Rapid Reaction: Nuggets 72, Grizzlies 81

Denver Nuggets 72 Final

Recap | Box Score

81 Memphis Grizzlies
Danilo Gallinari, SF 29 MIN | 2-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | -8After exploding for a career-high 39 points against the Mavericks last night, the Rooster laid an egg in this one, shooting two of seven and getting to the free line just twice. When Gallo settles for contested long range jumpers and fails to attack the basket, his consistency and effectiveness suffer, and tonight was a perfect example. On defense, he could do nothing to slow down Rudy Gay’s onslaught in the 4th quarter which ultimately sealed the victory for memphis.
Kenneth Faried, SF 25 MIN | 5-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | -7Faried’s energy was a bright spot once again, as he started the game off strong with hustle and effort. But it was quickly dimmed as he got himself into quick foul trouble, limiting his minutes, and restraining the impact he could have as he held himself back to avoid fouling out. He did a good job on both ends of the floor, but ultimately had he avoided a few mental mistakes, he could have made a much bigger difference.
Kosta Koufos, C 26 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 8 PTS | -1In the first quarter, Koufos couldn’t muster up any ability to stop Zach Randolph on defense. He played better over the course of the game, but the larger problem, for which he and Faried share much of the blame, was a lack of defensive rebounding. The Grizzlies beat the Nuggets 17 to 10 on the offensive glass, and scored a bunch of easy second- and third-chance points as a result. Koufos ended up fouling out midway through the fourth quarter, and as the Nuggets were fairly fatigued and Faried was also in foul trouble, this proved to be somewhat costly.
Ty Lawson, PG 28 MIN | 1-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 3 PTS | -7Lawson was virtually invisible in this game, and when that happens it’s a pretty sure key to a Nuggets loss. Three points and one assist is simply an unacceptable performance from Ty, excuses about fatigue and a road-heavy schedule be damned. When he disappears, so do the Nuggets’ chances of winning.
Andre Iguodala, SG 41 MIN | 5-10 FG | 1-4 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 12 PTS | -12If the game had ended after the first half, Iguodala would have received an A. He opened up the game continuing his aggressive play, driving to the basket and creating easy scoring opportunities for teammates. (He was a better point guard than both Lawson and Miller in this game). But some very costly turnovers and otherwise head-scratchingly sloppy plays (360-degree pivot in the corner as he launches a wild, contested 3-pointer) down the stretch knock his grade down a few notches. But he did at least play with effort the entire time, and it’s good to see him putting that in more consistently of late.
Corey Brewer, SF 30 MIN | 5-10 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 12 PTS | -7Brewer is another player who might have earned a higher grade if not for some careless turnovers. He did make a few big shots at some key points in the game to keep it close, and defended well throughout, but he really only thrives when the Nuggets are getting up and down the court, and this was not that game. He was mostly a positive, but had a fairly limited impact.
Timofey Mozgov, C 13 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -5Mozgov was pretty good on defense and pretty bad on offense, where he looked pretty much lost. It may be a function of not always being in the rotation, but he doesn’t seem to really know how to fit into the offensive flow. It was unfortunate to see that in this game, because one would expect Timo to be one of the Nuggets players more adaptable to its slow-paced, half court style of play. There are rumors he is on the block, and it will not be in the least bit surprising if Mozzie is gone by the trade deadline.
JaVale McGee, C 22 MIN | 5-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | +1McGee was arguably the best Nuggets player tonight. True, some of the “bad JaVale” was on display, with some wild shots and errant passes. But his defense and rebounding were at the center of Denver keeping the game close for as long as they did. He has six blocks on the stat sheet, but his presence in the paint altered many more, and really took a dimension away from the Grizzlies offense. It was a good example of why he needs more minutes, yet he had only 22 in this game despite both Koufos and Faried being in foul trouble.
Andre Miller, PG 28 MIN | 2-5 FG | 3-5 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 7 PTS | +1The question is not if Andre Miller took bong hits at halftime, but how many. I’m sure from a Memphis perspective, Rudy Gay single handedly won the game for them in clutch time. From a Denver perspective, it can be said that Miller single handedly lost it (in more ways than one). He was just laughing and chuckling away as, at the most critical juncture of the game, he started inexplicably throwing the ball away again and again. This could have been the 9th game in 10 days, and there would still be no excuse for that, and it canceled out every bit of good he might have done earlier in the game.
George KarlI was fully prepared to give Karl a good grade for this game until the fourth quarter, when things fell apart. His biggest transgression was when he all but conceded the game with 0:46 remaining and the Nuggets down by eight after a missed 3-pointer by Gallo. With a judicious use of fouling and timeouts an eight point deficit is not insurmountable in 46 seconds, but Karl did not have his players foul at all, instead allowing Memphis to wind down nearly the entire shot clock until Wayne Ellington connected on a 3-pointer to seal the game. It was Z-Bo who grabbed the defensive rebound after Gallinari’s miss. Had George instructed his players during the timeout to immediately foul the rebounder if they miss their shot, Denver may have had an opportunity, perhaps unlikely but at least extant, to contend for the win, or a chance to go into overtime. Instead, he waved the white flag. Another fourth quarter mistake was leaving Faried in when the fact he had five fouls was clearly inhibiting his effectiveness on the court. What makes Faried valuable is that he’s always full throttle, so when he’s afraid to step on the gas, he should be sitting on the bench. I also thought Evan Fournier should have been sent in, given how ineffective both point guards were. He’d at least have been a pair of fresh legs, and perhaps a spark of energy off the bench. All of that said, it should be noted that Karl did manage the game fairly well for the first three quarters. Specifically, he went big to good effect. But if mistakes cost the game in the end, the importance of any early game positives fades away.

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 106, Dallas Mavericks 85

Denver Nuggets 106 Final

Recap | Box Score

85 Dallas Mavericks
Danilo Gallinari, SF 34 MIN | 14-23 FG | 4-4 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 39 PTS | +31

Gallo set a new career high in points and it was no surprise why. His shot from deep was falling all night but he was scoring in a variety of ways and contributing in other areas of the game such as rebounding, passing and most importantly, defense. As we’ve said all year, Gallo is at his best when he plays like the well-rounded, versatile player that he truly is.

Kenneth Faried, SF 33 MIN | 5-10 FG | 1-4 FT | 19 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | +20

Faried fell one rebound shy of tying his career high. His energy all night was insane. He seems to be coming out of a miniature slump and it’s all started with a renewed sense of enthusiasm on the glass.

Kosta Koufos, C 25 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | +6

Koufos had a pretty mediocre night in terms of his overall presence but continued his streak of rebounding the ball well.

Ty Lawson, PG 37 MIN | 5-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 11 PTS | +15

Lawson didn’t shoot particularly well but he was aggressive for most of the night. His shot just wasn’t falling but it’s not like he wasn’t trying to make things happen.

Andre Iguodala, SG 34 MIN | 7-12 FG | 2-3 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 20 PTS | +31

This was incredibly refreshing. Iguodala (and his entire team) needs performances like these. It just baffles me how he can’t be this assertive every game. He’s by far one of the most talented players on the roster, yet he’s been playing with the type of passive mindset that a below-average bench player might possess. Karl must demand more performances like this.

Anthony Randolph, PF 2 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -1

Inconclusive.

Jordan Hamilton, SF 8 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-1 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -5

Pretty standard night for J-Ham: low minutes, some bright spots and one or two questionable decisions.

Corey Brewer, SF 22 MIN | 0-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | -2

Brewer really struggled yet again. It’s hard to log zero points in over 20 minutes, especially considering how often he cuts to the basket and gets easy layups — but he did. This simply wasn’t his night.

JaVale McGee, C 16 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | +2

McGee had a few nice buckets and some shots that made you scratch your head. Faried was probably stealing most of them, but I still wish he’d rebound a little better given his enormous wingspan and incredible athleticism.

Andre Miller, PG 25 MIN | 5-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 9 AST | 11 PTS | +6

Miller had a really great game in terms of assists. This was one of his better distribution nights that I’ve seen in quite some time. Like many of his teammates, Miller has one job (outside of defense) that he needs to focus on: assists. Tonight, he achieved that goal and then some.

Evan Fournier, SG 3 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | +2

Inconclusive.

George Karl

It’s funny how things might play out now that we have this coach grader. Karl gets a lot of heat when the team loses, but there’s not too many who acknowledge when he brings his team prepared to play like he did against the Mavericks. The Nuggets were clearly focused and ready to play tonight. They didn’t run too many plays (as usual), but they were mentally in the game from the start and played excellent defense throughout. Tip of the hat to Karl for not conceding a road game like the Nuggets seem to have done far too many times in recent memory.

Rapid Reaction: Nuggets 126, Lakers 114

Los Angeles Lakers 114 FinalRecap | Box Score 126 Denver Nuggets
Danilo Gallinari, SF 36 MIN | 6-10 FG | 4-6 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 19 PTS | +11

Through the course of this game, keeping a mental tally of player grades, I was fully prepared to give Gallo a C after a first half in which he had two makes, two misses, two blocks against, and didn’t really impact the game much at all. But he made his mark in the second half, finishing with 19 points on sixty percent shooting (including 3 of 5 3-pointers), and making some big shots down the stretch. Tonight was Brewer’s night, but the two things the Nuggets live and die by are Lawson’s aggression and Gallinari coming up big when it counts. He made some key plays in this game, including one huge three off a great read of a defensive lapse by Metta World Peace.

Kenneth Faried, SF 39 MIN | 9-13 FG | 3-5 FT | 15 REB | 1 AST | 21 PTS | +7

Kenneth was in full-on Manimal mode tonight, a one-man wrecking crew on the offensive glass against one of the most formidable frontcourts in the NBA. There are times when Kenneth’s size renders him unable to be as effective, but this was one of those games in which through sheer will and energy he was able to play like the biggest man on the court. He definitely still needs to work on his defense, especially getting out to defend the perimeter against assignments with range like Pau Gasol, and the little things inexperienced players tend to miss (the Lakers announcers pointed out a good example of him failing to close out the baseline with his outer leg on a Kobe drive). But the most important team stat of this game may well have been Denver winning the offensive rebound battle 20-11, and if it weren’t for Brewer’s stunning performance, Faried would get the game ball.

Kosta Koufos, C 20 MIN | 4-6 FG | 2-3 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | +7

Koufos did a respectable job against Dwight Howard, considering that that’s not a very level playing field to begin with. He seems to have tapped into some newly discovered toughness over the last few weeks, as well as a determination to score more. Given that he appears locked into the starting center position for the foreseeable future, both of these are welcome developments. It’s hard not to wonder, as Dwight was heating up in the third quarter before getting tossed from the game, if the Koufos-McGee combo could have weathered that storm. But he held his own through most of this game, and if he can continue his recent trajectory of improvement it will be very good news for Denver.

Ty Lawson, PG 34 MIN | 6-15 FG | 4-5 FT | 4 REB | 14 AST | 17 PTS | +11

Never mind the shooting, 14 assists from Ty is something we always want to see. He did an excellent job of pushing the pace and setting the tempo the entire game. And he played smarter than we’ve seen in some recent games in terms of not driving into traffic too much and generally making better decisions. Neither he nor Andre Miller could do much to stop Steve Nash’s hot shooting, but Lawson did a good job, at least, of staying with him and making him put the ball down to limit the damage he could inflict.

Andre Iguodala, SG 38 MIN | 5-15 FG | 5-6 FT | 11 REB | 7 AST | 17 PTS | +9

Iguodala’s playmaking was superb in this game, and he was two rebounds shy of a triple double. His 3-point shooting still leaves something to be desired (though this can be said of most every player on the team), but when he’s aggressive in transition and works hard on driving and kicking, his ability to create is dangerous.

Jordan Hamilton, SF 5 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | +3

J-Ham’s 1-6 shooting line doesn’t tell the whole story. His shot wasn’t falling, but he played with energy and tenacity. It’s great to see a guard who isn’t afraid to mix it up in the paint, but his shot will come, and as long as he plays aggressively and keeps pulling down rebounds (he had three with a block in five minutes of action), he should be forging a path to increased minutes.

Corey Brewer, SF 24 MIN | 9-16 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 27 PTS | +11

Wow. Brewer came alive in the second half, scoring 22 of his season high 27 points and all six of his 3-pointeers after halftime. While he can’t be expected to produce offensively like this night in and night out, when he does — and especially when his 3-pointers are falling (he shot a blistering 6-7 from the arc), the Nuggets suddenly become a much more difficult team to beat. He played a great game defensively as well, making life difficult for Kobe and earning a steal and two blocks in the process. Player of the game, arguably his best game of the season, and when we review the top ten Nuggets plays of the season next April, his incredible buzzer beater to close the third quarter will surely be in the top three.

Timofey Mozgov, C 4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | +4

Timo made so little an impact in his four minutes of play that it’s nearly impossible to make a meaningful evaluation. He gets a B on the merit of doing no harm and being +4 on the floor.

JaVale McGee, C 22 MIN | 3-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | 0

McGee needs to practice breathing exercises or some other sort of mentally calming activity. He’s at his best when he plays more restrained and less hyped up, but he’s an excitable boy, and too easily lets himself play out of control. Tonight he started off strong in the first, seemingly on his way to atoning for his fairly disastrous performance against the Clippers. But as he’s prone to do sometimes, he let his emotions get the better of him and went on to make some sloppy mistakes like pulling up on the rim after a big dunk, and too hastily inbounding an errant pass. Until JaVale learns to maintain his compusure, he won’t develop the consistency the Nuggets need from him.

Andre Miller, PG 19 MIN | 2-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 6 PTS | -3

Miller was fairly ineffective on both ends of the court, and a veritable liability on offense. This was one of his sloppiest, least focused game of the season, as he missed a ton of what should have been easy layups, and made too many careless turnovers. His job is to steady the rudder by making heady veteran plays, and when he’s not doing that, it’s better for the Nuggets to have other players on the court (cough, cough, Jordan Hamilton).

George Karl

It feels kind of crazy to give Karl an A for this game, when in the next game it’s a near-given that he’ll employ essentially the same strategy and rotations and the Nuggets will lose by 15. But if coaches are to be blamed for losses, they should be credited for wins, and this was one of the biggest, most gratifying wins of the season. Minus tick for leaving in Miller when he was eating it, but this was a game where, after an embarrassing loss on national TV, he trusted his players to pick themselves up, keep playing Nuggets basketball, and take confidence in themselves to win a big game. And this time, it worked, although some will certainly suggest he send Dwight a thank you note. Even so, in the most critical stretch of the game in the third quarter, when the Lakeers cut the Nuggets’ 13-point lead down to six, he let his team play through it, and that was the right call.

Rapid Reaction: Los Angeles Clippers 112, Denver Nuggets 100

Denver Nuggets 100 Final

Recap | Box Score

112 Los Angeles Clippers
Danilo Gallinari, SF 24 MIN | 1-10 FG | 5-5 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 7 PTS | +3

Gallo has been about as inconsistent as you can be to start the season. In seven of the last 10 games he’s scored under 10 points four times and over 20 three times. His shooting stroke seems to be the root of his problems. When he’s hitting shots, everything is great; when he’s not, he’s virtually useless. Gallo is so talented in so many ways, which makes it all the more frustrating seeing him pigeonhole himself into a one-dimensional shooter’s role.

Kenneth Faried, SF 33 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | -4

Faried is another enigma on the season. He didn’t have a bad game but he started off on pace to have an epic one — then it was as if his motor ran out of gas in only five minutes time. This is becoming quite the trend with Faried. His energy just isn’t what it was most of last year.

Kosta Koufos, C 27 MIN | 8-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 16 PTS | -4

Koufos was the Nuggets’ best player. That’s basically all you need to know to figure out how this game ended. He’s been steadily improving throughout the year and is now legitimately giving McGee a run for his money as to who’s the best center on the team. His defense and toughness were especially impressive against the Clippers.

Ty Lawson, PG 32 MIN | 5-11 FG | 4-6 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 15 PTS | -8

It’s hard to dock Lawson too much as he was one of the only players actually trying to make something happen. His passes need to be more precise but other than that he was pretty solid.

Andre Iguodala, SG 27 MIN | 4-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 9 PTS | -1

I still can’t figure this one out. Anybody know what the deal is with Iguodala? Please, share your secret because right now I’m dumbfounded. I knew Nuggets fans overvalued him from the start but I really thought he’d be a lot more impressive than what he’s shown thus far. Against the Clippers he was nearly lifeless. His nine points were a result of easy fast-break points, and that’s about all he did.

Anthony Randolph, PF 4 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | +6

He’s clearly talented. He’s played well this season and had a few nice buckets against the Clippers.

Jordan Hamilton, SF 17 MIN | 7-9 FG | 0-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 16 PTS | -4

Hamilton was the second best player tonight (maybe the best?) and tied Koufos for the team lead in points despite having played only 17 minutes. If this was not a “wake up” game for Karl and the rest of his teammates, then I don’t know what is. Hamilton played with confidence against the Clippers and it showed. Not only was he scoring at a rate which none of his teammates could match, but his decision-making and vision were in top form. He made some nice passes and didn’t make the “rookie” mistakes he’s been known to fall victim to. The fact is: On nights like this, when nobody is stepping up to score, Hamilton is a great option to play 30-plus minutes because scoring is all he knows.

Quincy Miller, SF 4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 PTS | +6

Miller had a few nice dishes and played good defense. As always, I’d love to see what he could do with a few games of solid playing time.

Corey Brewer, SF 21 MIN | 0-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 2 PTS | -29

Brewer was just not on. He’ll have games like this every now and then where he’s totally MIA.

Timofey Mozgov, C 4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | +6

Mozgov got hit in the face with the ball because he couldn’t handle the speed of a pass. That’s all I remember from his run.

JaVale McGee, C 19 MIN | 4-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | -23

The stats don’t tell just how frustrating this game was from a fan’s standpoint. McGee made numerous decisions (mostly passes) where I couldn’t even begin to understand what he was trying to do. He also had several incredible blocks and nice post-ups, but I could not escape how bad his decisions were on this night.

Andre Miller, PG 23 MIN | 4-9 FG | 4-5 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 12 PTS | -14

Miller started off the game great with lots of aggressions but seemed to fade as it went on. Still, it’s nice having someone who gets up for big games on a consistent basis.

Evan Fournier, SG 4 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | +6

Fournier was impressive as usual. Not a lot of time, but he made the most of it.

George Karl

Many players received bad grades tonight so it doesn’t make much sense to reward Karl. He’s the one who devises this skewed game-plan of being satisfied with playing like crap on the road as long as you can win most of your home games. While the Nuggets have had a tough road schedule, I still don’t understand how a team this deep and talented can be happy with a 7-13 road record. On a different (but similar) note, I ran into my old high school soccer coach a few days ago and he said he hates watching the Nuggets because they always have an excuse to lose. While the Clippers are on one hell of a tear these days, I can’t help but think Karl deemed this loss as considered “OK.”

Recap: Nuggets 110, Bobcats 88

As the Rapid Reaction generator does not appear to be working, this will be a regular recap of tonight’s game. Denver shared the ball beautifully, scored in the paint at will and won with relative ease versus Charlotte, increasing their home court record to a league-best 8-1, and improving to 15-13 (.536) overall.

With seven players in double figures, no one player jumps off the box score as the player of the game, but most who watched should agree that that honor should go to Kosta Koufos, who did a wonderful job scoring around and defending the rim. His season high 16 points, as well as five blocks, led the Nuggets, but neither tell the whole story. “Energy” and “hustle” are words generally reserved for Kenneth Faried and Corey Brewer, but Koufos’ activity level in the paint tonight was, perhaps, the biggest factor in Denver taking an 18-point lead into halftime and keeping the pedal on the gas from there.

Ty Lawson and Andre Miller combined for zero points in this game, which has got to be a first, but that is far overshadowed by the fact that the team as a whole dished out a season-high 36 assists. (more…)

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 93 Portland Trail Blazers 101

Denver Nuggets 93 Final
Recap | Box Score
101 Portland Trail Blazers
Danilo Gallinari, SF 27 MIN | 1-10 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -9

I wish I could say it’s surprising, but it’s not. Gallo was due for another one of his duds and he predictably chucked his way to a 1-10 shooting nightmare. It’s the seventh time this season Gallo has failed to reach double figures in substantial minutes. I wouldn’t be so hard on Gallo if he hadn’t pulled the same tired act all last season. Gallo had an embarrassing moment towards the end, where he avoided a Damian Lillard poster by pretending to block out Koufos, his teammate.

Kenneth Faried, SF 18 MIN | 3-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -13

3-10 shooting in just 18 minutes doesn’t even begin to tell you how bad it was. Faried was dominated by JJ Hickson from the opening tip and it never really got any better. Defensively, he looked totally lost yet again.

Kosta Koufos, C 20 MIN | 3-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | -5

Koufos recovered from two quick fouls to put forth one of the few respectable performances from a regular rotation player. He cannot provide anything on offense, which limited his impact in an ugly game like this.

Ty Lawson, PG 37 MIN | 6-15 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 8 AST | 13 PTS | -10

A really disjointed game from Lawson, who was able to penetrate but didn’t consistenty put pressure on Portland’s defense throughout the night. His speed and energy were not a factor in the game as Lawson mostly faded into the background save for a few garbage baskets towards the end.

Andre Iguodala, SG 27 MIN | 5-13 FG | 3-6 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 13 PTS | -9

Not awful, but his shot selection is disappointing as his growing complacency with the Nuggets’ culture of indifference on the defensive end. He was supposed to be a part of the solution for Denver’s abysmal perimeter defense, a system so broken it’s shown little, if any, sign of improvement from last season.

Anthony Randolph, PF 8 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -1

I continue to maintain that the Nuggets should be giving Randolph a look. His post defense isn’t any worse than Mozgov or Koufos and he outruns any center in the NBA with ease, a skill which shouldn’t go unnoticed in the Nuggets’ second unit. He is also one of the few Nuggets able to change and alter shots with weak side help, a fundamental skill often lacking in Denver’s regular front court play.

Jordan Hamilton, SF 13 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-1 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | +6

He still can’t really get minutes or show he can consistently knock down a three. I would love to see Jordan be able to change games with his rebounding, passing and defense but right now he looks to be struggling a great deal with his overall confidence and shot selection.

Corey Brewer, SF 29 MIN | 4-10 FG | 5-6 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 13 PTS | +4

A near double-double and lots of hustle, but the Nuggets offense is in a bad way when Brewer is playing 29 minutes as the main scoring threat off the bench. Brewer did his job but he should be earning minutes with his defense, not the other way around.

Timofey Mozgov, C 10 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -5

Not traded yet, but the nuggets are obviously still trying. They don’t seem interested in giving him a chance or just moving on, so it’s likely he’ll continue to be showcased for other teams. We saw some bad hands and decent defense out of Moz, which is nothing new and doesn’t really change things for the Nuggets either way.

JaVale McGee, C 15 MIN | 3-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | +2

He looked winded and flat out spent at the end of the game. As much as I think the Nuggets have to trust JaVale more and give him room to grow, McGee did not look like someone I’d trust to maintain effort for 30 minutes. He needs to play at the same level energy-wise throughout the game, something JaVale isn’t close to doing right now.

Andre Miller, PG 28 MIN | 5-14 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 7 AST | 12 PTS | 0

He had a near triple-double and did a great job limiting his turnovers, but color me unimpressed with Andre Miller as a floor leader. He should have posted up Lillard 20 times tonight, but instead we got some truly awful shot selection including two hopeless threes on a night the Nuggets were desperately looking to him for leadership. As a defender, he looks washed up and near useless.

Evan Fournier, SG 9 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | 0

Thrown into the fray after a bizarre first quarter in which Karl briefly emptied his entire bench, Fournier looked surprisingly comfortable. He struggled with his handle, but got pressure on the ball and was disruptive on the defensive end. If he can learn how to make shots, Fournier looks good enough in everything else to be a quality rotation piece.

Three Things We Saw

  1. This played out like of the weirder games I’ve ever witnessed. Portland jumped out to a quick lead in the first quarter, at which point Karl emptied his bench and looked ready to let his reserves take over for the night. Although Denver’s offense remained bad all night, Karl’s all-bench unit picked up the defense considerably and brought Denver right back in the game, at which point Karl abruptly abandoned his strategy and went straight back to his normal rotation.
  2. Denver’s offense was laughably bad the entire night. Besides setting an NBA record for futility from the three point-line, the Nuggets clear lack of a system and any kind of leadership were on full display. Portland’s defense had something to do with it, but in terms of quality basketball we weren’t getting the best show tonight. The big-time Northwest division showdown actually looked like two second-rate lottery teams who can’t shoot straight. It was ugly
  3. Ty Lawson made a rare long-two pointer in garbage time. Those were the only two points Denver scored outside the paint the entire night. They scored 74 points in the paint and 17 off of 24 free throw attempts (70.8%)

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 112, San Antonio Spurs 106

San Antonio Spurs 106 Final

Recap | Box Score

112 Denver Nuggets
Danilo Gallinari, SF 35 MIN | 9-21 FG | 7-8 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 28 PTS | +10

This was by far Gallo’s best game of the year. Efficiency — throw it out the window. Points — I don’t even care. The bottom line with Gallo’s performance was that he hit shots at every crucial corner of the game. Whenever the Nuggets needed a basket, he was there to deliver. Often times this came in the most unlikely of scenarios (i.e., with a hand in his face). If it wasn’t for his clutch shooting tonight, the Nuggets win this game.

Kenneth Faried, SF 29 MIN | 6-11 FG | 7-9 FT | 11 REB | 2 AST | 19 PTS | +3F

Faried was a monster for most of the game. His defense against taller power forwards like Tim Duncan will always be questionable but his heart is not. Anytime you can get a near 20-10 performance from your power forward you are in good shape.

Kosta Koufos, C 31 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 14 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | +2

Again, this was one of the better performances we’ve seen from Koufos this season. In fact, given the circumstances, I’d say this was his best. Fourteen rebounds and four blocks is unheard of for a guy who’s just establishing himself as a starter in the NBA. His defense on Tim Duncan was flat out studly. I cannot say enough about that aspect of his game this evening.

Ty Lawson, PG 38 MIN | 4-15 FG | 4-4 FT | 1 REB | 5 AST | 12 PTS | -2

Ty wasn’t especially potent but he did a great job of emphasizing the speed at which the Nuggets needed to play. He also had a few great steals that led to easy, momentum-swinging baskets.

Andre Iguodala, SG 37 MIN | 6-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 6 AST | 14 PTS | +9

Another fantastic performance. I think you could argue this was Iguodala’s best of the year given what was at stake. He was a totally different person against the Spurs. He was fierce. He was on the prowl. He wasn’t messing around. He really appeared to be on a mission to show what he could do in George Karl’s fast-pace offense. Let’s just hope he’s finally adapting to the speed at which the Nuggets play.

Corey Brewer, SF 29 MIN | 6-11 FG | 2-5 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 16 PTS | +2

Brewer was a total spark plug, as usual. He did exactly what the Nuggets needed him to do: hit big outside 3-pointers and play lock-down defense.

Timofey Mozgov, C 6 MIN | 0-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 PTS | +4

Mozgov had a short stint but he wasn’t too shabby. Anytime he can log six points in six minutes, it’s a good outing.

JaVale McGee, C 11 MIN | 3-6 FG | 4-10 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | -1

What an interesting night for the talented 7-footer. The Spurs tried to play Hack-A-JaVale late in the game, and although he missed most of his free throws, it was a strategy that didn’t really pay off. McGee didn’t log a lot of minutes but had one of the most efficient performances of anybody on the floor.

Andre Miller, PG 23 MIN | 2-6 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 7 AST | 8 PTS | +3

We’ve had our quibbles with Miller as of late, but he was solid against the Spurs. He simply has a different style of game. It doesn’t always fit with what the Nuggets are trying to do but when the team is rolling he seems to fit in quite well.

Link: Kenneth Faried, a model of undersized success for Thomas Robinson

Our friends at the TrueHoop Sacramento Kings blog, Cowbell Kingdom, have had a rough time as of late. Earlier this year rumors began to mount regarding the Kings moving from Sacramento to Virginia Beach, Virginia. Though over a quarter of the 2012-13 season it’s clear the team is yet again destined for the lottery. And to top it all off, promising rookie and No. 5 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Thomas Robinson, is struggling to see court time in a year where the franchise has absolutely nothing to lose. If there was ever a bright side to this story it’s that Kings coach Keith Smart recently reveled that he’s had Robinson watch film of Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried to shine light on how to be a successful undersized power forward in the NBA. Today, Cowbell Kingdom published a great article on this subject with first-hand quotes and a video interview of Faried.

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Nuggets shopping Mozgov?

Based on converstations with league executives, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports that Timofey Mozgov may be on the trading block: (more…)

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 122, Sacramento Kings 97

Denver Nuggets 122 Final

Recap | Box Score

97 Sacramento Kings
Danilo Gallinari, SF 26 MIN | 6-9 FG | 5-5 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 18 PTS | +19

Gallo’s aggression to start the game really set the tone for what ended up being one of the better wins of the season. He continues to improve and score in a quiet but effective manner.

Kenneth Faried, SF 22 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | +27

Faried’s energy was where it has been most of the year; however, his minutes aren’t. Faried has endured a slump recently and it just so happens to come at a time when Karl has begun to limit his minutes. Odd.

Kosta Koufos, C 18 MIN | 6-10 FG | 0-2 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 12 PTS | +24

Koufos played good defense — that’s what matters most. He was often in the right place at the right time to finish plays, which resulted in a nice stat line, but his solid play on the defensive side of the ball is what stood out most.

Ty Lawson, PG 26 MIN | 4-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 11 PTS | +23

Lawson did a great job of pushing the pace. He hit a few big shots, but this was a night where his control of the Nuggets’ tempo shined most.

Andre Iguodala, SG 28 MIN | 4-7 FG | 3-4 FT | 8 REB | 8 AST | 11 PTS | +28

The points weren’t necessarily there but this was one of Iguodala’s best games in a while. He doesn’t always have to score, but he needs to be aggressive with the ball in his hands at all times. He did that against the Kings and it really showed in the form of several highlight plays and an overall excellent performance from his team.

Anthony Randolph, PF 7 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -2

Randolph was great in his limited time. He’s had somewhat of an interesting reputation as a selfish player over the course of his career but that was nowhere to be seen against the Kings. He made all the right decisions and had a few very impressive offensive possessions.

Jordan Hamilton, SF 23 MIN | 6-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 15 PTS | -1

Hamilton was incredible in the first half — where all his points were scored. During one stretch he scored 12 straight points for the Nuggets. This hot shooting abruptly ended in the second half where he missed every shot he took. Hamilton has an enormous amount of talent but seems to only have one gear: score. If he can learn to shift every now and then he’ll be much better off.

Quincy Miller, SF 5 MIN | 0-1 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 1 PTS | -1

This was Miller’s first appearance in a Nuggets uniform. It was brief and pretty inconclusive.

Corey Brewer, SF 19 MIN | 2-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | +3

This was one of Brewer’s less impressive games in recently memory. It might be a small sample size but he doesn’t seem to fit well with Hamilton when they’re on the floor together. Brewer just seemed totally off his game against the Kings.

Timofey Mozgov, C 9 MIN | 2-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -6

Mozgov is definitely showing much more confidence in his game this year. He’s still a step slow sometimes but he appears to finally be adjusting to the pace of the NBA.

JaVale McGee, C 21 MIN | 7-9 FG | 5-8 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 19 PTS | +7

McGee was insane. He had three dunks in a row in the first half that nobody else in the NBA could execute. His skill level and potential were on display throughout the game and it was quite the sight to see. I really cannot stress just how impressive he was in the first half.

Andre Miller, PG 24 MIN | 0-1 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 4 PTS | +9

Miller was a total dud. After Lawson set the pace he immediately came in and killed what momentum the Nuggets had built up. This is somewhat of a reoccurring theme with Miller. He simply does not run the way his teammates do. He’s always looking for the easy outlet pass and if it’s not there he meanders up the court like he’s on a sightseeing excursion. Miller is no doubt an important member of the Nuggets and a great locker-room presence to have, but he has to buy into what the Nuggets are trying to do a bit more on offense.

Evan Fournier, SG 12 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | -5

Fournier looked great. You can tell he’s a smart basketball player with a gift for playing the game the right way and getting his teammates involved. It’s going to quite interesting seeing just how good he can be with a heavy dose of minutes.

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 99, Memphis Grizzlies 94

Memphis Grizzlies 94 FinalRecap | Box Score 99 Denver Nuggets
Danilo Gallinari, SF 36 MIN | 5-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | +1Danilo sometimes kind of disappears for stretches of games, but he sure has a knack at times for finding ways to come up with some big plays at key moments. That was on display tonight, when a couple of big 3-pointers and, most dramatically, a pass to himself off the backboard for a dunk put the kibosh on Memphis extending leads, and got the crowd pumped up.
Kenneth Faried, SF 25 MIN | 3-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | +6Kenneth for the most part was mostly a non-factor in this game. Sure, he had ten rebounds, but he really couldn’t get anything going offensively, and he really couldn’t compete with the Z-Bo/Gasol combo on the glass very well. He played great against Minnesota, but he’s only had 2 double doubles in his last 10 games, and he needs to find a way to bring out the Manimal more consistently.
Kosta Koufos, C 23 MIN | 1-3 FG | 4-4 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | +1As is usually the case when Kosta has a good game, the stat line doesn’t tell the story of how well he played, aside from his four blocks. Look instead to Marc Gasol’s 2-10 shooting. Koufos played admirably well against a frontcourt that has the potential to dominate him, and was a big contributor to Denver’s solid defensive performance.
Ty Lawson, PG 37 MIN | 5-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 5 AST | 13 PTS | +5We’d still like to see more aggression from Lawson. When he’s not shooting, he’s not doing enough to keep defenses honest and prevent them from packing the paint. That said, this was one of his best defensive performances of the season. Mike Conley did get off a couple three pointers, but he was kept ineffective most of the game, held to 5-14 shooting with only four assists. Ty still needs to work on not turning the ball over, however.
Andre Iguodala, SG 38 MIN | 8-11 FG | 3-5 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 20 PTS | +10this is the Andre Iguodala the Nuggets need to see more often. Tonight he played with an intensity and aggression that has far too often been missing from his game this season, and it really paid off. As with Lawson, turnovers are still a problem, but it was great to see him running the court harder, disrupting the Grizzlies offense with the kind of scrappy defense his reputation is built on, and above all operate within the flow of his team in a comfortable way. If he can genuintely find his comfort zone, it’ll be great news for Denver.
Corey Brewer, SF 24 MIN | 3-6 FG | 3-3 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 9 PTS | -1This was a quiet performance from Brewer, mostly solid, but relatively understated compared to his recent play. He didn’t make too big of an impact on this game, but he was serviceable in the minutes he played, allowing Gallo and Dala some brief respite without much dropoff.
Timofey Mozgov, C 5 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -11The five minutes Mozgov played in this game were probably his worst of the season. Karl sent him in after Koufos picked up his second foul, and should be credited with recognizing that tonight was clearly not Timo’s night, and pulling him out of the game quickly.
JaVale McGee, C 24 MIN | 4-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | +13Tonight’s JaVale McGee is George Karl’s dream JaVale McGee. His defensive presence set the tone for the entire team. He didn’t try to do too much or force things on offense. He played a fundamentally sound game, making few mistakes and, like Koufos, played great against one of the league’s best 4/5 duos. And man, he just blocked the hell out of that ball. There are four on the stat sheet, but easily more than two or three times that were altered because of his presence in the paint. And his block-catch was reminiscent of LaPhonso Ellis’ classic play: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVFSfRVzQ8s
Andre Miller, PG 29 MIN | 6-10 FG | 6-6 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 18 PTS | +1Miller continues to struggle defensively at times, but at least the effort is there this season. Like most Nuggets fans, I’m not a big supporter of the two point guard lineup, but I can empathize with wanting to have your best players on the floor when the game is on the line, and Dre probably gets some undeserved runoff from that fan frustration. But if the “crafty veteran” tag seems cliche, that’s not because it isn’t true. His handle on the game and his ability to post up have been among the most consistently reliable pluses for the Nuggets this season. A Marc Gasol and-1 brought Memphis within one point with 0:53 remaining, but four made free throws by Miller sealed the game for Denver.

One Thing We Saw

  1. This was truly a team victory for the Nuggets, defined by their very solid team defense through all four quarters of the game. It’s always a kind of coup for Denver when they win a slow-paced, hard-fought defensive battle, so this was a satisfying win. Turnovers continue to be problematic — there were 19 in this game — but the good news tonight was that Denver’s free throws were falling. They shot what by now is a nearly unrecognizable 88.5% from the charity strip tonight, going 23-26. Hopefully they can use this game to build on some positives — tougher defense, better play by Iguodala and McGee, not allowing opponent runs to get out of hand — to put together a strong close to their December schedule, in which five of this year’s remaining eight games are on the road. They are currently 12-12. If they can find a way to go into the new year with a winning record and some positive momentum, then January, when only three of fifteen games are away from the Pepsi Center, will be a great opportunity to get this season on the right track after all their early struggles.

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Rapid Reaction: Minnesota Timberwolves 108, Denver Nuggets 105

Denver Nuggets 105 Final

Recap | Box Score

108 Minnesota Timberwolves
Danilo Gallinari, SF 35 MIN | 9-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 24 PTS | +7

Gallo quietly had a really good game. He made a lot of shots from deep, but this also happened to be the first game in a while that he made a conscious effort to drive. When he does that, good things happen.

Kenneth Faried, SF 38 MIN | 10-16 FG | 6-10 FT | 14 REB | 1 AST | 26 PTS | +8

Faried was an absolute monster in the first quarter. His energy reminded me of the Golden State game last year when he had one of the most efficient performances in NBA history. But as good as his numbers were, Faried still gave up position to the Wolves’ big men on more than one occasion. If he could get a little more physical his game would instantly go to the next level.

Kosta Koufos, C 22 MIN | 3-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -5

I wasn’t too impressed with Koufos most of this game. He had five personal fouls in 22 minutes and wasn’t clicking the way he did against the Pistons.

Ty Lawson, PG 37 MIN | 6-15 FG | 4-6 FT | 4 REB | 11 AST | 17 PTS | +4

People are going to jump Lawson for his turnover at the end of the game — but that’s not what lost the Nuggets this contest. Not even close. They were lucky to even pull it within three considering how bad they played in the second half. All the turnovers, missed free throws and sloppy play is what lost the Nuggets this game. What can’t be ignored is how well Lawson played for most of the contest. He had some remarkable passes in the first quarter and has really been evolving as of late. The fact he turned the ball over late is more a product of the Nuggets inept late-game execution and play calling more than anything. If the Nuggets simply decided to go to someone and stuck with it, they wouldn’t have these types of problems. Instead, it’s a different person every night and no cohesion is ever formed.

Andre Iguodala, SG 35 MIN | 1-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 7 AST | 2 PTS | +3

I’ve been getting a lot of tweets during games asking what the deal is with Iguodala. The truth is, I have no idea. I think people’s expectations were probably too high to begin with. I mean, this guy did only averaged 12 points per game last year. Also, he’s clearly struggling with his role. In Philadelphia he played on a slow-paced, defensive-minded team and did a lot of the ball handling. Now he’s being asked to score on one of the fastest teams in the league. That would likely be difficult for anybody to adapt to.

Jordan Hamilton, SF 10 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -11

Hamilton can’t do anything in 10 minutes. On a night like this, when the Nuggets area clearly exhausted, I don’t understand why he can’t log at least 20 minutes if not more. The Nuggets have one of the deepest teams in the NBA, yet guys like Hamilton can’t seem to catch a break. He does need to cut down on his turnovers though. He commits entirely way too many offensive fouls and traveling violations.

Corey Brewer, SF 26 MIN | 6-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 14 PTS | +3

Pretty standard night for Brewer. He did everything Karl asked. He hit a few big threes, played solid defense and ran the floor well. Unfortunately for the Nuggets, having Brewer consistently be one of the teams top scorers just isn’t a good sign.

Timofey Mozgov, C 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -4

He didn’t make any glaring mistakes. Can’t knock him or reward him either way.

JaVale McGee, C 16 MIN | 4-6 FG | 1-5 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | -7

People who follow our blog know I have a slight affinity for JaVale. I probably tend to defend him more than I should. He’s kind of my new J.R. Smith (who is playing excellent in New York out of Karl’s wrath, by the way). But tonight I thought he was horrible. Yes, he had a few monster dunks and blocks — but that’s to be expected. He still didn’t rebound worth a crap and made numerous bad decisions that had me scratching my head. I guess that’s just what you get with JaVale sometimes…

Andre Miller, PG 21 MIN | 1-6 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 3 PTS | -13

Miller was another guy who bugged the living hell out of me this evening. He was entirely too ball-dominant. Every time he received the rock he put his head down and just started dribbling. It was then, when for the first time, I realized that he and Ty aren’t really a good combo together. Miller is way too much of a dominating figure for Ty. Having Lawson, a 5-11 point guard with a pretty streaky shot, play off the ball just doesn’t seem like a recipe for success — especially not late in the game.

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 101, Detroit Pistons 94

Denver Nuggets 101 Final

Recap | Box Score

94 Detroit Pistons
Danilo Gallinari, SF 30 MIN | 3-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 9 PTS | +4

Gallo didn’t have a strong shooting night but came through with several big shots when the Nuggets needed them most. It’s crucial that, on nights like this when his shot isn’t falling, Gallo penetrates and gets to the free throw line — which he should be doing anyways.

Kenneth Faried, SF 23 MIN | 0-1 FG | 3-8 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 3 PTS | +3

After averaging nearly 11 boards through the first months of the season, Faried’s production has slowed down as of late. He’s only had one double-digit rebounding game since Nov. 25 and isn’t the energetic force we’ve come to know. Hopefully this is just a brief trend and not a sign of things to come.

Kosta Koufos, C 17 MIN | 4-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | -10

This was one of Koufos’ best games of the year. He was excellent on defense and had a fantastic third quarter full of energy that helped give the Nuggets a permanent lead.

Ty Lawson, PG 40 MIN | 9-17 FG | 7-8 FT | 5 REB | 7 AST | 26 PTS | +10

I can’t remember Lawson having a more complete game than this one all year. This may very well have been the culmination of his steady improvement throughout the season. Not only was he knocking down shots from everywhere but his vision and ability to make others around him better through crafty assists was clearly on full display — which isn’t something Lawson has had a tremendous amount of success with as a starting point guard. If Lawson continues to play with this type of tenacity the Nuggets should be back above .500 in no time.

Andre Iguodala, SG 35 MIN | 3-12 FG | 5-7 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 12 PTS | +3

This was a cold shooting night for Iguodala. He played impressive defense and did a lot of other things to help his team win, but just couldn’t knock down a shot no matter how open he was.

Anthony Randolph, PF 10 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -2

Randolph only played 10 minutes but they were productive nonetheless. He had two monster blocks, a few nice boards and most importantly, he played intelligent basketball. I would be very interested in seeing what he could do with 20 minutes per game on a consistent basis.

Corey Brewer, SF 25 MIN | 6-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 15 PTS | +1

Brewer had a pretty standard night by his terms. It’s pretty amazing how well he continues to play. He’s developed into one of the Nuggets’ most reliable players. He’s truly a model of how to be a team player, especially in regards to moving without the ball and being committed to defense.

Timofey Mozgov, C 11 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | +13

This may have been the most confident I’ve ever seen Mozgov play. He’s still a step slow in terms of keeping up with NBA pace but when he plays with this type of self-assurance he’s a totally different player. Tonight, for really the first time since becoming a member of the Nuggets, I felt Mozgov actually looked deserving of heavy minutes in the NBA.

JaVale McGee, C 19 MIN | 6-9 FG | 0-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | +3

The 12 points were nice and overall McGee played really well, but he needs to bring down more than just one rebound in nearly 20 minutes of action. Too often he tends to float away from the hoop and let smaller players get better position for lose balls. If he can improve his rebounding and overall decisions-making, McGee will have had it made.

Andre Miller, PG 31 MIN | 4-4 FG | 3-3 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 11 PTS | +10

Andre Miller is such a mixed bag. In the first half he overdribbled (which has become a reoccurring theme with him) and lost the ball several times, but in the second half he was a totally different player. He had some very smart assists and played solid defense to boot.

2012-13 Game 21: Denver Nuggets 106 – New York Knickerbockers 112

The Denver Nuggets faced old friend Carmelo Anthony tonight in New York and Carmelo proved to be too much as Denver’s bid to be the first team to deliver the Knicks with their first home loss of the 2012-13 season ended in another disappointment.

It has been a while since I wrote up an old school game recap so tonight is as good a time as any, although I am not planning on staying up until 4:00 AM to bang out 3,000 words as I used to when I was a younger man.

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Brewer wants to re-sign; also, no Rapid Reaction tonight, please leave comments below

Unfortunately the entire Roundball Mining Company crew is tied up with prior engagements this evening, therefore no immediate Rapid Reaction will be posted. There may be some notes left by one of our writers later on, but in the meantime please leave all your comments below. RMC heavily relies on its insightful reader comments which we feel you can get nowhere else but here. If everyone simply writes the intelligent, thoughtful type of commentary they usually do, we figure outsiders will have a pretty good idea of what direction this game went in.

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