Andre Miller’s clutch time execution versus the Pacers [VIDEO]

With just under three minutes remaining in yesterday’s game against the Pacers, the Nuggets trailed by three. They had just allowed a 7-0 Indiana run which reversed the lead Denver had held earlier in the quarter, and appeared to be on the verge of yet another fourth quarter collapse.

That’s when Andre Miller decided to take over the game. (more…)

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 92 Indiana Pacers 89

Denver Nuggets 92 Final
Recap | Box Score
89 Indiana Pacers
Danilo Gallinari, SF 35 MIN | 2-10 FG | 4-5 FT | 7 REB | 8 AST | 9 PTS | +3

The shooting still isn’t there, but Gallo didn’t let it affect his aggressiveness everywhere else. He was solid on the boards from a big spot and showcased his ability to open up gaps with his passing, compiling a season-high 8 assists.

Kenneth Faried, SF 21 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -14

Faried is still young enough and raw enough to avoid the reputation of an awful defensive player. Nights like tonight, where he allowed David West a perfect 8-8 shooting in the first half, make you wonder just how long he’s got left.

Kosta Koufos, C 21 MIN | 5-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | -9

Overall a nice return performance for Koufos, whose efforts really limited Roy Hibbert’s impact on the offensive end.

Ty Lawson, PG 35 MIN | 1-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 2 PTS | -3

How many nightmare games is enough? This is the second time this season Ty has played over 35 minutes with zero free throw attempts while scoring fewer than 3 points total. It’s the sixth time in 20 games he’s failed to reach double-digit scoring in starters minutes.

Andre Iguodala, SG 37 MIN | 4-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 10 PTS | +1

Poor showing from an offensive standpoint, but this was one of the Nuggets better defensive efforts of the young season. Iguodala turned up the pressure in the second half, guarding a variety of players and playing a huge part in a defense that allowed just 39 second half points.

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

Wasn’t making shots, and while Hamilton’s minutes are suffering a bit from Brewer’s recent surge, I think his body language and energy level just haven’t been consistent all year. He needs to stick with it and understand taking a bad shot is likely to get him benched right now.

Corey Brewer, SF 28 MIN | 9-16 FG | 0-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 20 PTS | +5

Brewer’s put up some phenomenal efforts this season, to the point he’s becoming the focal point of the Nuggets’ bench. Brewer took 8 shots in the paint, 5 threes, and two 11-foot jumpers. That kind of shot selection is what Nuggets basketball is all about

JaVale McGee, C 30 MIN | 9-9 FG | 2-4 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 20 PTS | +17

Great game and even better was the personal growth and maturity on display in McGee’s first 30 minute effort of the year. He was running and finishing at a high level, shooting a perfect 9-for-9 while showing improved touch around the rim.

Andre Miller, PG 25 MIN | 6-11 FG | 3-4 FT | 4 REB | 8 AST | 15 PTS | +13

This guy has been moving at double speed since halftime of the Atlanta game. He either got a new pacemaker installed or is finally starting to hit his stride and understand that he needs to bring all-out energy to the game from the moment he comes in off the bench. Miller’s play was a big reason the Nuggets were able to close strong in a tight finish.

Three Things We Saw

  1. The Nuggets’ interior defense picked up a ton in this game. Credit Koufos’ return, a much more focused JaVale McGee and just a well prepared gameplan for keeping the Pacers’ bigs away from the basket and off the offensive glass.
  2. Defending the three remains a problem. Although the Pacers have the second least efficient offense in the league and have struggled to get it going from deep, they shot 10-23 from three, many of them wide open and uncontested. The Nuggets generally play decent defense inside the three-point line and thankfully, Indiana didn’t have the horses to hurt the Nuggets from outside all night. Against the better offenses in the league, the Nuggets will struggle if they don’t improve their perimeter defense.
  3. Although the Nuggets had yet another colossal failure to produce a shot attempt late in a close game, they only had 8 turnovers to Indiana’s 18. If the Nuggets can limit their turnovers, they can live with the inept free throw shooting and awful three-point percentages that have become mainstays of their new offense.

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 104 Atlanta Hawks 108

Denver Nuggets 104 Final
Recap | Box Score
108 Atlanta Hawks
Danilo Gallinari, SF 34 MIN | 3-10 FG | 10-10 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 16 PTS | +1

Loved the hustle and energy, but fact the fact he can no longer shoot straight is starting to limit his impact on the floor. Solid effort, but he just doesn’t work as a one-dimensional straight-line driver on offense. He showed a distinct lack of confidence in his shot and it affected his play in the second half.

Kenneth Faried, SF 26 MIN | 2-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | +7

Foul trouble was the main issue here as the Nuggets struggled to keep up on the glass while Faried was out. He still managed to lead the team in plus/minus and was a big factor in the Nuggets’ late surge.

Timofey Mozgov, C 28 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 13 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -4

Really good effort in a lot of areas that won’t show up on the box score. He was foul prone and sloppy, but for an emergency start Mozgov started things off on the right foot and was solid at the end of the game as well. The rebounding output is encouraging considering Mozgov was pretty terrible all last season.

Ty Lawson, PG 37 MIN | 12-16 FG | 3-4 FT | 1 REB | 7 AST | 32 PTS | +4

Outstanding, with really the only blemish being that game-clinching turnover in the final minute. It’s been about a good 7 months since Ty’s played anywhere near this level and the Nuggets will look like a different team if this guy starts showing up more than once every 19 games.

Andre Iguodala, SG 38 MIN | 2-10 FG | 0-1 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 5 PTS | -1

I get that he doesn’t care about his own offense and generally makes his impact on the other end of the floor, but 5 points and 7 turnovers in 38 minutes is unacceptable. Sloppy effort and a poor finish out of someone the Nuggets are expecting to be a leader on the floor.

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

Not great, but I find it hilarious/fitting/sad that both times Karl has brought Randolph off the shelf he’s played him next to JaVale McGee.

Jordan Hamilton, SF 4 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -4

Still kind of in the rotation, but not really

Corey Brewer, SF 25 MIN | 8-15 FG | 2-3 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 19 PTS | -15

The Nuggets aren’t really playing good basketball when Brewer chucks up 15 shots and and plays like this, but he scored 19 points without hitting his threes and gives you the gaudy numbers off the bench.

JaVale McGee, C 24 MIN | 5-8 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 11 PTS | 0

JaVale’s first stint off the bench is where the Nuggets started getting pounded inside and it continued the rest of the night. His failure to keep Hawks off the glass and protect the paint were a main reason Atlanta got control of the game and held onto it most of the night. McGee needs to focus on providing a solid presence down low and defense.

Andre Miller, PG 18 MIN | 2-5 FG | 4-4 FT | 1 REB | 7 AST | 8 PTS | -2

For the first time all season I get to say something positive about an Andre Miller performance. He started off the game normal (read: slow and awful) before undergoing a stunning transformation at the half. Miller was moving twice as fast as we’ve seen all season, closing out on shooters and looking unusually active on both ends. Whatever the halftime message was, Miller clearly got it.

Two Things We Saw

  1. The Nuggets got destroyed down low, giving up 19 offensive rebounds and allowing the Hawks 95 shots to just 78 of their own. They got in a fast-paced game with Atlanta, but too many turnovers and an inability to bang with Horford and Josh Smith cost them a chance at winning. The Nuggets look soft down low and purely reliant on transition offense for everything they do.
  2. We know Denver’s fast paced style will be a challenge on back-to-backs with the fatigue factor. We also know they can get in a fast-paced game and still struggle with the wrong matchup, especially Gallo on the more physical fours and fives in the league. Until Denver changes it’s style of play, the excuses to lose are highly unlikely to ever run out. Right now this looks like a team on the verge of giving in to that mentality and just waiting for the schedule to turn their way.

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.

Nuggets recall Miller from Iowa Energy

After less than a month in the D-League, the Nuggets have announced that Quincy Miller has been recalled from the team affiliate, Iowa Energy. In his three-game stint Miller averaged 14 points, 10.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. All of Miller’s performances can be seen for free on the D-League’s YouTube channel, which I have posted below.

(more…)

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 103 Los Angeles Lakers 122

Denver Nuggets 103 Final
Recap | Box Score
122 Los Angeles Lakers
Danilo Gallinari, SF 31 MIN | 6-13 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 19 PTS | -2

Gallo finally hit some threes and it was nice to see him come out determined to assert himself against the Lakers. He was a big factor offensively but it’s tough to give any Nuggets player a shining grade after that kind of defensive effort.

Kenneth Faried, SF 23 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 8 PTS | -20

He was abused in just about every possible way by any Laker who wanted a piece. The good news is Faried will probably never play 23 minutes while grabbing just two rebounds ever again.

Kosta Koufos, C 9 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | +7

I’m not sure if it was injury or fatigue, but Koufos didn’t see any meaningful time after picking up two quick fouls to start the game. Howard got loose early and Karl must have seen enough to go in a different direction immediately. The decision appeared to backfire as Koufos actually looked much better on defense than all of his fellow bigs.

Ty Lawson, PG 36 MIN | 3-11 FG | 3-5 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 9 PTS | -12

Flashbacks to game one of last years playoff series, where Lawson just wilted in a moment the Nuggets were expecting big things out of him. Games like this simply can’t be afforded out of Lawson anymore. The really offensive thing is the complete lack of emotion and leadership on the floor.

Andre Iguodala, SG 33 MIN | 4-10 FG | 4-6 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 14 PTS | -12

An okay game, but it’s now obvious he can only do so much to mask Denver’s deep-seeded issues with perimeter defense. He has to have a great scoring night just to keep the Nuggets competitive and that’s nowhere near where Iguodala is at his best.

Jordan Hamilton, SF 20 MIN | 6-14 FG | 1-1 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 13 PTS | -7

It’s tempting to give Hamilton a solid grade for his near double-double in just 20 minutes of action, but he takes some bad shots and still looks a step slow on the defensive end. I understand some of his struggles because I thought he was taking great shots and really improving earlier in the year, when he couldn’t get on the court. He’s trying to stand out and get minutes, which just hasn’t been easy thus far.

Corey Brewer, SF 21 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-1 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | -14

Made some threes, but literally went for steals every single possession and still can’t dribble the ball whilst moving.

Timofey Mozgov, C 21 MIN | 2-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -16

He didn’t get a chance to match up with Howard that much but Karl clearly made an effort to get Mozgov involved early and often. I wasn’t impressed with his defense around the rim but Mozgov managed to produce and showed he’s still got something to offer in a rotation role. I’m just not sure what the point is, we’ll likely go back to a non-Mozgov rotation in the very next game.

JaVale McGee, C 17 MIN | 4-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | -10

He started out nicely and as usual, was all over the place the rest of the way. In a laugher like this I was disappointed the Nuggets did not give him a little more run in the second half. 17 games into the season we still don’t even have a hint of how JaVale might respond to increased minutes.

Andre Miller, PG 26 MIN | 5-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 10 PTS | -6

The Nuggets got it to within seven in the second quarter, one of many opportunities to get back in a competitive game against a defense that was allowing them to shoot over 50% the entire night. Miller brought the ball up, literally crossed himself over and fumbled the ball while nearly tripping over his own feet — no player was within an arms length of him. It just perfectly summed up Andre Miller’s season so far.

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

Would have been nice to see him in a little earlier. The Nuggets never really threatened but didn’t formally concede until the last few minutes.

Three Things We Saw

  1. This loss aside, the Nuggets actually played decent basketball on this three game road trip and come up with nothing to show for it. As for this game, it was easy enough to predict a blowout with the Nuggets having played last night and the rested Lakers playing in front of a fired up crowd desperate for a victory.
  2. I was surprised Karl said he was asking for more ball pressure in a timeout, yet no real effort was made to change the way Denver was defending the pick and roll. The Nuggets continued to switch and go under no matter what. It did not seem like there were any adjustments made to pick and roll coverage from the opening tip to the final whistle.
  3. Chris Duhon played a lot in this game and Dwight Howard capped off the show with a three-pointer on the final play of regulation. This one was mostly a joke. I’ve said before Denver has played much better than 0-3 on this trip and arriving here is a result of many failures from top to bottom. Denver’s playing a tough schedule and still has plenty of time to get it together, but they’re now on the wrong side of .500 with another tough 5-game road trip following Monday’s home game against Toronto.

« Previous Page