|Danilo Gallinari, SF 36 MIN | 7-14 FG | 5-7 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 22 PTS | +14
Gallo’s night was highlighted by an incredible, off-balance trick shot that was the pinnacle of the Nuggets surge in the fourth quarter; but he played well all night. This might have been the most confident I’ve seen him shoot in a while. He didn’t even think of hesitating. He also played excellent defense and had a few very impressive blocks. Gallo’s truly coming into his own right now.
|Kenneth Faried, SF 30 MIN | 5-11 FG | 3-4 FT | 10 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | +8
Faried played very underwhelming for most of the night, but turned it on in the fourth quarter. And by turned it on, I mean TURNED IT ON. He was all over the place, getting blocks, steals, rebounds and nasty dunks. His energy has wavered lately but as long as he comes through when the Nuggets need it, that’s all that matters. He also played great defense in the fourth quarter.
|Kosta Koufos, C 17 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | 0
Koufos was struggling most of the night. He missed really easy shots and even had trouble defending, which is something he’s usually best at. Just not a great night for Koufos all around, although it’s good to see he found way to contribute on the glass.
|Ty Lawson, PG 37 MIN | 6-11 FG | 9-11 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 22 PTS | +8
Ty struggles with his assertiveness at times. You could see this game. After getting his shot blocked by Sanders he wasn’t as driven to penetrate as he had been. What I’ve noticed is that he’s starting to overcome his hesitance faster than he has in the past. Against the Bucks he recovered from a lull in the middle of the game and was all over the place in the fourth quarter. His jump shot was smooth and precise and his defense was even on par with some of the Nuggets wings.
|Andre Iguodala, SG 32 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-2 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 4 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | +10
Excellent defense from Iguodala. Every time you turned around he had his arms in the dribbling vicinity of his opponent, knocking the ball loose. He did struggle a bit offensively and got caught several times trying to find one of his teammates after dribbling into the lane and stopping, instead of making a move one way or the other. But again, his defense was overwhelming this game.
|Corey Brewer, SF 27 MIN | 6-13 FG | 7-9 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 20 PTS | +14
This is a patented Corey Brewer-Denver Nuggets basketball game. He’s done this so many times throughout the season and it’s helped the Nuggets win so many games in the process. How he does it is by being active — more than anybody else on the floor. He’s up and down, in and out, cutting, finding the open spots on the floor and then converting when his team needs it most. His defense was great, not only the fourth quarter, but the entire game as well.
|JaVale McGee, C 18 MIN | 3-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 4 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -11
I thought McGee was sound for about 17 minutes. He had a few mistakes (i.e., fouls) but otherwise, he was exactly what the Nuggets need him to be. I can’t even remember how many nice tips, deflections and rebounds he had that were savvy and helped his team recover the ball. He also played very good help defense, evident by his four blocks on the night.
|Andre Miller, PG 22 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 9 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -2
Miller got a little selfish at times and took some ill-advised shots, but otherwise he was fantastic. His distribution was up there with some of the best games he’s had all year. Not only were his passes on target, but they were smart and deceptive.
|Wilson Chandler, SG 21 MIN | 3-11 FG | 1-2 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | -1
Chandler needs to figure out how to take better shots. I think this means driving more. The Nuggets offense is predicated of driving to the lane and Chandler is usually at his best when he’s participating. He also can’t settle for jump shots. He’s just not a good jump shooter. His defense and rebounding were awesome though. As long as he keeps those up, his offense will fall into place.
Talk about a complete shift in momentum. I was baffled most of this game. I could not believe how well the Bucks were playing and how poorly the Nuggets were defending. Above all else, I could not understand why Karl didn’t come up with a better scheme to prevent the Bucks from penetrating. I know it’s not his style, but even trying a zone defense would have at least given the Bucks something else to try and combat. Instead, Milwaukee pick-and-rolled the Nuggets to death until the fourth quarter came around and their backcourt started hoisting up jumpers. Additionally, the Nuggets were getting killed inside and not once did Karl go with a taller lineup so that one big could roam with the pick-and-roll while the other stayed home to protect the paint. Where he deserves credit is for the fourth quarter. He obviously had a great speech before the final 12 minutes and implemented an effective gameplan that relied on energetic, suffocating defense and getting out on the break.
Three Things We Saw
- “Buck”ets: This might have been the best an opponent has played at the Pepsi Center all year. The Bucks were incredible for most of the night. Their offense was shifty and their ball movement, crisp as morning. For whatever reason they collapsed in the fourth (see: backcourt hero ball), but otherwise, they deserved to win this game.
- Baby Blue Believer: I’m not reserved in any way when it comes to declaring my feelings towards this team. As I’ve said many times, I’m a full-fledged cynic. I was beyond prepared to write a “I told you so” type of recap tonight. I had backup bullet points and content for days, yet here I sit, the game complete and I’m still coming to grips with the idea that the Nuggets actually won. There are obviously still a lot of concerns I have about this team, but the way they’ve played at home this year is hard to quibble with. If they can somehow figure out how to win on the road, this team could be scary come playoff time.
- Besties: The Nuggets have had a few really good wins this year, but in terms of proving something, I think this might have been the most telling win of the season. They had no business winning this game but figured out a way to get it done. I don’t know, this very well could have been the best win of the year (up to this point), all things considered.
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