The Nuggets escape with their franchise record 15th straight win, 101-95 over the Sacramento Kings. It was also the Nuggets’ 17th straight win at the Pepsi Center. Grades follow the break.
|Danilo Gallinari, SF 36 MIN | 5-12 FG | 7-9 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | +10
Gallo continues to struggle with his shot, but tonight he did all the other little things to help the team win. He got to the line and made most of his free throws. He created a handful of easy scores for his teammates, including a great lob to McGee. He was active defensively, contesting shots, getting steals, and securing the ball. I would have liked to see him involved in more offensive sets.
|Kenneth Faried, SF 38 MIN | 7-12 FG | 3-4 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | +14
Faried was up and down this game. He had some offensive struggles, shooting the first airball of the night, missing multiple attempts at the rim, and committing a charge late in the fourth quarter. He also had some moments of great energy and effectiveness, such as beating everyone down the court after a Kings bucket, erasing a fast-break layup by Isaiah Thomas, and grabbing some tough rebounds in traffic.
|Kosta Koufos, C 26 MIN | 5-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | +16
Kosta tends to struggle defending the post against offensively talented bigs like Cousins. He was getting abused at times, but did come up with the occasional stop, including a big defensive stand late. He hit a pair of important shots down the stretch that gave the Nuggets a bit of separation.
|Andre Miller, PG 34 MIN | 4-12 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 11 PTS | -4
Andre Miller struggled for most of tonight. He had trouble keeping his man out of the paint, which led to a lot of team defensive breakdowns. He shot very poorly. He made more good passes than bad passes, but not by his normal margin. With the game on the line, he came up with a huge three point play, and he hit his free throws to ice the game.
|Andre Iguodala, SG 37 MIN | 5-16 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 8 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 15 PTS | +7
In the absence of Ty Lawson, Iggy took the bulk of the Nuggets’ shots, including half a dozen midrange jumpers that all missed. He looked to get his teammates involved more as the game went on, and finished with a team high 8 assists. He was effective, but not dominant, defensively.
|Anthony Randolph, PF 16 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-2 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | -6
In what proved to be a pattern for Nuggets bigs tonight, Anthony Randolph shot an airball that luckily went right to JaVale McGee for an easy dunk. It was overall a strange night for AR15. He took more jumpers than seemed wise, missed his only two free throws, and committed two fairly stupid fouls. He rebounded fairly well when he played alongside another big, but struggled a bit when he was playing as a center.
|Corey Brewer, SF 26 MIN | 1-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 3 STL | 2 BLK | 4 TO | 2 PTS | -6
Corey Brewer plays on the edge of being out of control. Some nights he leads a great comeback, like against Philadelphia. Other nights, like tonight, he wastes possessions by putting up ugly shots. His defensive gambling led to a bunch of easy points for the Kings, and even when he came up with steals, he tended to give the ball right back.
|JaVale McGee, C 13 MIN | 5-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 11 PTS | -11
During JaVale’s limited playing time, he was getting abused defensively and wasn’t grabbing rebounds on the few occasions where the Kings missed shots. One one block attempt, he smacked the underside of the rim for a goaltend. He also shot an airball that, luckily, went right to Anthony Randolph. He redeemed himself slightly by getting to the rim for four dunks and a layup.
|Julyan Stone, PG 14 MIN | 1-1 FG | 3-4 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +10
Julyan Stone didn’t put up much in the way of stats, but he was phenomenal in his few minutes on the court. He hounded his assignment defensively, causing multiple bad shots and a turnover. Offensively, he went to the rim and challenged the Kings’ interior defense, making a layup and drawing fouls. The flow of the offense was very good when he was in the game.
With two rotation players out, Karl came up with a rotation for this game and stuck with it. At times, it really worked — the Nuggets at one point held a 15 point lead. At other times, it didn’t work. As the Kings slowly whittled away the Nuggets’ lead in the third quarter, Karl allowed the team to play on without making adjustments or substitutions. At times, I think Karl and the Nuggets made this game harder than it had to be, but in the end the Nuggets did get the win against an inferior team.
Three Things We Saw
- Deeply missed: The offense runs like a machine when Ty Lawson is in the game, but has gone through some bad dry spells without him. Likewise, Wilson Chandler’s versatile abilities are hard to replace.
- Deeply strong: The Nuggets bench is a tremendous asset. Each game, it seems a different unheralded player steps up and makes a big contribution to the win. It’s a great luxury to have solid players like Stone and Randolph who can play a part when others are injured.
- Deeply appreciative: as a fan, it can be frustrating to watch the team struggle to win home games against lottery teams. But at the end of the day, fifteen straight wins is a special thing.
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