Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 102 Los Angeles Lakers 99

Denver Nuggets 102 FinalRecap | Box Score 99 Los Angeles Lakers
Kenneth Faried, F 24 MIN | 5-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | +8
Throughout the series Faried has slowly but surely improved his defense. Tonight his post defense on Pau Gasol was much improved and he produced at high level on the offensive end as well. He did not miss a shot, was the only starter to grab an offensive rebound and would have easily notched another playoff double double had he not been forced to sit out the entire fourth quarter.
Danilo Gallinari, SF 37 MIN | 4-13 FG | 6-6 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | +4
Gallo is still struggling to find his shooting touch. He has remained aggressive after a breakout shooting performance in game four, but was not able to get the same looks to fall in L.A. Gallo’s inability to space the floor with his three point shooting has led to some poor shot selection and less passing. Despite the fact he’s one of Denver’s best passers and their most complete offensive player, Gallo has managed only 7 assist in five games. Offensively, he just isn’t much of a threat and the Nuggets need more.
Timofey Mozgov, C 13 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | +4
Mozgov had a typical Mozgov game, contributing absolutely nothing in 13 minutes of action. It’s worth mentioning he was able to create space for the guards with some solid screens in the second half, but otherwise provided nothing outside of a big body to push Bynum off the block and foul him a lot.
Arron Afflalo, SG 35 MIN | 8-19 FG | 2-3 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 19 PTS | +1
Afflalo finally played like himself, scoring more in the first half (13 pts) than he has in any game throughout the entire series. He was extremely aggressive from the opening tip and showed a willingness to step up and attack when Denver struggled to find scoring. Afflalo didn’t play his best and still can’t make a three to save his life, but the dramatic turnaround in production was sorely needed, even if it does make Afflalo’s lackluster start to the series even more confusing
Ty Lawson, PG 29 MIN | 4-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 8 AST | 9 PTS | +11
The Nuggets typically won’t compete without Ty Lawson carrying the offense, but tonight they were able to do just that. Despite not being able to find his shot, Lawson was able to get into the paint regularly and make things happen. His passing was a cut above anything else we’ve seen in the series and it seemed he was really able to get the pace going without all the added pressure of having to score a lot just to keep the Nuggets within striking distance.
Al Harrington, PF 27 MIN | 0-7 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | -1
Harrington looked like he didn’t care and played even worse. Injured or not, Harrington is keeping his teammates off the court and the lack of intensity and hustle in his game was tough to take. I have literally never seen a professional player act so indifferent and disinterested in a playoff atmosphere. The Nuggets are counting on Al’s professionalism and unselfishness to help them win. Injury is not a good enough excuse for whatever Harrington is providing them with right now.
Andre Miller, PG 28 MIN | 8-11 FG | 6-6 FT | 2 REB | 8 AST | 24 PTS | -5
Miller’s finest game all year, and it just so happens he saved all of his best performances for the playoffs. Miller has obliterated the matchup with Steve Blake and been a magnificent player for Denver all series long. Miller’s decision making and point guard instincts are top notch. He makes things easier for everyone else on the floor when he’s dialed in and proved why doubting his unorthodox style can come back to bite you.
Corey Brewer, SF 15 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -1
Tough to grade Brewer’s performance. He was not much of a factor before catching an inadvertent elbow from JaVale McGee which took him out of commission for much of the second half.
JaVale McGee, C 33 MIN | 9-12 FG | 3-6 FT | 14 REB | 1 AST | 21 PTS | -6
Another dominant performance. For the first time all series, I thought Denver looked like a legitimately better team with McGee matched up on the Laker bigs. There is not much more to say about McGee’s performance, his superior length and athleticism created spectacular play after spectacular play and it didn’t seem to matter much what the Lakers did in response. JaVale dominated
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Charlie Yao

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

    I about had a heart attack when we had to watch Kobe then Ramon miss game tying threes!

    Anyone who was doubting JaVale care to speak up now? Makes you wonder how good John Wall could be if he could just get out of that hell-hole they call Washington!

    • Frontrange

      Mea culpa.

      I still miss Nene but I was wrong about McGee . . .wow, he brings an element to the Nugs that they have never had. Like a super athletic Mutumbo.

      • evan

        Don’t forget about Gallo,

  • Jeff

    Andre Miller’s performance was beautiful. Period.

  • Mel

    great game. McGee and Miller both with A+, no doubt.

    Have to sign Javale this summer — whatever the cost. Gallo/Manimal/McGee front-line for the future makes it a great time to be a Nuggets fan.

    If 3s start falling for them, Nuggets could take this thing.

  • Dalton

    It has to be time to start looking at paying Javale what he wants. He is the dominant paint presence that the Nuggets have been looking for for so long and in his post game interview, he seems truly happy to be a Nugget. Also, Andre Miller’s lax regular season play now seems a lot more forgivable after he took over for a very timid Ty.

    • TJ McBride

      i dont agree to paying McGee what he wants. You have to negotiate to send a message that he cant get whatever he wants. He may be maturing but you dont wanna throw 14 mil a year at him and expect him to play hard and train hard.

      • Dalton

        True, I think I should revise my statement. The Nuggets should be open to working with McGee on a contract beyond what he had earned earlier this year. After seeing what he is capable of, should the Nuggets risk letting him go? After what McGee said in the post game interview, he seemed legitimately excited to be working with a coaching staff that is focused on developing him as a player.

        • TJ McBride

          Thats exactly what im thinking. Winning is the best medicine. Look at how well Nick Young is playing for the Clippers. If McGee can play at a level that even somewhat resembles this performance he makes this Nuggets team complete. He is the first big man to play like a big man since Marcus Camby played for us. Yes that is how long its been.

  • TJ McBride

    You have to love what JaVale McGee said after the game. He owned up to starting to reach on defense and not play smart basketball. Once he said he realized it, he turned it around. When he was in Washington there is no way he would have ever owned up to mistakes. This kid is learning very quickly and huge props have to be given to melvin hunt. Imagine what Hunt and Karl could turn JaVale McGee into with an offseason and training camp. Again there is moster hope not just for the future but even for this series.

    • tron7

      Totally agree. I really did not think I’d like McGee when the trade went down but he has shown that he badly wants to be a better player and that he wants to grow up. He had a rough time in Washington and he brought a lot of it on himself. I think he’s been shamed and is ready to turn it around. I just can’t help but root for the guy.

  • Aaron

    It doesn’t make all of Andre’s lazy games during the regular season better. . . but it comes close :) Hey, if Andre shows up in February we might be playing Memphis right now.

    That said, he was HUGE tonight, and I don’t think Ty wins us this game because he wouldn’t have been throwing all of those lobs. We should’ve won this game by double figures, how did we miss so many wide open 3’s?

    Yes, pay JaVale. . then trade Bird, Mozzy, Rudy, and Wilson Chandler for Josh Smith and Hinrich. done.

    • HD

      Stop all this bullshit trade talk until after the season

  • al68

    Es frustante ver que un jugador como Miller cuando quiere puede ser tan bueno e hizo lo que hizo en el 4º partido.

    Hacia mucho tiempo que no veia juagr tan bien a un jugador como hoy lo ha hecho Miller.

    Muy buena deefensa de todo el equipo, se ha notado al final la falta de brewer estaba molestando mucho los ataques de LA.

    Muy bien Mcgee y Faried, Harrington no esta para jugar no se porque sale tanto tiempo, ademas sabiendo que Faried logra desquiciar a Gasol. Me parece fenomenal que de descansos cortos a Mcgee porque cuando se cansa baja mucho la concentracion y tomas malas decisiones.

    Que pena que se nos encoga la mano al final dos tiros claros de Afflalo y Gallo que si llegan a entrar no me hubieran hecho sufrir tanto, preocupante lo de Lawson en LA.

    Para el proximo partido hay que volver a jugar rapido y mas con Faried y solo 10 minutos para Harrington si no es que comienza a meterlas de 3.

    Por lo menos hoy a disfrutar de la victoria.

    • Christian

      De acuerdo, pero Harrington ha sido el jugador mas consistente hasta este punto. Tuvo un mal partido, tal vez debido a la nariz rota. Pero merece sus minutos.

      • al68

        Hoy a jugado muy mal regalo un pase al final del 1º cuarto no ha metido ningun tiro no ha ayudado en el rebote, pienso que es por su lesion de rodilla y la de nariz por eso no debe jugar mucho si estuviera al 100% no tengo duda que en playoffs deberia jugar 30 pero ahora no si queremos ganar partidos.

        Me parece un buen jugador y ha sido el mas consistente durante toda la temporada.

        • GK4Prez

          Estoy de acuerdo con al68, en el comienzo del año GK dijo que va a ir con la mano caliente y Harrington ha sido un montón de cosas en esta serie, pero no caliente es uno de ellos.

  • Landry

    Glad to see McBeast learning on the fly to finally learn how to rebound. Now we just need him to learn the box out and we’ll have an All-Star in no time!!! So glad to see that the only thing we need is chemistry unlike with Nene.

  • DAN

    SOOOO happy! Glad AAA finally came to play. But what was Al doing playing the whole fourth when Faried had it going?
    I think that almost cost us.

  • Gerardo

    it was a great game but karl nearly lost us this game… i dont understand why harrington was out there…

    • JOliver

      Or why he reportedly told the team to take their time and slow down the pace. Playing the other team’s game NEVER works. You have to keep playing your game and go for the jugular instead of playing not to lose. It almost cost us.

  • Sam Adhikari

    What a game by Andre Miller. Game ball should go to him. I hope Ty Lawson learned something from him tonight. Excellent decision by George sticking with Miller while keeping Ty on the bench when we were just rolling in the fourth quarter. That’s how you’re supposed to control a game, Ty. If it wasn’t for Andre Miller, JaVale McGee would have those easy points off of lobs. By far the best game I’ve seen Andre Miller play as a Nugget. He passed when he needed to and scored when smaller defenders were on him. Glad the veteran delivered.

    I thought the Nuggets were real lucky that Bynum didn’t show up for this game. His help defense, rebounding, body language was just pathetic. Bynum was clearly disinterested. I don’t know if it’s something with the coach, team, or a personal issue. JaVale McGee shouldn’t be outplaying Bynum! McGee made himself a lot of money tonight, man. What an effort by him. I wonder if Nene was watching this game from his couch. LOL.

    Our weakness is our three point shooting. Another atrocious night from downtown (3-19). If we could hit 3’s at a consistent rate, we’d have won this game by double digits. Missing Rudy Fernandez so much right now. We need that catch-and-shoot type three point shooter.

    Really, really, enjoyed this game. Lakers made their run and it looked like Nuggets were about to collapse but glad we hung on!

    • Jeff

      I’ve seen Bynum play many times now, and I just don’t like the guy. I was so happy to see McGee outplay him because Bynum seems like a selfish irritable punk. I don’t mean to judge a dude without knowing him, but his body language, technicals, flagrants, and attitude just bug me. It’s like he could be the best player in the league if he wasn’t so apathetic.

      • aussienuggzfan

        amen

      • Prizzy

        I dont think there has been a more talented as well as despised duo than Kobe and Bynum in the history of the league. Maybe some Pistons teams in the 80’s. Sure we don’t know them. But basing this opinion on observations alone, odds are they are terrible, miserable people. I really hope we send them home.

        • Jeff

          Throw in Artest and Barnes and you have a bunch of players that are really hard to like. At least Sessions and Gasol seem like good guys.

  • Sam Adhikari

    Isn’t it great what going to a winning team with veteran minds and positive environment does to players?

    JaVale McGee and Nick Young, former players of the laughable Washington Wizards have both had significant games in these playoffs. It’s great to see that as a basketball fan.

    I’m curious to see McGee develop as a player under George Karl. George will have a huge effect on his career from here on!

  • GK4Prez

    A+ for Miller and Mcgee, Dre played a great game tonight, he won this game for the Nuggets. Mcgee stepped up big time. Afflalo even put up some offensive numbers and they were needed. Moz didn’t have much of a stat line, but his D while he was in was great. Ty and Gallo struggled offensively, but still had moments/plays that helped the team out.

    Harrington is the guy that had the bad game, so give him the C- tonight….lol

    I know this game doesn’t make a series, but this win sure does feel good right now.

  • Dubz

    I’m really proud of our Nuggs. They won an ugly playoff game in LA, which isn’t something I thought was possible. However, GK seemed to do everything he could to try to lose the game at the end there. Al is obviously beat up and gassed from playing a lot of minutes all year, he shouldn’t be playing the ENTIRE fourth quarter without any rest. Especially when Faried was tearing it up and rebounding very well. That’s all on GK, not Al. On a positive note, I really have to applaud Miller’s performance tonight. I have definitely been one of his critics this year, mainly because I was such a fan of the trade in bringing him here, and thought he was disappointing at times on/off the court. He really made up for a lot of that tonight though. In last games comments I said I wished he didn’t force up so many shots. I still feel the same way, but tonight his shots were in the flow of the offense and didn’t feel forced. He wasn’t looking to score first and was looking to get all his guys involved. By doing so, he opened up the floor for his own offense. I also want to say it seems we have have established a nice 1-2 combo for Bynum which is obviously frustrating the hell out of him. Mozgov comes in a bullies him for the first 6 mins, then McGee comes in and jumps under, over, and around him. If someone on this team could just learn how to shoot a 3 pointer, we could definitely win the last 2 games and shock the world.

    • Thomas

      I’m on the same camp – I criticize Miller a lot but he had a great game. Mcgee was the difference maker.

      Can Miller continue to play at this level (8-11 shooting) and Mcgee carry us while Harrington for some obscure reason is on the floor and effectively making us play 4 on 5?

      Playing this way, moving forward it will take monster games by 2 players at least to cancel out Harrington’s negative effect and Karl’s poor decisions.

      Alternatively, Karl could bench Al for good (he did it to KK and Bird, why not to Al who is playing horrendously and shooting 29% this series?) and give 15 more minutes to Faried, who is shooting 52% and can change a game with his rebounding. If Karl did that yesterday, yesterday’s win wouldn’t have been in doubt.

      This kind of head-scratching decision making is what still makes me a bit skeptical, despite the incredible and improbable road victory.

  • Sam Adhikari

    We should have closed this game out earlier. That run by the Lakers will give them a huge confidence and momentum heading into game 6. Things like that matter.

    Nuggets just don’t have any good three point shooters to put a team away. We definitely need a player like Kyle Korver next year. Or maybe we could sign Ray Allen since he’s a FA next year?? *crosses fingers*

    • TJ McBride

      The Ray Allen signing would be great. He could help AAA like no one else. I dont see it happening though. Masai has said he wants to go younger and signing ray allen would take up too much cap space to resign Ty

      • GK4Prez

        I doubt very much if Ray Allen would want to play for a GK coached team again.

        • Thomas

          Do you blame him? Would you want to play for Karl?
          Put it in another way, if Karl had been coaching the big 3 in Boston, do you think he would have made them champions? Do you think he would have focused on defense?

          Ah, the beauty of being a 1,000+ win coach…then again, his playoff winning percentage is worst than Lawrence Frank and Avery Johnson…

    • JOliver

      I agree, we need better 3 point shooting, but that’s not what closes teams out. What does close them out is having a pure scorer that you can rely on down the stretch to get the big bucket when your team is struggling. Or how about sticking to your gameplan the entire game, instead of slowing the pace and playing right into the Lakers’ hands? It’s not the 3 shooting that has held us back from finishing them off late in games, per se, but a lack of a killer instinct.

      • Henry aka LWH and formerly KFH

        Here’s betting Ujiri knows the Nuggets need both 1) better shooting off the bench and 2) a rugged scorer who he can count on to get his own shot when the defense clamps down in crunch time.

        But it won’t be a Ray Allen. This team is clearly going younger.

    • Barry

      Korver to the Nugs? You’re joking, right? He’s like George Karl, great in the regular season and come playoff time, he wilts like a flower. If you’ve been watching any of the bulls playoff games this year or last year for that matter, he’s been awful. We have a great shooter on the team, his name is Jordan Hamilton. Hopefully next year GK will play him.

  • Aaron

    Great Great GREAT! Win Tonight. But Holy Shit GK Almost Pulled Of His Playoff Trick. Sign Mcgee. To A 12 Mill A Year, Fair For Both Sides. Even Try An Get Miller To Come Back if He Wants To. But Wowww Great Game, Should’ve Won By 15 Or More But ill Take It! But God Karl Really Man?!?!??!?! I Don’t Anyone is Thinking About It Rite Noe Because of A Fantastic Win But GK Almost Pulled Off One Of The Bigger Choked In NBA Playoff History.

    Go Nuggets!!!!!!!!!!

    • Aaron

      Sorry About All The Typos..

    • aussienuggzfan

      Its hard to blame GK for Kobe dropping 30ft cold-blooded threes.

      I always thought we needed a new coach but I can still appreciate he still probably better than anyone we could get to replace him. And he plays a style which is realistic for the horses he currently has.

      It is hard for us fans on the outside to destroy him when everyone who has been coached by, with or against him holds him in such high regard

      Just saying

      • Henry aka LWH and formerly KFH

        You couldn’t be more wrong about Karl. Plenty of his former players don’t like the guy. And the Lakers played so poorly that the Nuggets could (should?) have won this game by 20, wiping out the late-game heroics by Mr. Bryant.

        This squad needs a younger coach who knows both how to let his players run with things AND how to execute plays with discipline. That ain’t Karl.

        • Marc

          Your an idiot. Karl is one of the greatest coaches of all time. Ask any current or past player, GK is terrific. His calm attitude and optimism is exactly what this team needs. Love how every single fan loves the players so much that they have to blame the coach anytime the team doesn’t win… pathetic

          • SmokinNugs

            Your is possessive, how can you call anyone an idiot when you fail to grasp even common grammar?

          • Henry aka LWH and formerly KFH

            Wow Marc, don’t you think we should be able to say what we think here without someone calling us an idiot? Can’t we agree to disagree? I believe that your opinions are thoughtful and strongly held.

            And my opinion about Karl stands regardless of ad hominem attacks.

        • Hawkeye-X

          I think you’re wrong on that. Karl demands production from everyone.

          Why do you think Prima Donna left?

          • Guy

            I have my problems with Karl’s lineups, substitutions and all of the needless defensive switches but he has brought a culture of winning to a Nuggets organization that for 15 years was a perenial lottery team and for that we should be thankful. Just keep him out of the FO and let them keep adding to the talent level of this team.

  • Omar

    good win but we should be winning this series. we are a better team. Should have taken game 4 or one of the first two.

  • aussienuggzfan

    Games like this from Andre Miller makes me question why I along with many other nugg fans wanted to trade him.

    He was schooling dudes like nobody else can, it would be nice if he could close games out like this more consistently.

    And Javale, phooaaaw

    • Henry aka LWH and formerly KFH

      Many Nuggets fans wanted Miller traded because we believe he hindered the development of Ty Lawson, not because he’s not a brilliant point guard. But now that it’s playoff time, all that is behind us. Let’s hope Miller continues to excel and helps the Nuggets steal this series.

      • SmokinNugs

        Yea when Miller is on, Ty is usually off. There’s a correlation there

  • Jeff

    I would not question Harrington’s effort and I think the F is unfair. He has a broken nose, torn up knee, and he obviously hates the mask he has to wear. I didn’t think it looked like he wasn’t trying at all.

  • aussienuggzfan

    Although Harrington was and has been extremely cold shooting, he still spreads the floor enough when Miller is out there posting up. Although Faried was playing better, Bynum and Gasol can hang more around the bucket especially since McGee was already out there.

    And I’m a big a Faried fan as anybody just like the guys on RMB I was so excited when Portland passed on him in the draft and we selected him.

    Sometimes fans need to stop trashing coaching decisions when perhaps you should consider the thinking behind it.

    • aussienuggzfan

      Plus Harrington’s free throw shooting is slightly more reliable

      • magster

        Faried had one of his hurried spastic freethrow bricks in the third quarter on that weird and1 where Afflalo made the shot but Faried got the free throw. Faried’s free throw shooting is what is kept him off the floor last night.

  • CJP32

    Afflalo finally showed up, he was big in the 3rd qtr. Miller was the leader of this squad, we can afford Ty to have an average game when Dre plays like he did today. I actually thought the turning point was when Brewer copped an elbow to the eye and Gallo subbed in – it was then the Lakers made a huge run and Kobe went nuts! Brewer played exceptional defense on Sessions and Blake and really disrupted their offense. Hope hes ok for Game 6. McGee needs to play 30-35 mins every game – he was phenomenal. Al Harrington was hitting nothing, but the FTs at the end were huge. A great all around performance and the momentum is our way heading back to Denver. Bring on Game 6!

    • Prizzy

      Excellent point about Brewer. That run started as soon as he left the game.

  • nuggchamp2013

    Nice grade for Harrington, he nearly killed us with that missed free throw near the end of the game. I can’t believe Karl didn’t take him out of the game.
    McGee, holy mother of dunks that was a beautiful second half. His energy, aggressiveness to the basket, and rebounding was the reason we won this game. That and Andre Miller (wooooow). If we start making three’s, we can win this series, fingers crossed!

  • aussienuggzfan

    Afflalo is clearly still struggling with his shot, but I dont think it has anything to do with the moment being too big for him.

    He has an extremely flat arc on his shot and as he gets more tired guarding Kobe (I get tired watching him guard Kobe, Kobe’s footwork is as good as anyone in the league other than maybe well… Andre Miller?) is shot gets flatter and obviously physics dictate it is less likely to go in.

  • Dubz

    Charlie: Switch the grades of Afflalo and Gallo. I thought Gallinari played a better game than Afflalo on both ends of the floor. Before going off late in the 4th, Kobe was visibly frustrated by Gallo’s defense and was pretty much taken out of the game entirely. Afflalo played OK, but he still has a lot to improve. I’m a big fan of his, but when he has plays like in todays game where he had a 1-1 fast break against Steve Blake and misses a LAYUP while trying to go AROUND the guy, he needs to get called out. Gallo’s shooting numbers weren’t terrific but he attacked the hole and created a nice flow offensively. I also think your grade of Mozgov was WAAAAAY too harsh. Mozgov frustrated Bynum and has done 10X better than Koufos did in guarding Bynum. I think McGee is perfectly suited for coming off the bench too, so Mozgov deserved a “B” in my book. Finally, Al played really, really poorly, but it was Karl’s fault for playing the guy for the ENTIRE 4TH QUARTER WITHOUT ANY REST. That’s not Al’s fault, he’s been ridden all year and is obviously worn out. In a side note, why doesn’t GK do defensive substitutions at the end of games? Why on earth would he keep Harrington in the game defensively on Gasol and keep Faried on the bench. Beyond puzzling in my mind.

    • Charlie

      Dubz, great points but to explain where I’m coming from expectation does factor into the grades a lot. I still think Gallo is the Nuggets’ overall best player and much like Ty, has a responsibility to make things happen for the offense. He needs to live up to that and the lack of playmaking is pretty disturbing. 7 assists in 5 games just shows you he’s not getting much out of talent and abilities.

      I agree Afflalo wasn’t that good, but it has to be tough to bounce back in an elimination game when the coach has almost written him off and benched him in the last few games. The amount of improvement in a big game was great to see.

      I appreciate was Mozgov does but he should be able te contribute a little. It would help him stay on the floor and become a factor in the series. How many guys 7 feet tall can play 13 minutes and contribute nothing except 4 fouls? I think that’s honestly tough to do.

      • Dubz

        Charlie, thanks for responding. I definitely appreciate what you guys do and fully understand that it’s easy for me to criticize your grades. I also get everything your saying, Gallo definitely should be playing better than he is, especially from long range. However, I feel his defense on Bryant has been very impressive and has been better than Afflalo’s, even though Afflalo’s done a descent job. I also get where your coming from with Mozgov, but as far as expectations are concerned, this was a guy who wasn’t receiving any minutes for the last couple months of the season. For him to come in and now start for Koufos who played very poorly against Bynum (I just think it’s more a bad match up for Koufos than an indictment on Koufos as a player), is very impressive in my eyes and has made a significant mark on the series. Even if he just bullies Bynum, someone has to do it. Like I said above, Mozgov and McGee make a nice 1-2 combination against Bynum and it’s obviously making an impact, for Bynum’s been visibly frustrated. Thanks again for the recap.

        • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com Jeremy

          As far as Mozgov goes, I get very frustrated that the guards do not give him the ball in the paint. On several occasions he was open in the lane after rolling off a screen and he gets completely ignored. It is difficult to have confidence and play well when you teammates are so set against giving you the ball.

          • Henry aka LWH and formerly KFH

            It’s also difficult for Moz’s teammates to trust him to catch the ball in the lane, eh? But the guy really needed much more time on the court during the regular season to get his game established. Injuries didn’t help, but then neither did Karl’s rotations and poor usage of his bigs.

  • aussienuggzfan

    i give big al a D at least, try playing with a torn miniscus, broken nose, plastic face mask and who knows what else

    • Dubz

      I definitely agree. The mask is obviously bothering him because he keeps taking it on and off. I have a buddy who had to wear a similar mask when he broke his nose, and he says it’s very claustrophobic, hot, and incredibly difficult to get used to. Al obviously needs to shoot less when he’s not making his shots, but I think he feels responsible for fulfilling his part. The Nuggs really don’t have another backup PF either, so we should appreciate the fact that he’s even out there with a torn friggin meniscus. He obviously shouldn’t be playing more minutes than Faried though, that’s simply ridiculous.

      • ryanvdonk

        the simple solution to no backup PF (which bird really is) is to go twin towers on the lakers. if bynum and gasol are in the game there’s no reason that mozzy and javale can’t play together.

        • Andrew

          Totally agree. Was I seeing things, or was Harrington guarding Kobe through at least a portion of the 4th? Why would Harrington ever play d on Kobe, much less when he has all of those injuries? Maybe it was just the result of a multitude of switches that I missed or something.

  • John L.

    love this website, but to say that Harrington bet against the Nuggets and played poor on purpose makes me question the integrity of this site as long as this writer is still employed/active!

    • Charlie

      Apologies. I removed the betting accusation, but the fact Harrington did not honestly try to win remains true.

      Once again the reaction was harsh, but I honestly wasn’t prepared to see that in a playoff game.

      • John L.

        I understand, but to see a reaction that will be posted on ESPN.com does not go unexcused. To a local Sportswriter I hope you are aware of what and where you are posting your influence.

      • Thomas

        Come on, it’s not personal against Al. Who cares if he has a broken nose or bad knee – if there is a better option on the bench it is a terrible mistake to keep him in the game.

        Faried is a much, much better player than Al even when Al is in one piece.

        It was beyond baffling that Karl played him the entire 4th quarter. IF Faried was in there the outcome of the game would not have been in question at the end. Did Faried go 0-7?

      • NickL

        “the fact that Harrington did not honestly try to win the game remains true.”

        –dude, back away. this is teenager shit. how can you possibly know this? Harrington is the same guy you’ve been praising for working hard with the injury, giving consistent effort; now suddenly he’s a cancer or whatever?

        which leads me to a general point: all of your game write ups are WAY too concerned with amateur psychoanalysis of the players…..you don’t have access to this info. stick with what they do on the floor and avoid the useless speculation about their inner lives.

        • Jeff

          I totally agree. Al had a really bad night but he was fighting and got some rebounds. The inbound that went straight to Barnes was hard to watch but the dude was definitely trying.

  • Craig Binkley

    I agree that al harrington grade seems unfair. This seems like a massive adolescent-ish over reaction. Al didn’t play that well. Al’s beat up and probably tired. At times this season, Al has carried this team. He’s played big minutes. Now suddenly, it’s realistic to accuse Al Harrington of wanting to sabotage game 5? That doesn’t make any logical sense.

    It is logical to ask why didn’t Faried play at all in the 4th, sure. However, I’ll probably never find the true answer to that question. I’m fine with that. I’m not going to accuse George Karl of being an idiot because he didn’t follow my personal game plan. I’ve never coached basketball in my life. There’s a very high probability that the Nuggets are better off with George Karl coaching them and not me

    Finally, I do enjoy this website. I really do. Sometimes the inconsistent criticism of George Karl playing a small line up drives me nuts. I’ve read that the nuggets are worse when they play small ball and I’ve also read they are “more productive when they play a unconventional lineup.” Just pick a side of the fence to be on and stick to it.

    • Charlie

      There is no excuse, injury included, for what I saw Harrington do on the court tonight.

      The gambling went a little too far, but my point is what we saw tonight should never happen in professional sports. Honestly, it rarely does because people like that typically don’t get anywhere in the NBA.

    • evan

      “Pick a side of the fence and stick to it.”

      -so you’re the type to never admit when you’re wrong.

      As far as RBC goes, I think they report on the FACTS and try not to let their EGO get in the way. As the season goes on, more and more evidence is put forth, so what appears to be right can change over time, and has. RBC reports on that. The fact of the matter is, small has worked at times and at times it hasn’t. This isn’t a summary of an entire season its a summary of a game. Also, If you payed any attention at all, they constantly repeat “it doesn’t work AGAINST THE LAKERS”… Unless they played the Lakers every game of the season, you don’t have a case.

      -It’s much like Andre Miller. Charlie blasted him the first half of the season, and is now giving him a tremendous amount of praise. Is this because they are ‘inconsistent and unreliable?” as you suggest. No. It’s because Andre Miller DID IN FACT play bad the first half of the season, and has started playing really well as of late. And I personally respect Charlie a lot for admitting this, rather then letting his ego get in the way of what is true like you suggest.

      Besides, if you wanted them to say the same thing over and over and not react to the CHANGING season, why not just read the first post and never come back? What’s the point?

  • Charlie

    I changed Al’s grade to a D minus and removed the betting stuff, but there truly is no excuse for what he’s doing on the court.

    I hate to say it, but I have basically been right about the guy this whole series. He is one of the more infuriating players I’ve ever watched.

    Harrington’s professional career has been defined by two things – selfishness and losing. In my mind these playoffs have only further proved Al Harrington is who he’s always been

    • Henry aka LWH and formerly KFH

      Charlie, thanks for being willing to say straight-up what you think about Harrington. I had nearly changed my mind about him this season (my opinion had been much the same as yours), but nope. Despite Karl lauding him as a leader, I can’t see him as anything but a selfish guy who has an inflated assessment of his game and its overall impact. And I have no idea why he was on the court tonight, especially down the stretch, but that’s on Karl.

      Here’s hoping Ujiri moves him after the season. There’s plenty of long-range shooting both on the Nuggets bench and out there in the league for the grabbing.

  • Salavicius

    The Nuggets should be up 3-2, on their way home to close out the series. They play like world champions for long stints of the game, then lose a 15 point lead from fear and hesitation. Desperation leading to success is a motivation formula for sociopaths and one hit wonders. I wish this team knew that they can be and are more than that. But hey, I’m just talking.

  • Prizzy

    The fellas still got some fight in them. Whatever happens, Mcgee ande Faried give a great deal of hope for the future. I still think we have a chance.

  • evan

    Harrington was -1. Magee was -6..

    Proof +,- is a crock of shit…orrr does Harrington’s effect go beyond the stat-line? (Leadership, Defense, Different look, Still a stretch 4 threat thus opening up the paint, and he actually had some really nice passes-that-led-to-passes off drive&kicks)

    Just food for thought, I don’t actually think he helped. Lol.

    • Charlie

      Harrington just played a lot. A good portion of the third quarter and the whole fourth quarter. Karl basically rotated everyone else outside of Harrington, which skewed the plus minus greatly.

      • elvena

        Well, McGee played a lot too–6 more minutes than Harrington.

        +/- for a single game just isn’t very meaningful.

    • Will

      unadjusted +/- is shit, especially for one game. But adjusted +/- for a whole season must have some meaning.

  • snafu

    The thing with Harrington is that teams will guard him out by the three point line which clears the paint for attacks on the basket. If you put Faried in there late the defense can collapse. I think that’s why there’s some value to having Harrington on the court even when he’s playing like hot garbage.

    Also, that was the single greatest performance I’ve ever seen from Andre Miller. So many great passes, especially the ones to Afflalo cutting around the rim.

  • josh

    Funny how all of a sudden everyone is big on McGee. The guy cannot do it game to game. Mark my words, McGee wont show up next game. 8 points – 7 rebs – 3 blks. Lakers close the series out 4-2. The problem with this team is consistency (they dont have it). AAA is here and there, Lawson has his games, Gallo cant shoot a lick, and Faried is young so i cant throw dirt on him. Gallo had a 6 foot point guard on him and air balled a fade away 5 feet from the hoop. Gallo is 6 feet 10 inches tall for crying out loud!

    Now if McGee played 75 percent of what he did tonight game in and game out, the team would much better. In George we trust… Go Nuggets!

    • Henry aka LWH and formerly KFH

      Wow, it’s been really tough to figure out what ails the Nuggets this year, but I think you’re onto something with this scintillating analysis:

      “The problem with this team is consistency (they dont have it).”

    • GK4Prez

      Good grief, learn how to enjoy the moment or life will pass you by.

    • Aaa

      You must live a sad sad life when you can’t enjoy our most meaningful playoff win in years

  • Tom

    Harrington is a big strong guy with good range, good passing, and good handling. Faried is good, but Al is taller, a better shooter, a better passer, and has a good 30 lbs on him. That’s why Al plays big minutes. The other issue is that there really isn’t another guy who can play PF besides those two. Harrington has also been one of the more consistent and solid players the whole season. You have to play him.

    Charlie was dogging Miller all season, saying he was done and we should trade him, and that the 2 PG lineup was awful, blah blah blah. This diatribe against Harrington is further confirmation that Charlie is a reactionary that let’s his emotions dictate his player evaluation. The fact is both Miller and Harrington have played very well for us this year with solid plus/minus numbers, and they both deserve the big minutes GK gives them. Don’t throw players under the bus because of a bad game here and there.

    • Charlie

      I actually said before the series that Miller would be the key player for Denver and if he played well, could swing the series in the Nuggets favor. I dogged him regular season because I did not believe the Nuggets would keep him (still don’t) and I thought he had some trade value. I gave Andre credit and acknowledged his improved play in the latter half of this shortened season

      I also gave Harrington loads of praise when he was a team-first guy in the beginning of the season. I predicted he would continue to be a solid contributor even after his hot start.

      The lesson here is that it’s okay to be wrong. Harrington is not taller than Faried and such a radically different player that comparing his shooting skills is like saying Pau Gasol is a better player than Dwight Howard because he shoots better.

      Harrington has gotten worse every month of the season. He was on a short leash with Karl after a poor first season in Denver, but he has since gotten in Karl’s good graces and stopped caring about shot selection, defensive effort, or accountability. He knows he’s in line for big minutes no matter what because he’s the veteran Al Harrington. Don’t you think there’s a reason Harrington has such a bad reputation as a no-defense playing chucker?

      The issue is not playing Harrington, but the amount of minutes and the fact him closing games doesn’t give Denver the best chance of winning. If you want to say he should play because he’s the veteran guy Karl trusts then fine, but as far as basketball reasons go there is zero evidence to suggest he should play instead of Faried. None.

      • aussienuggzfan

        Al is slightly taller – 6’8–6’9 range,
        Faried is really only 6’6–6’7. When he stands next to the other rookies, Stone and Hamilton they are all the same height

        • GK4Prez

          40 inch vertical compared to a 4 cm vertical.

    • Thomas

      Al’s 2012 PER is 15 – he’s been mediocre this year and throughout his career.

      A “big” power forward that has career playoffs averages of 37% shooting and less than 5 rebounds per game. He’s neither a power forward nor a good shooter.

      Meanwhile, Faried has a 2012 PER of 22 as a rookie. Guy’s playoff shooting percentage is 52%, along with 10 rebounds per game (over 3 offensive rebounds per game!).

      Faried has made 9 more shots this playoffs (23 vs 14) than Harrington, on 5 less shots taken (44 vs 49).

      Harrington can still go out and score 20 points next game, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we win the game. If we lose the rebounding battle again (like last night) we probably don’t win next game.

  • bosc0

    Why is it that so many teams hit desperation tre’s with a hand in their face against the Nuggets? It’s super frustrating.

    • josh

      It does seem that way! When a big play needs to be made, somehow the stars align to kick the nuggets in the face. They should had let Bynum take the final 3… bet he would have made it.

  • allAround

    Al should be traded come on he shoots too much and does not pass the ball.

    Miller and McGee start questions should they stay?

    Miller why he is starting to play now ( is it because the contract is at the end)

    McGee should stay yes but not with the money he wants he is still not stable and without a good Miller(or Miller like player) to lob him I do not know if he is going to be productive

    Mozz come on now a tall playing basketball…

    • allAround

      Chances for 3 – 3 40 – 60 % to Lakers .We should keep Gasol controlled and let kobe continue to shoot like that … Hoping for the best

  • steve

    I only got to watch a little of the 3rd and all of the 4th. Just happy to see us extend the series. Man those Dre passes to mcgee are a thing of beauty! :D

  • al68

    tenemos que creer que podemos ganar no lo veo nada tan dificil, Bryant es muy dificil que juege mejor que ayer, gracias al entrenador Brown (me parece muy malo) que ha sacado casi 38 min per game a Gasol que tiene 32 años, esta agotado y cada vez va ha jugar peor, no esta haciendo grandes cambios para solucionar el double team contra Bynum y esta sacando cada vez mas fuera a Gasol algo que nos combiene mucho ya no juega al poste bajo repartiendo juego, el resto del equipo es muy limitado, por todo eso creo que todo depende de nosotros ahora mismo tenemos mejor equipo solo hay que creerselo y no fallar al final como en el 4º partido.

  • GIANLUCA

    GALLO POST IN GAME 6 IS THE KEY

    BECAUSE IN GAME 7 WITH METTA IS ANOTHER HISTORY ..

    BUT IN GAME SIX GALLINARI CAN PLAY WITH A LOT OF POST AND CAN HAVE THE BEST PERFORMANCE WITH 30 POINTS 10 RMBD 5 ASSIST

  • magster

    Has anyone noticed that Mozgov’s arms a comparitively skinny and not toned to other centers. Mozzy needs to hit the gym hard this offseason. A little extra strength would go a long way.

  • Ernie

    The best thing about this win was the Nuggets just kept fighting. In January and at other times this season when there were some blowouts you could question the heart of this team. But the effort was there tonight and it was wonderful to see.

  • Aaron

    I challenge anyone to run up and down the court 2 times with a torn meniscus and then hit clutch free throws in the 4th quarter of a close out game for the other team.

    Harsh and class-less RMC. Al had a horrible game, but he fought for us and Faried misses those free throws.

    • steve

      if hes not healhty, he shouldnt be in…also if Faried was in, it might not have come down to those FT’s! :)

      i understand that Al is playing through pain and i love him for it. But he shouldnt be in there if he’s hurting more than helping. But that’s on GK, not AL.

    • Ernie

      Defend Harrington if you want, but Faried has been among the most clutch free throw guys the Nuggets have had this year.

    • Charlie

      Harrington was a 67% foul shooter this season. Faried 66%. That’s a tough guarantee to make.

      Defend Harrington if you like, but the evidence against him is just overwhelming. He hurts Denver with just about everything he does in this series and almost.

      His 28% shooting is the worst among all players in the playoffs who have taken at least 45 shots. That means he’s continued to shoot more and more despite the fact he has one of the worst FG% of anyone playing in the playoffs.

      Harrington wouldn’t be hurting so much if he just took fewer shots, got to the line, or contributed some rebounding, steals, or consistent defense. But he’s been very average or below average in all those categories.

      Is being hurt a valid excuse to play selfish, one-dimensional ball? In some ways, yes – but I’m not willing to give Al Harrington a free pass as easily as you guys are. Great players understand accountability

  • Jon-Michael

    I’m going to have to disagree with your review of both Mozgov and Harrington.

    Mozgov didn’t put up huge numbers and did get into foul trouble, but it was his early defense that took Bynum out of his game and set the tone for when McGee took over. He was very physical with him early and made it difficult for him to get good position in the low post. Bynum was clearly frustrated.

    Harrington was very vocal out there down the stretch with Andre Miller. Remember the dude’s playing with a torn meniscus and a broken nose! If you want to see indifferent, watch the entire Orlando Magic team against the Pacers last night! Al’s struggling with his shot to be sure, but he pestered and bothered the much bigger Pau Gasol last night and has throughout the series. The Nuggets have needed his leadership on the court and have benefited from it.

    • HD

      this

    • Charlie

      Jon-Michael, here’s a couple of stats from last night.

      In the fourth quarter, with Harrington defending him, Pau Gasol was 2/3 from the field and had 4 rebounds and 1 steal. It was his most productive quarter

      In the first quarter, he shot 1/4 with only 2 boards and was abused in transition by Faried.

      When you’re breaking down the excellent defense of Gasol, you have to give Faried his fair share of the credit. Gasol had a game to forget and the Nuggets clearly flustered him, but by no means was he shut down by Harrington at any point in the game, even if Harrington did play solid defense on him.

      The question is, was Harrington’s D good enough to make up for the 0/7 shooting and nonexistent production everywhere else?

      You have to be fair and look at the evidence when evaluating these things.

  • AlexK

    Charlie, what do you think the chances are the Nuggets resign McGee this summer?

    It seems pretty obvious that McGee is flourishing with this team and management and will hopefully only get better from here on out (I don’t want to see any McGee youtube bloopers in a Nuggs jersey). I think McGee realizes that too, so I’m hopping he stays. Masai seems pretty good at locking down players.

    • Charlie

      One of the biggest surprised of the series is the fact McGee is such a great fit for the Nuggets.

      The Nuggets chances of keeping him are very high if Masai decides he wants to keep him. It will all be dictated by the free agent market which is toot tough to predict until guys start getting signed and the market becomes a bit more set.

      If the Nuggets want him, he’ll probably be here a long time

      • DH

        Charlie, I think McGee increased his next contract from being something like $9M/year before the playoffs started to something closer to $12M/year (or more) after his performance in Games 3 and 5. What do you think?

  • ny nugs fan

    al harrington’s defense on gasol alone in this series sets the floor of his grade at a B+ and anything he gives us on offense simply raises it; without harrington keeping gasol off the block AND setting the example of how to play big down low to the youngsters faried & mcgee… this series would’ve been over a long time ago

    i don’t think it’s indifference; but merely frustration at wearing the mask… but i’d just say to harrington to think about the value of your trading cards down the road with the mask if you play all around great with it (lol)… you gotta make the mask work for you

    • Landry

      Thank you, I am so glad that someone is sticking up for Big Al. I love seeing an undeterred confidence from our only consistent player of the season. I mean I think Al missed like 2 games to rest when we had finally clinched the playoffs. Also, Harrington’s 1 on 1 is a part of the flow of our offense and without it our bench unit becomes 1 dimensional. Keep chucking Buckets!!!!!!

  • NewEraNugg

    Nuggs w/ the huge win last night. I didn’t think they could do it (which usually means they can). Harrington is trying to fight through it, but you can tell he’s laboring out there. Don’t think it’s from lack of effort or desire, just pain holding him back. Truth be told Al is probably the most reliable scorer on the team, he can hit the outside shot & has a decent drive/post game, but right now he’s stuggling. Keep fighting Al we’re waiting for you back in Denver…..GO NUGGETS!

    • Thomas

      If he could hit the outside shot and have a decent post game, he wouldn’t be a power forward with a career FG% of less than 45% and a playoff FG% of 37%.

      He can be a solid contributor for up to 20 minutes/game, anything above that and he will hurt your chances of consistently winning.

  • DH

    What a great win, and it’s awesome to see the passion and the sheer volume of comments on this excellent forum!

    I can’t add much to what’s already been said, but here’s what stood out the most to me…

    This series would already be over – in our favor – if we could shoot at all. And the shooting has to come around at some point, doesn’t it? If it does, there’s no reason we can’t complete the comeback and take the series. We are getting all the wide open looks we could ever ask for. We just need to knock down a decent percentage of them.

    I have nothing against Al, and I don’t think he was “not trying”. In fact, he ended up getting the most important rebound of the game, while falling to the floor. But using him for THAT long, especially when he’s injured, in a game where Faried had been outstanding, was ridiculous. I understand that when that unit was on a roll, Karl didn’t want to mess with it at all. But I thought for sure that when the Lakers were catching up to the point that Karl felt like he had to get Lawson back in, that he would put Faried in, too. Harrington had to be gassed at that point, and was not adding much on either end. Yes, I know he spreads the floor a little (he hasn’t been hot enough for the Lakers to worry too much about him, though). But Karl himself says that rebounding is the most important thing in this series, followed by pace and effort. Doesn’t that sound like Faried’s game?

    Also, I don’t usually comment on the grades, because they’re usually close enough to what I think that I don’t need to quibble. But I think that Al’s grade was too tough. I think I would give him a C-. And Moz did a great job pushing Bynum off the block (Steve Kerr mentioned it a couple of times as one of the keys to our good early start, by the way). What Charlie considers to be the only things he did well, I consider to be exactly what we need from him. Anything else (like hitting his short jumpers in Game 4) is just a bonus. I would give him a B-.

  • Will

    I don’t get why people bitch about the author’s Harrington betting remark. Don’t be so touchy- sports writing shouldn’t be completely uncontroversial and serious especially on a Nugget’s blog. I’m so sick of completely sanitized sports reporting..

  • Charlie

    I’ve gotten a lot of flak for my criticism of Harrington and I’ll explain it to you guys the best I can.

    When you’re playing in the playoffs, injuries are not an excuse. You can’t look at this like a Disney movie and admire the toughness of Harrington simply because he’s playing, even though he’s ineffective.

    The Nuggets have to share the ball and work harder and smarter than the Lakers in order to win this series. Team play is more important than anything. That’s why guys like Faried and McGee are so huge. They create tons of extra possessions with their hustle and they don’t need the ball to be effective – when they are in the game, everything goes through the guards. That’s why Miller has been so good with McGee, who has became an amazing success story because everything McGee gets results from beautiful team basketball that is just amazing to watch. It’s the right way to play and everyone benefits for it – plus, the Nuggets actually win.

    On the other hand, Al Harrington has been the antithesis of that. Injured or not, he needs the ball in his hands to succeed. Harrington can pass, but he doesn’t (only six assists the entire series). Despite the fact Al is struggling with his shot and has no rhythm, he shoots more than just about anyone on the team. Why would you do that when you know the key to winning this series is playing hard and smart as a TEAM? The reason is Harrington is a streaky shooter and he needs to get his shot going in order to be effective. Harrington will never be shy about shooting it and feels he needs to do that whether he’s making them or not.

    Having a veteran guy with that type of attitude stealing huge minutes from the rest of the Nuggets big is a recipe for disaster. It is not a coincidence that Denver’s big win in game three happened when Harrington got hurt and didn’t. The Nuggets played such great ball in that game and won because of it. Last night, every player but one followed that same formula and it resulted in another awesome team win. Look at the evidence if you want to know who that one player who didn’t buy in turned out to be. I’m not making this stuff up. I’m trying to look at what makes the Nuggets successful and what they can do in order to win.

    • Barry

      This is a great post Charlie, couldn’t agree more. My issue with Al is that beyond scoring, what else does he bring to the team? … Crickets chirping. He doesn’t bring anything, even when he’s healthy. He’s not a great defender, rebounder, passer. While I’m somewhat okay with GK leaving him in when he’s hot, I still don’t like him being out there with Andre for defensive purposes. We can be okay with 1 poor defender on the court at a time (Al or Dre) but together, we’re asking for trouble.

      Last night, GK tried to give this game away. The entire team was playing pretty well for the most part in the 2nd half. However, you can’t leave the 2nd unit out there for the entire 4th quarter. If he brings Faried and Ty in for Brewer and Harrington with 5-6 minutes to go, Nugs win by 10 easy. Instead, he does what he’s done all season and tries to run the horses into the ground. At that point Lakers have momentum and the game turns into a nailbiter.

      There’s a fox sports west article by Billy Witz from a few days ago where he quotes Andre Miller. “I don’t think he needs the stress of dealing with a superstar that has a certain type of ego and personality that you have to bend and adjust to. I think at this point in his career, he’s more into developing young guys.” I wish this were true because it sure doesn’t feel like it.

      It will be interesting to see if the nuggets bring Dre back. Last nights game probably bought GK at least another year, unfortunately. I’m curious if GK’s assistant coaches are okay with his substitution patterns and veteran favoritism.

      Last nights game probably made JaVale McGee a lot of money from the Nuggets or somebody else. Would think the Nuggets would try to keep him after showing that kind of potential, that was a heck of a game.

    • Ernie

      Charlie,

      I appreciate the point, but I think the issue is not that Harrington is selfish but that Harrington is not effective anymore. When he is playing this way but making shots it’s exactly what the team needs, because they don’t have any realiable 3 point shooters (with JHam not playing) or scorers of any kind. It would be nice if Gallo could fill that role but since he’s come back from injury he hasn’t been efficient either.

      My point is the team constantly looks to pass the ball to Harrington because he is willing to take those shots when others are not. But you are right that someone else should be out there since he is no longer playing efficiently.

    • DH

      Charlie, I don’t disagree with anything you said here. I am on record as saying that there’s a chance we would have won Game 2 if Karl hadn’t gone with Al for so long, and we might have lost Game 3 if Al hadn’t been injured.

      And yet, I would have given Al something like a C- for this game, and I don’t think he looked like he didn’t care. I think one reason we disagree a little is that my main complaint is with how GK uses him (too much, wrong situations, too often in crunch time, etc.), and that part doesn’t factor into my grade for Al. I absolutely believe that Faried should have come in when Ty came in – or sooner. But that’s not Al’s decision.

      Also, it’s clear that Al is supposed to be kind of a JR-like instant-offense weapon off the bench, at least in Karl’s mind. So when he tries to get his offense going, he’s certainly doing it with the blessing of his coach. It’s his role, whether we like it or not. Now, if he puts up some shots and it’s obvious it’s not his night, it’s on him to shoot less (I think we agree on that), and it’s also on Karl to recognize it and pull him (which he never seems to do). So on those 3-15 nights, I blame both of them.

      Last night, he took only 7 shots in 27 minutes, and most of those were shots he’s expected to take. So, that’s not outrageous. He rebounded OK, I guess, with 5 boards. His defense has been worse. Like I said, it was a C- type of game, given my expectations of him and his role. The bigger problem was that Faried was having an A game and wasn’t allowed on the court because Karl was suffering from his trust issues again – not that Al was having one of his worst games of the year, as a D- grade would indicate. Just my humble opinion.

    • magster

      Before yesterday’s game, Al was the leading 3 point shooter at 38%, with Andre and Corey in second at 33%. Gallo and Ty were in the teens %age.

      Al missed all his 3s, but so did everyone else. We were 3-19 last night with AAA making 1 and Andre making 2. Al hardly has a monopoly on missing 3s.

      With the FT %age, Faried’s %age may be the same as Al’s, but Faried has gotten the yips from the FT line the last couple of weeks, and it is a serious problem. When Faried missed that FT on that weird and1 play, he doomed his own 4th quarter playing time. Faried cannot be considered any better a FT shooter at this point than McGee or Shaq.

      • Jeff

        Great point, everybody was missing. And if you miss your first shot it’s not like you’re supposed to just stop shooting for the rest of the night…

      • DH

        I understand what you’re saying, but I’m not sure that argument really works. Al is in there almost exclusively to make shots (and in doing so, to spread the floor). The others you mentioned bring a lot to the table, even when they miss their 3’s. Ty and Andre, of course, can have huge games without making any 3’s. Brewer is in for energy and defense, not his 3’s. Gallo can hit 2’s, can draw fouls, and does a good job guarding Kobe. And Faried gains extra possessions with his rebounding, blocks, and hustle plays, in addition to scoring in the paint.

        Also, Al didn’t just miss his 3’s – he missed every shot. Faried was 5 for 5. Overall (on all shots), Al is shooting 29% for the series. Faried is shooting 52%. Al’s adjusted field goal percentage (which accounts for 2’s, 3’s, and FT’s) is 36%. Faried’s is 52%. And scoring is not Faried’s main job, whereas it is Al’s.

        I think Al played OK overall, despite his bad shooting night. But if the question is whether Faried or Al should have been in the game at the end, I feel strongly that it should have been Faried. And I’m pretty sure that FT’s have nothing to do with it, or McGee wouldn’t be seeing the floor in the 4th quarter, either.

  • ryanvdonk

    if we can resign javale this offseason, we should start calling the high flying front line of javale and manimal the super smash bros

  • Andrew

    McGeezie won this game for the Nuggets and Miller was superb, as well. It is not Harrington’s fault that Karl is playing him, and I give him all credit for playing hurt…but c’mon, Karl, what are you thinking? He can’t defend anyone and he was 0/7. Yikes.

    I agree with the posters above that Karl should be playing McGee on Bynum and Moz/Koufos on Gasol. It’s completely debatable, but I think the Nuggets would be up in this series if Karl were playing more bigs against the Lakers bigs.

    Also, Moz may earn only a C for keeping Bynum off the block and giving fouls, but I personally think there is a lot of value in that. Punish that puke, Bynum. Run three 7′ guys at him and make him so angry he takes a swing.

    • ryanvdonk

      the problem with koufas is he just is too slow and not strong enough to guard bynum, he’s ok on pau. if mozzy and javale are in together, it doesn’t matter which big they guard, as moz does just as good a job in one on one defense…and the two of them in should lead to a lot of blocks.

      • Andrew

        Totally agree. K2 should only get minutes on Pau to see if that works, and Moz and McGee should work well together.

  • Tom

    The Lakers have 3 all-stars on their team and home-court advantage. The Nuggets have zero, and play certain guys big minutes that many of you wanted gone, like Miller and Harrington. But with some fans it’s always GK sucks blah blah blah. The Lakers should win this series every day of the week and twice on Sunday, but GK is out-coaching Mike Brown. Period.

    A lot of people keep saying we should try two 7-footers at once to match-up with Gasol and Bynum, but both of those guys are better than any player on the Nuggets and significantly better than any of our bigs. In other words, bigs-vs-bigs plays right to the Lakers’ strengths and advantages over us. I don’t understand how fans can be so delusional to think that going big is anything other than a mistake for the Nuggets, especially if the game-plan is to run and run.

    Winning the rebound battle is important, but we have to face the fact that the Lakers are one of the preeminent rebounding teams in the league, second only to the Bulls; they should win that battle every night if both teams are playing their best. Giving a bunch more minutes to untalented and out-of-shape 7-footers as a hope and prayer for a few better box-outs is dumb. You have to play to your strengths, not your opponents’ strengths. The Nuggets have a more athletic roster and a better bench. To use those to their advantage, they need to run the Lakers into the ground. If Bynum, Gasol, and Bryant are playing 40+ minutes per game at our pace, it hurts their effectiveness and exposes their lack of depth. We can’t play our game with a big lineup unless it’s for a very short stint of a couple minutes here and there. GK knows this, and that’s why he’s a great coach.

    If we end up winning this series, all of you fire-GK-now folk should start licking his boots.

    • gfacekillah8

      spot on. i couldn’t agree with this more.

      • ryanvdonk

        the idea behind two bigs is to keep LA off the offensive glass, and rebounds lead to transition, makes it really tough for the lakers get drive the lane as well…also mozzy and mcgee can both run the court better than byum (gasol can hang though). it’s not something that the nuggets will be able to manage for a long period of time, but it could be beneficial in short stretches, giving them a different look that hasn’t been seen before.

    • Ryan

      Outcoaching Mike Brown is like finishing second to last in a race…

  • jim

    i dunno. that was a frickin awesome game. i’m enjoying it until thursday night.

    i’d love to know more about why faried was not in the whole 4th. definitely very odd considering the whole gameplan was to outhustle and outrebound. that means a whole truckload of mcgee and manimal.

    but i gotta give gk the benefit of the doubt here. it’s fine to not trust him, i get that with the last 8 years, but he has done things this year and this series that he has not done in the past. faried has played and become a huge part of this team. he did adjust when k2 was a bust with mosgov. trusting miller too much – well, last night shows more than a little why that is not such a bad habit. shoot, espn tweets from last night mentioned dre as a HOF candidate! no joke.

    big al has been absolutely huge for this team this year. and i don’t believe he didn’t care last night at all. he sucked, but he’s all heart. torn meniscus, broken nose. whatever.

    none of us are talking about this if we don’t go 3-453 from the 3pt line. we won this game despite that shit because of heart and will. that’s huge. this is not nintendo. enjoy it a little. we got a chance to tie it up at home and if we play like we’ve shown we can, we’ve got a good chance.

  • snafu

    One thing about Mozgov. Nobody wants to pass it to him. He’s probably earned that with lousy offensive play throughout the year, but there were a few moments in that game where he was open and a player with a better reputation in his position would have gotten the ball with a chance to score.

    Not defending him so much as saying that his low offensive production from game to game is not always a lack of effort or awareness on his part, and more tied to his lack of opportunities (granted he sucks at getting offensive rebounds).

  • clive

    al was in there in the fourth to stretch the floor. if he wasn’t in, mcgee doesn’t get those easy lobs from dre, nor does AAA / dre have room to operate inside. al did a pretty good job on pau anyway.

  • clive

    RMC turned pretty garbage these days. used to have pretty good analysis / insight, but the new guys only look at stats. oh and they keep using words / phrases the wrong way. it’s pretty annoying.

    • GK4Prez

      Annoying is an individual that bitches about something other people do when they don’t have the intestinal fortitude to attempt the same task.

  • DAN

    Tom,
    That was a very well thought out post with lots of good points. It’s an interesting strategy argument. I think the issue most of us have is the two point guard lineup for extended periods of time. Or the Faried Al front court that puts us at an extreme height disadvantage. I don’t think we should play two seven footers as that would pull Faried and his energy off the court.

  • gfacekillah8

    that game took 5 years off my life. man what a win. i am pretty disappointed with a lot of the comments on this board though. do you realize what our team just did? we went into LA and won an elimination game. do any of you haters realize how difficult that is to do?

    everyone is so quick to rip Karl for his lineups etc… yeah harrington hasnt been scoring but he is a veteran that Karl can trust. faried is still a little raw to trust in that situation last night as i think we saw at the end of game 2. pau did nothing at the end of the game when harrington was guarding him. and yeah harrington missed a free throw but he also made one which was huge. Karl is going to go with his veteran guys in these situations and i cant say i blame him. it showed last night when he stuck with miller over ty and i think we can all agree that was the right call. i dont think faried should have sat as much as he did but harrington is contributing in ways other than hitting threes.

    i will never understand why there is so much hatred for mosgov on this site. the guy doesnt produce great numbers but you cannont deny that this series changed drastically when karl switched him in for koufos. yeah he fouls and doesnt score but he makes Bynum work for everything he gets (which is exactly what you need to do with an immature player like bynum). steve kerr said the exact same thing during the game last night and i think he knows what he is talking about.

    i think some of the nuggets fans need to realize that we are playing a lakers team with 3 of the 15 best players in the entire league. this lakers team is really good. we have a really young and inexperienced team who are showing that they are learning as they go in this series. these games are not going to be blow outs. they are going to be tough hard fought games. yes the Nuggets should be up 3-2 in this series but they also could be done with their season right now. they showed tremendous toughness last night and i am really excited for game 6 and for next year.

    guess what? game 6 is gonna be another close one. but i fully expect the Nuggets to show up and win. Go Nuggets.

  • HD

    Mozgov deserves a B because he has destroyed all of bynums confidence throughout this series. So what if he doesn’t score (or get the ball) he is playing his role. We don’t give him enough credit. Had Koufos had been in instead we would have been swept.

  • Landry

    I love that we do always fight and that GK focuses on getting Faried in a position to succeed. The chaos of LA was not the place to damage the unbridled confidence of our rookie and Al needs to know that GK trusts him completely. Finally Denver is where the Manimal’s inexhaustible motor works to our favor with the altitude. Glad to see that Big Al has kept chucking because without him, our offense would be even worse with what GK calls “half-court execution.” So lets hope that McGee keeps up his rebounding because otherwise were going home early.

  • Ricardo

    The nuggets have been playing good defense since game 3. McGee played at a high level, the nuggets should definitely try to resign him during the summer, he could probably be the third-best center in the league, behind Howard and Bynum. Miller finally played like a veteran should, in carrying the nuggets to a win in an elimination game.

    The nuggets probably would have won this series 4-1 if they would have won games 2 and 4, but they are still giving the Lakers a hard-time. The only thing that has been killing the nuggets in this series is in making open three-pointers, if they would have made those shots, they probably would have won game 4. But I still expect the nuggets to win game 6 in Denver and force game 7 in L.A, if it doesn’t happen, I still expect them to keep it a close lose, like in game 4.

  • Ryan

    Officiating: Pau Gasol trips and falls on his butt under the basket, has a picnic, then is allowed to pass the ball out to the perimeter with neither 3 seconds or traveling being called.
    Kobe is fooled by Miller’s okie-doke, stumbles and travels, yet there is a foul on Miller without actually touching Kobe. Bynum gets beat by McGee, then hauls him down by the head/neck without getting a flagrant 1. Other than those 3 curious calls, I thought the refs did a relatively good job not buying into the home crowd.
    Harrington: After superb defense on Kobe by Gallinari, the Nuggets secure a hard-earned rebound just before halftime… only to see Al kick it out of bounds, giving the Lakers 2 more points. Throwing away an inbounds pass, missing every shot, not getting back on defense when Kobe is exploding, and bricking a critical free throw? Inexcusable. Any person who has ever owned a dog knows that you help them along as much as you can, but there comes a time when you have to simply put the poor thing out of its misery and put it down (or in this case, on the bench). I admire Al for trying to play hurt, but if you can’t put forth a better effort than that, you have to respect your team enough to ask out of the game.
    Very excited for game 6, as well as next year, whenever that may come. Resigning McGee for $10-12M, 5 years would sound about right for me. Hell, he’s already had more memorable playoff moments than Nene did for the Nuggets. A core of McGee, Faried, Chandler, Gallo, Lawson, AAA, JHam, and Brewer? Yes please!!

    • GK4Prez

      ^^^Kobe steps out of bounds before Mcgee goes up through the rim and goaltends his shot.

      http://tagneun.de/core/outofbounds.gif

    • Ernie

      That’s because they allowed Joey Crawford to officiate this game, who actually likes going against home crowds and for the most part keeps things fair (except against San Antonio where he has a beef with Duncan). I guarantee that if there is a game 7 that Dick Bavetta will ref, who is awful and known to be swayed by home crowds. That is how the NBA sways games, not by deliberately giving teams calls but by giving bad refs for important games.

  • Ed Kishinevsky

    The grade for big al is horseshit. He’s playing through two injuries and scrapping, body on the floor. Major beef with this grade. Mozzy also played good solid d on Bynum. Give credit. Know the game. #denvernuggets