|Danilo Gallinari, SF 26 MIN | 3-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 9 PTS | +17
This was not Gallo’s most glorious outing of the year but his aggressiveness was still on full display, which is what’s most important for him at this point in time.
|Kenneth Faried, SF 27 MIN | 7-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 12 REB | 0 AST | 14 PTS | +23
Faried was Faried. Because he plays with such a high level of energy on a nightly basis, games likes these where he’s doing virtually everything right are bound to come along. He started off scoring, then went to rebounding in the second half to finish with yet another double double.
|Kosta Koufos, C 21 MIN | 1-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 4 PTS | +34
The only stat that matters here: five blocks. Koufos isn’t a scoring or rebounding machine but his interior paint presence has continued to evolve in a major way. He’s now ranked 19th in blocks per 48 minutes in the NBA.
|Ty Lawson, PG 29 MIN | 8-10 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 6 AST | 17 PTS | +24
Lawson has finally strung together a few vintage performances. The main reason: aggressiveness. Lawson is looking for his shot; not avoiding it. He’s finding open spaces to penetrate then pull up for a mid-range jumper or kick to an open man. He’s utilizing his speed and not sulking when his shot gets blocked. If he continues with this type of play, the Nuggets are a totally different team.
|Andre Iguodala, SG 31 MIN | 8-13 FG | 4-7 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 23 PTS | +29
Iguodala was on pace to score 30 in the first half before taking a back seat in the second. This is fine. His mindset on offense is all that matters. He is starting to develop into the “go-to” guy the Nuggets brought him to Denver to be. The value of his 3-point shot cannot be overlooked. When he’s hitting that — like he has been the last several games — the Nuggets offense has another much-needed dimension.
|Anthony Randolph, PF 7 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | -7
This was the first extended glimpse of Randolph that Nuggets fans were able to catch and it was pretty nice. He didn’t score but he played solid. It would be interesting to see what he could do with some more minutes as a backup power forward.
|Jordan Hamilton, SF 12 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | -4
Hamilton seems like the kind of guy who plays up to his level of competition. I swear, you could put him in the NBA finals and he’d average 18 per contest. Although he finished with a nice stat line, he took a few bad shots and made some questionable decisions — which he doesn’t do nearly as often as when he’s playing with the starting or second unit.
|Corey Brewer, SF 28 MIN | 3-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 8 PTS | -2
Brewer had a pretty mediocre game. He played with the “C” team for a while which is why he logged 28 minutes, but that still seems like too much. Brewer is best suited as a 20 minutes per night guy where his energy can really shine.
|Timofey Mozgov, C 16 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -12
It’s hard to make out what Karl uses Mozgov for. Is it just to combat other, less talented centers? Is it when he’s angry with McGee? Who knows. Mozgov still has hands made of concrete and hardly any polish on offense but his ability to run the floor and play defense holds some value.
|JaVale McGee, C 11 MIN | 3-8 FG | 2-3 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | -4
And then there’s the case of JaVale McGee. What a case it is. This was probably his worst game in terms of mistakes (you know, the ones he’s become famous for), yet he still finished with an impressive stat line in such a limited amount of time. At this point in his career it appears his size, length and athleticism are simply overriding his defects no matter how you slice it.
|Andre Miller, PG 21 MIN | 0-1 FG | 4-4 FT | 1 REB | 7 AST | 4 PTS | +1
Miller played good defense and distributed well. Again, this is what his role needs to be. He might be the best creator of his own offense on the entire team but the Nuggets don’t need that. Although his numbers are down, in my eyes Miller has been a much better, more team-oriented player throughout this season.
|Evan Fournier, SG 11 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -9
Fournier is so cerebral. He’s calculated. He makes a few “rookie” mistakes but that’s because he is one. You can tell his experience playing pro in France has really prepared him for the NBA. I would really like to see what he could do with 20 minutes per game for a week at some point in the season.
One Thing We Saw
- I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but I’m gonna talk about McGee again. He just needs more playing time; plain and simple. It’s early but it’s very clear that McGee is going to be a huge part of this team come playoff time. His minutes are going to spike and he needs to be ready for that challenge. Over the last five games McGee has seen over 25 minutes once. Karl has to get over the fact that he’s going to make some bad decisions every now and then. Constantly tampering with his minutes is not helping him develop into a better player. Most importantly, he has to drop his double standard. McGee’s bad decisions may stand out more than other players’ but he doesn’t make more of them. For every goal-tend he commits Corey Brewer and Gallinari hoist up an ill-advised shot attempt. McGee also tends to make up for his bad decisions with excellent blocks, rebounds and dunks. In the end, guys like McGee are always going to be who they are. You’re not going to change them. Karl seems dead set on teaching McGee a lesson that he’s never going to learn. Moral of the story: A few goal-tending violations never killed anyone’s championship aspirations, but a 7-foot, athletic freak of a center has definitely made a few come true.