The Nuggets dropped a heart breaker in San Antonio tonight as they struggled for stretches to contain Tony Parker and Danny Green. Denver had a shot at the buzzer but things broke down and Andre Miller was unable to hit a difficult shot in the lane.
|Danilo Gallinari, SF 31 MIN | 3-9 FG | 6-6 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 12 PTS | -21
Gallo had a nice stretch in the second half where he got to the line and scored some points, but for the entire first half he was invisible and his final possession was nothing short of a disaster. Gallo had an old unathletic Manu Ginobili and then Tiago Splitter on him and instead picked up his dribble outside the three point line with two seconds left on the clock before hot potatoing the ball to Andre Miller. It is becoming a bigger and bigger challenge for Gallo to score as opponents are not helping off him as far and making him break them down off the dribble. Against an athletic wing player like Kahwi Leonard tonight Gallo struggles. Also, on the defensive end Gallo was matched up on Danny Green and repeatedly got sucked too far in on help and burned from deep by both Green and at one point later on Leonard.
|Kenneth Faried, SF 22 MIN | 6-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | 0
While Gallo was invisible in the first half Faried was invisible for the Nuggets in half two, though it was not totally his fault. Faried only had 2 points and 1 rebound in the second half but his minutes were dramatically cut because JaVale McGee was fantastic and needed to be on the floor.
|Kosta Koufos, C 20 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -17
Koufos was, well there tonight. He finished his chances and grabbed some boards but again with the way McGee played the minutes were severely limited.
|Ty Lawson, PG 20 MIN | 1-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -19
Lawson was clearly not ready to be back, especially in a game like this. He air balled two shots in a row in the second half and we never saw him again after the break that followed those possessions.
|Andre Iguodala, SG 37 MIN | 4-9 FG | 2-3 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -2
Iguodala created very well in the first half for the Nuggets as he posted 5 assists and scored in the second half putting in 8 of his 10 points. His defense was better than most of the Nuggets perimeter players because he was athletic enough to recover to the shooters if he had to help. Most the night he was paired against Leonard who only scored 11 points, and 3 of those I remember as being when Iguodala was on the bench and Gallinari was sucked to far into the paint in help. Still the Nuggets needed him to create a bit more in the second half and he was unable to do so, which kept him from being graded much better than Gallo.
|Corey Brewer, SF 22 MIN | 3-10 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +14
Tonight was a night Brewer would like to forget. He had a dismal end of the first half when he took a bad shot too early in the clock and then compounded the mistake by getting beat back in transition and fouling Danny Green. Add to that the threes that were opened up when he gambled too far off Green or others and the seven missed shots and you get an ugly, ugly night for Corey.
|JaVale McGee, C 26 MIN | 10-11 FG | 1-1 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 21 PTS | +14
McGee was incredible for Denver tonight. He was incredibly active on both ends of the floor, rolling hard to the basket on offense and making proper rotations and contesting shots on defense. He even rebounded tonight, which is one of the things he can struggle at. It was one of those nights where you just sit and imagine what the Nuggets could be if JaVale was able to consistently play this way.
|Andre Miller, PG 28 MIN | 7-18 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 8 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | +18
Miller took five more shots than any other Nugget tonight despite shooting under 50 percent. There were wild drives that produced nothing close to points or good shots, and other bad shots that happened to go in. Sure he had 8 assists but he also had 3 turnovers. And all of that is before we get to the defensive end of the court. The following are a few notes I took of things that happened, since I will have a post on Miller’s defense coming up with some video in the near future. (Just randomly points and confuses everyone,gets screened and stands around and watches rest of the play, let someone go right by him in transition to the rim, Miller loses man for layup.) As I said the a post with video will be coming, but the defensive end is getting worse and worse for Miller and it is becoming inexcusable because most of the problem is just plain effort.
|Wilson Chandler, SG 34 MIN | 6-13 FG | 3-3 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +8
Chandler was another no show in the second half of the game as he didn’t score a point. He helped keep the game close in the first half by attacking the rim and finishing through contact but in the second half he fell back into the trap of taking mid range jumpers, which is when he becomes ineffective.
Karl did all the things we ask of him and it put the Nuggets in position to win the game, despite sub-par performances from some players. He rode JaVale when he was playing well, closing the game with him. He got a tech protecting his players, even if the timing was not great. He never went small, though that was more a product of not having Lawson available in the second half. The only problem I had was the final play that was drawn up as I would have like to see some more motion than what happened. But in the end he got a player that the Nuggets and fans think should be the closer the ball and he made a bad decision with it.
Three Things We Saw
- Ty isn’t right: Lawson played 20 minutes, but he was clearly not the Lawson that the Nuggets have grown accustomed too. This should serve as a warning to the Nuggets. I know they are in the running for the three seed, but Lawson’s health has to come first. Sit him until he is completely ready and not any time before that. Otherwise the playoffs will be a short stay.
- The Nuggets need Ty: Lawson has become the Nuggets late game go to player and the final possession tonight was one he would normally get. While the repetition for Gallinari is a good thing it seemed like he panicked a bit and picked up his dribble too early. Lawson would normally have the ball in that situation and I would assume have created something a bit better.
- 0 for from 3 means an L: We know the Nuggets struggle to shoot the ball but tonight was another reminder. The Nuggets won’t beat good teams without making threes and without Lawson, they really only had one good shooter get minutes. It is another reoccurring problem and one that looks like it will end up being the death of the Nuggets this season, whenever that comes.
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