|Danilo Gallinari, SF 35 MIN | 8-20 FG | 4-6 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 20 PTS | +6After a rocky start to the season, Gallinari has finally emerged as the consistent, reliable player the Nuggets need him to be. Although he went cold from the arc, going 0-5, the real story is that he continued his recent return to driving and attacking the rim. His two assists and six trips to the line belie how effective he was at getting into the paint and sharing the ball. And while David Lee did get the best of him at times, his defense overall was pretty solid in this game.|
|Kenneth Faried, SF 36 MIN | 4-8 FG | 1-5 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | +14It’s going to be difficult this season to say new, original things about how Faried played. His energy was, as usual, explosive and infectious, and his teammates always seem to ratchet up their play a notch when he’s on the court. He did struggle defensively at times, but he played tough and led the team in rebounds.|
|Kosta Koufos, C 19 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | +7Koufos was a bit of a mixed bag in this game. Early foul trouble sent him to the bench early in the first quarter, and in the third quarter he got downright abused by Carl Landry. Kosta simply couldn’t stop him from scoring around the rim, a fact which Golden State quickly recognized and exploited to its fullest. On the offensive end he was steady as usual, but also made little impact.|
|Ty Lawson, PG 37 MIN | 7-13 FG | 3-5 FT | 2 REB | 9 AST | 18 PTS | +8Lawson started off tentatively again. In the first half he dribbled around too much on the perimeter, hesitating too much to drive to the basket, and fearing too much to take wide open 3-pointers. But once again, he woke up midway through the third quarter to rediscover his aggressive streak, most especially at the defining stretch of the game, when the Nuggets opened the third quarter with a big run to convert a 6-point halftime deficit to a 9-point lead in just 4 1/2 minutes.|
|Andre Iguodala, SG 39 MIN | 11-19 FG | 4-6 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 29 PTS | +13The Rapid Reaction code doesn’t allow for it, which is the only reason Iguodala does not get the A+++. This was the game that seemed to truly signify: “Andre Iguodala is now officially a Denver Nugget.” His threes were falling, he made some great defensive plays, and threw in a couple highlight reel dunks for good measure. Above all, it looked like he really understood his role out there, and was having a fun time making the most of it. With both ‘Dala and Gallo at the top of their games, this will be a tough team to beat.|
|Jordan Hamilton, SF 5 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | -3The good news is that J-Ham shot 100% from the arc. The bad news is that it was only one shot, and that’s about all he did. He looked pretty lost defensively, and continues to make some rookie mistakes (which may be forgivable given that, having been benched all last season, this effectively is his first year). If he can’t start making a bigger and better impact when he gets chances, he’ll have a hard time earning the minutes we’re hoping he’ll eventually get.|
|Corey Brewer, SF 22 MIN | 4-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 9 PTS | +6Like Gallinari, Brewer went scoreless from the arc (0-3). After starting the season shooting so well, it’s hard to grade Brewer now. Is it “bad” that he’s regressing to his career mean? For the purposes of this game however, he had four steals and gave the Warriors some headaches with an energetic performance on both sides of the court, which is what Denver needed from him, and therefore what mattered most.|
|JaVale McGee, C 25 MIN | 2-7 FG | 2-4 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | +2McGee’s stat line doesn’t really tell the story of his game tonight. Yes, he missed a few careless shots from the post, as has become typical. But his three blocks and many more altered shots outweighed that. He was fed some big dunks, and got more pumped up than we’ve seen him all season. And most importantly, when Landry was scoring repeatedly on Koufos in the third quarter, helping the Warriors eat back into the lead the Nuggets had just regained, JaVale was sent in to stop the bleeding, and did a very effective job of shutting Landry’s one-man run down.|
|Andre Miller, PG 22 MIN | 2-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 6 PTS | +2Miller didn’t have a huge impact on this game, but the impact he had was positive. As usual, he found ways here and there to get a basket just when Denver needed one, but didn’t do much remarkable tonight. George Karl seemed dedicated in this game to keep Lawson on the floor, as Andre’s minutes were fewer than usual.|
Five Things We Saw
- Now at 7-6, the Nuggets go above .500 for the second time this season. They’ve now completed 13 games of their hellish 17-of-23-on-the-road opening schedule, and if they can get out of this neck of the woods with a winning record, the remainder of the season should look much brighter. They have one more game at home on Sunday before departing on another 3-game road trip the following day.
- In the fourth quarter, Andre Iguodala inbounded the ball to himself off of David Lee’s butt, and slammed home a big dunk. Video doesn’t seem to be up yet, but if you missed this game, be sure to check out that highlight. Echoes of Chauncey Billups off Kobe Bryant.
- The first half was plagued by inconsistent play. Every time the Nuggets put together a run and built up some energy and momentum, they immediately lapsed into defensive mistakes and turnovers that let the Warriors get right back into it. There just never seem to be 48 full minutes of fully hardworking play from this team, a problem better addressed sooner than later.
- It really was wonderful to see Iguodala really come into his element as a Nuggets player in this game. Let’s be honest: He hasn’t quite been the player we’d been holding our breath for since joining the team. But tonight he finally seemed to really hit his stride, and if this marks the cementing of some better chemistry and more clearly defined roles for him and his teammates, that’s nothing but great news for Denver.
- Happy (belated) Thanksgiving! We hope all our readers are having an excellent time with your family and friends over this holiday weekend, and that this Nuggets win outshines the madness of Black Friday. Have a safe and fun weekend!
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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.
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