|Danilo Gallinari, SF 34 MIN | 10-17 FG | 3-6 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 4 BLK | 3 TO | 27 PTS | +8
This was one of Gallo’s best games on the season. He was efficient and played excellent defense, evident by his four blocks on the night. He also hit countless big shot, four of which came from downtown with a hand in his face. I’ve often said one of the true marks of a star is his ability to hit tough shots with consistency; and while Gallo is by no means a star, he’s hitting tougher shots with more frequency as the season progresses. If nothing else, he’s the Nuggets star at the moment.
|Kenneth Faried, SF 33 MIN | 6-8 FG | 7-8 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 19 PTS | +14
This was weird. I was watching Faried all game. He was playing with high energy, as usual. He was getting to the line and scored a bucket here and there. Then all of a sudden I looked up and he had 19 points. I couldn’t figure it out. I guess it goes to show just how effective he can be when he brings it on a consistent basis and doesn’t back down.
|Kosta Koufos, C 20 MIN | 3-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | -5
Koufos was pretty standard. He came in when the Nuggets needed a defensive presence up front and did his job.
|Ty Lawson, PG 33 MIN | 4-12 FG | 7-8 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | +1
Lawson was incredibly passive for three quarters of the game. He wasn’t driving or shooting with the type of confidence we’ve seen of late, yet he still managed to finish the game with 16 points. It wasn’t his best outing, but he was influential late in the game when the Nuggets rallied for a huge fourth quarter lead.
|Andre Iguodala, SG 37 MIN | 5-13 FG | 4-6 FT | 5 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 6 TO | 15 PTS | -7
Take away the six missed 3-pointers and Iguodala has another excellent outing. His defense on Harden was great — that’s to be expected — and for most of the game he played well on offense. But there was a stretch where he took one three after another, all of which clanked hard against the rim and had no chance of going in. Just to clarify: Iguodala is shooting .312 percent from downtown on the season. It would be nice to see him ease up on the long-distance shots every now and then.
|Corey Brewer, SF 20 MIN | 2-8 FG | 4-7 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +4
Brewer had a rough night shooting but his defense and energy was there. That’s about all you can ask for. He did a nice job of getting out on the break too.
|Timofey Mozgov, C 13 MIN | 3-3 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | -2
I continue to be amazed at the phenomenon that is Timofey Mozgov. He’s been in the league for three years now, yet often looks like he arrived last week. He’ll go from shooting an air ball to knocking down a nothing-but-net 10-foot jumper in the span of a few plays. He’s improved, but he’s also remained inept in more ways than one. Nevertheless, he sets solid picks and plays the best man defense of any big on the Nuggets roster. That’s worth something. Let’s just hope another team realizes this so that he can get to playing and Anthony Randolph can get to being the rightful backup power forward on the Nuggets roster — like he deserves to be.
|Andre Miller, PG 25 MIN | 6-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +22
Miller drives me up a wall; yet I love his game so much. This is the story of my grading experience with him. Against the Rockets he sagged off his opponent way too much and played lazy defense in general, but he also had 12 huge points and controlled the offense like the true veteran that he is. Did I mention his 12 buckets were big?
|Wilson Chandler, SG 25 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | +5
If we know anything about Wilson Chandler it’s this: He’s a good rebounder, he plays hard on defense and he also takes one too many awful shots. I love his tenacity on defense and the way he goes after loose balls, but somebody has to take him aside and teach him the art of shooting in rhythm and in the flow of the offense.
I will continue to stand by my mantra: winning matters most. I don’t care how it happens. The fact is, at the end of the game you either win or you lose and right now the Nuggets are winning. I did not understand why they decided to switch on defense. That was a game-plan that clearly backfired. Also, the Nuggets defense in general was bad. Giving up 110 points to anybody is unacceptable. But Karl clearly got to his team before the fourth quarter started because the Nuggets came out with a vengeance and energy that we’ve only seen the likes of several times this season. If the Nuggets play more consistent on defense and don’t switch as much, Karl would likely be getting an A here.
Three Things We Saw
- Identity Theft: The Nuggets have played the Rockets three times this season and won every time; however, that isn’t to say they’ve all been a walk in the park. The Nuggets have struggled getting back in transition and at times Houston packs the paint which creates another problem for the Nuggets: shooting. It’s nice to see Karl adjust but I still maintain the Nuggets need to figure out ways to effectively break down zone defenses and any other game-plan that prevents them from getting into the paint, or else they’ll be in trouble come playoff time.
- $10 Million Teammate: JaVale McGee takes a lot of heat (specifically from his coach) for his decisions on the floor. He’s flamboyant, he’s sometimes out of control, but I don’t think anybody can argue he’s a bad guy. McGee has been sidelined for two games now due to injury yet he’s been the best cheerleader on the Nuggets bench. He doesn’t complain about not starting, he never criticizes anybody, he always at least tries to do what Karl wants him to. The point is: For a guy who gets criticized as much as he does despite ranking top 10 in the NBA in blocks and leading his team in PER while only getting 18 minutes per game, McGee is awfully energetic about the success of his own teammates.
- Facial Hair Facade: Am I the only one who think James Harden is a bit overrated? Yes, he puts up a lot of points and a pretty nice stat line overall, but he’s also shooting only .438 percent from the field. And while he makes some pretty passes here and there, what exactly does he do to improve his teammates? Harden shoots like there’s no tomorrow and the drives to the lane with the sole purpose of creating contact by any means necessary, instead of trying to score or creating opportunities for others. I don’t know. I guess I just don’t see all the hype through that incredibly thick beard of his.
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