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.

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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 don’t know if I can wait till next season to hopefully be rid of Karl. This might be an uglier win than the one we had against Toronto.

    • tommy in Sd Nuggets fan

      I can agree with that I want George gone Nd want SVG to come in and for god sakes cam we get some offense going and sustained and organized . I am just sick and tired of GK

      • Charles Murray

        It really doesn’t matter what you want, does it. Let George finish the season, then let the organization decide. You may be suprised by the end of the year.

        • tommy in Sd Nuggets fan

          I know I was just venting and maybe next year we will maybe we won’t I will support them regaurdless I am happy we won but think we are missing something in the coaching staff or need something.

  • Robert

    “A” – Lawsome looked it
    “A minus” – Corey Bewyah looked excellent
    “C minus” – Igotmydolla looked horrible again.
    “C minus” – Danilo Godimaful
    “C minus” – Kenneth Fairy
    “C minus” – Timofay GoodGod
    “B Plus” – Andre Miller time
    “B Plus” – JaVale Saycheez

    While it was on the road it was an aweful Detroit team.

    • Poz_303

      think you forgot 2K… and Randolph

      “B” – Kosta couscous
      “B minus” – Anthony Ranoff

      and I would have given Mozzy a “B minus”

    • ChuckinJapan

      I like it. I like it a lot.

  • Mark from Charlotte

    Nugget fans we will be in for another disappointing season this year. Nugget management needs to understand that GK is the problem with this team. Their is a lot of talent on this team, Ar15 and Jham should be in the rotation and this coaching staff needs to be replaced with a different staff

    • Jeff

      GK is A problem. 1 of many. It’s hard to be really good when nobody can shoot free throws or 3s. And that has very little to do with coaching. I don’t imagine this team becoming incredible with a new coach, but it might help.

    • Will

      Anthony Randolph looked pretty awful to me, I don’t see any reason to give him playing time over McGee, Mozzy Koufos, Faried

  • Jacob

    Karl is not the problem. We can’t hit free throws and nobody can shoot (while the shooting could be fixed with more Hamilton, that isn’t going to solve all of our problems). The rotation isn’t perfect, but it won’t matter what coach we have it is impossible to satisfy all fans wants. We need to start holding the players accountable and stop blaming the coach.

    • clive

      like Jeff said earlier, GK is one of many problems. no set plays after time outs or at the end of game / half is a HUGE problem. what is GK having the players do during the practice exactly? GK must also stop relying on veterans who may win you some regular season games and develop younger players who have a higher ceiling and will eventually / hopefully help the team in the playoffs.

      we’ve known all along that GK is a great regular season coach. nuggets fans are not satisfied with just regular season success. we want a coach who can deliver in the post season.

      yes, we have other problems. we have no shooters, poor free throw shooting, and play bad defense. but a great coach who play to the strengths of his players. for example, because we are a great fast-breaking team, a great coach might emphasize defense more, which leads to fast-breaks. a great coach would be more involved during games and call time outs more often.

      • park hill

        Well said. GK, I imagine will be evaluated at the end of the year. He has his team, no egos, and many with ability to run and gun, so this is a show and prove year for GK.

    • Charles Murray

      I think he needs to read some of these suggestions and not rely so much on his history. More substitutions. All NBA teams have good shooters; the reason NY is killing everyone is playing through screens and making hard screens. Our guys could shoot it they had more set ups. We don’t have the superstar so there has to be no turnover sharp passing.

  • Poz_303

    I think the early foul trouble is affecting Kenneth’s intensity.

    The D looked better tonight but it was the Pistons so have to take that with a grain of salt. However, it’s a win and with our offense sputtering like it was, it was a good win.

    I am of the belief the Nuggets will shoot better at home so January will tell us a lot more about the team and it’s potential for the season.

    • dynamo.joe

      I think knowing he is going to be pulled because of the early foul trouble is affecting Farieds’ intensity.

      Not to put too fine a point on this, but who gives a shit if Faried fouls out in the 3rd? GK doesn’t want to use him at the end of games anyway, so why save those fouls?

      There are certainly times when players get upset over what they view as bad calls and start making angry, bad basketball decisions. When that happens the player needs to be benched until he cools off. But if the player is in controll of himself, what’s the upside to pulling him?

      Similarly there are times when a player becomes too passive as a result of foul trouble and it is a detriment to the team and he should be benched.

      But when a player becomes tenative because he is afraid of what his coach will do, that is on the coach.

      At the end of the day, the question is why is GK fixated on foul totals on his bigs when he has a deep team and is obsessed with small ball?

  • Dubz

    Lawson is slowly but surely gaining that classic first step quickness back. I have a feeling he got out of shape over the summer and his numbers are backing that up. For a guy out of shape it would take about 20 games to entirely get his “game legs” back. His 3 point shot is coming back as well, all good signs for his confidence is gaining with the improved conditioning. This team will start to pick it up with a consistent Lawson at the wheel, Karl’s crazy coaching be damned.

  • jacob i

    People don’t realize it’s not the threes of free throws, yeah it’s a part of it, but our defense is more holey than a church. Gk doesn’t know what defense is where as Gundy led a team who’s only good D player was Howard to a top ten defense. We need some Afflalo effort out there. I know he’s gone but he was only a good defender when he went all out we’ve got a deep enough team to play as hard as we can on defense the entire game and GK needs to tell them that. The nuggs also won’t fire him because of his cancer and they’d feel bad if something bad happened after that. He’ll be our coach until our management mans up or he retires.

  • Ckwizard

    Hey I don’t agree with the defense is a problem. The team defense is improving and it is better than previous seasons. The offense is the problem. The nuggets will win more than 75% of games when they have less than 10 turnovers. In the road win at Indiana the nuggets had 8 turnovers tonight they and 9. The nuggets defense is the only reason the other games were even close. The games where the defense was actually bad the nuggets got blown out ie Lakers.

    As this season goes on the nuggets are going to improve greatly especially after getting some quality practice between home games. Prepare your selfs for disappointment when the Nuggets get the Four seed and make it out of the first round because they are a decent defensive team. I don’t like GK as much as the next guy but it has more to do with his rotations and game management, but this nuggets team is struggling on offense, playing a heavy road schedule, and they are playing competitively.

    • Charles Murray

      You know, I hope you’re right. Here I am in Reno, after moving last year, and I had such incredible hopes for this year. We can see the brillance, and the dumfoundness.. Coach just needs to be more pro-active, even to a fault… He should have been subbing and re-matching all year.

  • CJP32

    I missed the first half, but clearly the starting unit played like crap to start with, down 15-4. Then our bench come in and help us get back on track – seems to be the norm lately.

    Ty was sensational the entire game – we needed that big time. Gallo was awful again for 3 quarters. Farieds last 4 games – 5.5 pts and 7 rebs – whats up with this kid?? The early foul trouble is not helping him or the team. Maybe a bench role is needed?

    Iggy – again looked a bit off, his shooting numbers the last 5 games are atrocious – 29% FG and 19% 3PT. When will this guy start getting consistent, who knows!

    The combo of McGee/Brewer/Dre are clicking well and all performing, they have saves our butts a few games lately.

    Not sure if this was a great win, but it was needed. We need to beat Minny tomorrow.

  • magster

    Looking at the schedule, we are in a stretch of games that are very winnable, excluding our automatic loss hosting the Spurs. If we win tomorrow night, we should have a 6 out of 7 stretch.

  • Andrew K

    Why we are 11-11
    1. schedule
    2. 4th quarter execution
    3. free- throws (which is part of #2)
    4. Inconsistency of Ty Lawson (which affects the team so much because he is a vital part)

  • Woobly o Balls

    It’s annoying I have to wait until we start playing at home for Ujiri to realise this team is average and can thus make a trade.

    And I’m starting to feel like we lost the Iggy trade. Afflalo is younger and a better shooter and weirdly looks like a better player and fit at the moment. And we miss Big Al’s scoring.

    Plus we gave up a first rounder in a strong draft (2014). I know we still have one in 2014 but we could have potentially packaged up those 2 picks and some players and got ourselves a high end pick.

    You just can’t be elite without stars. People often point to the 04 pistons but they had 4 all stars

    • Ryan

      Al hasn’t played a game this year, so having him wouldn’t have helped us one bit. I do agree, however, that Afflalo has been much better than AI9 this year. However, if AI9 doesn’t work out the rest of the year and he chooses to become a free agent, the Nuggets are in very good financial shape moving forward. With Afflalo, he’s reached his ceiling, you know what you’re getting, and he’s under contract for several more years, giving the Nuggets much less financial flexibility. In the worst case, the Nuggets dumped the contract of a slightly above-average player making a little too much money, not the end of the world.

      • dynamo.joe

        “I do agree, however, that Afflalo has been much better than AI9 this year.”



        • CJP32

          Using this website data, right now Brewer is better than Afflalo!

        • Ryan

          That’s fine, not really a major point of what I was saying, but I should have done my homework first, the Orlando win vs the Lakers skewed my perception of how AAA was doing. My main point was that if Iguodala continues to be awful, we have much less invested in him and that financial flexibility is more valuable than having Afflalo on the roster. So in the end, we’re saying the same thing: we don’t/won’t miss Afflalo, regardless of what happens with Iguodala

  • park hill

    I wouldn’t be surprised if GK pulled out a trip to the second round, keeping the job and good graces with the org.

    He must have some combination of Mozzy, AR, JHam and even Fournier receive a total of 20 mins a game, and ready to contribute. Every game, depending on the opponent, should provide an opportunity for at least two of these players to contribute. This is GK’s job, along with the continued development of Ty and McGee to play with the effort and intelligence they showed tonight.

    The starting SG and SF must get greedy and put up double digit shots, half of them drives to the whole. It’s ok if they miss, but play a part–get to the FT line. The main bench of AM, CB and JM need to keep doing what they’re doing while improving their defensive efficiency.

    Yeah, a lot to ask given the track record yet possible at the same time.

  • googergieger

    Kofous wasn’t even the second best center tonight on our team. McGee and Mozgov did more for us tonight than he did. Miller played great early on in combination with McGee. If McGee is put in situations to succeed he is great. Like when he hit that hook shot. Problem is a lot of times he is given the ball in horrible situations with no outlet pass and then gets criticized or benched for tossing up a bad shot even though he has no other option. Randolph and Mozgov played great together however. No idea why Karl stuck with a line up so long that was going through the motion into a win we should have won by double digits. Especially when Mozgov, Randolph, and who knows who else came to play. Also the problem with Faried is Karl has sucked the confidence and fun right out of him. His smile all but disappeared by the end of the game. He got into foul trouble again and instead of being talked to about it and how to be effective without fouling, or at the very least being given meaningful minutes to fight back from a rough start, he was put on the bench forever and finally given time in some weird rotation. Which happens a lot actually. A lot of our players are either successful and then taken out or partnered up with some weird pieces with no game plan, or are playing bad and left out there despite it, or who knows what else.

    Seriously though did you watch the game tonight? Miller was one of the reasons we took the lead in the first half and then left his man open quite a few times in the second half. Lawson had a brilliant game but really forty minutes, despite us having another game tomorrow? Wolves have three days off heading into this game too. Then who we got next? Grizz? Better hope Love and Z-Bo are sick.

    • ryanvdonk

      completely agree, lawson should have sat to begin with 4th (though i like putting him in the last possession of the 3rd, kind of a low pressure simulation of a final play scenario).

      For kosta it was a tale of two halves. he was foul prone and ineffective in the first. but someone must have stolen his cookies at half time, because he came out fired up with a chip on his shoulder. probably a B grade would have been more accurate tonight, since he took himself out of the game at the beginning with fouls.

      also, mozzy has really looked a lot better. the last three games he’s been in he has come out aggressive, looking to protect HIS paint and get physical with opposing bigs. we saw this occasionally last year (usually against bynum) but too often he was passive. consistent intensity is good to see and i hope it earns him a few more minutes (hopefully for bigger lineups).

      • Ckwizard

        Kufous had a flat out awesome 3rd quarter, his defense was great and his intensity was the best it had been all year. Yeah he started out bad but so did every other starter the best thing about him is he responded to seeing Mozgov come in and play hard.

    • dynamo.joe

      It sounds like you are conceding the games to the wolves and grizz anyway, so better to play Ty during the winnable game to the pistons, no?

  • Greco21

    to me that was the worst Koufos game.

    Denver has to work something with guard penetration. The backourt gets often in a one against two situation (the middle of no-where) and fouls a lot.

    Personally i believe that switching the pick n roll game is not bad as long there is a 2nd switch to cover the center (Gallo or Iguadala).

    Farried is really talented. He has to box out rather than just jump over people. I believe that he takes a risk in order to run for the fast break. Everybody knows that, and they crash the glass against Denver. It is ok against some teams but it can cost a lot with some teams (i.e. the Lakers).

    Last but not least however productive is the backourt on the offensive end they have never placed a foul trouble dilema to the opposition centers. If they can consistently earn a foul early on, on centers like Duncan or Howard then the game plan of penetrating with all means in the paint will work much more efficiently.

  • Mark from Charlotte

    Can somebody tell me when Wilson Chandler and Stone will return?.

    • dynamo.joe

      I think earlier there was an estimate that Stone would return around 5 Jan. So, sometime after the apocalypse.

      I haven’t seen anything on a new schedule for Chandler.

      • CJP32

        I get the feeling that Chandler wont be back period. Either he will require season ending surgery, or he gets traded.

        • dynamo.joe

          I have the same feeling, but I couldn’t find anything to support that, so I didn’t include it.

  • Thomas

    With the roster we have, most coaches would have been able to win the game yesterday without playing their PG 40 minutes and the PG back-up 31 minutes. The game was ours in the third quarter yet we couldn’t stop Stuckey and put the game away – it was not that hard.

    Let me guess, GK doesn’t mind going 2×3 in this road trip.

    JHam would have been perfect in the 3rd quarter yesterday. The way Lawson was going to the hole, he would have gotten a few easy treys and put the game away. Man, the GK doghouse sucks. Guy is losing his early NBA years on the bench when he could be an established starter already.

    The obvious is not so obvious to some, particularly when they have 1,000 wins (and 101 playoff losses).

    • Mark from Charlotte

      I agree with you Thomas.

  • KW

    I’d like to see Karl start AR15 (or anyone, really) instead of Faried.

    Faried would be pissed.

    Then, after AR plays 4-6 (quality?) minutes, unleash The Manimal on Klove.

    Otherwise, can we agree that Koufos nick should be The Grecian Formula?

    This bad win doesn’t feel so bad when I consider that Detroit absolutely torched us last year in Detroit.

    I think we’re going to get abused tonight. I hope not.

    • Ryan

      Detroit had been a .500 team since an 0-8 start, still a bad team, but nowhere near worst in the league. I’m happy with any win on the road at this point.

  • Erlingur

    I’m looking at the box score, and I can’t understand how we won. We lost the rebounds 37-51. 4 of our starters had horrible statistical nights. (Koufos 6 fouls in 16 minutes? That’s bad, any way you spin it) McGee had 1 rebound. Danilo Iguodala shot 2-10 on 3s and 6-25 on FGs.
    How did they not lose this game by 30?