. Any coach will do. Give the keys to the team to Lawson for good, get rid of Miller, Harrington, Rudy, Mozgov, and Afflalo – Jordan Hamilton is our 2-guard of the future. We need a coach that knows what he is doing, develops for the next 3 years – not one that gives minutes based on favoritism and changes style of play 3-4 times a game to the detriment of the team.

      I would trade Gallo too – I’m afraid his ceiling is very near what we see today. He still has trade value right now. A year from now he will be worth much less.

      Lawson-Hamilton-Chandler-Faried-Mcgee. This starting 5 has much more potential than anything else on our roster. Few will agree, but I think that Chandler is a much better overall player than Gallo, with a higher ceiling.

      • Mark

        Now this is a good post. In my opinion you are 95% correct… Your starting 5 sounds awesome, especially in 2-3 years. The only place I disagree is on Gallinari. Yes, he’s near his ceiling, but at 14.6 ppg that’s still pretty good. He’s also an underrated defensive player, as you can put him up against any shooting guard or small forward in the league and he can hang in there. With the starting 5 you mentioned, I think he could be a candidate for 6th man of the year.

      • phibuffa

        I agree with some of what you say, but I disagree re Gallo and Chandler. Dumb flop by Gallo at the end and he may not ever reach the potential some say he has, but at least he is out there balling. Chandler was invisible in the playoffs last year. Seriously, wall flower. He shrunk from the limelight. Who cares about a guy’s skills on paper? I want someone that is putting it on the line and going for the win when the stakes are high.

        • Thomas

          Good points by both of you. I may be wrong about Gallo, he obviously doesn’t hurt our team but I question if he can bring it on consistently as a difference maker. Maybe the same applies to Chandler, and you are absolutely right that he hasn’t shown much with our uniform. But he has a complete package in theory and deserves to be given a chance for consistent minutes to show it either way.

          It’s just my personal preference that I see the potential of a more cohesive unit with Chandler in there, with Brewer and Stone coming in for energy and defense. I would keep Koufos too, he is a smart player and always in position. Everyone gets abused by Bynum if they play 10 minutes.

          • al68

            Necesitamos tiro exterior solido ojala ficharamos a Gordon o por medio de un trade o a Allen de Boston para tener tiro y experiencia. Mantener a rudy por 3.5 millones 2 años a ver si explota de una vez y juega como cuando tenía 19 años.

            • Thomas

              Ya lo tenemos – se llama Jordan Hamilton

              • al68

                Creo que puede ser bueno pero no la estrella que necesitamos ojala tengas razon.

            • GK4Prez

              No hay manera de que Allen volvería a firmar con los Nuggets, mientras que GK es el entrenador, que ya le tiró debajo del autobús una vez cuando estaban juntos en Milwaukee.

      • HD

        What is all this talk about getting rid of mozgov after shutting down bynum the majority of this series. Substitute Mozgov with Koufos and maybe people will listen.

      • Charlie

        Great comment Thomas.

        When the series is over, I have a detailed post going up about Al Harrington.

        As you said, this playoff series is par for the course when it comes to Al Harrington. He is the same player he’s always been his entire career. He did the same thing he always does in the playoffs

        The best thing that has come out of this series loss is the fact it has exposed the fact the Nuggets can’t get any better without first getting rid of Al Harrington. Like I said, I’ll have a detailed post about it going up once the games are all over.

        • GK4Prez

          Good deal. I like Harrington, but he doesn’t fit on a team that is in a youth movement. He would if he was used properly, but that isn’t going to happen because he is one of the new character guys.

  • J.J.

    Sam, I agree with everything except Afflalo. He’s strong player with a bad matchup – has to guard Kobe, and it takes a lot out of him. He got better at the end of the year, and he will improve even more next year. But he still will never be a go-to end of he game guy.

    TOnight, they just couldn’t make the big shot – Ty with an open three, Miller off the pass from Lawson, and Al with that lay-up. They just have to make those shots. And I know Karl puts a lot on Lawson, but with good reason. He drives the team, but he didn’t again tonight. Inconsistent, not aggressive – he’s GOT to get to the basket. With our big guys being so limited offensively, he needs to do more.

    • Phuzzy

      In this series AAA seems to not have much confidence. His D is OK considering his assignment (aside from when Gallo has Kobe) but he lacks his normal aggressiveness offense. His outside shot isn’t falling (which was never really his forte) and I don’t see him driving and creating much. Even if he is worn out playing D he needs to make it tough on whoever guards him by being more aggressive.

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

    Does anyone else feel like Jordan Hamilton should have gotten some playing time throughout this series? He is the future backup 2/3 in our lineup and needs the experience in the playoffs.

    • Jeff

      I can’t say I have seen enough of him to claim he deserves more minutes. The guy can shoot though, which the team really needs.

    • Thomas

      With Karl here, doubtful if Hamilton has any chance of becoming a starter and realizing his potential. He will ride the pine while some older mediocre player gets the minutes.

      His only chance with Karl is if he becomes European or ages 10 years overnight. Karl has a thing for Europeans (Real Madrid jersey…) and wants to show the world that “old” can do it.

      • al68

        Creo que no es justo lo que dices los europeos que van a la NBA son de lo mejor que tenemos y la unica diferencia positiva a favor de los europeos es que llegan con mas experiencia porque juegan las ligas nacionales y la liga europea donde hay mucho nivel y experiencia no solo de jugadores europeos sino de un monton de jugadores estadounidenses muy buenos mientras que ahora en USA la mayoria de los jugadores solo juegan un año en la universidad y el conocimiento de baloncesto es muy limitado en muchos casos aunque tengan mucho mejores cualidades fisicas.

        GK busca jugadores con conocimiento del juego por eso estaba tan contento sin Anthony ni JR y le parecio tan importante la baja de Billups.

        • Thomas

          Nada contra los jugadores europeos, por lo contrario. A mi no me gusta Rudy en particular como jugador y la forma como GK le tiene confianza – no tuvo que hacer nada por merecerlo, al passo que alguien como Faried o Brewer si hacen un error ya se van a la banca…

          GK tiene historia con Real Madrid y Espana en general, seguramente esto ayudo a Rudy con los Nuggets.

      • GK4Prez

        Think of how short the rotation could become if the Nuggets keep all 3 of their draft picks…lol

    • ryanvdonk

      future backup? honestly he’s already a better offensive player than AAA and has shown to be willing to put forth effort on the defensive end…by his third year he should be our starting 2.

      one of the key reasons we lost this game was lawson’s lack of aggressiveness and how he is more than willing to defer to miller in the crunch time, or the whole second half in this game…as for gallinari, i think he’s a key asset to this team though he needs to stop flopping like he’s playing in Serie A. his problem is that at some point he has had outrageous comparisons to dirk and manu, his true ceiling is more along the lines of a detlef schrempf, great number 2 or 3 option (never a 1) who is good at everything.

  • Jeff

    Everyone is saying Afflalo is getting worn out guarding Kobe, but it seems like Gallinari is on Kobe nearly as much as Afflalo. I love Afflalo but I’m not sure he has what it takes to be the hotshot starting shooting guard, with the way this team is built. He was perfect with Melo but the way the team is now we need more firepower from the 2.

    I think we should trade Chandler and a 7 footer for a starting shooting guard and bring Afflalo off the bench. Gallinari is the starting SF and I think Brewer deserves the 6th man minutes.

    • dunkman

      Let us not forget this is the same AA that carried the team the 2nd half of the season and was considered a top 5 SG by many people and even had Simmons calling him the 3rd best SG in the league. And you want to bench him because he’s had a bad series. I think that’s going overboard, even for post game overreacting.

      • heykyleinsf

        who is Simmons and where did he embarrass
        himself about Affalo being a top 5 SG?
        and btw.. if it helps.. I will name 15-20 better.
        It’s easy .

        Affalo is just like Tebow…
        people falling all over themselves to apologize.

        Nobody else on the team gets anything close
        to this freaky favoritism.

        You see the disaster the most important
        games of the year have been..
        still.. it’s everything else…

        What will it take to get people
        to open their eyes?
        I would have thought these last four
        but so many want to see this again
        next year.. I am personally dosed.





    • phibuffa

      I would much rather have Gallo than Karl. Karl is an atrocious playoff coach. Gallo is a baller. That was a dumb flop at the end last night, but he won’t do that again. Other than that, he played pretty well.

  • Porter

    Where is Bird?

  • Porter

    I’m still missing Birdman and so is the team………

  • evan

    Nuggets should ask melo to come back

  • HD

    More with the koufos love, Mozgov got us started this game with very solid d, and 6 points early. Koufos a better option, at this point you have to be joking pal. Have you watched the series? And for the second half, yes Mozgov was IN but he is not to blame for the bad start. Let’s come back in game four and steal us a win in LA !!!

  • steve

    grrrr, can’t close out a game. Same thing as last playoffs. I’m not sure what they can do running this style. GK system is get out and run, not a half court style which it takes at the end of games. We are never prepared at the end vs the better teams.

    I hope they come out and fight and take game 5 on the road. Just maybe then we can take it to 7.

  • ny nugs fan

    gallo is my guy and a great player but not sure i’d go as far as giving him an A and using “spectacular” in the same sentence; still not getting to the rim with consistency and shot is still off; also a little predictable with the passing to mozgov first thing going on

    i wouldve liked to see mozgov though more in the 2nd half; couldve used his offense

    the refs were horrible in this game and you cannot convince me that was goal-tending

    • Mark

      Look up goaltending. That play was the exact definition of goaltending, and any decent player in the NBA would not have done it with the game on the line. Someone remind me – how did we end up with Miller instead of Felton? And while I’m at it – how did we end up with Fernandez instead of JR Smith? How about four mediocre centers instead of Kenyon Martin? Yes, I know he wasn’t a center, but if it came down to money, why not waive Andersen and Mozgov to create room for K-Mart?

      • heykyleinsf

        before you get all bitter and upset about
        Rudy Fernandez.. remember two things..

        He played hurt.
        He came to the team virtually free.

        I don’t see him back.. but I do wonder..
        if he is 100%..
        we might really see what we let go
        come back to haunt us.

        I don’t think many of you remember what
        Dec/Jan very well.

        Fernandez was often electric.. and
        will forever be the guy that dished
        the no-look behind the back
        alley-oop that gave Manimal his
        first NBA basket.

        It seems a huge reach right now to
        dig up blame for Fernandez and Bird..
        especially since looking at the 15-4
        start and seeing their contributions
        in the early success…

        Which is really why we’re all bitter right now.

        We saw what could have been vaporize
        right before our eyes.

  • Aaron

    Let’s stop talking personnel here. . .we have 4 7 footers and 3 small forwards. We’re going to be making a big trade this off-season, so let’s wait on all that talk. I could see Mozzy, Bird, and Wilson for a pretty quality player, absolutely.

    About last night. . . how can GK play Harrington in the hole at crunch time? How? That was indefensible. If McGee was winded, you have to play Mozzy for 2 minutes. . . have to. Al was not going to hit any threes at that point. Why we never used our size to our advantage in this series baffles me. In the 4th when Gasol is about to pass out, why not play Mozzy and McGee at the same time and pound them down low? We had 2 skilled 7 footers who never got off the bench, and one that played 13 minutes. Huh????

    Also, what happened to us being a 3 point shooting team? The TNT announcers kept pointing out that we were “bad” from 3 point land. Huh? what happened to the “best jump shot Mike D’Antoni has ever seen”, (gallo). Afflalo? Lawson (once in a while)? We just can’t hit one.

    If Corey Brewer is your most reliable option from 3 point land, you’re sunk.


    All that said. . . I”m really encouraged about our future. Manimal, Ty, Gallo, Afflalo, McGee, . . what a great core! Also, don’t forget Rudy’s coming back, which means we need to move Hamilton, Chandler, or Brewer. I think we have some amazing pieces to trade, Masai’s strategy has worked. Just think we could trade 2 7-footers and a few 6-9 guys and still be a “big” team!

    • Mark

      Afflalo was good from behind the arc once upon a time, but no more. Lawson is awful unless he has about 4 seconds to plant his feet and set up his shot. Gallinari is decent. And if Rudy coming back is supposed to be our saving grace, we’re in trouble.

      What happened to us being a 3-point shooting team, you ask? Well, the “genius” Masai traded them away. Yes, we were a good 3-point shooting team when we had JR Smith, Chauncey Billups, Ray Felton, and when Afflalo could actually hit a wide open 3. But those days are over. Now we have Miller and Fernandez. Nice job Masai.

      • ryanvdonk

        since when was raymond felton a good 3 point shooter? he was a bigger chucker than al and not in the same league as miller at setting up his teammates, also with him karl trusted ty less so we saw even more passiveness out of our best player.

    • HD

      If only we could package koufos for someone but I doubt after this series anyone would take him

    • Thomas

      It will be all to waste if Karl is here to run the show. Have no illusions.

  • Mark

    Sometimes I feel like I’m in the twilight zone the way people praise Andre Miller. I admit I missed a good part of this game, but in every game I’ve seen this season he looks totally out of his league.

    Someone remind me – how did we end up with Miller instead of Felton? And while I’m at it – how did we end up with Fernandez instead of JR Smith? How about four mediocre centers instead of Kenyon Martin? Yes, I know he wasn’t a center, but if it came down to money, why not waive Andersen and Mozgov to create room for K-Mart?

    And another thing… Was it Karl or Masai Ujiri who thought this team could win without anyone who can shoot? Were we supposed to rely on Fernandez? Did anyone actually look at that flip-shot that he does?

    I’m sorry, but if JR Smith were on the team we would have won this game. It simply came down to clutch 3s at the end. Theirs were hit by Steve Blake and Ramon Sessions. Ours were missed by Harrington, Lawson, and Gallinari. I keep hearing the same old “no superstar” rap about this Nuggets team, but Blake and Sessions are not exactly superstars. We just need someone who can reliably hit a wide open 3 the way JR Smith (or even Ray Felton or Chauncey Billups) could.

    • HD

      I Would love to have Billups instead of miller but we don’t have him. Miller’s post game kept us in the game believe it or not (probably the part you missed) Also once Bird moves on and we get a rid of Koufos we will have a great offseason for McGee to develop/gain weight and maybe pick up a reliable big/ three ball shooter. Right now its all about experience and confidence. Hopefully we can build off that in game 5.

    • Guy

      Have you not been watching the Heat-Knicks series?? JR Smith chucked up a big 3-15 yesterday which is what he’s pretty much done throughout the playoffs. Remember what he did against Utah 2 years ago?? When we really needed him in a series we were favored in he was pretty much invisible unless you count sitting at the end of the bench pouting. Good riddance, for every one great game you 3 or 4 like yesterday from JR.

  • phibuffa

    Tough loss for the Nuggets, but inevitable with Karl’s small ball.

    More McGee/Moz/Koufos/Anderson on Bynum/Gasol, less Harrington and Faried. Postseason is about match ups. Everyone says that, even Karl before the playoffs started, and I give him credit for switching out Moz for Koufos and giving us more McGee, but his use of the 4 bigs Denver has has been timid and, I believe, cost us 1-2 games this far.

    Also, more Brewer for AAA, who looked tired to me, too. The other advantage Denver supposedly has is depth, but Karl does’t seem to be using it enough.

    • Mark

      You’re right, except the part about depth. We HAD depth, but we don’t HAVE depth. Our depth left when Masai traded them or let them walk. Add Kenyon Martin and JR Smith to this current team, and subtract Fernandez and Chris Andersen… Then we would be talking about our depth again.

      • phibuffa

        Totally agree about Kmart/JR Smith for Fernandez/Anderson. Not sure how Nuggets could have lured them back, but I’m guessing there was a way. Kmart would be clutch right now against Gasol. Then, run McGee/Moz/Koufos at Bynum in waves and wear the guy out.

        When I say “depth” I meant more minutes for the bigs (less for Harrington) and maybe even bringing in JHam for a few minutes for his offense. I think JHam and Stone might have been ready to contribute this post season if Karl had given them more minutes during the year.

        • HD

          Sorry but zero chance of getting Kmart back and probably 2% chance of getting JR back.

          • Mark

            HD – I know that… I’m just sayin’ that we had depth, but those are two guys that Masai/Karl let walk because they thought they weren’t worth the money, and now we have useless guys in their place. Andersen is decent, but he’s worthless if he doesn’t leave the bench. Fernandez gets playing time because of Karl’s European fetish, but he’s awful, just awful.

            • JOliver

              I honestly don’t get why everyone is so obsessed with those two. They were both head cases and cancers to the team. Sure, JR went off once every 5 games or so, but the rest of the time, his play was ugly. KMart was good defensively, but his attitude was piss poor. No way do I want 2 me first, stat loving jerks back on this team. Give me a break.

            • HD

              Preachin to the choir

            • GK4Prez

              How many first rounds did the Nuggets get out of when they had those two clowns? I liked both of them, but their time in Denver ran its course.

        • Mark

          Great point about throwing McGee/Moz/Koufos at Bynum to wear him out. Before the series, I thought we would be able to play him tough because I looked at those 3 guys as 18 potential fouls against him. I’m surprised to see Koufos & Anderson getting so little time against him.

          One more point/question about our depth… This time last season, everyone on this board was saying that it would be tough next year for Karl to figure out how to give playing time to all our talent because we were so deep. So what does Masai do? He trades an awesome point (Felton) to get MORE players. Not good players, just MORE players. Common sense would tell you to trade 2-3 good players to get one excellent player, since we had so many good players. Am I being naive here, or does it seem like we’ve spent the last year needlessly trading down and letting real talent walk?

          • Ryan

            Uh, did you see what Felton did in Portland this year? Not so awesome…

            • GK4Prez

              Failton sucks, he layed an egg in the playoffs last year, wanted out to be a starter, got his wish, and then stunk up the rose garden with terrible play. The Nuggets also got JHam out of that deal.

        • heykyleinsf


          Putting this on Birdman at this stage.

          That’s choice.

          Oh yeah…


  • phibuffa

    Well, as everyone suspected, it is pretty much over unless the Nuggets pull off a miracle…which would have to include Karl changing coaching strategies. So, when is the draft?

  • gfacekillah8

    that was one of the more gut wrenching games i have watched in a long time. this game just flat out goes down to rebounding. Faried had a pretty subpar game in my book. jordan hill is absolutely killing us on the boards. lakers got way too many second chance points.

    i know miller is actually playing pretty well but our pace ALWAYS slows way down when he gets in. we are at our best when we are pushing the lakers. they were noticeablly gassed last night and we should have pushed the tempo in the 4th but couldn’t because miller was bringing the ball up.

    honestly we are still a year or two out from really contending. i think our young guys are getting a lot of really solid playoff minutes here and hopefully learning some valuable lessons. if we can stay healthy next year and maybe package some of our assets to improve at certain positions i think we can make a real run next season. the key will be for us to get that 4th playoff spot. i dont think there is any reason why a team consisting of lawson, gallo, chandler, afflalo, mcgee and faried cant accomplish that.

    hope the boys come out firing in game 5. i dont see any reason why they couldnt win that game if they up the intensity in the pace and on the boards. nuggets for life.

  • Ryan

    Kind of depressing that after all our analysis/predictions for the series, the Nuggets get shot down by Ramon Sessions, Steve Blake, and Jordan “The Choker” Hill. The X-factor was definitely Hill because the Lakers could rest Bynum/Gasol and not miss a beat with Hill putting in a double-double and abusing Harrington on the glass.
    In terms of next year, an area of need is definitely a sharpshooter from 3, as 25% from 3 for the series will not get it done in the playoffs. Maybe Masai can find a way to get Anthony Morrow from the Nets or Brandon Rush from GSW for cheap. Simply having a legitimate threat from 3 would do wonders for the spacing on offense and Ty penetrating and kicking to a sharpshooter would be deadly.
    This year is probably about over, but I’m definitely excited for the future. Let’s hope the Nuggets give the Lakers hell in Game 5, go Nuggs!!!

  • DH

    Going into this series, I just wanted us to be competitive and make the games close. It’s a bad matchup against a good team, and we are the definition of a work in progress. Game 3 brought increased expectations, but if you had told me before the series started that we would have two down-to-the-wire losses and a blowout in our favor within the first four games, I probably would have thought we were doing as well as, or better than, could be expected.

    I admit it’s frustrating that we are only a handful of plays from actually being up 3-1. But I’m looking towards the future and we are really coming along. We (unfortunately) played the Lakers game last night and still almost pulled it off.

    With that said, I’m a little disappointed that the team didn’t continue what it started in Game 3. The recipe for winning that game was 1) run, run, run 2) when you can’t run, get early halfcourt offense, before the Lakers are “dug in” 3) scrap and rebound like your life depends on it 4) attack relentlessly if you’re Ty Lawson

    Really, we didn’t do any of that. Ty walked it up and rarely attacked the paint. We weren’t getting inside position on rebounds. And we didn’t push the pace. We almost looked overconfident, or at least nonchalant, especially in the first half. I guess it’s another learning experience for this young team. I think we will really find out a lot about their character and about how much they’ve learned in this next game.

  • DH

    Also, was anyone else surprised that we didn’t try isolating McGee in the post against Bynum like we did so successfully in the previous game? We did it a couple of times in the first half, but I don’t remember seeing it in the second half. It’s not like I expect McGee to always go off like he did in Game 3. But when we do that, it occupies Bynum and gets him moving. So even if McGee misses the shot, we have a great chance of getting the rebound or putback.

  • heykyleinsf

    Nuggets can’t blame the refs…

    But in crunch time the refs killed us.

    good lord.. I saw Kobe leap for a jumper..
    then shoot. I wonder when the last
    time traveling was called in the NBA.

    Miller’s tip-in was NOT that obvious.
    That ball was absolutely coming out.
    Not obvious.. very questionable.

    Gallo did flop.. but I guarantee you..
    I promise you..
    if that was Kobe flopping
    Lakers go to the foul line.

    The refs and Stern in general make
    the NBA the most questionably run
    sports institution since the Chicago Black Sox.

    We needed to overcome them..
    but it seems obvious that Stern
    wants a household name in the
    playoff run.. Nuggets are the last
    team he wants.

    • Charlie

      It doesn’t matter if the ball was coming out or not if it was still above the cylinder. Miller went up too early and obviously goal tended. The expression on Miller’s face after the play showed that he knew it as well.

      • DH

        Yeah, it was definitely interference. The ticky-tack foul that sent Gallo to the bench (with 5) was much worse. I can’t believe they called that in the playoffs. But there were bad calls/no-calls on both sides.

  • http://espn.com Chris

    AAA is a Bum, he’s a stiff player there’s nothing smooth about hit game, we need a 2 gaurd with thats a real athlete. some who’s exsplosive and that can challenge Kobe, or any other 2 guard, AAA is never going to be able to dunk on any one or, raise up and get his shot over some one, he’s average, that the nuggets real problem, I would amesty him , he getting to much money anyways.

    • DH

      The amnesty cannot be used on Afflalo because he was unsigned when the lockout began.