|Danilo Gallinari, SF 36 MIN | 7-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 23 PTS | +6
It appeared Gallo returned to his normal mode of production prior to be sidelined with an injury. He did most of his damage behind the arc with a sprinkling of mid-range, pull-up jumpers mixed in as well. Aside from scoring Gallo also had some really nice assists.
|Kenneth Faried, SF 21 MIN | 9-15 FG | 1-2 FT | 12 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | +20
This was one of my favorite games from Faried all year. His energy was great, as were his numbers, but I loved the way he did other things, like dribble the floor and attempt shots that were outside of his comfort zone. He pulled up for several jumpers, even one that was a turn-around, and seemed to be shooting them with confidence. He also dribbled the fastbreak with a tight handle and executed the pick-and-roll perhaps better than I’ve ever seen. Faried’s energy can only get him so far so it’s very pleasing to see him tackle other aspects of his game in an attempt to grow as an all-around ball player.
|Kosta Koufos, C 24 MIN | 6-9 FG | 3-3 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +8
Koufos can do so much by just being in the right position. I felt he was exposed on a few pick-and-rolls and failed to defend the Sacramento bigs as well as he could have, but he made up for it by getting a multitude of easy put backs and rebounds. Bottom line: He was extremely productive in the time given.
|Ty Lawson, PG 35 MIN | 8-16 FG | 6-12 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 24 PTS | +14
I haven’t been this thrilled to watch a certain Nuggets player since Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony were on the team. Lawson is not just playing basketball at this point; he’s growing as a person. His confidence is through the roof. He’s maturing. He’s understanding the nuances of the game and it’s all paying off in the form of some incredible basketball. He started the game off somewhat slow but overcame his struggles to lead the Nuggets in scoring, yet again. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for the rest of the season.
|Andre Iguodala, SG 33 MIN | 2-6 FG | 1-4 FT | 5 REB | 7 AST | 5 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 6 PTS | +10
Iguodala is just not a scorer. Although he will occasionally put up points, who doesn’t in the NBA? It’s his understanding of the game and commitment to defense that make him such a vital part of this team. Against the Kings his hands were everywhere, evident by his five steals. He also moved to open spaces with the ball, drew in defenders, then found an open man on more than one occasion. His eclecticism is what was on display tonight.
|Corey Brewer, SF 21 MIN | 1-3 FG | 3-4 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -1
It wasn’t like Brewer wasn’t there. He made a few nice plays on defense and was pretty active on that end of the floor all night. But he did blend in when the Nuggets went sloppy and never really recovered.
|JaVale McGee, C 21 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-1 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 4 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -7
McGee continues to oscillate wildly (two points to whoever gets that musical reference) and this game was by no means a departure from that standard. He had four high-flying blocks and a few monster jams, but he also failed to rebound the ball in any way and made a number of unnecessary mistakes. I’ll always side with his talent over Karl’s double-standard grudge he seemingly holds against him, but on nights like this I can at least understand where Karl is coming from… kind of.
|Andre Miller, PG 27 MIN | 8-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | -3
Why can’t Miller be like this all the time? Just shut up and play. Don’t talk to the media about how you’re on the brink of achieving some monumental status in your career and how you don’t plan on taking a back seat to anybody. You have nothing to worry about, man. George Karl is OBSESSED with you! Against the Kings, Miller went about his business quietly and effectively. He wasn’t playing hero ball, he was playing smart, calculated basketball and yet he still finished with a great stat line. This was exactly how he was playing prior to his statements in the paper and it’s exactly what the Nuggets need from him. Andre Miller is most effective when he’s trying to do the least amount of things on the court, plain and simple.
|Wilson Chandler, SG 21 MIN | 1-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -12
I couldn’t place Chandler all night. You want to talk about inconsistency? There is no player on the roster more inconsistent than Chandler. He was clearly dedicated to playing defense, which you have to admire, but 1-7 from the field won’t cut it. I really can’t put my finger on what it is that makes Chandler’s production fluctuate so much but I’m not sure playing him at power forward helps.
Karls’ rotations were somewhat wacky — as usual. He went with small ball way too long when it was clearly not working and should have played Faried way more considering how hot he was. Also, the Kings made a conscious effort to clog the paint, therefore making this an excellent opportunity to get Jordan Hamilton some run and space the floor. But… Karl stuck with his normal rotation and decided to grind it out, which the Nuggets eventually did. Aside from that, I felt he did a good job of corralling his guys at halftime when things were clearly out of control and getting them through this game handily at the end. It wasn’t always pretty, but a road win at this time of year, with this team, is hardly something you can complain about.