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. Lawson played only the first half, leaving the game after that due to concern over a possible Achilles injury (we’ll update you when more details are released). He had five assists in his 17 minutes, and did a great job of pushing the pace and initiating good ball movement. Miller and Andre Iguodala both added eight assists, Brewer had six, and Faried had a career-high four. It was a great display of unselfish basketball all around, including on several fast breaks and end-of-shot-clock situations where we’ve often seen players keep the ball for the worse shot rather than find another for a better look.

After shooting a historically bad 0-22 from the 3-point line in Thursday’s game against Portland, Denver missed another five to open this game before Jordan Hamilton finally broke the streak with eight minutes remaining in the second quarter. The team still didn’t shoot as well from the arc as one would hope, finishing the game 6-20 (30 percent), but the good news was that Danilo Gallinari was able to find his shot again, hitting some big 3-pointers which helped to stiff arm the Bobcats and prevent them from seriously challenging Denver’s lead.

This may have been the best collective performance by all five starters we may have seen this season. Lawson and Gallo were relatively quiet but effective while Koufos was beasting. Faried really set the tone in the first quarter with his energy, making some big dunks and rebounds that helped establish Denver as the owners of the paint. And Andre Iguodala played with more energy and focus than perhaps he has all season. He really seems to finally be discovering his comfort zone and role on this team which is so different from his former 76ers. When he doesn’t play aggressive as he did tonight, his impact on the court seems to completely disappear, and it really hurts the Nuggets. The Iguodala who showed up in this game – and especially his playmaking and defense – is the guy Denver needs to be there every night to have a successful season.

As the Nuggets coasted through a 20+ point lead, the bench players got extensive play in this game, and for the most part made the most of it. JaVale McGee was nearly perfect until missing his final shot, going 7-8. He actually played alongside Koufos for a good stretch of the game to very favorable results. Expect to see Karl employing that tandem more often.

Corey Brewer had what by now we could call a typical “good Corey Brewer game.” A little too 3-point happy, perhaps, but aggressive as ever on defense, constantly running the floor hard for easy cuts and cherry picks, cranking up the energy to 11. It was mentioned before, but it does merit repeating that he had six assists in this game, which was great to see.

Jordan Hamilton’s game has some erratic and reckless tendencies, and it seems like nearly everything he does is really good or really bad, with not much neutral between. He makes a pretty big impact on the game nearly every time he sets foot on the court, and it’s never clear on the balance how much it will help or harm his team. Tonight he struggled with his outside shot, but put his athleticism to great effect with a nice variety of drives and floaters in the paint. He made a great chase-down defensive stop that will hopefully earn Karl’s trust so he can get the minutes he needs to develop his skills and learn to reduce his mistakes.

Evan Fournier seemed to do a little of everything tonight. With Lawson out, he was called upon as the reserve point guard. The dichotomy between he and J-Ham is really interesting. Hamilton probably has more natural skill and athleticism, but it’s so far less refined. Fournier’s pro experience really shows in his feel for the game, his court vision and his decision making. He did a great job of facilitating, and would have had more than two turnovers if his 3rd-stringer associates had done a better job of knocking down the easy looks he set up for them. Like Hamilton, he’s a player who really needs more burn, and there simply aren’t enough minutes to go around.

The same could be said for Anthony Randolph, who could probably play backup power forward on some teams in the NBA. If this were the standard Rapid Reaction, he’d get a B. He didn’t do anything exceptionally great or poorly, he was just pretty solid all around, and played hard including on the defensive end.

Quincy Miller really needs to get sent back to the D-League. It’s unclear why he was brought back up in the first place (injury insurance with Wilson Chandler out?) but he is clearly quite lost out there. Part of that is understandable, as he hasn’t had the same amount of time to spend with the coaches and players, but nonetheless, he just needs more time to develop before he’s truly NBA-ready. The game just seems to pass him by.

The Nuggets will close out 2012 with a 4-in-5, three games of which are on the road, including the next one on Christmas at the Los Angeles Clippers. The next day, it’s back to Denver against the Lakers, followed by a day off and then a back-to-back at Dallas and Memphis. If they can split these four games, they’ll finish the opening stretch of the season 17-15 (.531) which, considering the brutality of the schedule thus far, is not an entirely unrespectable place to be.

Have a great holiday season, everybody! Stay safe and warm, and enjoy spending time with your family and friends.


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Joel is a long time Denver Nuggets (and Broncos) fan from Colorado who's been living in Japan since the mid-90s, and blogging about the Nuggets since 2008. You can contact and follow him on Twitter: @denbutsu.
  • googergieger

    Well we finally made some three’s. However one can’t help but think if we played a good team tonight, we might not have won. Still enjoy the win I suppose. Hope this gives enough confidence to at least complete with the Clippers who have benefited with an easy schedule to build up confidence/chemistry with. Much more we know they are going to get some love from the refs. Still be happy with at least a competitive game. Oh and once again was impressed by Fournier.

  • Aaron

    Absolutely. . Fournier looked like Ginobili out there. He’s another playmaker, but unlike Miller, he can shoot. I’m thinking he should get some of Andre’s minutes, or at least come in for the minute or two that Ty is out of the game when Miller is in there. He might score 6-8 a game which would help us. Q Miller looked lost. But, Hamilton and Fournier need some minutes. Maybe that lets us include Brewer, Chandler, or even Andre in a Mosgov trade. Fournier played some defense too! The one thing he needs to improve on, is toughness going to the basket, the guy is about 130 soaking wet and he was getting pushed around a bit. Good win, though. We got to rest the guys for the Christmas game.

  • will

    nuggets played so many good teams on the road that its easy to forget that their schedule will get much easier and that the Nuggets are certainly a top 10 team. games like this count and they have padded the win column of other good teams.

  • fluffhead

    awesome sign! Oh, wait, LAWSON scored ZERO again. $12 million, my butt. Thats FOUR games under 3 points. NO OTHER PG in NBA history (with starters minutes) has done that in a season, let alone 25 games. UGH, ty.

    • Frank

      George Karl revealed in his press conference ty has been struggling with an achillies injury for a while now. I’m sure that’s a huge part of it when he has those tenative games.

    • Frank

      He left with a strained Achilles at halftime, I don’t think it’s fair to get on him for being scoreless, he did have 5 assists

  • googergieger

    If that is true, then that does suck for Ty. I liked what I saw from him today, he pushed the pace. Moved around really well and made the defense move around a bit. Granted Bobcats, but still he didn’t do that in the Blazers game. Still might be better off to rest him and have Dre start with Fournier off the bench. Just put Iguodala on Paul and tell Dre not to leave his assignment alone for open three’s.

  • fluffhead

    oh, so against MIAMI (lose by 5, zero points) against Norris Cole (assumably healthy ty)…THAT’S okay. I’m a nuggets fan, NOT a homer. TY is brutual this year…T.O’s and dissapearing acts have cost us 3+ games. Do the math.

  • CJP32

    Good team win, great to see the young guys get some burn, although AR pisses me off on a fast break, never intends to pass the ball. Evan looks confident, JHam is a scorer but still makes rookie mistakes, Q Miller should play in D League, Mozzy was aggressive.

    Iggy could average a trip dub on this team if he applied the same effort every night. Faired with a quiet 15/9. Gallo shot better. KK was sensational, got some easy buckets, but can he dunk???

    CBrew was looking to pass with 4 rebs, 6 asts and 11 pts. Weird that Andre Miller took only 1 shot in 26 mins, but did have 8 asts and McGee with some nice moves.

    I like the look of Iggy/CBrew on the wings, more of that along with Ty, Gallo at the 4 and McGee would be nice.

    Overall a nice win, and hopefully a confidence booster towards the 2 LA games.

  • Tyler

    Am I the only one frustrated and sad that Quincy Miller hasn’t recorded an NBA field goal in 12 minutes of play this year? I want him to at least have more than his ONE point.

    • Aaron

      True, But Tonight, His Teammates Weren’t Trying Very Hard To Get Him The Ball. He Got Smacked in The Face On The 3 Point Attempt And Got Tackled Goig Up For a Dunk. Assuming He Gets The Call Like Normal He Has 4-5 Points. Also He Had An Open Dunk Twice if Mozgov Doesn’t Get The Foul Called On The Oppenet And AR15 Missed Him Wide Open Under The Basket On A Break Away. So Dont Count Him Out Just Yet.

      • Tyler

        Yeah, I even heard him yell MOZZY and he was ready for a wide open dunk but Timo kept it.

    • GK4Prez

      I am not really worried about Q.Miller. If he wants to get a bucket in the garbage time he gets, he should hit the boards and get a put back and give some sort of an indication that he wants it.

      I saw JHam try to set him up tonight and Quincy pointed up in the air indicating that he wanted a lob instead of a bounce pass that Q let go out of bounds. JHam earned his garbage time minutes the hard way, so Quincy should have to do the same. If he wants a bucket bad enough, he will go get it, and it will mean more to him in the long run.

      Frenchie continues to impress me. If he develops any kind of an outside stroke, he will become a solid player in this league.

      • John

        Actually they called Johan Petro “Frenchie” so we’ll have to think of something new for Evan…. and he had a couple of nice outside shots tonight…. including a 3.

        Early in the year, GK listed Iggy, Gallo, Jordan and Evan(in no order) as the best in-practice shooters. So maybe there is hope, with a little playing time.

        • Tony

          Fathers hide your daughters – I’m going the “Fourniercator”

      • Tyler

        He earned legit playing time not “garbage time” He is in garbage time because He deserves real playing time and doesn’t really get it due to depth or game score. I’m not worried either, but I still want him to be able to get a bucket.

  • Ryan

    Watched the first half and was impressed with two things. The first was Jordan Hamilton. He was the one that broke the three point streak right? And he seems to be getting more confidence. His athleticism is some of the best on the team and his range and playmaking ability are uncanny for a player with so little playing time. The second was McGee for just one possession. He called for the ball in the post, received it, backed down deliberately and then turned and hit a 10 ft fadeaway. If he can make that shot 50% of the time he can continue to craft some post moves and fakes off of it for easy points. Maybe it was just one play but it is something to watch out for.

  • GK4Prez

    What, no grades?

    Faried C

    Koufos, player of the game B

    Lawsome, C+

    Iguodala, would have had a triple double
    with more playing time C-

    Mcgee B

    Brewer with 6 dimes D-

    Moz C

    Dre no points Miller D+

    JHam B

    Frenchie B-

    AR15 C+

    I am no racist:

    Gallo 3/6 from 3 A++++

    • Joel

      Sorry, couldn’t get the RR generator working.

    • Jacob

      Player of the game only gets a B?? Seems a little odd.

    • Ty

      Iggy with 15,8,8 and a c- dude uve lost it

    • Aaron

      Your So Racist!!! Only A++++!!!!! WOW!!!!!!!!! (;

      • GIANLUCA


    • John

      Mr. Madison(aka GK4Prez), what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

      • googergieger

        Just when I think you couldn’t possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this…AND TOTALLY REDEEM YOURSELF!


    lawson < sasha grey

    • allAround

      best roundball minining company comment for 2012 . You should respect people drinking coffee and not to write such staffs to the board . My pc almost got down cause of coffee attack .

  • allAround

    Koufos really showed some talent there. Great post moves for someone that was scoring only with put backs till now. Keep it up perhaps next summer they may send Koufos to Hakeem for courses like Manimal and McGee this year

  • KW

    I’m no racist but Ty seems to be taking over Nene’s roll in Q4. Disappear. Maybe turn the ball over. Show some apathy.

    I’m starting to really like the skinny French guy.

    What is AR doing?

  • dynamo.joe

    Damn everyone on this board! I came here just to tell the idiot who said we should trade for Demacus Cousins, that he/she might be the stupidest person on the planet. But none of you morons have suggested trading for Cousins. Let’s pick up the pace!

    • tommy in Sd Nuggets fan

      Fine I will sacrafice the wrath let’s trade for DMC give them Mozzy lol

      • dynamo.joe

        Sorry, I expended all my righteous indignation in the 1st post. All I have left is his shot chart.

        Way to keep taking those mid-range and 3pt jumpers, DeMarcus! Maybe one day you will grow a 2nd brain cell and realize only the ones that go in the lil orange hole actually help you win. Then it will only be your abominatin of a personality holding you back.

        PS thx! I found the righteous indignation I lost earlier.

        • tommy in Sd Nuggets fan

          Well I agree not the brightest but look how they turned around Javale over the last year much better player granted they sent him to the learn but could do it again this next off season. But under stand the not wanting him too but I don’t think we get him alone I could see more than one piece such as taking tyreke as well but who knows I just know Masai talked to them.before getting offered Javale for Nene

  • Aaron

    Anyone heard if Lawson is out for any length of time? He should be owning Nash next week if not.

  • Mark from Charlotte

    We will see how the Nuggets respone when they play the Cilppers, Lakers

  • Mark from Charlotte

    Clips , LA are important games for the Nuggets

  • Peter

    As much talent as DeMarcus Cousins has, anyone that knows anything about basketball knows that he would be an absolutely terrible fit for our team. You can’t have him on the same team as JaVale McGee as that would probably be the lowest IQ of any front court of all time. You can’t be a good team with multiple “non-thinkers” as Doc Rivers likes to call them. The only way it would be feasable is if JaVale were in the trade, but I wouldn’t do that anyway. We don’t need more scoring, we need JaVale’s defensive presense. The only way I would want Cousins is if it were a blockbuster and we were getting Tyreke Evans too.

  • Woobly o Balls

    Demarcus Cousins is the young potential superstar we should be trading for.

  • googergieger

    Clips, Lakers, Mavs, Grizz. We could go on a four game losing streak. Especially since Dirk is back for Mavs. You know Clips are going to have the refs make sure they beat us. I mean if you’ve seen their beyond easy winning streak the few times they face adversity the refs make sure they go on a run or the other team is in a hell of a lot of foul trouble so they can’t possibly defend them.

    Then the Lakers always get help from the refs, especially when playing Denver. Mavs and Grizz we have a shot at. Especially if we run all game. However seeing as those are two back to backs happening for us, going to be tough for us.

    • dynamo.joe

      Well, the refs ain’t gonna get any more fair come playoff time, so we might as well figure out how to beat them when they have the refs in their back pocket.

      • googergieger

        Well getting home court in the first round would help a lot, outside of that just run up the score as much as we can and don’t ever stop. But watch, I bet you if anyone plays good D on Blake, they’ll be called for a foul almost immediately and the second after that Blake will do a mediocre move(where he’ll more than likely travel) and everyone will champion his every expanding game. Chris Paul is going to argue with the refs all game long, meanwhile scratching, pulling, and pushing on defense and get called for maybe one foul once the refs put the Clippers on a manufactured run. I really do wish we had some guys on this team that wouldn’t mind committing a flagrant, just to let the refs know, we aren’t going to put up with it.

  • Zorba

    It would be too easy now to give an answer to those who insist on McGee starter, so I won’t do that…


    i belive in Nuggets ,,, but there are 2 problem :
    no playmaker
    coach Karl

    • googergieger

      Gallo, Dre, Ty, Iguodala, Chandler, Fournier, and even Hamilton can create their own shots and create for others…

      However yes Karl is often the problem. It is hard for our play makers to do much if the spacing is bad and if the defense can help off of the others on the court relatively easy. Or if the people that are open when a great pass comes can’t finish.

  • Mark from Charlotte

    Nugget fans reply. If we trade Amiller,KK, and Wchandler to Sac Kings for Tyreke Evans, J.Thompson and J.Fredette. The NBA TRADE MACHINE said this trade can be successful

    • googergieger

      I don’t know how on earth that would make us better. In fact I could see it making us worse.

      • Jacob

        Yea why is everyone so infatuated with Tyreke. I mean he has some talent, but nothing but decline since his rookie year. Really not as good as perceived.

  • googergieger

    I’ll repost this come the recap for tonights game, but seriously, this team should be doing a lot better than it is doing, and even if you love George Karl to bejesus and back he clearly isn’t getting the best out of the team he has. He has a lot of great defenders that should make up for others lacking in defense, he has a lot of players that should find success in a half court offense, and he has a lot of players that clearly love playing together. Karl has to go, and I honestly don’t know what we are waiting for anymore. For the schedule to get easier? Does that sound reasonable to you? “I’m in a hole, better find a way to get out of it. Instead of planning to make sure I don’t fall into one to begin with”.

  • Daniel Y

    Give Jham minutes, George, you fucking moron.
    Seriously. How many times does this kid have to come in and play well for him to finally get consistent minutes?

    Fire George.