|Danilo Gallinari, SF 35 MIN | 7-12 FG | 4-6 FT | 8 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 21 PTS | +17Gallo had a very effective night, helping in almost every aspect of the game and coming up big in the second half. He had 15 second half points and a big three that put the Nuggets up 11 late and virtually sealed the game. Gallo also posted eight rebounds, including a couple of big offensive boards, and six assists, which were nice additions to his scoring and helped him post the highest plus/minus on the team for the night, with a +17.|
|Kenneth Faried, SF 30 MIN | 4-12 FG | 1-1 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +2While Faried put the exclamation point on the Nuggets fourth quarter run with a dunk and a block, his night was average at best. A continuing problem, Faried struggled with David Lee, allowing Lee to post 23 points , 13 rebounds , and 6 assists. Faried also left his guards out to dry at points, as he played to far underneath screens to help, allowing Steph Curry to bomb away. With the Warriors looming as a potential playoff opponent, the Nuggets need to figure out a way to get around Faried’s struggles with stretch fours.|
|Kosta Koufos, C 21 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +2Kofous was solid but unspectacular in his 20 minutes. His first half, where he scored 6 points and had 4 offensive rebounds, helped the Nuggets stay close but he only played 9 minutes in the second half; as the Nuggets went small with Gallo and Chandler both seeing time at the four, and most of the remaining center minutes went to JaVale.|
|Ty Lawson, PG 33 MIN | 6-14 FG | 6-6 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | 0Lawson was the other main reason the game was close at halftime, as he got off to a scorching start scoring 16 first half points. While those 16 points were as many as the rest of the starters combined, he let Steph Curry catch fire and added just four points and three assists in the second half. Still without his energy and scoring punch in the first half who knows where the Nuggets would have been at halftime.|
|Andre Iguodala, SG 32 MIN | 4-11 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 5 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | -3Iguodala was another Nugget who only really appeared for a half, but he gets a half grade edge over Lawson because of his defensive effort. The game seemed to swing after Iggy stole a pass away from Klay Thompson for an easy dunk then forced Thompson to throw the pass out of bounds giving the Nuggets back the ball, and continuing Thompson’s miserable night. But as good as his second half was Iguodala seemed to sleepwalk a bit offensively in the first half as he went 1-6 from the field, including 0-4 from behind the line. For someone who is expected to be aggressive and help create offense for teammates it was an ugly, passive half.|
|Anthony Randolph, PF 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | 0Inconclusive.|
|Jordan Hamilton, SF 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0Inconclusive.|
|Corey Brewer, SF 22 MIN | 5-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 13 PTS | +10Brewer really showed up in the second half, scoring 9 of his 13 points and along with Miller and Iguodala really turned up the pressure on the Warriors guards. That defensive intensity really swung the game and allowed the Nuggets to make their run so it was no surprise that Brewer posted a +10 for the night.|
|JaVale McGee, C 20 MIN | 2-3 FG | 5-8 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +10JaVale wasn’t spectacular tonight but he was effective, and he made his foul shots, which allowed him to stay on the floor late in the game. But as impressive as the 5-8 from the line was, the one rebound (which was offensive) wasn’t. Simply put as a seven footer with incredible athleticism McGee needs to grab more rebounds when he is on the floor, especially on the defensive end.|
|Andre Miller, PG 25 MIN | 5-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 8 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | +12Miller was fantastic tonight. Offensively he was in control and attacking the basket and his ball pressure defensively, along with Iguodala and Brewer, helped change the game. His strip of Jarrett Jack and ensuing layup came right in the middle of a big Nuggets run that gave them control of the game in the fourth quarter. Add 12 points, six rebounds and eight assists to that defense and it was hard to find a problem with his game.|
|Evan Fournier, SG 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0Inconclusive.|
|Wilson Chandler, SG 21 MIN | 6-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | +5Chandler was great in his return, and for a while was one of the only Nuggets playing well offensively. He attacked the basket when available, knocked down a couple threes and made some steals defensively. There were a couple of questionable shots, but that could be expected due to some rust that was sure to be there. For a while I wondered if Karl would use him to close the game, instead of Faried, but it turned out to not be a problem. The addition of Chandler to the bench as another versatile athlete and scoring threat should really help the Nuggets.|
|George KarlThe Nuggets game plan of pressuring the Warriors guards and trapping side pick-and-rolls was great, and unexpected. While it took so long into the season to start to see, the defensive effort has to be attributed some to Karl. Now the real question is, will it last? Chandler should help some as the Nuggets now gain another bench body to use, and a versatile, athletic one at that. The combinations that will start to be seen should be interesting and for Nuggets fans after tonight, exciting.|
Three Things We Saw
- The Good: The Nuggets only turned the ball over eight times on the night, and one of those was by Anthony Randolph in the closing seconds of the game. The seven turnovers that came from the main rotation players were under half of what the team had been averaging. The lack of turnovers, combined with the turnovers the team forced, gave the Nuggets seven more shots than the Warriors, which was big with how well Golden State shot.
- The Bad: The Warriors shot 54.2 percent from three on the night, and it wasn’t because they only shot a couple of them. Golden State was able to get clean look after clean look, especially in the first three quarters. The Nuggets bigs didn’t do a good enough job of hedging on screens set for Curry and it allowed the sweet shooting guard to get clean looks that he drilled throughout the night. The guards also left shooters to help on drives and didn’t do a good enough job of running those open shooters off the line. Luckily their pressure late in the game made it not matter.
- The Unexpected: For the first time this season the Nuggets looked like what we expected the Nuggets to look like. Heavy ball pressure, different guys making plays, it was all there. The ball pressure in the second half allowed for overplays in the passing lanes, run out opportunities and a general disruption of the Warriors offense. It will be interesting to see how often we see these Nuggets now that they have made an appearance, but it was an encouraging sign at the very least.
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