Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 113, Toronto Raptors 110

Toronto Raptors 110 Final

Recap | Box Score

113 Denver Nuggets
Danilo Gallinari, SF 33 MIN | 4-10 FG | 3-4 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 13 PTS | -3

Gallo didn’t turn in a crazy stat line but he had a nice game overall. He’s no longer taking one questionable shot after another and has really found himself in the flow of the offense. He did a nice job defensively on Bargnani who slowed down in the second half. If you ask me, Gallo should be assigned to all perimeter-oriented/crafty power forwards from here on out. He has the size and is probably the Nuggets best man-on-man defender of all the forwards and centers.

Kenneth Faried, SF 32 MIN | 5-11 FG | 8-11 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 18 PTS | -13

Faried had a pretty solid night all around. He got exposed by Bargnani early, but that’s to be expected considering how defending is not exactly his specialty. He had some nice shots in close proximity to the rim, which was really good to see. He also had a few impressive passes we’re not used to seeing.

Kosta Koufos, C 28 MIN | 4-12 FG | 2-6 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | +16

Koufos finished with a double-double but he didn’t necessarily have the greatest game. At this point, any double-double you can get from him is a huge bonus.

Ty Lawson, PG 28 MIN | 6-15 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 16 PTS | -13

People will probably dissect Lawson’s performance more than they need to. From my point of view his aggressiveness set the tone for the huge lead the Nuggets acquired in the second quarter. I don’t care that he shot a low percentage from the field or that he didn’t rack up a lot of assists. An aggressive Ty Lawson is always a good Ty Lawson. And I will take this mentality any day over a tentative Ty Lawson.

Andre Iguodala, SG 33 MIN | 1-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 8 AST | 4 PTS | -1

I really don’t care that Iguodala had eight assists. Take even three of those away and he finishes with a putrid stat line. While I understand that he felt he didn’t need to score as much in this game, that obviously wasn’t true once it was all said and done. Iguodala has shown the tendency to disappear at times, which is exactly what the Nuggets can’t have. This team is in dire need of an on-court leader and Iguodala is unquestionably that guy. Again, he can’t be this laid back.

Jordan Hamilton, SF 15 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 8 PTS | +9

Hamilton was a mixed bag. He did some things really well (see: scoring) but made a few boneheaded mistakes. This seems to be the pattern with him. That said, I still think the more playing time he gets the more comfortable he gets. Once Hamilton truly feels like he belongs, I don’t think we’ll be seeing a lot these “rookie” mistakes. I’ve seen him play in college, the D-League as well as at Summer League and this is by far the most tentative, and at the same time careless, that I’ve seen him. I really believe he wants play so badly that Karl’s constant threatening to take his time away has him a bit nervous. Nevertheless, he continues to improve.

Corey Brewer, SF 21 MIN | 9-15 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 19 PTS | +6

This had to be one of the best games I’ve ever seen from Brewer. He didn’t fill it up as much in the second half but I can’t take that away from him. On both ends of the floor Brewer was phenomenal. Just pure, unbridled energy in every way imaginable.

JaVale McGee, C 23 MIN | 4-5 FG | 9-16 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 17 PTS | +1

McGee too had one of his better games this year. His athleticism, perhaps more than any other game, was on full display against the Raptors. He had five blocks, but two of them came on the perimeter against jump shots. He also had numerous freaky dunks that only a few other players in the NBA could execute. Like I’ve said over and over: McGee will always make some frustrating decisions, but his efficiency and production simply cannot be ignored.

Andre Miller, PG 26 MIN | 3-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 8 PTS | +13

Miller was trying to do too much. He threw lobs that weren’t really there. One even went straight into the crowd. Outside of that his game was pretty solid. These are the nights the Nuggets need his veteran leadership to shine.

Three Things We Saw

  1. Fools Gold: This win was strictly nominal. In no way did this feel like a victory. Here the Nuggets are after a long break, at home, against one of the worst teams in the NBA and they did their absolute best to try and choke it all away. They opened up a lead and — as Matt Moore put it — just thought they’d go ahead and turn into the Harlem Globetrotters. Sadly, that’s just who the Nuggets are. Sometimes they play pretty basketball, yes… but what does it really matter when they can’t keep a lead or lock down on defense? It’s more a form of showboating at this point. Until this team figures out how play a disciplined brand of basketball wins like these will remain counterfeit.
  2. SSDY: Remember last year how the Nuggets started off the season playing horrible defense… and then went ahead and did it for the rest of the year? Is there anything we’ve seen from this team to convince us that won’t be the exact same case this year? Defense is not something you just roll out of bed and decide you’re going to do. It’s a culture you develop through full-fledged dedication and commitment. Right now the Nuggets rank 23rd in the league in opponent’s points per game, 16th in opponent’s field goal percentage, 28th in opponent’s 3-point field goal percentage, 24th in opponent’s turnovers per game, 20th in defensive rebounding rate and most importantly, 24th in defensive efficiency. It seems as though all the promise we heard from Karl in training camp about focusing on defense turned out to be nothing more than a bombastic hype mechanism.
  3. Skittles and Unicorns: It’s now that time. All happy Nuggets fans please take the more — how should I say this? — pessimistic, fans by the hand and tell them everything is gong to be all right. The Nuggets are almost 25 percent through the regular season and sit at an unpleasant 9-9 record. Yes, the schedule has been brutal, but it doesn’t get any easier through the month of December either. Ten of the Nuggets next 14 games are on the road, including five in a row starting on Wednesday. Now, I’m no Nugstradamus but I’d venture to say the chances the Nuggets come out of this road trip above .500 don’t seem to likely. So while there will certainly be a lot of time left in the season to make up lost in ground from the first two months, that won’t exactly make the current losing streak any easier to swallow. Hold on tight people; this could get ugly.
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Kalen Deremo

Kalen was born in Durango, CO, in 1988 and graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2013 with a degree in journalism. He's now an itinerant hoping to travel as much as possible before eventually succumbing to the "real world." Aside from writing Kalen likes movies, music, spicy food and the great outdoors. Edward Abbey is his current idol.

Latest posts by Kalen Deremo (see all)

  • googergieger

    I’m happy with a win, but those last few minutes of the third quarter and that fourth quarter left a lot to be desired. I mean sure the refs let Toronto molest Denver, and called petty ticky tack crap on us, but still. Five game road trip coming up against teams that can beat us, so hopefully we’ll get it together.

    Oh and seriously refs clearly wanted an overtime miracle to happen. How wasn’t that two shots and the foul?!

  • Klules

    This team has a long way to go to grow up. Let’s face it. They stopped playing this game in the mid-2nd qtr. And they never noticed Toronto clawing it’s way back in. If this was a better team (read: ANY other NBA team) this one would’ve gotten away.

    This is about attitude and confidence. We simply didn’t have it tonight.

    Hopefully we learn a lesson from all this and wake up.

  • Ckwizard

    I was impressed with the overall rotation for the complete game. Having gallo and igoudala fresh late in the forth will help the seal games. Hamilton didn’t do much the second half but at least he didn’t hurt the team and again provided extra rest for starters. As much as the team defense needs to improve the lack of calls in the fourth when are good free throw shooters are getting mugged is ridiculous the refs need to be paid on a sliding scale based on performance!! Also like Koufos getting some extra time as the four! Good move GK.

  • http://@j_phil96 Justin Phillips

    I’m sick of hearing “A Win is a Win” we can’t be Content with this awful basketball. We blew a 18pt lead against a 4-14 team, Its embarrasing. Once again Karl puts out horrible lineups, and Andre Misses a Late 3. Nuggets Nation we deserve more than Mediocracy.

  • googergieger

    I’d agree with the Koufous and McGee combo. It worked well for both. Also McGee really impressed me with his passing tonight. I’ve seen some good passes from him before, but chalked it up to the random nights when people do things you don’t expect, but pass few games big man has shown some skill.

  • fluffhead

    buh bye GK…your coaching almost blew a 19 pt lead. you’re over the hump, old man.
    bring in a younger coach who gives a shite!

    • Thomas

      This team with this coach is a joke. Not much fun watching this play out. There is no evidence of a strategy, a rotation.

      I will also say that the blog game reviews are really weak this year too. it’s as if we are seeing different games. Gallo’s defense is great? Please…he is always guarding the least capable forward player on the other team. Koufos is rock solid, unquestionable stat line. JHam was lights out when he was out there, then he was sent to ride the pine for the longest time.

      GK is, as usual, lost. We needed to stretch the lead by very little to really kill the game in the second quarter and beginning of the third. So he promptly removed the guys that were killing the Raptors (Brewer, JHam, KK, Mcgee and Miller). Arrgghhhhhh, can’t stand his coaching anymore…

  • Ban Johnson

    How many double-digit leads do the Nuggets have to give up before they start taking every possession seriously? It’s ridiculous that a team riding a 3 game losing streak, 2 involving big blown leads, could be so complacent.

    For one thing, these alley-oop pass attempts are out-of-control. Except in very specific circumstances, they’re low-percentage plays and should never be attempted during real games.
    Do you think the Spurs care about putting on a show for the fans when they’re ahead? No. Popovich wouldn’t put up with it. Yet people still show up in droves to watch them. Because excellence and winning is fun in itself.

    Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller know better, and they need to lead this team to a more serious place.

    You don’t want to kill the spirit of fun of guys like Faried, McGee, Hamilton, and Brewer. But their energy needs to be harnessed in the proper direction.

  • http://www.tshirtgroove.com Booker Addison

    The refs had nothing to do with this. This was a loss in all but the standings. Toronto is terrible, but we have no offensive or defensive cohesion. It’s an absolute mess and I’m not being an alarmist. This team has the talent to be incredible, and should have a much better record despite the heavy road schedule. The constant switching is a devastatingly bad strategy on D…it even chips away at AIs defensive identity because it is so passive. Small ball at the end with Miller, Lawson, Gallo, and Faried continues to fail us. Koufos played a good all around game…he should have been in there in the fourth. George Karl has officially lost it. What is the explanation for the small ball? Is it just to keep Miller happy, because he’ll pout if he’s under 20 minutes a game? I don’t get it at all. The Raps had a layup line goin’ there for awhile with absolutely no resistance down low. A better coach would get so much more out of this team, and they’d be much more consistent.

    • Will

      I agree that GK’s lineup rotations can be mind boggling and very frustrating to watch. The team chemistry is pretty different with Harrington and Afflalo gone though, and this early in the season we have to give him the benefit of the doubt. If he continues playing the bad lineups all year? Okay, then criticize away. But for now we have to let him tinker and see what works. Expecting him to know right out of the gate which lineups work best is not very fair.

      Karl deserves some credit for player development as well. He’s done a pretty good job with Lawson. Obviously Lawson still has untapped potential, but considering he was not a top pick (17th), getting him to be an above average PG in only his 3rd season is pretty good. McGee has also improved more since the trade than he did during his entire tenure with the Wizards (though that may just speak to Washington’s ineptitude). Brewer is the one that really stands out. He was a total draft bust – waived by the Knicks only a year and a half ago, and Dallas practically gave him to the Nuggets for free. Since then he’s learned to shoot 3s and improve his ballhandling enough for it to not be too big of an issue (still terrifies me every time he dribbles though…) And now he’s one of our best bench players, maybe even a 6th man of the year candidate (though pretty doubtful, he might get a vote here and there) if he keeps up his recent strong play.

      Karl has his issues, but calling for his firing so early into the season is ridiculous. Maybe you consider it if the team were 2-17 or something, but 9-9 against a brutal schedule isn’t too bad.

  • Steve

    I will never understand why Karl plays these tiny small ball lineups late in games with Lawson & Miller. Miller has 0 value when he doesn’t have the ball in his hands – bad defense, poor spot-up shooter, etc. What’s the point of playing Lawson with him? Whenever they play together, one of them usually ends up just standing in a corner watching the rest of the team play. And god knows that’s not a defensive stopping unit.

  • CJP32

    We gave up 66 points in the 2nd half and somehow managed to win. Not a good sign heading into a tough East 5 game road trip.

    Iggy was flat the entire game, he jogs back on D, he turns it over and shakes his head, he looked disinterested when we were up 18. Thats not what I expected from him.

    McGee/JHam/Brewer are providing a scoring punch off the bench and Andre is setting them up. Brewers energy came at the right time and he played within his limits (only two three attempts).

    Koufos/Faried rebounded well and Ty/Gallo stepped up when we needed them to.

    I hope we have a good road trip, 3-2 would be good, 4-1 would be amazing.

  • LMoody

    What seemed to get the Raptors back in it was completely shutting down the tempo and putting the bricktastic McGee on the line by playing some “Hack-a-McGee.” It’s scary that it worked so well with a sub .250 team.

    • dynamo.joe

      a) I’m requesting this be officially termed “flail-JaVale”

      b) He actually did a pretty good job. 1.12 points per possesion is hardly a lost possesion.

  • Tom

    Ahem… not to beat a dead horse or anything, but Koufos played better than McGee again, and has for the whole season. Let’s see what 82games has to say about their respective on/off court numbers:
    Koufos is +17.8, best on the team by a ridiculous amount. The next closest is Lawson at +4.8.
    McGee is -8.3, worse than everyone except Mozgov.

    82games rates Koufos as the best Nuggets player, and McGee as the second worst Nuggets rotation player so far. I know, I know, PER says McGee is playing well, but that’s only because it gives lots of points for possession usage, and McGee (of all people) is leading the team in usage by a large margin.

    Oh, and in case you’re curious, Nene is a +23.3 (!) per game over the 4 games he’s played so far, which continues his amazing on/off court numbers from last year. He’s already the best player on the Wizards even though he’s still recovering from his injuries.

    • googergieger

      So what does that mean when it comes to winning and losing games? I know last year Bonner was apparently the most important Spur, when it came to that stuff. Still don’t know if that meant they would have won more had they used him more or if they would have lost more had they used him less.

      • Tom

        What do points and rebounds mean when it comes to winning and losing? Who cares if you average 30 and 10 if every time you’re on the court, the opposing team outscores you. Now, that could just be because your team sucks, but on/off accounts for sucky teammates to some extent. It’s especially relevant for starters who play a lot of minutes, like Koufos. Bonner is valuable, but he doesn’t start and he doesn’t play a lot.

        Anyway, it was completely obvious to me as I was following the game that the Nuggets built up a big lead with Koufos on the court, and promptly lost most of it when he was off the court. That has been a recurring pattern throughout the season.

        • googergieger

          Saying that, every time we go up against a physical big, they overpower Kofous and get theres. I mean last year Griffin had a +/- when it came to defense but that didn’t take into account that when he played the guards and Jordan had to make up for his lack of defense with their help defense. Not saying that is the case with Kofous but while he is the one player on the Nuggets that seems to play within himself. He doesn’t make many mistakes and all, outside of blowing lay ups and dunks by making them more complicated than they need to be. He is also sometimes a total non factor, period. Also our bench got us the lead tonight, as it did most other nights. Today Kofous played with our bench for a bit and while I think it is a great idea to play Kofous and McGee together, I think it is foolish to act like he is one of our more important players. Especially considering for all the love Karl and others seem to throw at the guy, it doesn’t seem to have resulted in anything but a 9-9 record. I mean I think that whole +/- thing really seems to reward players who sometimes just don’t get in the way. Which may be nice sometimes, but sometimes it just means the perfect description of average. I wish Kofous would play a Collison role myself. Which sometimes he does, and sometimes he tries to play like Gortat. A more finese type of big man, instead of a grit and grind guy.

        • Zachary

          Nuggest did ok, honestly the refs screwed them half the game. Also, to everyone who says Koufus is better than Mcgee please stop. You know why is +/- is better? its because as soon as stuff starts going bad Karl puts in Mcgee. Koufus gets taken out as soon as we start doing bad. If anyone sees J-ham and doesn’t think he should get more playing itme you are crazy. Seriously kid is athletic, can shoot, and tries. That is what should get you playing time. Karl is terrible for never seeing this in all of his players he sees mistakes, but never understands those mistakes will always be there if you keep a player on the bench. On the Nuggets players like J-ham get 3 years of rookie mistakes because it takes them 3 years to get what they should have gotten in 1 year of playing time. RANT…

          • Tom

            That makes no sense. If things are going bad with Koufos in, then he wouldn’t have a high plus/minus, and if putting McGee in fixes what’s going bad, then he wouldn’t have a bad plus/minus. And if you think plus/minus is misleading, well, on/off court tells the same picture. If you don’t like that, then check out the production of opposing players when on the court. The PER of PFs when McGee is on the court is 50 (!!), and he’s not even playing against starters usually. That means he offers absolutely no help defense in the post. The opposing PER of PFs and Cs for Koufos is pretty bad (around 20), but it’s a heck of a lot better than for McGee.

            Koufos dominates McGee in every advanced statistic except PER, and as you note, that’s because Koufos plays within himself whereas McGee selfishly goes for his own stats.

            • Zachary

              It makes since if you read what I said. As soon as the nuggets start looking bad Karl takes Koufus out. Also, Koufus gets to play with the starters who get him easy layups. You can’t deny Mcgee is an athletic freak and he simply won’t develop if he doesn’t get more playing time. Koufus is good coming off the bench, but in the long run will not be a starting caliber player ever. Also, every advanced stat? read the posts of other people above.

              • Will

                Yes, the majority of Koufos’ minutes have been with the starters. The starting lineup has played together for ~200 minutes, and in that time is +34. The starting lineup, but with McGee in for Koufos is the third most common lineup played. In ~40 minutes, it is -44. In other words, the starters & Koufos over a full game would win by ~8 points on average. The starters & McGee over a full game would lose by an average of ~52.

                This doesn’t necessarily mean Koufos is a better basketball player than McGee – I don’t think he is. What it does show, however, is that McGee cannot play with the starters. I think it’s a poor offensive lineup (.8 points per possession) because McGee is a high usage player. When he’s playing with the bench that’s okay – taking possessions away from guys like Corey Brewer in the half court offense is probably a good thing. But taking them away from talented scorers like Gallinari and Lawson (when hot)? Whole different story. Defensively it’s also a really bad lineup (allows 1.3 ppp). As someone else mentioned, McGee is pretty terrible on help defense. Faried is a pretty bad defender and really needs to get help defense from the center. Koufos does it, McGee doesn’t. That’s the biggest reason why Koufos is starting.

            • googergieger

              It isn’t that McGee goes for his own stats, I mean if you’ve ever seen him on the bench he is always engaged in the game even when he isn’t playing, cheering on his team mates over everything. The problem is, Karl gives him little rope and little encouragement, so McGee feels like he has to shoot for the moon in order to get a shot, because even when he plays amazing Karl has shown it isn’t a guarantee he gets the time to continue playing amazing. See Miami at Denver for example. Also Kofous is allowed to correct whatever mistakes he makes where as McGee is yanked almost immediately for said mistakes, given little room to make up for them. On top of which is you as a player stay out of the way, you are a lot more likely to not make mistakes than someone who is TRYING.

              Also McGee’s problem is that when he goes over to help, no one covers his man. Today alone showed that. Which I think is why the Kofous/McGee combo works alright actually, because that is one thing Kofous will do.

              I mean the Kofous/Collison and Ibaka/McGee comparison is apt. The formers are more fundamentally sound when it comes to defense and knowing what to do and what no to do, but the latters are more likely to come up with big plays and intimidate in the paint on the defensive end. Difference is Ibaka is/was allowed to grow on the court and McGee is just expected to get it because Karl says so.

    • Kalen

      I get it, Koufos has a high plus-minus rating. So does Nick Collison. Does that mean he’s more valuable than Serge Ibaka? I don’t mind the use of plus-minus to prove a point but you have to acknowledge other statistics as well. You can’t praise how valuable plus-minus is then simply dismiss McGee’s PER. That doesn’t make any sense.

      • Tom

        I wasn’t talking about plus/minus in that comment, I was talking about on/off court, which is a subtly different metric. PER is a great stat to distinguish value between players that have average to good defense. For terrible defenders like McGee, you shouldn’t look at PER and claim that he’s playing great. His PER is high because he’s playing selfishly, and that is quite evident in the on/off and advanced defense metrics. I mean, the team loses an average of 8 points of production per game because of him. The team is -5.3 with him on the court, and +3 with him off the court. Considering that he plays the same position as Koufos, whose on/off is +17.8, it’s fairly clear who’s a better team player.

      • GK4Prez

        Tom brought up 82games and went to the plus minus, but there is also a best five man unit, and if you scroll down to the bottom of it where you get to tov%, efg%, fta, reb%, etc…

        you will find that in efg% Mcgee is on more lists than Koufos, and the best 5 man unit in efg% is when neither of them are on the court. efga% Koufos does better with most of the 5 man units in comparison to Mcgee. FTA, it isn’t even close, the Nuggets get to the line more when Mcgee is on the court. TO%, Mcgee is in with the 5 man units that take care of the ball better and create more turnovers, but he is also out there with the units that turn it over more.

        Also, if you look at this list, you will see that Koufos has really only played with 4 lineups (mostly starters and the 1st or 2nd Nugget off the bench), compared to Mcgee’s 13, so naturally Koufos will have more chemistry with the lineup he plays with because he plays more minutes with it. The lineups Mcgee plays with is all over the place.

        I think that if you put Mcgee in the starting line up, and brought Koufos off of the bench, their +/- would probably look the same, except Mcgee would likely be the guy with the nice + numbers instead of Koufos.

        • Will

          Then why is it in the 40 minutes McGee has played with the starters, it’s been an absolute dumpster fire? Not enough time to develop chemistry? I doubt it. The four starters & McGee is the third most commonly played lineup. If so much time was needed to develop chemistry, the lineups that have only gotten 10, 15, 20 minutes of time together wouldn’t have better stats.

      • Greco21

        Kalen,

        you have to admit it man. You just do not like Koufos. I mean every time i check roundball for grades I can guess the grade before even posted.

        Charlie is much more generous than you handing a grade to KK.

        Anyway.

        Koufos should have finished with many more points. He did not. He also got lost a lot of rebounds and easy put backs.

        He is a solid off the ball player, got great awareness but he has to play with more confidence.

        If he continues to play like a scared soft boy he deserves bench.

        Apart from that… please consider the +/- and what he brings to the team and give him the grade he deserves. To me he is a B. If he did not foul out or did not miss about 4 close baskets, and 4 free throws he should be an A.

        • Kalen

          That is not true. I guess I should remind you that last year when everyone was (inexplicably) jumping on the Mozgov bandwagon I was just about the only one arguing how Koufos was the superior player. I did so in a piece titled “The Mozgov mirage” which you can read here:

          http://www.roundballminingcompany.com/2011/12/28/the-mozgov-mirage/

          Although it may seem like it, my gripe is not with Koufos — it’s with his usage. Koufos is a backup. A nice, solid backup. But that’s it. I think having him average the seventh most minutes on a team as deep and talented as the Nuggets is highly questionable. He’s averaging three more minutes per game the McGee, who outperforms hin statistically in a major way. People always gripe about McGee’s dumb decisions, yet when you combine turnovers and fouls per game Koufos averages four to McGee’s three — again in more time than McGee gets.

          If you’re asking me whether Koufos deserved a higher grade in THIS game, then I will totally admit that there’s a good chance I underrated him. But in general, I’m not the type of guy who’s going to give him a good grade when he’s out there for 20-25 minutes and only racks up six points, six boards and four fouls/turnovers. Just like teachers, at RMC we differ in the way we hand out our grades. Charlie has made it very clear that he grades in a different manner than I do. And again, I urge people to not look too into the grades we hand out. This is a rough guideline. Most of your knowledge, I’d hope, would come from my analysis and reader comments.

          Thanks for reading,

          — Kalen

  • Ty

    Denver seems to get a lead while playing as a team, squander that shit, and try to make up for it playing 1 on 5 offense… It’s offensive!
    Also can someone please check how many 3pt attempts Miller took last season and tell me if he’s eclipsed that already???? Why on earth is Miller shooting a 3 ball is beyond me!

    • dynamo.joe

      Nope, 1.6 3FGA this year to 2.2 last year.

      You might not like it when he shoots a wide open 3, but rest assured, Andre is very much aware that he isn’t a shooter.

  • Andrew K

    Please do not discount the fact that Koufus had another stellar +/- game.

  • Coxy

    I looked at our schedule and have us at 1 win behind where we should be ATM. Or 2 games if you think we shoulda beat Miami at home. But it’s Miami so we give it a pass.
    And from here I had us at about 56 wins. Now that’s obviously not gonna happen. We are gonna drop a few of the games we should win. Hopefully we win back half of those games by winning when we should lose.

    So I think it’s realistic that we can win 50+ games from here and contest for 4, 5 of 6 seed. So don’t stress guys

    I also have us at 3-2 on this road trip. But if we lose to Atlanta we need to beat minny on a back to back. But come January and February things should be looking really good as through those 2 month I have us at 21-6 :)

    • Tom

      Denver is about a game or two off of my expectations, but according to Wages of Wins, they’re close to on target. I don’t think Hollinger or WoW or NBA Geek are very worried about their Nuggets prediction so far.

  • Jeff

    It seems like the discussion with Lawson is always his aggressiveness. There’s more to it than just being aggressive. Would you be happy if Ty took 30 shots a game? Is that aggressive enough? Let’s talk instead about things like running the pick and roll effectively (plain old executing) and knowing when to get the big men the ball.

    • Kalen

      I feel like all the other stuff tends to fall into place with Ty when he is aggressive. That’s kind of his strength is utilizing that along with his speed to either score or create for others. He’s not a really cerebral point guard in my opinion. And our bigs aren’t really post up guys. Getting them the ball on offense is sort of a last resort it seems like.

      I’ll try to talk about his pick-and-roll defense next time though.

      • Jeff

        I totally agree that Lawson is not a cerebral point guard and the bigs aren’t dump it in the post type players. In fact, I think that is the cause of our problems more than Ty being afraid or nonchalant. Sure, he can get like that at times, but the reason he doesn’t drive the paint is because the defense expects that… because he’s not cerebral. I would like him to explore his midrange game more, but I think the bigger problem is the team’s overall offensive schemes/lack of plays.

        • Jeff

          Lemme add another thing. When Ty first came into the league he took everybody by his surprise with his speed and fearless drives to the hoop. But as everyone knows, other teams catch on, and you have to adapt and add more to your game. That’s why I’m saying Ty doesn’t need to play more aggressive, he needs to play smarter.

    • Ty

      Tys aggressiveness doesn’t relate to his shot attempts, it relates to his driving aggressiveness, as in is he being tentative and peeling off or going to the rack and either scoring or dishing once the defense collapses

    • Steve

      I think Ty’s struggles are more due to Faried, McGee, and Koufos. None of them are shooting threats so defenses never leave the paint. If there are two big guys standing next to the basket, Ty really can’t drive to the basket and that isn’t his fault. Lebron is probably the only player that can successfully drive to the basket when multiple help defenders pile on.

      As far as pick & rolls go, have you ever looked at the screens Faried sets? They’re AWFUL. Seriously, watch for them next game and you’ll see what I mean. Ty’s blazing speed, ability to finish at the rim, and solid interior passing skills (he makes some beautiful dumpoffs to Faried and Koufos when he drives, totally underrated skill) make him well suited to run pick and rolls. It’s the big men on the team who can’t run them. If the big guys had a respectable jumper, the opposing big would have to go to the top of the key. If our big guy set a solid screen, with Ty’s speed there is not a defender in the league who could catch up. All Ty would have to do is get by the opposing big for a bucket/assist

      • ryanvdonk

        ty is not without blame on the screens. however, his main problem is a very easy fix. he needs to be more patient and get the timing down, far too often he goes before his pickman can even get in position to set the screen, leaving his guy at incorrect places and sometimes even turned sideways, so the screens are less effective. a more effective screen would lead to more help defense, but he’ll be coming off clean and have a chance to see people coming and react.

        • googergieger

          I agree with that. Faried has set some amazing screens and sometimes him and McGee do just fake the screen, but a lot of times Lawson isn’t as patient as he should be. Gallo is probably our best pick and roll player actually. Igoudala isn’t that bad either, but he isn’t as aggressive as Gallo is.

  • Tom

    Does anyone else feel the Nuggets would be better with Nene starting at the 4 right now with Faried or Gallinari coming off the bench? Nene is a case of not appreciating what you have until it’s gone.

    • ryanvdonk

      nene has played in 4 games this season, starting none. what good is he if he’s constantly injured?

    • Ban Johnson

      Nene is a really good player who gets injured a lot and doesn’t seem to play through injuries. Nuggets determined they couldn’t count on him.

      yes, I agree, the Nuggets would be better with an 82 games Nene and Faried as a super-sub; it wasn’t an option. I still think they’d be better finding a way to get a PF with size and range and turning Faried into a 6th man — he could be devastating in that role.

    • John

      No…no one thinks that.

    • Ryan

      Nene was awful, just awful to watch. Nothing is more frustrating than watching someone with all the physical skills in the world mail in game after game after game. Zero heart, zero effort, always hurt and never willing to man up and play through injuries. If you miss Nene, all I can say is your TV must have been broken the entire time he was with the Nuggets…

  • Zachary

    Remember people so far into the season we have played the single hardest schedule in the league. As of this game, we are tied for 6th in the standings with Houston. This is a very good position to be in and if we are at the same point in early January we should be very optimistic.

    • googergieger

      I think for this team it is fourth seed or bust. I mean heading into the season we were probably the fourth best team in the west with a shot at the third seed. Right now I don’t like our chances for that third seed but we should and could get that fourth seed. Then we should finally make it out of the first round. If those two things don’t happen, then I would consider this season a failure. While we shouldn’t pull a Lakers fan base here and clearly we didn’t because we didn’t celebrate this win like idiots. But anyways, I mean we shouldn’t feel like everything is lost because of our record, we and the team still shouldn’t be happy with this start. I mean the schedule and refs aside, quite a few winable games that were lost at the line, on defense, and on laziness. On top of some head scratching coaching. Or lack there of.

  • GIANLUCA

    look the Gallo’s stats … % 3point is >50% in last 5 games !!!

    GO GALLO , MVP of NUGGETS

    Lawson Igoudala Gallinari Faried McGee
    NBA CHAMPIONA ( without KARL )

  • Arrawak

    Can’t believe koufos gets only c+! Come on Guys he is a very good defender ok Not flashy but super useful with a high iq basketball AND good fundamentals. Dont get why you are so harsh with him

  • steve

    I love Faried just as much as anyone. But there is one stat that i always look at in the boxscore and that is +/-. Is it just me, or is Faried usually on the – end for the most part this year? That means we are being outscored when he is on the court and it seems to be consistant. Last night we won but nugs were -13 when he was on the court. I just hope he doesnt turn into a David Lee type player where he always put up nice stats but never seems to win games due to his lack of Defense.

    • googergieger

      Faried has had a decent plus/minus really. His problems seem to be stretch fours and Karl’s inability to switch Gallo onto them. Of course if you have a three that can knock down three’s or long two’s as well, then Karl has to just have a sit down with Faried and tell him that he either has to stick with his man and put a hand up, or he is going to have to come off the bench in this game.

      Also to the person who said Gallo has the easiest forward assignments. He was asked to guard Lebron James from the get go in both games, he was asked to switch on Kevin Love, he was asked to switch on David Lee, even yesterday he was asked to switch onto that one guy from Toronto that was killing Faried and he did a great job on him. Now granted, why on earth bring in Iguodala if you aren’t going to have him on Lebron James and company and just have Gallo guard the two guards with his length, well because you aren’t George Karl. Karl doesn’t do making sense. He does, I honestly have no idea.

  • Zorba

    C+ to kk!!!??? No comment…

    • dynamo.joe

      Look at it this way; Kalen thinks a double-double is just another average day at work for K2.

  • Kyle Obergfell

    already we are looking like an 8th seed. compared to Sporting News Western champs.. GK is the only tangible difference. He’s got to go.

  • Ckwizard

    After rewatching the game with breakfast and paying attention to igoudala on defense it became apparent that a part of the game plan was to limit the raptors leading scorer and guess what when igoudala was guarding Derozan he didn’t score with out getting Igoudala to switch off of him. Igoudala played a very good game and made the same kind off turnovers that Gallo, Ty, and Miller made. It really does seem that Kalen has an offensive lens which is applied to the grading and I think the posters on this board should respect that as Kalen does a good job. Take into account that a person like me views with a defensive lens and would grade Igoudala a B+ and Kosta B+. with the turnovers and lack of scoring from Igoudala and Kosta missing easy shots down the line it is justified for Kalen to give poor grades to them when using his lens. Don’t have to agree with it but at least respect it.

    • mike

      I agree the grades are mostly offensive oriented. Truth be told only Iguodala and Occassionally gallinari bring significant impact on D at all anyway. Faried and Mcgee sometimes get their blocks, but otherwise they play below average post defense and this team does not have a cohesive defensive stategy that leads to opponents taking difficult shots or even shots beyond 15 feet with a hand in their face. I think Karl assumed it was the personnel but the scheme doesn’t work. I don’t know what his teams in Seattle did but they were pretty good. I know they had Gary Payton and Nate Mcmillan both stellar defenders but to be a top 5 defense you need more than just talent unless you have something like Tim Duncan and David Robinson or Rasheed and Ben Wallace. And even then the coaching was stellar. I tend to think these George should be fired after losing a close game to a playoff team on the road is reactionary, but the defense needs to upgrade and that is on Karl.

    • Kalen

      Thanks Ckwizard. I’m glad that you can disagree in a respectful manner. That’s something we really try to promote here at RMC.

      You’re probably right though. A lot of Iguodala’s strength is his defense. I try and pay attention to the defensive side of the ball as much as I can but when you have nine different players on a given night to analyze on both ends of the floor it can get a little overwhelming. Sometimes I just flat out miss things. It’s the readers like you that really help because you bring certain things to light in a way that makes it enjoyable for everyone to read.

      Thanks for reading.

      — Kalen

  • Aaron

    i Bet if Koufus’s Nose Wasn’t So Big He Would’ve Been Given a B+.

    • Ryan

      Lol, I bet that’s the story of his life…

  • Zachary

    My point is that we are the 6th seed with the hardest schedule in the league. If you think golden state is going to continue winning like they have your crazy, same with memphis. It’s just annoying the amount of negativity when we aren’t doing that bad. I understand there are 3-4 games we probably should have won, but that’s already happened. We aren’t doing bad right now.

    • googergieger

      I think the problem is more there should be things we can point to as a positive sign. As something consistent we can say as the season goes along this is going to win us games and help us come play off time. How long before we have a set rotation? How long before we see some consistency from Lawson? How long before this team starts keeping big leads? How long before we start contesting three’s and learn how to defend the pick and roll? Etc…

      I mean it isn’t that we are 9-9. It is that outside of a very small number of things, it is hard for us fans to point to anything and go it will get better. Outside of us just believing it will get better because it has to get better.

  • Daniel Y

    I cant wait until the day comes, and I make my daily visit to RMC, and the headline reads, “George Karl Fired”.

  • piper > ghost

    dear lord, fire the old horse GK and put him out of his, mine, the younger players misery. His time has come and gone. Thx for all the years of your “coaching”. Chauncey was our best coach the last decade. We need a change immediately to allow the young guys to grow, not be on a leash (see JHAM).
    SVG, Brian Shaw, ?

    See ya GK..your biases and lack of Def will continue to steer the Nuggs into mediocrity. Buh bye.

  • piper > ghost

    …and Masai, after you fire GK, would you please get a player with balls and killer scoring instinct (TYreke Evans). He wants out, sacto wants him out. Trade Gallo or Chandler, Mozgov, Kufos, 1st rounder. We need someone that has balls (unlike ‘our’ TY who disappears). I am getting annoyed spending thousands of $$$ per year for one and done, unfocused “talent”.

  • JetLife82

    I like what Lawson and Faried bring to the team, don’t get me wrong, but in my opinion both of those guys would have a bigger impact off the bench.

    Here’s how my rotation would look based on what we have seen so far.

    PG Andre Miller. Guarding opponents SG
    SG Corey Brewer. Guarding opponents PG
    SF Andre Iguodala
    PF Danilo Gallinari
    C Kosta Koufos

    Second Unit:
    Lawson, Fournier, Hamilton, Faried, Randolph

    McGee and Chandler can be used sporadically or in certain situations. That is until McGee can play good man-to-man defense. Chandler should be kept out until he is ready to make a worthwhile contribution to the team.

    Mozgov should be traded immediately.

  • John

    Kosta, JHam, and Faried have all made great strides this year

    … in spite of GK…

    Which is too bad, they should be improving BECAUSE of him, but it doesn’t seem to be the case. He doesn’t seem connected to this team… at least as far as I can tell from my living room, or bar stool.

    Each year he gets less and less animated and seems to “coach” less. He only reacts to the mistakes… otherwise he just sits there like my grandfather watching Wheel of Fortune…

    I take that back… Poppy kicked some bootie at Wheel of Fortune.

    “I’d like to solve the puzzle…. Botanical Gardens… for the win….”

  • steve

    diehard fan as they come for nugs…i just can’t watch this team and not be pissed off this season. GK needs to go. I know this is lame, but i’m kind of hoping we go 0-5 on this road stretch and he’s fired. Going 9-14 to start the season can’t be with Masai is looking for. He would be forced to make a change and it would be early enough in the season to bring in a veteran coach…maybe Sloan or Stan Van Gundy even. I’m not a big fan of Mcmillan or Flip Saunders.

    • ryanvdonk

      mcmillan coaches like karl, except with defense and offensive sets…pretty much exactly what we need.

  • OriginalJakeSauce

    Seriously, where’s the Iggy write up? Looking for something, anything , I can be excited about.

    Cory Brewer getting 25 plus minutes and tearing it up for 10 a game sucks.he doesn’t play man D. We have no trustworthy post up threat aside from Andre Miller. George isn’t exploring. This sucks donkey co…ngs.we’ve thrown away 5 games, with our brand of small ball.