|Danilo Gallinari, SF 32 MIN | 6-20 FG | 5-6 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 20 PTS | +1
Gallo had a strange game for sure. He didn’t shoot well from the field, but he hit the big shot and combined with Iguodala and Brewer helped limit Kobe to 29 points on 26 shots, including two prayer threes at the end of the game. It was tough to grade but the Nuggets won and Gallo hit what was the biggest shot so he gets a good one.
|Kenneth Faried, SF 32 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 6 PTS | -8
Faried’s first half was absolutely brutal. He went to halftime with only 2 points and a rebound and looked like he didn’t belong on the court at all. His normal energy returned a bit in the second half and made things better but overall it was a pretty ugly game for the Manimal.
|Kosta Koufos, C 28 MIN | 3-8 FG | 1-1 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | -8
Like Gallinari, a lot of what Koufos did well doesn’t show up in the box score. He was a physical presence for the Nuggets and battled Dwight Howard whenever he was on the floor. With Faried lacking his normal energy it was important for Kosta to bring some of his own, and he did that very well.
|Ty Lawson, PG 33 MIN | 9-18 FG | 2-3 FT | 2 REB | 10 AST | 21 PTS | +1
Lawson absolutely abused Steve Nash tonight. He got to the rim at will, and while he struggled to finish a couple times good things normally happened when he went to the basket. The three he hit was a big one as well, as it put the Nuggets up 10 late in the fourth. It was a return to the Lawson that people expected, and not the one from late in games early this year.
|Andre Iguodala, SG 38 MIN | 6-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 7 AST | 15 PTS | +14
Iggy did a bit of everything tonight. He knocked down some threes, finished in transition, rebounded, defended and found teammates all throughout the night. His plus-14 on the night seemed right, as he was always in the middle of everything on both sides of the court when the Nuggets would make a run. In another good sign, the growth of chemistry between Iguodala and the rest of the team continued as he celebrated as much as any Nugget whenever something good happened for him or his teammates.
|Jordan Hamilton, SF 4 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -4
Ouch. A tough night for Hamilton, even in such a short amount of minutes. He missed layups, turned the ball over on a shot clock violation (where he seemed to lose track of the remaining time), and got called for a goaltend. A learning experience for a young player hopefully.
|Corey Brewer, SF 23 MIN | 6-14 FG | 1-3 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | +15
Brewer completely changed the game when he entered it in the first quarter. His energy was infectious as he attacked the basket and the glass, and he knocked down a couple mid-range jump shots as well. His second half was a bit rougher, but without his early contributions the Nuggets may not have been in the position they found themselves in during the second half.
|JaVale McGee, C 26 MIN | 7-9 FG | 3-7 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 17 PTS | +14
JaVale was good JaVale again tonight. His energy and athleticism were on full display, and aside from a iffy goaltending call and a pull-up jumper from the foul line, there really weren’t any bad moments for him on the night. While he could still stand to grab a couple more rebounds, which will happen if he stops trying to tap them to people and grab them himself, there isn’t really anything to be mad about tonight.
|Andre Miller, PG 24 MIN | 4-10 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 REB | 10 AST | 12 PTS | +10
Miller continued to be an enigma as he has most of the season. A second quarter sequence summed up his night pretty well. On one possession he threw a gorgeous lob to McGee for two points, but came right down the court the next possession and tried to force a lob to Faried for a turnover. A bit later in the quarter he hit his only three of the night, but the next possession he air balled a fadeaway contested two. Just a very up and down night again.
Karl did a good job for the most part but a couple of things made me scratch my head. First off why did Andre Miller get the late possession instead of Lawson, or in the best case scenario an actual set play? Lawson was beating Steve Nash off the dribble all night but instead Miller was asked to beat Jodie Meeks. It ended up working out for the Nuggets because of luck, but I hated the call. Second why did Faried get more minutes than McGee and Koufos? The other two bigs were clearly more effective in the physical game than the Manimal, and they didn’t play terrible together. I thought it was strange. But the Nuggets won so Karl gets the benefit of the doubt.
Four Things We Saw
- Ball Security: The Nuggets were out shot from the floor and the free throw line and beat on the boards by the Lakers, but won the game thanks to only 8 turnovers. Denver really valued the ball and did a good job of getting a lot of looks that they liked, and it allowed them to overcome the deficit in other areas.
- Help??: The pick-and-roll coverage early in the game was very strange. The Nuggets bigs stayed with Steve Nash and seemed to expect help from other areas of the floor. But repeatedly that help was late and the Lakers big men got easy dunks in the paint. It was cleared up a bit in the second half though and it showed as the Lakers had their two worst scoring quarters of the game.
- Kobe Contained: Denver did a great job on Bryant forcing him into tough shots all night. The ability to alternate the length of Gallo and the physicality of Iggy on him is a great weapon and the Nuggets did a fantastic job of taking advantage of it. McGee’s help when Kobe drove was great as well. Just a terrific job on a guy having a great season.
- Big W: This was a great win for the Nuggets. On the road, on the second night of a back-to-back against a team that is starving for wins. To put more distance between themselves and the Lakers as well is big for the Nuggets. Now can they build off it, or will things continue to be inconsistent like most of the season?
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