This one was a loss from the start, as the Nuggets came out flat and never really recovered. Defense was nowhere to be found (especially from beyond the arc), offense was tough to come by and in the end the Hornets simply out-played the Nuggets in nearly every aspect of the game. Unfortunately for Denver, one game after losing to snap their franchise-record winning streak the Nuggets must go on the road to face one of the best teams in the league in San Antonio.
|Danilo Gallinari, SF 33 MIN | 5-12 FG | 10-10 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 24 PTS | -10
On a night when everybody was dead Gallo at least showed up offensively. He didn’t do much besides shoot, but take away even six of his 24 points and the Nuggets get blown out by 30.
|Kenneth Faried, SF 25 MIN | 4-6 FG | 5-6 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | -14
Faried gets credit for at least playing with energy; however, this was not his night. There were countless defensive possessions where he gave up way too much room to his man, allowing him to hit an open three, and others where Faried simply lost whoever he was guarding. He also got bullied down low for most of the night — which isn’t anything new.
|Kosta Koufos, C 20 MIN | 1-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -6
I can’t even remember Koufos being in the game and he played 20 minutes. That’s not a good sign.
|Andre Miller, PG 39 MIN | 3-5 FG | 3-4 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 9 PTS | -28
Oh boy. Here we go. Where do I start? Miller’s defense was a joke, as usual. (And before you get on me, or anybody else at RMC for playing favorites or holding a grudge against Miller, please go back and re-watch this game. Pay close attention to Miller on defense and tell us what you see.) His hands were down all night; he repeatedly lost his man and lollygagged down the court like he was taking a walk in the park. Matt said he counted at least four possessions where Miller lost his man (and looked like he didn’t care); I counted about the same amount where his man went to shoot and Miller just stared at the ball waiting to see if it dropped in rather than actually try and prevent it from going in. This loss can’t be squarely pinned on Miller, but it’s worth noting he didn’t do much to help the Nuggets win either. His minus 28 was the worst of any player on the team, while his counterpart, an undrafted rookie from Dayton finished with 18 assists and the exact opposite of Miller’s plus-minus with a game-high plus 28.
|Andre Iguodala, SG 35 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-4 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -23
Igguodala spent more time trying to run the point this game than we’ve seen in the past. Judging by how bad Miller was playing and how good the Hornets’ point guard was playing, it would have been nice to see Iguodala run the point some more. Otherwise, he was pretty ineffective in all aspects of the game.
|Jordan Hamilton, SF 11 MIN | 2-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | -9
Hamilton took some bad shots, but in this type of game it’s not like it really mattered. He also hit a few buckets and looked like he was trying to make something happen, unlike his teammates.
|Corey Brewer, SF 27 MIN | 4-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 9 PTS | -26
Like Faried, Brewer gets points for hustling. He couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn but at least he was playing active defense and trying to force the Hornets into turning the ball over.
|JaVale McGee, C 11 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -9
McGee’s night was pretty bland. He didn’t play enough to even get his engine turning, but he also didn’t do much in his small amount of time either.
|Wilson Chandler, SG 30 MIN | 3-10 FG | 5-7 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 11 PTS | +1
Chandler was trying to play defense. He was also trying to drive to the bucket. Those are the two staples of success for the Nuggets since their streak began. His shot wasn’t falling either but at least he stuck to the gameplan that’s won the Nuggets 15 straight up to this point.
This loss was more on the players than it was Karl. Nobody had energy. Nobody really seemed to care much. You could tell he gave somewhat of a rousing speech at halftime as his team played well out of the break, however that luster quickly faded. My biggest gripe with Karl this game was his instance on playing Miller more than anybody else on the roster. In a game when the Nuggets were being badly out-rebounded Miller saw more minutes than McGee and Koufos combined. In a game where they were being repeatedly torched on the pick-and-roll and from long range Miller is the last person you want in the game, yet Karl blindly stuck with him. Karl didn’t do much to make the Nuggets lose but he didn’t do too much to help them win either. Plus, who knows how the game might have unfolded if Miller’s minutes (and atrocious defense) were more limited.
Three Things We Saw
- Thuggets loss: It’s somewhat fitting that the Nuggets franchise record 15-game winning streak came to a halt on the road against a lottery-bound team starting three rookies (one undrafted; one from the second round) all while getting completely exposed from the 3-point line. The recent winning streak was more than any Nuggets fan could have asked for. I didn’t even think this team was capable of something like that. But in the end it just seems proper that the Nuggets beat themselves rather than actually losing to a better team, as that’s been a hallmark of Karl-coached teams in Denver since he arrived.
- Boards and threes: The reason the Nuggets lost this game is simple: They didn’t come to play; however if you had to put your finger on the specifics, you’d likely land on the glass and on the 3-point line. The Nuggets got out-rebounded all night long (45-33 in the end) and their perimeter defense was nonexistent. The Hornets rattled off 25 3-pointers, making 14 of them, and weren’t even challenged for most of the night.
- Road remaining: The Nuggets have 10 more games left this season. Outside of two against the Spurs, it seems as though every one is highly winnable. Even if the Nuggets go 5-5 down the stretch they’ll still tie their best team record for one season. Going 6-4 would set a new franchise record. Given how well the team has played lately, anything less than a new single-season franchise wins record would be extremely disappointing, as it would also likely mean they’d lose home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
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