|Danilo Gallinari, SF 36 MIN | 6-13 FG | 3-4 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 0 TO | 18 PTS | +4
Gallinari might be the quietest 17 points-per-game scorer in the NBA. It seems like every time I turn around he’s scored in the high teens or low 20s, yet I never remember anything outside of a few threes, free throws and drives to the basket. His game has really evolved over the last month or so. What stood out most this game, however, was his three blocks. Gallinari’s defense continues to impress and shows he’s committed to his team, and not just himself.
|Kenneth Faried, SF 20 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | +2
Faried had a monster block and several big rebounds. Other than that he was nowhere to be found. Contrary to popular belief, Faried has been pretty inconsistent at times this season. He’s had plenty of games like this where he simply doesn’t show up. If he’s gonna be a big part of this team moving forward he needs to be held accountable like everybody else.
|Kosta Koufos, C 29 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -6
Where did he go? Koufos started off the game with a bang. He was active on the offensive glass and had multiple follow-ups and hook shots that were surprisingly well executed. Then, he just disappeared. It should also be noted that Koufos played strong man defense throughout the game.
|Ty Lawson, PG 33 MIN | 8-15 FG | 3-4 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 21 PTS | +2
This was one of Lawson’s best games of the year in terms of pushing the pace. He also shot the ball and attacked the rim with great confidence, which is something he has struggled with this season. In the second half (specifically the third quarter) Lawson utilized his speed to create for himself and his teammates in such a forceful manner that the Rockets defense simply broke down. He making himself look good, no doubt; but more importantly, he was making his teammates look even better.
|Andre Iguodala, SG 36 MIN | 5-11 FG | 4-5 FT | 6 REB | 5 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +3
Iguodala might very well be the most talented player on the Nuggets roster, but he’s had a difficult time realizing his abilities in George Karl’s offense. Every now and then we’ll see flashes, but often these acts of brilliance are watered down by what appears to be indecisiveness. I’d say without question Iguodala is the smartest player on the roster; however, his cerebral approach to the game can be more of a hindrance than an asset at times. Moving forward, it would be nice to see him handle the ball more and create for his teammates, as this would allow him to exercise his brain and help his team out in the process.
|Anthony Randolph, PF 2 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -5
|Corey Brewer, SF 22 MIN | 3-8 FG | 1-3 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +12
Brewer was quiet for most of the game but played good defense, as usual. He also hit a big 3-pointer and did a solid job of getting out on the break. When Chandler, Iguodala and him are on the court together, playing lock-down defense, the Nuggets have a whole new dimension to their team — and one that’s a joy to watch.
|JaVale McGee, C 16 MIN | 6-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +16
If JaVale rebounds slightly better, he’d likely receive an A-plus for this game. This isn’t to say he wasn’t without mistakes. He took a few bad shots and did normal JaVale things that worry you, but overall he was quite effective. Aside from scoring at an incredibly high rate, he also ran the floor extremely well and was focused for most of the game. The biggest storyline of JaVale’s performance was an ally-oop he threw to himself, which I’m sure you’ll see on SportsCenter sometime over the next day or so. This was of course capped by an odd celebration in which JaVale ran down the court, eyes wide as can be, holding his index finger (with a handlebar mustache tattooed on the inside) up to his lip. Though he’s turning George Karl’s hair more grey by the minute, you simply have to admire his fun-loving approach to the game.
|Andre Miller, PG 23 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | +5
I’m surprised to see Miller had such a simplistic stat line. I though he played fairly decent for most of the night. He didn’t make much of an impact, but he always seemed to be in the right place to move the offense along.
|Wilson Chandler, SG 24 MIN | 7-15 FG | 4-5 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | +17
This was Chandler’s best performance in a Nuggets uniform — at least, that I can remember. He started the game hoisting up jumpers but eventually they started to go in. Though his points are what might catch your eye, it was his defense and rebounding that were the story of the game. I cannot stress just how impressive his defense was. It was on par with what Brewer and Iguodala have been bringing all year. It was utterly fantastic. And the best part was how it immediately led to fast-break points. In the third quarter Chandler was wrecking havoc on the Rockets and was without question the catalyst that turned the game around for his team. If he plays with this type of defense effort every game, Nuggets fans are in for one hell of a treat the second half of the season.
I have no reason to give Karl anything but an A. For once the Nuggets came out prepared to play in the first quarter and never really hit any low points throughout the game. In fact, this was one of the first times all season that I actually remember being happy watching the Nuggets. (Sad, I know.) Their offense in the third quarter was a work of art. Ignited by Ty Lawson, the dribble-drive was in full effect and executed to perfection. At one point Nuggets broadcast announcer Chris Marlowe even emphatically stated, “That’s exactly what it’s supposed to look like!” I could not agree more. But of course, it was the defense that was the story of the game. The Nuggets were committed to this side of the floor for almost 48 minutes and played like they actually wanted to tear the Rockets up by stopping them, rather than shooting over them. This, to me, is how basketball should be played.
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