|Danilo Gallinari, SF 35 MIN | 5-10 FG | 3-4 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 15 PTS | +12
Quietly Gallo had a really solid game. For whatever reason I just remember him missing shots, but when I looked at the score sheet he didn’t, really. He did a nice job of rebounding and played solid defense down the stretch which helped the Nuggets secure the win. It was nice seeing him effect the game in areas other than scoring.
|Kenneth Faried, SF 36 MIN | 7-10 FG | 5-7 FT | 19 REB | 0 AST | 19 PTS | -4
What a game. Faried was incredible. This was one of the best performances we’ve seen from any Nugget the entire year. His moxie was on overdrive. He was determined from the get-go to have a big game and nothing held him back. I tend to be a bit critical of Faried at times because I know he’s capable of stuff like this on a frequent basis. It’s games like these that make his eight-point, six-rebound performances all the more perplexing.
|Kosta Koufos, C 21 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | 0
Wow. I did not think Koufos was this M.I.A. He played good defense when he came in and that’s what I noticed most. He has a toughness about him that none of his teammates do and it makes his presence on the floor, alone, a positive for his entire team. Although his numbers don’t show it, he was part of the rotation that gave the Nuggets life when they looked to be drowning.
|Ty Lawson, PG 34 MIN | 7-19 FG | 4-5 FT | 3 REB | 8 AST | 19 PTS | +5
Lawson has been playing with so much more confidence and swag since he criticized his teammates after the Minnesota loss. You can just tell when you watch him play. He’s no longer hesitant. He’s shooting with poise. Most of all, he’s penetrating with an All-Star mentality. Ty is capable of this type of performance every night. Perhaps all he needed was to find that inner leadership his coach has been begging him for.
|Andre Iguodala, SG 32 MIN | 4-13 FG | 2-4 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 11 PTS | +5
Iguodala was kind sort of messy this whole game. He never really settled in. He hit a huge three down the stretch and played really solid defense on Afflalo, but for the most part he was just not on his game.
|Corey Brewer, SF 28 MIN | 7-17 FG | 2-6 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 16 PTS | -2
Brewer hit a wall in the second half but was absolutely incredible in the first. We always talk about his energy, but I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen him as frenetic as he was against the Magic. He was slicing through the defense, getting out on the break every chance he could and most importantly, his hands were active and his feet were moving on defense. The more I watch this kid the more I want him on the Nuggets for a long time.
|JaVale McGee, C 18 MIN | 1-6 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -6
A pretty awful game for McGee. He was out of control yet again. I don’t know what it is, but he’s been on a tear of the not so good kind lately. He needs to talk with one of his coaches (or, rather, they need to talk to him!) and settle down. He seems to have way too much energy bottled up and not a clue how to utilize it.
|Andre Miller, PG 29 MIN | 8-12 FG | 2-4 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 18 PTS | +12
Miller does some undesirable things on a regular basis, but you can’t knock him all the time — especially not this game. He was very efficient from the field and took advantage of mismatches all night. Like Faried, he seemed to be on a mission from the start of the game and he never let up until it concluded.
|Evan Fournier, SG 8 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -7
Every time Fournier plays I’m always going to say the same thing: I wish he could play more. He does an excellent job of making cuts and finding open space but he never has enough time to really make an impact. I like what I’ve seen so far, but at some point in a very winnable game, Karl needs to let him lose and see what he can do.
The Nuggets won, which is really all that matters, but what can’t be ignored is just how flat this team came out to start the game. How does that happen on your home floor? I understand that from time to time you’re going to come out sluggish, but this is basically the staple of the Nuggets for the last two years! They’re always coming out flat! I liked how he knew this was going to be a close game and kept his rotation tight, but he also played with fire yet again by relying on small ball down the stretch. Ultimately, he will get burned if he doesn’t learn.
Three Things We Saw
- Bad Magic: First off, apologies for not getting this up sooner. From time to time I have problems with accessing our website. Does anybody else? Is this only me? I get a screen that says something about having trouble establishing a database connection, but it’s only with RMC. Anyways, I hope to get this resolved soon so that it doesn’t happen again.
- Strange Magic: I have to admit, it totally sucked seeing Afflalo back at Pepsi Center in anything other than a Nuggets uni. I loved his game. I admired so much the way he improved every year: his hard work, his attitude, his professionalism, his dedication to defense even though he wasn’t the most athletic guy in the world. I understand the Nuggets made a move to improve with Iguodala, but to be completely honest, I don’t know how much they’ve improved. Iguodala has been somewhat of a disappointment in my eyes — I know that. Individual defense is great, but unless you have a team committed to defense, it doesn’t really matter. Afflalo, meanwhile, is having a career year averaging nearly 18 points per game. While I’m not one to wallow in the past, this trade will always hold a dubious position in my mind.
- Future Magic: As an NBA Draft enthusiast and general trade junkie, I have to say, I think Magic GM Rob Hennigan has done a very solid job of acquiring young talent for a rebuilding project. People were highly critical of him when the Dwight Howard trade went down, but I have a suspicion he’ll be getting the last laugh. Just look at their young talent: Afflalo, Jones, Harkless, Ayon, Nicholson, O’Quinn, Vucevic. I was high on many of these guys coming out of college and they’re proving to be promising NBA players already. In three years, after landing a few more lottery picks, this team is going to be scary. Mark my words. (It should also be noted that prior to the game Matt Moore reported Karl revealed that the Nuggets had Nicholson above Fournier on their board and would have taken him if the Magic had not. This, makes me very, very happy. Nicholson is going to be a stud in the not so distant future. You watch.)
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