Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 102, Golden State Warriors 91

Golden State Warriors 91 Final

Recap | Box Score

102 Denver Nuggets
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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  • Ban Johnson

    Ty Lawson is back! I don’t think we’ve seen him pushing the ball like that, and driving without hesitation, all season. Whatever he ate for Thanksgiving, let’s make that a regular part of his diet.

    Andre Iguodala was awesome. He’s so under control out there. The Nuggets are getting him in his absolute prime, and it’s only going to get better from here — he should thrive as a 2nd or 3rd option in a fast-paced system.

    Got to start games better. Got to make free throws.

  • Daniel Y

    Everyone is finally starting to click. Our big 3 of Gallo, Ty and Iggy all had great all around games. Mcgee was up and down, Koufus got abused by Carl Landry, and Cbrew played great defense. We were so aggressive getting to the rim and drawing fouls, that was the difference in my opinion. We got a few of their key players in foul trouble early and we stomped on their throat in the third. Iggy is finally the playing like the guy I thought he would, and it’s a relief. He is going to be the leader on the floor on both sides of the court.

    The chemistry is starting to happen, and I like where the nuggets are going. What I don’t like is how Gk is still getting outcoached out of timeouts, but hey, atleast he kept a center in most of the game, and for that I give him credit. Go Nuggets.

  • Michael

    Its great that we are finally winning some of these games but I have seen no-one talking about the Nuggs trouble from the free throw line. The past couple years the Nuggs have shot around 75% behind the stripe this year it is at 67%. Considering Karl’s offense and how often the Nuggs drive and get to the line this is a huge problem. Is it an early season aberration or pointing to a greater problem?

    • https://twitter.com/denbutsu Joel

      Well, on FT%, Gallo is .849 career but .784 this season, and same goes for Ty, .772/.585, so if they can just regress to the mean of their career averages, that alone should be a big help. Those two alone take over a third of Denver’s FTs, and that will probably increase if they keep playing more aggressively.

  • https://twitter.com/denbutsu Joel

    One “things we saw” point I intended to mention but forgot… How in the world does GSW let Steph Curry play only 26 minutes, take only 5 shots, ZERO in the first half? That was really strange. Also, kind of random, but I’d wondered if Ujiri and Ezeli are buds (that Nigerian connection), and dug up that he actually worked out with the Nuggets back in June.

    • young_guru

      He had two quick fouls that sidelined him until the 2nd quarter and then he got a quick third foul that put him out until the 2nd half. Then out of halftime he got his fourth almost immediately. Don’t know if he was taken out then, but I know he picked up his fifth early in the fourth. As far as his shooting goes, it looked like he was afraid to be aggressive in light of the foul trouble.

    • Aaron

      Koufos, Mozgov And a 1st Round Pick For Ezeli.

      We Would Finally Get 2 Centers For The Future.

      GSW Would Get Two Seven Footers And a First Round Pick To Help With Their Rebuilding Situation.

      • Aaron

        **Have 2 Centers For The Future in McGee And Ezeli.

      • Scott

        The warriors would not do that because they still have Bogut coming back from injury as well as Biedrins.

  • CJP32

    Great team win and again the defense won us the game. Still poor three point and FT shooting but we did enough defensively to get the W

    Iggy finally showed up and Gallo seems to have found his confidence again. Ty was a completely different player in the 2nd half, oncer he applies that to a whole game, we will be hard to beat

    CBrew did what he does best – energise and disrupt the other teams offense, the 4th qtr D he played was awesome. If he cuts down his outside shooting and concentrates on getting to the rim, he will be a great asset throughout the year

  • Scott

    I think Ty’s grade should be increased considering he held Curry to only 6 points, all of which came from garbage time 3’s.

    • https://twitter.com/denbutsu Joel

      That’s a fair point. His play on offense really was lackluster in the first half, which I found really frustrating to watch (more of the same reluctant play we’ve seen too much of this season), so I may have been hard on him for that. I do think it’s imperative to get out to better starts, though. This team can get away with it sometimes by making runs to come back from deficits. Way I see it, about 3/4 of the remaining games in 2012 (13 of 19 on the road) figure to be really tough, and a lot of opponents will do better than GSW did at keeping Denver at arm’s length once they get the lead. Ty’s gonna need to spark up more quickly.

      The good news is that he’s been consistently taking steps towards getting his game back to form in the past few games, so there’s good reason to hope he can keep building on that.

  • http://yahoo.com prospector

    The team is playing great now that Chandler’s been out. Coincedence?? I think not… I hope and pray UJIRI is noticing this as well. Chandler comes back and Gallo’s and Faried’s minutes drop (plus no more JHAM). When that happens I will go freakin crazy……… All I want for Christmas is for Chandler to be DUMPED….. PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Jeff

      I feel like a trade is coming. Karl said he was getting conflicting reports on the status of Chandler’s injury. It’s possible something is going on behind the scenes, maybe Chandler knows he’s getting traded so he doesn’t want to risk further injury until a trade gets done, or something like that.

    • young_guru

      Chandler and Mozgov will be traded this year, they’re simply too overpaid to not be playing. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ujiri unloads them for a couple picks if they can’t find the right player to trade for.

      • young_guru

        It would be awesome if we could get a C/PF that could shoot from 18 feet or beyond, provide the spacing that Harrington gave us.

        • Evan Woodruff

          Kind of like Randolph ????

          • dynamo.joe

            Sorry Evan but Randolph is horrible outside shooter.

    • Aaron

      Chandler Straight Up For Ezeli? Maybe Throw Mozgov in There if GSW Wants Him. I Remember GSW Wanted Chandler So Bad That They Were Thinking of Giving Us a 7th Overall Pick For Him. Still Possible?

  • CJP32

    It would be great if we could somehow find a team willing to take a gamble on Chandler and/or Mozzy and save some cash, because next season Iggy has a Player Option and may want to consider Free Agency, and Brewer is a FA, and if we could secure those 2 on decent contracts we would have a great core for the next 4-5 years.

    Here is a look at next years players salaries:

    Iggy – 15.904
    McGee – 10.750
    Ty – 10.786
    Gallo – 10.146
    Wilson – 6.344
    Dre – 5
    Koufos – 3
    Randolph – 1.750
    Fournier – 1.422
    Faried – 1.442
    JHam – 1.234

    Total of 59.778 Million for 11 players

    I think Denver needs to restructure Iggy’s contract to 3 years starting at around 8 million.

    Lock up Faried into a long term deal starting at 8 million

    Trade Chandlers contract for Future Picks/Expiring’s

    Let Mozzy go and/or Trade him for Cash/Picks

    Resign Brewer for 3 years starting at around 3 million

    Good core of players for next 3-5 years.

    • dynamo.joe

      My friend, you are doing drugs if you think we could retain Iggy at $8M. 4 years $48M would be a steal and I think it’s more likely we have to add the extra year to keep him here and wind up at something more like 5 years $65M.

  • Coxy

    I saw a comment at Denver stiffs and couldn’t of agreed more. It’s simply said ‘we need Derrick Williams’
    Imagine williams of the bench in that al Harrington role. Him off the bench with Hamilton is great three point shooting. And corey for his stingy defense. With dre and kouf/McGee. Depends who starts.
    Williams isn’t getting much burn over there so I reckon if we get chandler back and in some decent form we can throw something like him and a pick with maybe mozzy then we are alllll set.
    I know it’s unlikely coz he was a second overall pick and still has alot of ‘potential’ but I think he has lost some trade value since being drafted and could be another Masai steal

    • dynamo.joe

      Derrick Williams career 3pt% 27.6. If you are looking for a stretch 4, look elsewhere.

      • Ryan

        He’s still very young and has a lot of potential for improvement. Chandler’s contract has the potential to be an albatross if he can’t regain his health/previous level of play. Best (or at least the safest) move would be to dump him for whatever you can get. Minnesota wouldn’t trade Williams for him and Mozgov, but maybe Kyle Korver and Ivan Johnson for Mozgov and Chandler? Probably a pipe dream as well…

  • Ryan

    I wasn’t able to watch this game, but I was surprised to see that we were out-rebounded by a normally soft Warriors team, not used to seeing that. Also, I was impressed to see 38 points allowed in the second half, not used to seeing that kind of defense played in Denver. All in all, a bit disappointing to have the same record as the Warriors, as they didn’t strike me as a very good team in the first match-up against Denver. Hopefully they take care of business tonight against a weak Hornets team, go Nuggets!!

  • GIANLUCA

    chissenefrega del % 3 .. Derrik is good .. AND GALLO ’88 > IGGY