|Danilo Gallinari, SF 32 MIN | 7-11 FG | 11-12 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 26 PTS | +6It’s such a boon for the Nuggets offense when they get this kind of production from Gallo. If he can find a way to score closer to 20 rather than 15 more frequently, it will go a long way towards helping the team maintain better offensive consistency. It was great to see him relentlessly attacking the basket tonight, and do a big chunk of his damage by hitting 11 of his 12 free throw attempts.|
|Kenneth Faried, SF 32 MIN | 7-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 15 PTS | +17The Nuggets did not come out of the gates with the kind of energy that might be expected in a revenge game with one division rival after a bad loss to another. But as is typically the case, Faried was one of the few making an effort to bring it. The Jazz got the better end of the offensive glass in the first half, but Faried did a fairly good job defending Paul Millsap, and played an important role in keeping the game close early until Denver opened up their big lead in the third quarter.|
|Kosta Koufos, C 29 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-1 FT | 13 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | +15Koufos has struggled in some recent games, and early on it looked like that trend might continue. But Kosta has a way sometimes of coming out with a surprising toughness, and he did a great job in the second half especially, coming up with some big rebounds and defensive plays.|
|Ty Lawson, PG 24 MIN | 6-12 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 14 PTS | +17If Lawson’s Achilles injury is bothering him, he did a great job of playing through it tonight. He was hitting his jumpers, and was able to find his higher gear with increasing frequency as the game progressed. Utah dictated the pace early on, but largely due to Lawson pushing it and playing with some aggression, the Nuggets were able to break the game open and play their style of basketball in the second half. Hopefully Ty is on the mend and we will see this type of performance from him more consistently from here on out.|
|Andre Iguodala, SG 31 MIN | 5-9 FG | 8-11 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 18 PTS | +20Iguodala played the role of scorer more than playmaker in this game, and did he ever put on a show. After seeing him turn the ball over so many times this season, I’ve learned to cringe when seeing him drive to the rim. But his skill in the open court was on full display tonight, as he made some truly remarkable crossovers and fakes that brought the house down. He and Gallo combined for 19 of 23 at the free throw line, and the more Denver can get of that, the better.|
|Anthony Randolph, PF 5 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -4Randolph was one of about five Nuggets players to get just about five minutes tonight when Karl emptied the bench, and he accomplished nothing in the short time he was on the court.|
|Jordan Hamilton, SF 6 MIN | 0-3 FG | 2-4 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -2Hamilton’s shot was not falling, though it should be noted that only one of his missed 3-pointers was a poor shot selection, while the other two were taken in the flow. Karl surely characterizes him as a “good-bad player”, and it seems J-Ham would help his own cause by not being over-eager to make a huge impact, and instead let the game come to him a little more.|
|Corey Brewer, SF 19 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 3 PTS | +12Brewer went completely cold on offense in this game, but was serviceable on the defensive end, including one nifty block from behind of an Al Jefferson layup on a fast break.|
|Timofey Mozgov, C 6 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -2Timo didn’t really make a big impact in his limited time, but three boards and a block in five minutes is solid.|
|JaVale McGee, C 23 MIN | 2-5 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | +14McGee really needs to toughen up when battling for rebounds. There are just too many times when he gets outworked on the glass in situations where, given his size and positioning, he should really have the advantage. For some reason, he seems to often struggle against the Jazz frontcourt, and this game was no exception.|
|Julyan Stone, PG 5 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | -4He played! It was great to see Stone get his first minutes this season. He was moving just fine, and hopefully we will get more opportunities to see what he can bring to the table. Tonight, he looked good, playing with control and doing a good job of distributing the ball to his teammates. His single assist in five minutes would have been more like four or five if the other guys were connecting on their shots.|
|Andre Miller, PG 21 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 6 AST | 11 PTS | +11Had Miller’s grade been given at the end of the third quarter, it would have been in C/D+ territory. He was ineffective to the point of being a liability for most of the game. But after draining a big buzzer beating 3-poitner at the end of the third quarter, he found a way to at least partially redeem himself in the fourth with some pretty decent play that helped to step on Utah’s throat.|
|Evan Fournier, SG 6 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -5Of all the emptied bench players, the only one to really make a splash was Fournier. His stat line doesn’t look very impressive, but his hustle and energy made garbage time less trashy.|
|George KarlTo me, this win seems more on the players than the coach. But who knows? Maybe it ws an inspiring halftime speech that caused them to come out more energetically in the second half. The fact that Lawson, playing well, got only 24 minutes while Miller, playing pretty poorly, got nearly as many with 21 is, in this case, probably attributable to Ty’s injury.|
Three Things We Saw
- Turnovers, damned turnovers. If the Nuggets had let this game get away, this is what everyone would be talking about. And nearly every player who spends any time handling the ball shares a portion of the blame (Miller 4, Gallo 4, Ty 3, Iguodala 3, Faried 2).
- The difference good shooting makes. This was only the fourth game this season in which the Nuggets shot a .500+ FG%, .350+ 3pt% and .700+ FT%. They won all four games.
- Resting up. The big lead Denver built up in the second half allowed the starters to get some rest and the end of the game. And they can use it, hitting the road to face a Lakers team tomorrow which, although struggling, is stacked with so much talent as to always be a dangerous opponent, especially on their home court.
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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.
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