Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 101 Minnesota Timberwolves 94

Denver Nuggets 101 Final
Recap | Box Score
94 Minnesota Timberwolves
Danilo Gallinari, SF 35 MIN | 6-11 FG | 6-6 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 19 PTS | +6

It wasn’t pretty, but Gallo put forth a pretty epic display of all-out effort when it mattered most. He finally got to the line in some huge moments and battled hard under the basket when he needed to. He played his most solid ball when the Nuggets needed it most and was huge on the defensive end against Kevin Love.

Kenneth Faried, SF 35 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 14 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | +14

He fouled out and had 4 turnovers in a sloppy offensive showing, but the Manimal was relentless on the glass and forced the Timberwolves to adjust by pulling Nikola Pekovic out of the game. His hustle changes games in a pretty special way no matter what the stat sheet says.

Kosta Koufos, C 23 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | +17

His ability to change and alter shots was a major reason why the Nuggets weren’t down 40 in a pretty awful first-half performance. Koufos got into it with Kevin Love in the second half and has really picked up his defense after a slow start to the season.

Ty Lawson, PG 33 MIN | 5-12 FG | 6-8 FT | 2 REB | 9 AST | 18 PTS | 0

A C-minus effort through three quarters and an A through the most important one is what lands Lawson here. Ty hit shots and free throws when the Nuggets needed them, but came out dazed and confused for a good two and a half quarters to start the game. The good news is Lawson’s shooting is starting to come around.

Andre Iguodala, SG 36 MIN | 7-16 FG | 1-1 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 18 PTS | +1

It’s really tough to grade Iguodala after two night and day halves like that. He looked like a completely different player following halftime and showcased a creative side to his offense we haven’t yet seen in him as a Nugget. Iguodala has been smooth and steady in every close game the Nuggets have been in, regardless of how well he’s played personally. It’s not necessarily conventional, but that is leadership.

Jordan Hamilton, SF 19 MIN | 3-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | 0

Karl actually brought Hamilton off the bench early and stuck with him through a pretty dismal stretch in which the Nuggets couldn’t get anything right. Hamilton stayed with it and responded with a few timely threes and a smooth twelve points in his bench scoring role.

Corey Brewer, SF 17 MIN | 3-6 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | +3

He did some admirable dirty work on cleanups and putbacks, but Brewer seems to have regressed after a hot shooting start and is unsurprisingly starting to come back down to earth. Brewer probably played a few too many minutes for how erratic his play been as of late.

JaVale McGee, C 15 MIN | 2-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -13

Ugh. This was looking like the good old JaVale as he started things off with a near-airball 20 footer and a quick pull up jumper in transition. He eventually recovered to play some better basketball in the second half but not by much. This was a chance JaVale had to come in early and earn some trust but he wasn’t able to capitalize.

Andre Miller, PG 27 MIN | 4-9 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 11 PTS | +7

He just Lebrons people in the fourth quarter out of nowhere. I have no idea how or why, but he can turn it on in a way no other Nuggets player seems to able to. Miller got some key runs going in the second half and was clutch with a few crafty and-ones over the Timberwolves defense

Three Things We Saw

  1. Something is clearly not right with Ty Lawson, but his second half may have been proof his abnormally poor play isn’t sustainable. Ty’s fighting his way through it and if he can just avoid losing total control of the game as much as he does, I have no doubt we’ll see a game-changing Ty Lawson on the floor much more frequently.
  2. The Nuggets finally made some shots in the second half and with credible shooting on the floor, showed how dangerous of an offense they can be. Denver can score in bunches with good spacing present as evidenced by a rare 30-point quarter to close the game. Regression to the mean feels nice.
  3. It’s still not great basketball, but the Nuggets have started to get into some semblance of rhythm and flow throughout two tough road games against quality teams. They are getting much better at filling in the gaps defensively and holding their own against absolutely brutal front lines in both Memphis and Minnesota. It wasn’t pretty, but you can’t help but come away pretty damn impressed.
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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.
  • Paul

    THERE WE GO NUGS. I don’t really care how it’s done because picking up wins on the road has not been Denver’s strong suit. Great to see them fight through adversity and overcome a huge deficit and grab the W. I’m glad Hamilton’s seeing more minutes as well.

  • Bob

    Chemistry is starting to flow. Pieces are coming together, and jham deserves minutes!

  • mitchell

    about time the nugs showed a little fight! dam good win. still cant believe that javale cant get any run against a big-ish team like the wolves.

    and kalen if that gallo-josh smith deal ever happened i would die a happy nugs fan, seriously.

    • James

      Mitchell, what has Josh Smith ever done? Miss threes? Underachieve? Gallo is better than Smith now, and getting better – Smith is on the decline, and makes NO ONE around him better.

      • Jacob

        If you think Gallo is better than Smith you are one confused NBA fan.

        • Maurizio

          gallinari is 10 times smarter than josh…gallinari always does the right thing when he is in the field. look what he managed to do josh with his hawks in the last 5 years: nothing. despite having played with johnson, horford etc. not enough just to look the way as he crushes or runs on the field but what are you doing with the ball and how you interact with your teammates. i really like josh but not trade with gallinari ever.

          • Jacob

            Because Gallinari has done so much to help his team win playoff series. Where do you guys get this stuff? Seriously, we have won as many series as the Hawks with Gallinari. Gallinari squanders possessions with missed shots, throws up threes early in shot clocks. Not saying Smith is great, but at the least we could piece him off for something worth having. Gallo is fine when his shot is falling, but more often than not he is missing and hurts the team.

  • jasonic

    I ‘ve seen only the 4th quarter and some minutes of the 3rd. Miller had an excellent 4th quarter, drawing fouls making and one’s while Barrea couldn’t mark him, awful matchup for Minessota. I also enjoyed Farried.
    Btw, do u know what happened with Love and Kosta? As i said i didn’t watch the whole match, and it seems weird that Kosta got a technical, i thinks this is his first of his career, lol.

    • John

      Love got the T.

      Kosta blocked a breakaway layup of Love’s, but was from directly behind him. They both plowed into the padded stanchion supporting the basket.

      Love thought he was fouled, and took offense to the big sweaty body pinning him, whirled around, pushed Kosta aggressively around the neck, and into a poor court-side cameraman(which has to be the best/worst job ever).

      Love was assessed a Technical…

      They continued to have words for about another 20 seconds… and I think Love was about 1 expletive infused sentence from getting ejected.

      • jasonic

        Thanks for the infos.
        Love is officialy on my hate list.

        • Greco21

          Ο Love πήγε να το παίξει νταής ΑΕΚΑΡΑ μου, αλλά επιτέλους ο δικός μας δεν μάσησε.

          Faried is the X-Factor of this team. When his defense is good the team gets stops and runs to the break. He is the most critical player. I wish he could just pass the ball some times. I have counted over 5 or 6 times a game he does not pass to a wide open teamate (most often that is Kouf)

          Speaking of Koufos I was glad to see him angry at last. This is the NBA my friend. Stop being a nice guy. Was really glad to see that his screens are much better. Early in the seazon a Koufos screen was a free pass. Yesterday he was solid.

          And last Iggy… THAT DUNK WAS A POSTER

        • Charliemyboy

          Love is immature and even a punk. Last year he threw a dirty punch to the back of Faried’s head. Next play he was cold-cocked into concussion by a JaVale elbow. We reap what we sow…

  • Aaron

    With this schedule. . would anyone not take .500 right now? I’m excited about this team. . Gallo and Faried were straight up BALLIN’ tonight. Klove surprised me with his thuggery/dirty play. He should’ve been tossed out of the game for taunting Koufos. It would’ve been an easy game for the Nugs to wilt tonight, the Twolves wanted this game bad. Kudos to our guys and to AMiller for closing.

  • DAN

    Pleasantly suprised that GK gave J-Ham run. Good to see. McGee was awful tonite but you’ll get that with youth sometimes. I was happy we played defense!

  • Ban Johnson

    Nice gritty road win. Just like the GS and Hou road wins, Nuggets ultimately just out-talented them. 6-6 is still disappointing, but with 9 of 12 on the road, very far from disastrous.

    Iguodala was big-time. That 270 degree spin move dunk was absolutely ridiculous athleticism…please do not be fooled by how easy he made that look.

    Gallinari played a nice, smart, all-court game. Seems like he’s calming down.

    Lawson was more engaged, but there’s still something lacking in his confidence. If he and Javale start joining the party, this will be a very tough team.

    Faried’s rebounding continues to be indispensable.

    Javale had one of his out-of-synch games. I don’t blame Karl for the lack of minutes tonight. McGee was -13 in 15 minutes tonight…ouch.

    Despite a couple of maddening mistakes, Andre Miller was big in the 4th. The only downside to his performance tonight is it just solidifies Karl’s penchant for playing the 2 pg lineup in crunch-time.

    If Hamilton can just spot-up shoot, rebound, and D up, he can be a really valuable part of this team…and render Chandler completely expendable.

  • Dub

    Does anyone think it’s a coincidence that Ty had one of his best games on a night when the Nuggets shot 43% from 3? I assure you it’s not. This is why the minute distribution between Brewer and Hamilton must look closer to the way it was tonight than it’s been in previous games. Brewer was a gem of a pick up for Denver but he’s just not a 25+ minute per game guy IMO. I was also pleased to see Gallo carry his strong play from Memphis into the game tonight. Don’t look now but I guess the sky isn’t falling Nuggets fans! (It never was)

  • magster

    Someone pointed out that this is 2 games in a row where Karl’s lineups shut down the opponents in the last 4 minutes of the game.

  • Trevor

    It will be interesting to see what the Nuggets do when Wilson Chandler is back at 100%. Hamilton is a better shooter and is really filling a spot the Nuggets have been desperate for this season which is 3 pt shooting.

    • Dub

      I have a feeling Hamilton will play more backup SG while Chandler will take a lot of minutes from Brewer as the backup SF while also playing some minutes as the backup PF. Talent wise Chandler and Hamilton bring a lot more to the table than Brewer. This allows Brewer to be more of that spark plug off the bench, not a guy the team truly relies on game in and game out.

  • John

    This game was like that one perfect golf shot that will keep you hacking in the rough for years to come…

    George Karl will look at how well the dual point guard setup worked down the stretch and he’ll just keep doing it, and doing it, and doing it… and as much as I don’t like it. Nobody else, besides Lawson and Miller seem to be able to dribble, pass, and catch with any consistency…

    It does seem like people are starting to find their shots… and it was nice to see JHam get some burn.

    His stroke looked great, but both he and Faried telegraph their passes way too much, and then give a pathetic lackadaisical tosses. Get some mustard on those passes boys!!!!

    • bayesk

      more like a par on a tough hole after a pull-hook drive, mediocre recovery out of the trees, surprisingly good flop-shot to a short pin and a 12-foot downhiller. Could have been ugly, kept plugging away, pulled it out in the end.
      Totally in agreement with you about Hamilton and Brewer’s minutes; Brew should never shoot more than 8 times a game unless they’re all gimmes, while Hamilton should be getting about 12 shots a game, six or seven from deep – as long as he stays in the offensive flow, a minor but fixable problem for him right now.
      Gallinari has looked impressive the last two; I’m seeing him blow by his perimeter defenders regularly, guys like Rudy Gay and Love who, admittedly, aren’t great at this aspect of defense. Nonetheless, I like the balance to his game recently.
      Nice win considering; the team and crowd got a huge boost from all the returning Wolves, Kevin Love especially – who looked ready to totally take over the game early – yet Denver managed to trust their schemes and playmakers.
      Begrudging kudos to George Karl for his mostly (and by mostly I mean NOT completely, frustratingly baffling) reasonable lineups.

  • CJP32

    Great team effort and a great come back. We could of easily gotten blown out, but refused to. The KK and Love tango was the turning point.

    Ty kinda had a better game and stepped up when we needed him to, Gallo was great and Iggy finally made some threes. KK was dominating inside and Faried rebounded well but was terribly defensively/offensively, PFs in this league continue to dominate him

    I dont think its fair Charlie to say that Brewer’s play of late has been erratic – when I think of erratic, Ty and Gallo come to mind. I thought that Brewer and JHam were instrumental getting that deficit down to start the 2nd quarter, combining for the teams first 11 points. People seem to forget that when Brewer was shooting 10 FGs a game to start the season, they gave it to him, now he has cut his shots down – he’s erratic? He also has the best +/- on the team and is shooting a respectable 38% from three. He has been more aggressive getting to the rim lately and its helping Denver. But I agree that 18-22 mins is ample for him.

    JHam is getting more confident to and it appears he may have cracked the rotation – but he has to remember that he can do more than shoot threes.

    McGee was just awful….1 out of 5 games seem to be the norm when he’s horrible. Andre Miller made some big plays

    As for Wilson Chandler, I don’t think he will be back anytime soon….

    Good to see a win streak happening again.

    • JetLife82

      Doesn’t KK have the team’s best plus/minus rating and then Brewer? Faried is the worst Nugget in that category, which I find quite interesting…

      • CJP32

        As of today KK now has the best rating, CBrew 2nd

        Faired has a bad rating because the Nuggets usually start off slow, then when we make a run/comeback, he’s watching from the bench. I’ve noticed to when Faried grabs a loose ball or a steal, he will then turn it over. He needs to slow down and look before throwing it. And he should never dribble full court on a fast break, give it to your PG then wait for the lob!

    • LBJ

      Anything above a F for McGee is massive grade inflation. He was freaking horrible tonight. No defense, no rebounding (it looked like he thought he was playing volleyball) and horrible shot selection. He needs to get ready his ass ready to play every night for the amount of money he is making!

  • Aaron

    Faried being last in +/- shows what a flawed statistic that really is. That dude changes every game and won a couple of games for us last week. I can’t wait to see him and David Lee go at it again tomorrow. Sure, the turnovers are maddening, but this kid is ridiculous and no one else in the NBA plays like he does.

    Last week Reggie Miller was almost catatonic watching him during the game. . I think people haven’t seen this since Dennis Rodman. That has to be Masai’s best pickup hands down. Faried is going to own the paint for us for the next 10 years. Sure, there will be the occasional big that will get his shot off against Kenneth and have a big game. But, you don’t trade these kind of rebounding numbers. With the way we’ve been shooting this year we’re probably 2-10 without Faried cleaning the glass.

    Rodman 2.0. . he’s here.

    • Charliemyboy

      We love Faried. He has to defend guys 3 to 6 inches bigger and heavier. Can he and Gallo switch positions on defense? Would that work?

    • Ryan

      That’s a bit too much hyperbole for me. Rodman was a staunch defender, while Faried struggles mightily on the defensive end. Don’t get me wrong, Faried is my favorite Nugget to watch, but we have a ways to go to compare him to Rodman. Major props to Faried for taking Pekovic out of his game tonight. Pekovic usually is a rebounding machine that causes havoc in the paint for the Wolves, but he had trouble with Faried’s quickness. With Love the only player doing damage for the Wolves, the Nuggets were able to overpower them for a nice road/division win…


    GALLINARI #9 point scores 15.5
    GALLINARI #14 rebounds 6.4
    GALLINARI #13 assist 2.3
    GALLINARI #5 free t. made 40
    GALLINARI #11 blocks 0.82

    .. in defense is the best … if the % of 3 point are 37% he is in ALL STAR GAME .. the best player of NUGGETS !

  • http://www.chazkemp.com Avarra

    I love Faried’s game! He’s a beast and he’s very very good at doing things that don’t show up on the stat sheet. So far, I’m not seeing the dreaded sophomore slump. If the rest of the team plays with his relentless energy, the Nuggets will truly be contenders.

    Play hard, play hard, play hard!!!

    McGee had an off-night. It happens to everyone. He, like most of our team, is still young. They’ll get it, no worries.

    I also feel that our free throw shooting was incredibly instrumental in our win tonight. Go Nuggets!

    • airvaid

      Spot on. Free throw shooting and and 3PT shooting made a huge difference in this game.

      Also agree about McGee, he has done enough this season to get a night off as long he doesn’t make a habit of it.

      This team is young and young players will have some nights where they stink. I’ll take it as long as it comes after four good games.

      • http://www.chazkemp.com Avarra

        I agree! I can live with that 4-1 ratio.

  • airvaid

    Faried had a +14 yesterday. And he was in the game the whole first half where we were outscored. It was 86-68 in the Nuggets favor after that.

    Faried has improved by leaps defensively compared to the first season. Every PF in the game is gonna have trouble guarding Love and Randolph. But not many can go toe-to-toe with them in rebounding. Faried outrebounded ZBo and more than held his own against Love.

    Players don’t become the player they are gonna be until their 4th year in the league. People need to remember that this is only Farieds second year. If he continues to improve at this pace, he will be a top 5 PF in the league.

    Compared to last year he’s a lot better on ball defender, better in the post both offensively and defensively and has added a nice jumper from the elbow and baseline. Only expect him to get better as the season goes on and in future seasons.

    People asking for Rodman right now are jumping the gun a bit. No one here saw how raw Rodman was in his first few years.

  • Z

    Gallo HYPEBEAST reaching Denver lets see how this ends

  • OriginalJakeSauce

    Jham needs to have these minutes and that green light every night. Silky smooth shot. Swishes that ball prettier than Gallo and at a higher clip… go gold.

  • http://yahoo.com prospector

    Airvaid, I agree with your Faried assessment. He is a game changer and he has the will to improve his game. He has the heart of a champion, and brings it every night. We all know how rare that is in the NBA. I really love our team (minus chandler), and after last night I realize why. Our boy’s play hard nosed basketball in a fair fashion.. After watching punks like Love and Chris Paul, our team is refreshing. They are a team I can have my kids follow with pride. I commend our GM for bringing these kids together. Gallo is my boy, and he may have troubles from game to game but he brings an attitude of winning. When the going gets tough Gallo brings it. He is another good nugget kid in a league of thugs. Trade Chandler for a 3 point specialist and we are set. Give Jham his minutes, keep giving Gallo & Faried 35 plus minutes and I will sit back and enjoy a wild ride.

  • Bryan

    Maybe, just maybe George Karl knows a little about what he is doing.

    When the season started off slow, he said to relax, don’t panic and let the team work through it, which is exactly what they are doing.

    With everyone clamoring for Javale to get big time minutes, he stuck to his system. Last night, it appeared Karl was ready to give him a long burn, and what did he do? Horrible shots, horrible defense, and almost lost us the game in the few minutes he played! Old Javale was back.

    I think down the road Javale will mature and Karl will then give him those long minutes, but right now he is without a doubt most effective in limited minutes and a tight leash.

    Yes, he is not the greatest coach in the universe, but after watching last night, I do have to admit that he always finds a way. This is the team that has been given to him. It might have taken longer than last year, but slowly Karl, his staff, and the players are figuring out who they are.

  • Durkin10

    Gallo for josh smith are you guys crazy. We have a guy who is a young josh smith that plays the same position his name is minimal. Gallo is one of are only floor spacing players

  • aaron

    Totally agree with Chandler being traded for a shooter. Gallo’s been playing alot of 4 and we still have mozzy and Randolph. .if we need size/bench help. What about Korver?

    • Ryan

      Korver and Ivan Johnson for Mozgov and Chandler, done deal!