|Danilo Gallinari, SF 30 MIN | 1-8 FG | 3-3 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | +10
As Joel tweeted during the game, Gallo’s scoring average has decreased from 19 points per game in January, to 16 in February and now 13.6 in March. He’s been injured, but you have to wonder just how much that is affecting his play. If he’s in more pain than he’s leading us to believe, it’s probably best he sits a few more games so that he’s ready to play when the playoffs arrive.
|Kenneth Faried, SF 20 MIN | 4-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | +3
Faried was frenetic in every sense of the word. He had a nice, solid game but was almost too wild for his own good at times, letting routine rebounds slip through his hands more than once. Nevertheless, he made up for it with his hustle which is always admirable.
|Kosta Koufos, C 26 MIN | 10-11 FG | 2-3 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 22 PTS | +10
Koufos’ best game as a Nugget? You tell me. I’ve said forever that as long as he puts himself in the proper position on the floor to make a play, things will fall into place. That’s exactly what he did tonight. He was constantly moving into open space and cutting towards the basket at the right time for a tip-back or alley-oop. He also did a great job on the boards and made excellent, calculated decisions all night. This was a new career high in points scored for Koufos, beating his old career high by one.
|Ty Lawson, PG 36 MIN | 8-13 FG | 2-4 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | +17
This is how far Lawson has come: He didn’t score a point in the first half yet finished one shy of 20 on the night. He’s getting to the point where he knows when and where to really turn it on — and for his competition, that’s a scary thing. It’s worth noting that his last three points came from a desperation heave just inside half court as time was expiring in the waning seconds of the game.
|Andre Iguodala, SG 30 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-3 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +11
Nights like these tend to subdue Iguodala’s main strengths. He didn’t have a premier counterpart to try and shut down and wasn’t hitting his shots, therefore he tended to blend in. Still, he finished with a respectable stat line considering just how easy the Nuggets coasted to the win in the second half.
|Corey Brewer, SF 26 MIN | 7-16 FG | 4-6 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 20 PTS | +7
Twenty points in 26 minutes from a bench player is nothing to scoff at. Brewer can be wildly inconsistent but continues to score well into double digits on a regular basis. Against the Suns he spent most of his time out on the break and cutting to the basket, which are by far his biggest strengths, offensively speaking.
|JaVale McGee, C 18 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-1 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +1
His stats do not tell the story; not in any way. McGee was unbelievably bad tonight. For those who claim I’m a McGee hater, please, spare me. I love this kid. Just like J.R. Smith, I think it’s ridiculous Karl plays games with his head. You should either have faith in a guy and let him do his thing or not play him at all if he’s really that bad. McGee deserves more minutes and freedom but on nights like these I can at least understand where Karl is coming from. McGee was doing almost nothing to help his team. He was constantly out of position, late on his rotations (sometimes not even rotating at all), falling for every pump fake that came his way and even fouling away from the ball on multiple occasions. He had a monster dunk — WHEN DOES HE NOT?!? The fact is: McGee needs to take his destiny into his own hands and start playing smarter, more fundamental basketball. Karl deserves blame for not helping him with this, but McGee is still a grown ass man. It’s time to put Shaqtin’ a Fool in his rear view mirror.
|Andre Miller, PG 27 MIN | 3-7 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | +12
Miller was pretty inconsistent. He had a few nice dimes and drives to the rack but also had a couple of boneheaded turnovers. He also played spotty defense for most of the night. On one possession he didn’t even try to close out. He just stood there. Staring at his man. With his hands by his side.
|Wilson Chandler, SG 27 MIN | 5-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 11 PTS | +4
Chandler didn’t have a potent night offensively but was still efficient, which is what matters most. The best part of his performance was that instead of hoisting up bad shots he made himself useful by hitting the glass and playing solid defense. That’s really all you can ask from anybody who’s not feeling it on a given night in the NBA.
The Nuggets played sloppy, unorganized, unprepared basketball in the first half but clearly refocused at halftime and came out with a vengeance. Karl deserves credit for this. In the end, his team won by 15 on the road against a team who’s had some quality wins as of late. That’s about as good as it gets.
Three Things We Saw
- Don’t get Knicked: The Nuggets are tied for their longest winning streak all year. Defeating the Knicks on Wednesday would mean 10 straight wins. Of course, beating the Knicks means much more than that, but beating the Knicks and getting to 10 straights wins on the same night would likely mean a lot to everyone on the Nuggets roster, including George Karl.
- 55-plus centered: The Nuggets have 43 wins at the moment. There are 17 games remaining on the schedule, so cracking 50 wins seems inevitable at this point. The real question is, how far past 50 can they get? The Nuggets play the Knicks and Grizzlies at home, followed by the Bulls and Thunder on the road, but after that their schedule eases up tremendously. If the Nuggets keep playing at this level, breaking the team’s all-time single season record for wins is certainly within the realm of possibility.
- Dunk till the death: As I mentioned on Twitter, JaVale McGee and DeAndre Jordan should enter a dunk-off together. Each gets the opportunity to dunk on the other until someone ceases to remain alive. At that point, the contest would conclude and a winner would be crowned. Let’s just hope it’s McGee.
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