Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 109 Detroit Pistons 87

Detroit Pistons 97 Final
Recap | Box Score
109 Denver Nuggets
Danilo Gallinari, SF 32 MIN | 3-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 8 PTS | +3

His shot selection could be a lot better since returning from an ankle injury, but it’s just Gallo’s second game back. The zero free throw attempts is concerning but otherwise Gallo looks like he’s still rusty and working his way back. If he doesn’t figure it out offensively, Denver will struggle to keep up with the better teams in the league

Kenneth Faried, SF 23 MIN | 7-10 FG | 1-3 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 15 PTS | +8

The Manimal looks to be back to his normal efficient self and chipped in an extremely energetic 23 minutes tonight. Defensively he struggled along with the rest of the bigs but his energy continues to have a profound effect on the rest of the team. Denver was quicker to every loose ball tonight tonight and a lot of that can be credited to the presence of Faried.

Kosta Koufos, C 30 MIN | 7-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 14 PTS | 0

A poor second half and lackluster rebounding effort spoil an otherwise solid performance. He had three blocks but looked lost protecting the lane and limiting Detroit’s penetration. As a starter Koufos hasn’t had a bad game but the Nuggets lackluster defense has looked soft with him in the middle.

Ty Lawson, PG 39 MIN | 3-8 FG | 8-10 FT | 4 REB | 9 AST | 15 PTS | +21

Ty seems to be settling down into a role nicely and for the first time was able to affect the game with his raw speed. Lawson needs to do a lot more offensively but the fact he earned ten three throws after shooting none if Miami is a huge improvement.

Andre Iguodala, SG 36 MIN | 6-15 FG | 2-2 FT | 10 REB | 4 AST | 17 PTS | +6

Solid double double and all around production from Iguodala. Strangely, Denver has looked like a much better half-court team with Iguodala on the floor. While Gallo continues to provide unreliable scoring the Nuggets have relied on Iguodala’s willingness to take big shots.

Corey Brewer, SF 20 MIN | 4-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 11 PTS | +5

He seems to be sticking in his newfound 3-and-D role with the Nuggets this season. Brewer dribbling still scares me and he isn’t a lockdown defender by any means, but as long as Brewer is hitting spot-up threes he’s very valuable. Fans of J-Ham might not want hear it, but Brewer’s strong play is the main reason he’s being squeezed out.

JaVale McGee, C 18 MIN | 7-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 16 PTS | +9

Progress has been slow for JaVale. He had a great overall game outside of a mini blooper reel segment in the middle of the second quarter. Denver’s a different team with JaVale on the floor but he’s been unable to play a steady 20 minutes without mental mistakes and frustration piling up.

Andre Miller, PG 26 MIN | 2-5 FG | 4-5 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 8 PTS | +1

As expected, Andre delivered some indifferent defense along with wizard-like passing and floor general skills. Solid game but at this point in his career, Miller can’t stay in front of the average guard who’s at least a decade younger than him.

Wilson Chandler, SG 16 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | +7

Liked his hustle, but he continues to force difficult shots and pass up good ones. I do consider this game progress for Chandler but he’s been tough to watch since attempting to return from hip surgery. Would like to see him be a lot more active on defense but we still don’t know what Chandler is able to provide yet.

Three Things We Saw

  1. Three point shooting kept the Nuggets afloat in this one, even though the Nuggets finished a paltry 30% on the night. Denver was hitting threes early and it gave them a cushion from Detroit runs long enough to hold out for the win. Denver continues to look like a bad shooting team while Lawson and Gallo are non-factors.
  2. Mozgov apparently blogged in Russian yesterday saying he would try to play fewer than ten minutes tonight. Mozgov didn’t see the floor as Koufos logged another healthy 30 minutes, but there’s a pretty good chance Timo could get some run in tomorrow’s back-to-back game at Houston.
  3. I hate to keep blaming the bigs, but the current rotation isn’t getting it done on defense. The Nuggets are soft inside but have been dominating the boards, with the hope being once the offense wakes up that rebounding advantage will turn into easy points. It’s harder to keep buying into that hope as opposing bigs continue to torch the Nuggets inside.
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Charlie Yao

Managing Editor at Roundball Mining Company and writer since 2010. Unhealthily obsessed with Nuggets basketball since 2002. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram at the links on the left.
  • Ty

    I don’t understand how faried played such little minutes!
    Same with javale really, the most athletic 7’er gets less than 20 minutes and faried only gets slightly more?
    All this while kosta is playing poor d without rebounding!
    I don’t care if McGee starts, but at least give him 25+ min a game!

    • mcz84

      AMEN !!!

  • clive

    Karl can’t give mcGee 25+ mins b/c he looks totally gassed at around 16 min mark. dudes gotta get in shape first.

    we really need better 3 pt shooting. Afflalo and Harrington were our best 3 pt shooters last year. our 1/2 ct offense looks awful – no spacing at all.

    • dynamo.joe

      Well, that’s 1/2 true, AAA was really good, but Harrington was our 4th best 3pt shooter.

  • Fire GK

    Its really pissing me off that manimal and JaVale rarely see 25+ minutes a night, while brewer gets more minutes and also kosta. Chandler is just not 100% yet and It seems like opposing bigs always have big nights against us. George Karl has just done an awful job coaching.. this is going to be a very long year if he keeps going like this…

    • mcz84

      agree with you 100% hate starting koufos over mcgee.30 minutes to 18 cmon GK

  • Stephen Hernandez

    I agree completely with Ty

  • CJP32

    Great to get a win, especially at home! The new uniforms are awesome, maybe a good luck charm?

    Faried played another solid game, but for those that haven’t noticed, Spencer Hawes, Baby Davis, Chris Bosh and now Greg Monroe have all had great games against the defense of Koufos, Faried and McGee. I’m sure Faried could easily average 28 mpg, but he is giving up points to. McGee has asthma and is exhausted after 20 minutes, and Koufos cannot catch the damn ball!

    Gallo still cannot find his shot, I think its safe to say he’s in a slump – hopefully things turnaround for him soon. Also Wilson Chandler needs to sit and let JHam get his minutes!

    Ty, Iggy and Dre had good games and passed the ball well with a combined 19 assists.

    C Brew has found his role, shoot threes, defend and rebound, the guy is giving Denver almost 10 pts and 6 rebs along with 2 threes and a steal each game. Not shooting fantastic numbers, but is playing solid off the bench.

    I’m not sure how Mozzy, AR and JHam are gonna find mins as GK seems to have his rotation in place now. We need this win over Houston tomorrow and will be without Chandler, so Iggy and C Brew need to defend Harden well.

  • Legalize Denver Nuggets

    Guys- tonight was the best night ever. First, the Nuggets get the win. Then many of the TVs in the Pepsi Center show Obama won and everyone starts going crazy for Obama and the Nuggets. And then fans found out that my User handle’s desire had come true and started freaking out even more! And to close it off, I got parking in front of my apartment in the Cap Hill neighborhood after the game at 10 which is unheard of. Oh man- just the best series of events.

    As for analysis at the game, it was encouraging to see more regular offensive sets that got our big guys good looks in the paint and our shooters open looks. If we can knock down more shots, even better, but for now just the presence of coordination seems like a big difference.

    • Jeff

      Nuggs are legal in Colorado! Great day indeed!

  • Young Pep Dash

    My god just play Faried!

    He does more good things than bad!

    He isn’t learning to play defense on the bench!

    And I know its earl but the I fear Nuggets are headed for eternal mediocrity once again. I hope Masai have some potential trades in mind – because Gallinari is a 4th option of a contender at best – but everyone including himself thinks he is a number 1 option.

    I’d rather just finally concede, blow it up, and go get a Shabazz, Noel, Wiggins, Parker etc. and see Hamilton, Faried, Stone, McGee, Fournier and Q Miller get more minutes.

    And please trade Andre Miller. I like him. I think he is good. But George Karl can’t keep it in his pants. I want to see 15 mins a night that is all. Let him be the absolute focal point as a PG for 15 mins rather than playing him at the 2.

    This year is going to extremely frustrating I fear

    • Thomas

      Agree 100%. Unfortunately, that’s what we’ll get with GK and we know how that ends.

  • Jeffy PE 34

    This team on paper looked great in the offseason – but its is extremely flawed. Apart from the obvious lack of star power, nobody can shoot.

    – Lawson is streaky but doesn’t get many opportunities at his size and position
    – Iggy is an average shooter
    – Everybody except Brewer himself knows he can’t shoot
    – Gallo and Chandler have not shot well since they left New York
    – Faried, Mcgee and Koufos obviously suck at shooting

  • Jeffy PE 34

    We need to either trade for a star this year or start looking to the draft like every other sensible team.

    There is 2 ways you win championships these days:
    *You draft studs and trade in some role players
    *You bring in big free agents or player demands trade to your team

    The second isn’t happening. To the draft Masai! In 2014 I wanna see Patrick Wiggins starting his HOF career in the powder blue! Muhammed also looks the goods this year.

    I’ve also heard Jabari Parker being compared to Melo. Don’t lie nuggets fans! You miss you some Melo right now! I know I do! Pity we never got to see Melo paired with iggy

  • Jeffy PE 34

    Btw. I can’t wait to see Quincy Miller in a couple of years so I don’t have to watch Gallo chuck up 10 3s a game. Quincy Miller has soooo much potential

  • Steve

    Karl is going to drive me insane…How can Goofus get 30 minutes and McGee get 18. He will never be more than a backup…

    It was nice to get a win but for goodness sake…PLAY big! (and play JH)

  • dynamo.joe

    I think GK is completely flummoxed by the fact that 2 of his big can’t play the regular number of consecutive minutes that starters generally get in the NBA.

    It’s like he is saying “well if they can’t play for 10-14 minutes at a stretch, how can they possibly play 30+ minutes a game? I’m not a math genius.”

  • Roundball Bill

    Why oh why oh why does Karl insist on giving Koufos more minutes than Javale and Faried? It doesn’t make any sense.

  • http://yahoo.com prospector

    Chandler comes back and Faried & Mcgee’s minutes drop exactly by Chandlers minutes.. Did anyone watch the game?? We go up by like 10 and the scrubs come in.. We lose the lead and limp into the half.. Faried was playing off his backside, and he gets rewarded with fewer minutes than he received when playing against the Champ Heat… The reason Detriot’s One big man went off was due to small ball line up for the entire 2nd half… Faried didn’t play in the 4th QTR…. ARE YOU FRIGGIN KINDING ME??? Again I ask did anyone watch the game?? We limped through the 2nd half against a lame team while Karl sat with his smirk on his face… He is an idiot.. He doesn’t learn from his mistakes.. and Masai needs to trade Chandler & KK away to force karl’s hand SO Faried/Mcgee can play 30 mins and GROW as players… Chandler adds nothing and I am sick of his play.. AND I AM SICK OF SMALL BALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL.. THANK GOD TONIGHT IS THE SECOND NIGHT OF A BACK-TO-BACK.. So chandlers 16mins will go 8 to Faried (that gets him 31) and 8 to Mcgee bringing him to like 24 mins.. & our team plays it’s backside off and wins…….

    • Ryan

      That’s a George Karl specialty: watch your team build a big lead, then put in a crappy small-ball/bench-heavy lineup with no offensive threat. This results in the lead disappearing in a few minutes while you sit on the bench chewing ice and staring off into space.
      I agree with you about Chandler as well, if he doesn’t show some sort of pulse in the next month or so, the Nuggets are going to be stuck with an albatross of a contract. Maybe he got lead poisoning or something in China. There’s no logical reason why he is getting minutes over Hamilton and Randolph right now.
      A side-note: this Pistons team is bad. B-A-D. If this is the best the Nuggets can do against one of the 5 worst teams in the league, this is going to be a LONG season. Every night, they make the other team’s PF look like vintage Karl Malone. 3-point defense was terrible again as well, as the Pistons shot 50% from 3.
      Finally, if Karl insists on playing Koufos 30 minutes, why can’t he at least pair him with McGee for some of it. When your team is struggling to defend the paint, maybe you need more size? Wow, what a crazy idea…

  • johnnyd

    Minutes might have been short for some players do to the back to back against a better team tonight. Just a guess. I don’t think the rotation is cast in stone yet. I’d like to see Mozzy in the starting roll as soon as he is healthy and up to speed. His defensive presence around the hoop may slow down opposing big men and keep them from getting off to a quick start. I think at this time he is the best defender in the paint of the three. Javale won’t be ready to start until he can be consistent on both ends and though he has done some things very well, Koofy has not been able to stop anyone from scoring. Lastly, until the team improves defensively, it will be a little frustrating watching the Nuggets. Obviously , it’s going to take some time before it all comes together. Hopefully , that will happen sooner than the 32 games predicted by coach Karl.

  • Kyle Obergfell

    I think our two centers played as well as we could hope.. a little rough on them Charlie.. and again.. a little too generous to Brewer.. 4-11.. not a B+ in my book.

  • James

    I swear, you read this board, and you’d think the Nuggets were the Bobcats. Yes, they are 1-3. Yes, they have some players with limitations, injuries and/or who are not playing well (yet). They may even have rotation issues from the coach. But does you all doubt they’ll win 50? Or at the VERY LEAST, get close. I mean, they won easily last night, by 12, and people want to fire the coach.

    And, my GOD, the armchair coaches. Play Faried more, play McGee more, blah, blah. As Clive said, McGee is just not in shape to play much more (yet), and for every crazy athletic good thing he does, he does one bonehead/poor thing (out of position, can’t catch a pass, or is generally all over the place). He’ll get in better shape, and play better, as the season goes on. He’s giving effort and trying hard. Faried is great, but has limitations, too.

    If you look too hard, you can find fault with EVERY game, like some of you seem to be doing. And I agree, Koufus played too much (though he was pretty good in the first half), and Faried not enough. But they won the game easily – you can’t win them all by 30.

    Long story short, they are a good, fun team. If they play like they can and did in Miami, or even close, they’ll beat 27 out of the 30 teams in the league.

    Now, if y’all’s problem is that they aren’t real contenders, I agree. But even an all-star team of the remaining NBA players would have a hard time beating the Heat, Thunder, or even Spurs this year. They are still positioning themselves to improve as we go forward, and will be pretty good while they do it.

    • http://espn Gary

      You are trying to sell hope at a low price cos its in abundance right now, but better maintain a healthy reserve cos you are going to find a lot of buyers but the supply might diminish.
      Dont get me wrong, am with ya on the potential of this team and possible future improvements, but the proof hasn’t even made it to the salad right now, forget the pudding. And yesterday’s game wasn’t as easy a win as you depicted it to be; they had their struggles against possibly the weakest team in the league at home….it wasnt close to an upper tier team response.

  • http://espn Gary

    After the ups and downs of our games, i think i got a few observations:
    1. its gonna take a while for this team to start playing their game at the level they left off last year (if that happens at all)…am giving it 15 games.
    2. Iggy doesn’t really fit in the fast paced transition style as well as we were made to beleive all Summer or some still want to beleeive right now. Multiple times when he’s had the ball on the defensive rebound or steal or even throw in he has hesitated to lob it front fast and let our running game rip. His first instinct is always to start takin it himself and set up in a half court set and even than he’s not moving the ball fast nuf to help open up lanes or players. Either he’s still adjusting or we’ll need to adjust the O. Almost everything Ujiri has done the last few years has worked like a charm inlcuding the reincarnation of McGee, but lets not give him a pass already on this Iggy move cos am not liking what I’ve seen thus far.
    3. Transition game overall ain’t working anywhere close to what we’ve seen in the past few years.
    4. GK is trying to overplay his team of equals card a bit too much. He is almost working to ensure no single guy can get more than 20 a game; his subs are almost timed to perfection to avoid letting the hot hand stay on the court. Seems he’s playing more to prove a point than to win the frigign game. He will not let Faried or even Lawson have a shot at a big game even if they are the only two guys showin up to play.
    5. Game against Miami was the only one played anywhere close to the level which this team needs to and can play consistantly.
    This blog was way too kind on the performance last night. These were the Pistons at home….possibly the worst team in the league…..and you were supossed to be a desperate top 4 WC team…..are you kidding me. It was a joke how they struggled againt that pathetic bunch. I still have hope and like I said am gonna give it 15 games….but don’t be surprised if this team under delivers at the end. They ain’t into it yet…am hoping it changes soon.

  • ben

    what is the deal with iggy’s offense? it’s like instead of creating space between him and the defender, he runs up to them just so he can take an unlikely fadeaway.

  • Mark from Charlotte

    The Nuggets need to make a trade for EVANS from the KINGS ASAP……………………

    • couch GM

      Because he offers what? Inefficient scoring, poor defense, no threat from downtown…

    • Woobly o Balls

      I agree – his value is below what is should be right now

  • al68

    I only see the games, I do not live in Denver do not speak English so I do not understand what the commentators say, this makes me think less suggestible that you who live day to day team with players coaches comments etc. .. .

    After all I’ll give my humble opinion the team.
    I see much worse than these last years Gallo does not improve, we can not have a starter under 40% shooting and less than 30%!!! as he is. The guards also especially Lawson has become a player decisivo.McGee is the worst defense I’ve seen in a long time is jumping around the court aimlessly always passes the attacker and then try to place a block in the P & R is always most of the team (defending the p & r as if we were children). Iggy a good player not a star as you might think after the transfer of 2 good players and rounds of draft.
    Chandler is not even a shadow of what it was in NY not enter hits a shot basket with fear, is far from providing what brought Harrington.
    I do not understand why it takes more time to Faried for me the most promising player of denver, just have to defend a little more because qualities have.
    To me our biggest problem this year is defense, more than last year, this year also we are making more changes defenses that require a lot of concentration and work qualities I see some players missing the main McGee and Hamilton (from what I saw in preseason).

    For all this I think this year we will not win more than 45 games but would be wrong, but these first four games and three preseason I saw I did not like anything.

  • couch GM

    We need to:

    1.Go big more often.

    2.Play Jham, Miller, Brewer 15 mins each and cut down Chandler’s PT. Play Faried at least 30 mins a game.

    3.Put in a place a semblence of a half court offense that spreads the floor and attempts to get us looks at the rim or corner threes.

    4.Stop switching on D. I don’t think our guys are bad individual defenders, I think our system is inherently flawed. Bigs kill our small lineups/ guards who switch onto them; teams shoot lights out from deep because our bigs are being asked to switch out to the perimeter; we give up offensive rebounds as oppositions’ big men are up against some of our smallest players.

    I don’t claim to be anything more than a couch GM but I can’t help to think that those simple moves would make us a lot better. Our opening stanza is tough but if we truely want to compete we need to make changes now.

    I would also look to trade a combo of any of the following for a shooter/all-star caliber player on a struggling team: Mozzy, Chandler, first round pick and our trade exception. If Portland decide to go into full rebuild mode offer them Chandler, Koufos, Mozzy a first, their choice of Fournier/Miller and if needed for the math our trade exception for Lemarcus. It would cripple us financially somewhat but we need to attempt to make a splash if we want to get over the hump.

  • http://yahoo.com prospector

    I think of the movie “moneyball” when watching George Karl… When your coach is not utilizing his assets properly, you make a trade and force the coaches hand.. Masai needs to step up and fix this problem… This is getting old.. Thank god this is the 2nd game of a back to back….. That means NO CHANDLER!!!! MORE FARIED!!! IT’S PARTY TIME IN HOUSTON!!!!!!!!!!!!