Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 104, Utah Jazz 84

Utah Jazz 84 FinalRecap | Box Score 104 Denver Nuggets
Danilo Gallinari, SF 25 MIN | 2-11 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 5 PTS | +13CRINGE. This is what Nuggets fans now do every time Gallo launches a 3-point attempt. Is it due to injury? A lack of confidence? Just a slump? Whatever the cause, Gallinari’s outside shooting has been flat out horrendous this season, and he really needs to start settling on it as a final resort after driving and passing. That said, he did put in a solid, effortful defensive effort.
Kenneth Faried, SF 28 MIN | 5-11 FG | 8-10 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 18 PTS | +19Faried was the player of the game, and the Nuggets are rapidly becoming Faried’s team. His energy sets the tone; his drive is infectious. From the game’s onset, it was clear Utah’s plan was to send Paul Millsap straight at him early and often. But Kenneth held his own and then some, with Millsap scoring just 11 points on 5-11 shooting. He aggressively attacked the glass and disrupted Utah’s flow near the rim. And perhaps most encouragingly, he hit 8 of his 10 free throw attempts.
Kosta Koufos, C 25 MIN | 6-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 15 PTS | +9Of course, right on the heels of my previous post arguing Koufos isn’t making much of an impact, he plays his best game of the season. His jump hook was money, and he played with some great energy around the rim (4 offensive rebounds) and on defense (3 blocks and 2 steals). JaVale remains the superior player, and it would be unrealistic to expect 15/9 performances on a nightly basis, but if Kosta can bring this type of effort more consistently, he’ll certainly be earning his keep.
Ty Lawson, PG 29 MIN | 4-12 FG | 1-4 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 9 PTS | +22Ty didn’t take one 3-point shot tonight, and that’s a direct result of his effort to drive and penetrate at every opportunity. Utah’s frontcourt is formidable, and he had a fair number of his layups blocked. But that’s acceptable when he’s continually breaking down their team defense and creating easy scoring opportunities for his teammates. Gallo should be taking notes, because the way Ty played tonight is the kind of thing he needs to do more.
Andre Iguodala, SG 31 MIN | 7-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 15 PTS | +7Iguodala seems to finally be settling into a comfort zone within the Nuggets offense. His mid-range jumpers were falling tonight, and he looks to be playing in better rhythm than some previous games. His single assist belies the reality that he did a very good job of moving the ball. His shot selection still could use some improvement, but he was feeling it tonight and he made some big shots early to help Denver extend its lead.
Corey Brewer, SF 20 MIN | 7-14 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 20 PTS | +4Brewer really outdid himself tonight. He was flat out on fire. When the Jazz were chipping away at Denver’s lead in the 4th quarter, he nailed two 3-pointers in a row to squelch their efforts (and those wouldn’t be his last). Of course he also was his usual feisty, pestering self on defense, full of energy and effort. It’s probably too soon, with too small a sample size, to say that Brewer has legitimately developed his shot. But if that does prove to be the case, he could play a Bruce Bowen-like role for Denver — defensive specialist who can knock down the corner three.
Timofey Mozgov, C 20 MIN | 1-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -2The extent to which Timo’s injury is affecting his game isn’t entirely clear, but tonight he sure looked like he wasn’t quite ready to come back. He did make a few good plays. But “rusty” would be an understatement, although if healthy and playing well, he can be an asset for the Nuggets, so it was good to see him get a little burn.
JaVale McGee, C 18 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | +5McGee was frustrated in this game. He had a few tough calls not go his way, and it seemed to get to his head. He played hard, and made a positive impact on the defensive end altering shots and clogging the paint. But he couldn’t execute very well on offense. Although I just posted an argument to the contrary, I’ll readily admit that this is one game, based on in-game performance, where Koufos deserved his 25 minutes for playing better.
Andre Miller, PG 25 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 6 PTS | +10Andre Miller blocked Derrick Favors.

Three Things We Saw

  1. George Karl uncharictaristically opened up the bench early. Even as Utah was making a bit of a comeback in the fourth quarter, chipping down to 14 what had been a 21-point lead, Karl put in Evan Fournier. Then when the game not necessarily safely out of reach with about 4:30 left, Anthony Randolph went in. This was the first night of a back-to-back, and Brewer’s 3-point onslaught kept the Jazz safely at bay, so perhaps it’s not altogether surprising. But the real story here is that it appears Jordan Hamilton’s backside will be firmly implanted on the pine, if Karl views Fournier as the first player he wants to go to outside the regular rotation.
  2. Denver and Utah totaled for 24 blocks, with 12 apiece. What’s much more surprising, given that the Nuggets seemed to be pretty much dominating inside, is that the Jazz actually had one more offensive rebound. Even so, the Nuggets continue to ride points in the paint to successful outcomes, beating Utah 46-38.
  3. The Nuggets pull to an even 3-3 record with this win. Tomorrow, they go on the road against what should be a beatable Golden State Warriors team, giving them their first opportunity to get above the .500 mark this season. Starting with 17 of 23 games on the road, a win tomorrow would be huge, and mean that they’d have to win 9 of the remaining 16 games in that brutal opening stretch to come out.of it with a winning record.
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Joel is a long time Denver Nuggets (and Broncos) fan from Colorado who's been living in Japan since the mid-90s, and blogging about the Nuggets since 2008. You can contact and follow him on Twitter: @denbutsu.
  • Asa Moore

    I have really enjoyed watching this Nuggets team come together and am overjoyed to see Ty Lawson becoming the leader we need. I was amazed at the hustle and energy displayed by this young team and hope to see more of it in the future. One thing that bothered me was that the ESPN commentators constantly bashed the Nuggets. They compared them to the Pacers multiple times, am I the only one offended by that comparison. Other than that I am impressed with this resounding win and hope it becomes a pattern.

    • Sir-A

      Yeah, Jon Barry is terrible! He’s probably just mad that the Nuggets cut him back in 2004.

      • Misty

        I switched to Altitude (with our local announcers) after the ESPN crew went on and on that the hard foul on Manimal was a clean foul. Clean or not, move on to something else. Terrible.

  • SmokinNugs

    Love the new jerseys, loved the headbands they were rocking tonight! Oh and the win was cool too!

  • Wally

    JHAM doing some work tonight. Those 2 minutes should earn him some more if GK knew what was good for him

  • Paul

    Really think this is the Nuggets year. Gallo needs to take some time off because he does not look confident at all. Koufos really turned it around tonight against some solid Utah bigs.

    • mike

      gallo earned a D- in that game. He has been Horrible this season. He hasn’t been getting into the lane much and seems to take lots of threes and long twos which promptly he misses as if he were greg buckner. He may need a shot doctor as he has gotten worse over the last 3 years. ft percentage has even been down. This version I assumed was due to injuries last year, but this is getting disconcerting.

  • John

    I’ve gotta be honest…. I’d give Anthony Randolph/Fournier/JHam Gallo’s minutes right now… he’s making very little impact on games. Let him fight his way back into the rotation… 6 of 31 3pt attempts is not very impressive for our supposed “best” shooter. I’d say give ‘em to Chandler, but its obvious that he’s in the same boat, and doesn’t have his legs yet.

    • John

      … and just a point for clarification… Koufos is ALREADY earning his keep. Its JaVale that isn’t. I expect 8 pts. and 6 rebs. from a 3 mil guy… and 18+ and 10+ from one that makes 11 mil. a year

      • https://twitter.com/denbutsu Joel

        Do you expect 18 points and 10 rebounds from a guy who’s playing 18 minutes a game?

      • Tyler

        Lol well he plays about 16-22 minutes cause he has Asthma, ASthma + Basketball = not so good combo

    • Jeff

      Gallo played great defense tonight and got rebounds. I agree his shot is F’d up right now, but keep in mind he does other things.

  • dynamo.joe

    GK played big the entire game. That’s the final sign of the apocalypse. It’s been nice knowing you. Here’s to enjoying the next and final month and a half of Nuggets basketball (and human existence).

    • magster

      It’s still 2012, the end of the Mayan calendar.

  • Greco21

    ΠΑΜΕ ΡΕ ΚΩΣΤΑΑΑΑΑΑΑΑΑΑ

    Kosta Koufos proved why he is efficient in +/-

    Tonight he played with confidence. That is his only bug. Once he gets over it the conversation will be over and done

    • jasonic

      Γεια σου ρε παικταρά συνΚουφικέ! Άμα το 21 είναι και ΑΕΚτζήδικο σε προσκυνώ διπλά. :-)
      That was an excellent performance by Kosta. He played excellent defence in one of the best post up players in the league and had some nice buckets. I think because he played against his previous team gave him an extra motivation, and i really enjoyed his performance because i hate the jazz.

      Also i like what i see from Fournier, his playing style looks like Gallo.

      • Greco21

        Ναι ρε αδερφέ για την ΑΕΚΑΡΑ είναι…

        Sorry for the Greek, got another on the Koufos Bandwagon

  • Trevor

    The impressive thing about Faried this season is the fact that he is averaging 5 offensive rebounds a game which is just incredible. The only thing he needs to work on is his defensive rebounding. He is only averaging 4.7 a game. I know he isn’t getting a ton of minutes but he should be able to average 13 rebounds per game if he commits to the defensive boards a little more. Great win though and great performance by Faried!

  • http://roundballminingcompany.com Jason Cox

    Faried is the best player in the association!!! Watch and learn folks – he battles and is better than anyone at his postion on the floor. HIS team follows where he leads – non exsistent in first three games dominate in last three. Join the movment – MBA – Mantional Basketball Association

  • Erlingur

    Utah is a team that looks like it’s designed with the Nuggets’ well-documented shortcomings in mind. A quartet of solid, strong, mobile bigs able to dominate Faried and Koufos, shooters like Hayward, Foye and Burks who can all light it up against a team that doesn’t take care of defending the perimeter, and a savvy coach who has a defensive trick or two up his sleeve.

    And we destroyed them. Utah shot 4-for-23 from 3, had 17 TOs to the Nugs’ 11, and lost the rebounding, assist and free throw battles.

    That was a statement game: The real Denver Nuggets are nothing like these first two games of the season led us to believe.

    And I got to get myself one of those canary skyline jerseys.

  • CJP32

    Faried and Brewer had awesome games, nuff said

  • http://www.chazkemp.com Avarra

    Wooo Hooooo! We looked a little sloppy tonight but we destroyed them. It looks like our defense is getter better with every game.

    Manimal is awesome and he shows what you can do if you’re willing to play really hard, hustle and give huge effort every single night. He is the very heart of this team and you know who he reminds me of? Laphonso Ellis! Let me know if you guys agree…

    I don’t think Gallo’s slump is going to last too much longer. Let’s just hope that this time, when his game really catches fire, he’ll not get injured. Hmmmm… Maybe he’s playing like he’s afraid of getting hurt again. Somethng to think about.

    A-Miller… Every game the guy does something amazing. LOVE that guy!

    AI – What a great pick up for us… Absolutely love his defense and now his shots are starting to fall. If he can teach tyhe rest of the team his secrets, we’re golden.

    Speaking of golden – I am completely in love with those canary skyline uniforms. LOVE them. Love. We need some away jerseys to match them and then we’re set. I like the powder blue, but the gold one is definitely something we need to have permanently.

    Go Nuggets!!!

  • Zorba

    What’s wrong with you and Koufos? What else do you expect him to do to deserve your respect? Change haircut…?

  • Señor Chang

    I agree this is Farieds team!

    I also think Brewer has truly shown why he gets minutes over Hamilton. I don’t think Gallo has.

    Start Hamilton! He can score

  • Ban Johnson

    Faried reminded me of a young Charles Barkley. (He doesn’t have the same fluidity and skill on offense as Chuck did, but he’s a physical phenom and force in a very similar way.) That was not a bad front-line he dominated tonight. LOVE. Worth the price of admission.

    Koufos moved his feet so well on defense this game. Big key. If he’s that good on defense, I have no problem with him as a starter. The offense is a nice bonus. He’s actually quite a good player if he plays with this much force.

    There was an extra gear to Lawson’s performance tonight. The shots will fall eventually. (I hate when he’s laid-back out there…does a disservice to his talent.)

    Gallinari plays hard. The shots will fall eventually. He needs to drive and get to the line. (I have a feeling the Nuggets’ coaches were in his ear too much in the preseason about being a 3-point threat, and it’s messed with his head and game a little bit.)

    It wouldn’t be the worst thing if this Nuggets team is defined by Faried and Brewer. Those guys play with awesome energy. Nuggets need to find a way to keep Brewer. Some team is going to throw (at least) an MLE sort of deal at him at this rate. What he’s bringing right now is more valuable than Chandler’s talent.

    Iguodala is putting his stamp on this team, but it’s subtle. He’s the rock, as Karl has started saying.

    If this team can have dominating stretches on defense like that 2nd quarter on a fairly regular basis, look out NBA. Nuggets need to figure out how to bring it on the road too.

  • al68

    Good defensive game, still looking as GK play better and I think the solution is less Gallo minutes more minutes for Brewer, Faried should be our star, and Mcgee attack not know, I think it was a waste of money training with Olajuwon, and defense is the worst I’ve seen in the office of C.

    The attack is being controlled but what we have lost fewer balls and our defense besides seeking risky steal as well as our strength in the rebound FB allows us to do many phenomenal what comes as our attack is 5×5 painful.
    For me today and the game against Houston show a more solid basketball. No need good game on offense to win comfortably hopefully this continues.

  • ny nugs fan

    i think it’s tough with this model to measure the impact that say an igoudala is having on this team, but what he does for this team and organization is very significant; and when his shot isnt falling he finds other ways to help the team

    i also think the coaching staff was right to play koufos early because the reality is we’re gonna need all our bigs to play well if we’re going to win it all

    and the nugs should really think about this season on that level

  • TroyF

    Could we please get over the “give Gallo’s minutes to other players” stuff right now.

    Look at these numbers: 3/23 on threes, 22/57 from the floor 38%.

    That was Gallo’s start last year. Some guys are slow starters. Gallo is going to be fine. Just let him play through it. He will get through this and get the shot back.

  • clive

    karl actually went big to go against utah’s bruising frontline. and he gave out minutes to those who deserved it! i just wish he was more involved during the game instead of sitting there looking like he’s bored and angry at someone… these players are young and need encouragement!! that’s part of helping them develop!

  • skuby

    Gallo has little struggle in this start, but he also has intangibles that other in the rotation has not.

    He double team, taking charges, dishes some assist (other than PG), helps other teammates, I’m with GK.

  • Ryan

    A great team win with everyone playing well, except for Gallo, who looks like someone trying to shoot after lifting weights for 2 hours, just kind of guiding the ball towards the rim with no touch at all. Maybe the aliens from Space Jam stole his basketball abilities this offseason?
    I thought McGee played better than his numbers indicated, although he did have his one obligatory “knucklehead” play of the game (believe it or not, you DO have to be out of bounds before throwing an inbounds pass).
    Faried was the best player on the floor by far, out-hustling Utah’s bigger, more hyped front line all game long. It looked like he was limping pretty badly when he left the game for the final time, does anyone know if he was hurt or just had a cramp? Hopefully, it was nothing major because I don’t like the thought of our team without Faried for any extended period of time.

  • Aaron

    I actually thought Mozzy played really good as well. We don’t want him hoisting up shots, so why do we complain about his scoring? He got rebounds, played great defense, and hustled the whole time out there.

    We need him playing DHoward, Duncan, Garnett, etc. . . He’s much the superior defender to Koufos. I don’t understand why everyone is so down on him. Al Jefferson is legit, and so is Favors, . . they didn’t look like they had anything on Mosgov last night.

  • Evan

    I agree, do people just forget how horrible Koufus was in the playoffs last year, he went from being the starter the first to games to not playing at all. Mozgov did a great job on Bynum, I guess people just don’t understand the importance of interior defense, not to mention Mozgov can knock in a 15 footer much better than Koufus.

  • Kalen

    Gallo is averaging 12 points on 34 minutes per game while shooting .279 percent from the field and .182 percent from downtown. I understand he’s struggling, but his shot selection is just atrocious right now. And the fact is, he’s never had a high field goal percentage in his career. This is always something that worried me…

    Gallo and Chandler have both been underwhelming this season — to say the least. Meanwhile, Jordan Hamilton, who put in crazy work over the summer and looked great in preseason, is relegated to the far end of the bench for reasons completely unknown to anybody.

    This team would be much better if Hamilton was getting minutes. He can flat out score the rock, way better than Gallo is right now. Take Gallo’s 34 minutes per game and give that to Hamilton — I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d be averaging 17 and 8 right now on a much, much better percent from the field.

  • corybyu

    Thanks for posting your analysis. Just a comment, but I think it would be useful to have a grade for everyone who plays, even the guys who don’t get a lot of minutes. They are the most unknown, so people who missed the game are probably curious how Randolph, Fournier, and J-Ham played. I thought J-Ham played really well in his short time, and I wish he would get a few more minutes in non-garbage time just so we can see what he can do.

  • Roundball Bill

    Has anyone been more painfully disappointing this year than Gallo? He’s looked absolutely terrible, but it’s like he doesn’t even realize it. He still continues to jack up stupid shot after stupid shot watching them brick off the back of the rim. Someone needs to sit this guy down and explain to him he’s hurting the offense A LOT more than he’s helping it right now. Last year he was one of my favorite Nuggets but this year he’s starting to look like an idiot.

  • chronosynclastic infundibula

    If given minutes, I believe J-Ham could become special, but that’s not gonna happen. I think Gallo and Chandler will both come around eventually.

    I feel compelled to defend Gallo, which is strange because I’m used to defending Chandler in the Chandler v. Gallo arguments. I hope both of them get better.

  • http://www.yahoo.com prospector

    Chandler did not play last night, anyone notice??? Our team played better without him, and him being gone forced Karl’s hand into using a bigger lineup… It is crystal clear to me at this point that we need to trade Chandler and Mozzy for a three point shooter (a shooting guard), or if it is feasable for a package of future draft picks.. This would remove some dead weight and open up the rotation for jham/AR…. Just a dream of mine….

  • Señor Chang

    Please play Hamilton over gallinari. Hamilton could be a very special player and he is rotting on the bench watching gallo brick 3s

  • Señor Chang

    Brewer is fast becoming that great energy defense and 3s role player every team wishes they had

    • Evan

      Brewer has been fantastic, but I don’t think we should give up on Gallo yet. If he’s still playing this bad come mid-December then Karl should consider playing Hamilton or Chandler more.

  • ny nugs fan

    i would love to see if wilson chandler could stop klay thompson from torching us…. that kid has been smokin the nugs since the first time we played worriors w/ him

  • Nuggz2

    I still think Gallo is overrated. He may just be in a slump now but I don’t think he’s the star many project him to be. I think JHam and Chandler can produce just as much for half the cost. Trade him for a good power forward or draft picks.