|Danilo Gallinari, SF 42 MIN | 8-14 FG | 6-8 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 25 PTS | -1
What I loved most about this game was how efficiently Gallo scored. He didn’t force anything. He mixed long-range shots with drives and put-backs. I know Gallo has been playing very well lately, but consider this: In his last 10 games he’s averaging 20 points (on nearly 49 percent shooting from the floor), six boards and 2.5 assists per game. If Gallo keeps letting the game come to him, we’ll likely see this spike in production continue the rest of the season.
|Kenneth Faried, SF 31 MIN | 9-12 FG | 3-3 FT | 11 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 21 PTS | +7
As is often the case, Faried was the heart of his team’s performance for much of the night. At half he was on pace for a 30-point, 15-rebound game and while he didn’t achieve that feat he still put up a 20-and-10 night to go with an incredible enthusiasm that none of his opponents could match. If Faried doesn’t come out and play like the true Manimal that he is, there’s a good chance the Nuggets get caught sleeping and lose this game.
|Kosta Koufos, C 22 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +15
We can’t always be hypnotized by numbers. There are many nights when players affect the game in ways that numbers cannot show. This was one of those nights for Koufos. He played solid defense throughout the game and did many little things that helped the Nuggets win.
|Ty Lawson, PG 40 MIN | 10-19 FG | 2-4 FT | 3 REB | 12 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 24 PTS | +7
This was one of the best games I’ve ever seen from Lawson. He’s put up these types of numbers before, but the way in which he did it was remarkable. He started the game off on a tear, cooled down, then experienced a resurgence in the fourth quarter that essentially won the game for the Nuggets. In the last four minutes of the fourth quarter he scored eight points and then continued his damage in overtime. What stood out to me most is how he got his shot blocked at the rim on several occasions but kept pounding it inside (with great success) until the final whistle. He displayed great resiliency and a will to win that only the truest of leaders possess.
|Andre Iguodala, SG 41 MIN | 4-16 FG | 0-3 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +9
This may seem like a harsh grade, but let’s be completely honest: How many big games has Iguodala either showed up in, or better yet, won for the Nuggets? He’s had quite a few impressive outings but they never seem to come when the Nuggets need them most. Defense alone won’t cut it either. The Nuggets (and the fans) expect him to be much more than just Tony Allen. He’s paid about $10 million more per year than Tony Allen and if the Nuggets plan on retaining him that figure likely won’t drop much. This is only one game, of course, but Iguodala needs to start showing up when his team needs him, and not just when he decides to.
|Corey Brewer, SF 19 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | -4
I thought Brewer’s defense was some of the best he’s played all year. The Nuggets got a huge spark from their defense in the second half and Brewer was the often catalyst, as far as I could tell. It’s an absolute joy watching him play when he puts so much effort into stopping his opponent. Truly, an absolute joy.
|JaVale McGee, C 20 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -9
McGee has hit a rough patch. That much is clear. He’s having some problems on the court which seem to have finally driven him crazy. He’s over-thinking and yet, not thinking at all. He’s not relaxed. He’s not composed. It’s as if he’s nervous about making mistakes, which is naturally causing him to make mistakes. Now, I don’t know that this is exactly the case. I’m no psychologist. This is just a guess. But we’ve seen this before with guys Karl keeps on short leashes. Instead of being themselves (which entails making more mistakes than they probably should) they retreat to this frenetic, neurotic, bad-decision making that just compounds the problem. McGee had a few huge plays down the stretch but spent most of the game wondering about in his own mind.
|Andre Miller, PG 30 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -4
Miller seemed bound determined he was going to score tonight, which he totally did not do. He took countless bad shots and had tunnel vision the whole game — yet he still got to play meaningful minutes in the fourth quarter. If not for the several minutes of solid defense in crunch time, he’d likely be flirting with an F.
|Wilson Chandler, SG 19 MIN | 5-13 FG | 1-1 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | 0
This is a tough performance to grade. Throughout the middle of the game Chandler took one contested jump shot after another. His defense was great, but his offense was perplexing at times. Then, Chandler hit what was basically a game-winning 3-pointer and all was immediately forgiven. Overall, he’s been fantastic since coming back from surgery; much better than I expected. If he can limit his bad shots, drive to the hoop more and continue to play lock-down defense, the Nuggets will get a huge spark from his return to the rotation.
Karl gets the grade he does because the Nuggets won. No matter how awful we may think he is at times, winning cannot be denied. That said… Karl did many things against the Blazers that also jeopardized the Nuggets chances of winning.
First, the Nuggets lost every timeout throughout the game. Every single one. After the Nuggets fought to gain a lead, the Blazers would immediately call a timeout and proceed to pound the Nuggets into submission. What does this mean? I’m not sure, really. Do Karl’s players listen when he is talking during timeouts? Is he being as fiery as he needs to be? Again, I don’t know. I’m not in the huddle so I can’t say. Nevertheless, this has been a problem all year and will likely continue into the postseason, sadly.
Next, Karl’s absolutely inexplicable reluctance to adapt to his opponents tactics, yet again, nearly cost the Nuggets the game. After playing McGee in the fourth quarter and building up a nine-point lead with nearly four minutes to go, Karl (again!) baffled every Nugget fan with an ounce of brain power by deciding to play Faried at center and Andre Miller at shooting guard down the stretch. The Blazers then casually went inside time after time with great success only to fully erase the Nuggets once nine-point lead and send the game into overtime. While Karl admitted his mistake and played McGee in overtime, the fact remains: IT NEVER SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED!!! We’ve seen this entirely too many times already and we’re only halfway through the season!!! Why does Karl not understand that every scenario in the NBA is going to be different!?! He cannot simply trot out the same small-ball gameplan and expect to succeed when each team has different players and different strategies! He really, REALLY needs to adapt to different situations so that Nuggets Nation can continue to keep the remaining hair they have and not pull every single last strand out of their skulls!
All that said, I liked Karl’s defensive schemes and lineups throughout most of the game. Portland only scored 41 points combined in the second and third quarters, which I thought were some of the best defensive quarters the Nuggets have had all year in terms of activity and commitment to stifling their opponent.
|Danilo Gallinari, SF 35 MIN | 7-12 FG | 4-6 FT | 8 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 21 PTS | +17Gallo had a very effective night, helping in almost every aspect of the game and coming up big in the second half. He had 15 second half points and a big three that put the Nuggets up 11 late and virtually sealed the game. Gallo also posted eight rebounds, including a couple of big offensive boards, and six assists, which were nice additions to his scoring and helped him post the highest plus/minus on the team for the night, with a +17.|
|Kenneth Faried, SF 30 MIN | 4-12 FG | 1-1 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +2While Faried put the exclamation point on the Nuggets fourth quarter run with a dunk and a block, his night was average at best. A continuing problem, Faried struggled with David Lee, allowing Lee to post 23 points , 13 rebounds , and 6 assists. Faried also left his guards out to dry at points, as he played to far underneath screens to help, allowing Steph Curry to bomb away. With the Warriors looming as a potential playoff opponent, the Nuggets need to figure out a way to get around Faried’s struggles with stretch fours.|
|Kosta Koufos, C 21 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +2Kofous was solid but unspectacular in his 20 minutes. His first half, where he scored 6 points and had 4 offensive rebounds, helped the Nuggets stay close but he only played 9 minutes in the second half; as the Nuggets went small with Gallo and Chandler both seeing time at the four, and most of the remaining center minutes went to JaVale.|
|Ty Lawson, PG 33 MIN | 6-14 FG | 6-6 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | 0Lawson was the other main reason the game was close at halftime, as he got off to a scorching start scoring 16 first half points. While those 16 points were as many as the rest of the starters combined, he let Steph Curry catch fire and added just four points and three assists in the second half. Still without his energy and scoring punch in the first half who knows where the Nuggets would have been at halftime.|
|Andre Iguodala, SG 32 MIN | 4-11 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 5 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | -3Iguodala was another Nugget who only really appeared for a half, but he gets a half grade edge over Lawson because of his defensive effort. The game seemed to swing after Iggy stole a pass away from Klay Thompson for an easy dunk then forced Thompson to throw the pass out of bounds giving the Nuggets back the ball, and continuing Thompson’s miserable night. But as good as his second half was Iguodala seemed to sleepwalk a bit offensively in the first half as he went 1-6 from the field, including 0-4 from behind the line. For someone who is expected to be aggressive and help create offense for teammates it was an ugly, passive half.|
|Anthony Randolph, PF 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | 0Inconclusive.|
|Jordan Hamilton, SF 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0Inconclusive.|
|Corey Brewer, SF 22 MIN | 5-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 13 PTS | +10Brewer really showed up in the second half, scoring 9 of his 13 points and along with Miller and Iguodala really turned up the pressure on the Warriors guards. That defensive intensity really swung the game and allowed the Nuggets to make their run so it was no surprise that Brewer posted a +10 for the night.|
|JaVale McGee, C 20 MIN | 2-3 FG | 5-8 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +10JaVale wasn’t spectacular tonight but he was effective, and he made his foul shots, which allowed him to stay on the floor late in the game. But as impressive as the 5-8 from the line was, the one rebound (which was offensive) wasn’t. Simply put as a seven footer with incredible athleticism McGee needs to grab more rebounds when he is on the floor, especially on the defensive end.|
|Andre Miller, PG 25 MIN | 5-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 8 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | +12Miller was fantastic tonight. Offensively he was in control and attacking the basket and his ball pressure defensively, along with Iguodala and Brewer, helped change the game. His strip of Jarrett Jack and ensuing layup came right in the middle of a big Nuggets run that gave them control of the game in the fourth quarter. Add 12 points, six rebounds and eight assists to that defense and it was hard to find a problem with his game.|
|Evan Fournier, SG 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0Inconclusive.|
|Wilson Chandler, SG 21 MIN | 6-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | +5Chandler was great in his return, and for a while was one of the only Nuggets playing well offensively. He attacked the basket when available, knocked down a couple threes and made some steals defensively. There were a couple of questionable shots, but that could be expected due to some rust that was sure to be there. For a while I wondered if Karl would use him to close the game, instead of Faried, but it turned out to not be a problem. The addition of Chandler to the bench as another versatile athlete and scoring threat should really help the Nuggets.|
|George KarlThe Nuggets game plan of pressuring the Warriors guards and trapping side pick-and-rolls was great, and unexpected. While it took so long into the season to start to see, the defensive effort has to be attributed some to Karl. Now the real question is, will it last? Chandler should help some as the Nuggets now gain another bench body to use, and a versatile, athletic one at that. The combinations that will start to be seen should be interesting and for Nuggets fans after tonight, exciting.|
|Danilo Gallinari, SF 31 MIN | 8-13 FG | 4-4 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 23 PTS | +8Gallinari started making some big plays in the third quarter that got the Nuggets back in the game. Funny how that usually seems to happen when he starts driving more aggressively to the basket. It really was his work on the offensive end that started breaking down what had been a very effective Cavaliers paint defense, and it enabled Denver to get back into their style of play and start making a comeback.|
|Kenneth Faried, SF 33 MIN | 6-7 FG | 5-7 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 17 PTS | +3This was among the worst of Faried’s defensive performances of the season. In the first half he was getting abused by Tristan Thompson and… Luke Walton. Luke Walton? He was better on the offensive end, but wasn’t really his usual explosive self for much of the game. He did come out with more energy and focus in the second half, though, and his rebounding and offensive efficiency went a long way in offsetting his defensive liability.|
|Kosta Koufos, C 35 MIN | 10-17 FG | 1-1 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 21 PTS | +12Since the entire team deserved an F for the first half, I really did not want to give any players an A for this game. But Koufos truly outdid himself tonight. He scored a new career high with 21 points in what is surely his best game of the season, if not career. On the rebounding and blocking front, the stat sheet may not look too impressive, but this was one of the most active, energetic performances we’ve seen from Kosta this season. Running the floor, battling in the paint, moving off the ball — in the second half he seemed to be everywhere he needed to be, doing all the right things. Maybe he stole what Corey Brewer usually drinks before games to get juiced up. Whatever it was, he gets the game ball.|
|Ty Lawson, PG 34 MIN | 3-11 FG | 7-10 FT | 5 REB | 8 AST | 13 PTS | +10Lawson really needs to come out of the gates with aggression rather than waiting for the second, third or fourth quarter to turn it on. When he starts off sluggish it sets a weak tone for the entire team, and they have a hard time finding their groove. But fortunately, he did finally find a way to flip that switch in the fourth quarter, and his dribble penetration got the Nuggets some badly needed layups and helped to keep the defense honest. Because of that it’s tempting to grade him higher, but the six turnovers and the lackluster first half just can’t be overlooked.|
|Andre Iguodala, SG 41 MIN | 5-11 FG | 2-3 FT | 11 REB | 4 AST | 13 PTS | +9For the Nuggets defense late in the game, it was Iguodala who really made the difference by slowing down and frustrating a seemingly unstoppable Kyrie Irving. I was tempted to dock him a notch in the grading for a very poor decision he made late in the game by taking an out-of-sync corner 3-pointer with a lot of time left at a moment when Denver should have been chewing clock and looking for a higher percentage shot. But his overall game was solid, and as usual he was doing a little of everything that needed to be done.|
|Corey Brewer, SF 16 MIN | 0-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 0 PTS | -6Brewer was absolutely worthless in the first half. And then he was almost as bad in the second, save for one steal that opened up a fast break, and maybe another play or two. This was a clear case of Karl overestimating “his guys.” At a time when the entire team’s shooting is ice cold, why not give Jordan Hamilton some run to see if he can make an impact? Only Karl knows.|
|Timofey Mozgov, C 8 MIN | 0-1 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 PTS | +2Karl sent in Mozzie to enforce the paint to good effect in this game. He had three blocks in eight minutes, and had a sort of dislodging effect on the Cavs’ paint packing strategy. If Koufos hadn’t suddenly blown up, he may have gotten more minutes, but he did a good job in the little time he played.|
|JaVale McGee, C 12 MIN | 0-4 FG | 2-4 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -5McGee missed at least three or four dunks in this game. Somehow his ability to finish just evaporated. But he made a more spirited, energetic effort than most of his teammates through the first three quarters, blocking and altering shots and contesting for rebounds (he had seven in just 12 minutes). His inability to knock down his shots and connect on his dunks dampened his net impact in this game, but at least his heart and his effort were in it from the start, which is more than most of his teammates can say.|
|Andre Miller, PG 23 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 8 PTS | +5Firstly, Andre Miller needs to stop taking 3-pointers. It seems to be a recent trend that he takes one or two a game, and it needs to be put to rest. With that out of the way, some of both the good and bad Miller were on display tonight. He did a fairly good job of finding his midrange jumper, as well as a fairly good amount of dribbling into traffic and turning it over, and giving Cleveland’s perimeter shooters open looks. It’s not enough to bump him up into B territory, but it should be noted that, against all odds, he made a huge offensive rebound down low late in the game that resulted in a Lawson layup that decisively shifted the advantage to the Nuggets.|
|Evan Fournier, SG 7 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | -3Fournier is fearless, a decent decision maker given his professional experience in Europe, and a spirited defender. So it’s easy to understand why Karl likes him. But he struggles to find a way to be effective outside of garbage time, and based on their respective performances this season, it’s not clear why he has come to emerge ahead of J-Ham in the rotation. He accomplished nothing tonight.|
|George KarlIn the Rapid Reaction for the last game against the Magic, Kalen discussed how the Nuggets always come out flat in games. Another thing they always do is play down to inferior opponents. In post-game comments, Bill Hanzlik talked about how frustrating and disappointing such things must be to Karl. The only problem with that, however, is that these problems date back years. They were hallmarks of the Melo era. And now, with only one Nuggets player remaining from that time (or two depending on how you look at i) and 13 new players on a roster that has almost entirely turned over, it’s the same old crap. It’s easy to point a finger at the players — and they do surely deserve some of the blame — and criticize their lack of effort. But this goes beyond that. It’s structurally endemic to the Nuggets culture, and the architect of that culture is George Karl. From an outside perspective, it’s hard to evaluate coaches since so much of coaching goes on behind the scenes, and we’re largely limited to rotational decisions, interactions with the refs, timeout usage, and scattered, often vague anecdotes from beat reporters. There’s a continuum of shared responsibility between the players and coaching staff, and when things go wrong it’s not always easy to discern who carries the larger burden of responsibility. Tonight, the Nuggets dodged a bullet and eked out a win against a team they should have dominated. But to say they came out flat would be an understatement. They came out utterly deflated, and given the upcoming schedule which features GSW, a surging POR, OKC twice and HOU twice in the next nine games, that’s inexcusable. Cleveland came out with a clear game plan which they pretty much executed to perfection in the first half. The scouting reports were in, their playeers were all on the same page, they knew exactly what they were doing. The Nuggets looked lost and confused, totally unprepared. They should have been up for this game, and they were not. At all. And that’s on Karl, whose team won in spite of it.|
|Danilo Gallinari, SF 35 MIN | 5-10 FG | 3-4 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 15 PTS | +12
Quietly Gallo had a really solid game. For whatever reason I just remember him missing shots, but when I looked at the score sheet he didn’t, really. He did a nice job of rebounding and played solid defense down the stretch which helped the Nuggets secure the win. It was nice seeing him effect the game in areas other than scoring.
|Kenneth Faried, SF 36 MIN | 7-10 FG | 5-7 FT | 19 REB | 0 AST | 19 PTS | -4
What a game. Faried was incredible. This was one of the best performances we’ve seen from any Nugget the entire year. His moxie was on overdrive. He was determined from the get-go to have a big game and nothing held him back. I tend to be a bit critical of Faried at times because I know he’s capable of stuff like this on a frequent basis. It’s games like these that make his eight-point, six-rebound performances all the more perplexing.
|Kosta Koufos, C 21 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | 0
Wow. I did not think Koufos was this M.I.A. He played good defense when he came in and that’s what I noticed most. He has a toughness about him that none of his teammates do and it makes his presence on the floor, alone, a positive for his entire team. Although his numbers don’t show it, he was part of the rotation that gave the Nuggets life when they looked to be drowning.
|Ty Lawson, PG 34 MIN | 7-19 FG | 4-5 FT | 3 REB | 8 AST | 19 PTS | +5
Lawson has been playing with so much more confidence and swag since he criticized his teammates after the Minnesota loss. You can just tell when you watch him play. He’s no longer hesitant. He’s shooting with poise. Most of all, he’s penetrating with an All-Star mentality. Ty is capable of this type of performance every night. Perhaps all he needed was to find that inner leadership his coach has been begging him for.
|Andre Iguodala, SG 32 MIN | 4-13 FG | 2-4 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 11 PTS | +5
Iguodala was kind sort of messy this whole game. He never really settled in. He hit a huge three down the stretch and played really solid defense on Afflalo, but for the most part he was just not on his game.
|Corey Brewer, SF 28 MIN | 7-17 FG | 2-6 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 16 PTS | -2
Brewer hit a wall in the second half but was absolutely incredible in the first. We always talk about his energy, but I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen him as frenetic as he was against the Magic. He was slicing through the defense, getting out on the break every chance he could and most importantly, his hands were active and his feet were moving on defense. The more I watch this kid the more I want him on the Nuggets for a long time.
|JaVale McGee, C 18 MIN | 1-6 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -6
A pretty awful game for McGee. He was out of control yet again. I don’t know what it is, but he’s been on a tear of the not so good kind lately. He needs to talk with one of his coaches (or, rather, they need to talk to him!) and settle down. He seems to have way too much energy bottled up and not a clue how to utilize it.
|Andre Miller, PG 29 MIN | 8-12 FG | 2-4 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 18 PTS | +12
Miller does some undesirable things on a regular basis, but you can’t knock him all the time — especially not this game. He was very efficient from the field and took advantage of mismatches all night. Like Faried, he seemed to be on a mission from the start of the game and he never let up until it concluded.
|Evan Fournier, SG 8 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -7
Every time Fournier plays I’m always going to say the same thing: I wish he could play more. He does an excellent job of making cuts and finding open space but he never has enough time to really make an impact. I like what I’ve seen so far, but at some point in a very winnable game, Karl needs to let him lose and see what he can do.
The Nuggets won, which is really all that matters, but what can’t be ignored is just how flat this team came out to start the game. How does that happen on your home floor? I understand that from time to time you’re going to come out sluggish, but this is basically the staple of the Nuggets for the last two years! They’re always coming out flat! I liked how he knew this was going to be a close game and kept his rotation tight, but he also played with fire yet again by relying on small ball down the stretch. Ultimately, he will get burned if he doesn’t learn.
|Danilo Gallinari, SF 32 MIN | 6-20 FG | 5-6 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 20 PTS | +1
Gallo had a strange game for sure. He didn’t shoot well from the field, but he hit the big shot and combined with Iguodala and Brewer helped limit Kobe to 29 points on 26 shots, including two prayer threes at the end of the game. It was tough to grade but the Nuggets won and Gallo hit what was the biggest shot so he gets a good one.
|Kenneth Faried, SF 32 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 6 PTS | -8
Faried’s first half was absolutely brutal. He went to halftime with only 2 points and a rebound and looked like he didn’t belong on the court at all. His normal energy returned a bit in the second half and made things better but overall it was a pretty ugly game for the Manimal.
|Kosta Koufos, C 28 MIN | 3-8 FG | 1-1 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | -8
Like Gallinari, a lot of what Koufos did well doesn’t show up in the box score. He was a physical presence for the Nuggets and battled Dwight Howard whenever he was on the floor. With Faried lacking his normal energy it was important for Kosta to bring some of his own, and he did that very well.
|Ty Lawson, PG 33 MIN | 9-18 FG | 2-3 FT | 2 REB | 10 AST | 21 PTS | +1
Lawson absolutely abused Steve Nash tonight. He got to the rim at will, and while he struggled to finish a couple times good things normally happened when he went to the basket. The three he hit was a big one as well, as it put the Nuggets up 10 late in the fourth. It was a return to the Lawson that people expected, and not the one from late in games early this year.
|Andre Iguodala, SG 38 MIN | 6-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 7 AST | 15 PTS | +14
Iggy did a bit of everything tonight. He knocked down some threes, finished in transition, rebounded, defended and found teammates all throughout the night. His plus-14 on the night seemed right, as he was always in the middle of everything on both sides of the court when the Nuggets would make a run. In another good sign, the growth of chemistry between Iguodala and the rest of the team continued as he celebrated as much as any Nugget whenever something good happened for him or his teammates.
|Jordan Hamilton, SF 4 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -4
Ouch. A tough night for Hamilton, even in such a short amount of minutes. He missed layups, turned the ball over on a shot clock violation (where he seemed to lose track of the remaining time), and got called for a goaltend. A learning experience for a young player hopefully.
|Corey Brewer, SF 23 MIN | 6-14 FG | 1-3 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | +15
Brewer completely changed the game when he entered it in the first quarter. His energy was infectious as he attacked the basket and the glass, and he knocked down a couple mid-range jump shots as well. His second half was a bit rougher, but without his early contributions the Nuggets may not have been in the position they found themselves in during the second half.
|JaVale McGee, C 26 MIN | 7-9 FG | 3-7 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 17 PTS | +14
JaVale was good JaVale again tonight. His energy and athleticism were on full display, and aside from a iffy goaltending call and a pull-up jumper from the foul line, there really weren’t any bad moments for him on the night. While he could still stand to grab a couple more rebounds, which will happen if he stops trying to tap them to people and grab them himself, there isn’t really anything to be mad about tonight.
|Andre Miller, PG 24 MIN | 4-10 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 REB | 10 AST | 12 PTS | +10
Miller continued to be an enigma as he has most of the season. A second quarter sequence summed up his night pretty well. On one possession he threw a gorgeous lob to McGee for two points, but came right down the court the next possession and tried to force a lob to Faried for a turnover. A bit later in the quarter he hit his only three of the night, but the next possession he air balled a fadeaway contested two. Just a very up and down night again.
Karl did a good job for the most part but a couple of things made me scratch my head. First off why did Andre Miller get the late possession instead of Lawson, or in the best case scenario an actual set play? Lawson was beating Steve Nash off the dribble all night but instead Miller was asked to beat Jodie Meeks. It ended up working out for the Nuggets because of luck, but I hated the call. Second why did Faried get more minutes than McGee and Koufos? The other two bigs were clearly more effective in the physical game than the Manimal, and they didn’t play terrible together. I thought it was strange. But the Nuggets won so Karl gets the benefit of the doubt.
|Danilo Gallinari, SF 32 MIN | 7-11 FG | 11-12 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 26 PTS | +6It’s such a boon for the Nuggets offense when they get this kind of production from Gallo. If he can find a way to score closer to 20 rather than 15 more frequently, it will go a long way towards helping the team maintain better offensive consistency. It was great to see him relentlessly attacking the basket tonight, and do a big chunk of his damage by hitting 11 of his 12 free throw attempts.|
|Kenneth Faried, SF 32 MIN | 7-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 15 PTS | +17The Nuggets did not come out of the gates with the kind of energy that might be expected in a revenge game with one division rival after a bad loss to another. But as is typically the case, Faried was one of the few making an effort to bring it. The Jazz got the better end of the offensive glass in the first half, but Faried did a fairly good job defending Paul Millsap, and played an important role in keeping the game close early until Denver opened up their big lead in the third quarter.|
|Kosta Koufos, C 29 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-1 FT | 13 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | +15Koufos has struggled in some recent games, and early on it looked like that trend might continue. But Kosta has a way sometimes of coming out with a surprising toughness, and he did a great job in the second half especially, coming up with some big rebounds and defensive plays.|
|Ty Lawson, PG 24 MIN | 6-12 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 14 PTS | +17If Lawson’s Achilles injury is bothering him, he did a great job of playing through it tonight. He was hitting his jumpers, and was able to find his higher gear with increasing frequency as the game progressed. Utah dictated the pace early on, but largely due to Lawson pushing it and playing with some aggression, the Nuggets were able to break the game open and play their style of basketball in the second half. Hopefully Ty is on the mend and we will see this type of performance from him more consistently from here on out.|
|Andre Iguodala, SG 31 MIN | 5-9 FG | 8-11 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 18 PTS | +20Iguodala played the role of scorer more than playmaker in this game, and did he ever put on a show. After seeing him turn the ball over so many times this season, I’ve learned to cringe when seeing him drive to the rim. But his skill in the open court was on full display tonight, as he made some truly remarkable crossovers and fakes that brought the house down. He and Gallo combined for 19 of 23 at the free throw line, and the more Denver can get of that, the better.|
|Anthony Randolph, PF 5 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -4Randolph was one of about five Nuggets players to get just about five minutes tonight when Karl emptied the bench, and he accomplished nothing in the short time he was on the court.|
|Jordan Hamilton, SF 6 MIN | 0-3 FG | 2-4 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -2Hamilton’s shot was not falling, though it should be noted that only one of his missed 3-pointers was a poor shot selection, while the other two were taken in the flow. Karl surely characterizes him as a “good-bad player”, and it seems J-Ham would help his own cause by not being over-eager to make a huge impact, and instead let the game come to him a little more.|
|Corey Brewer, SF 19 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 3 PTS | +12Brewer went completely cold on offense in this game, but was serviceable on the defensive end, including one nifty block from behind of an Al Jefferson layup on a fast break.|
|Timofey Mozgov, C 6 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -2Timo didn’t really make a big impact in his limited time, but three boards and a block in five minutes is solid.|
|JaVale McGee, C 23 MIN | 2-5 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | +14McGee really needs to toughen up when battling for rebounds. There are just too many times when he gets outworked on the glass in situations where, given his size and positioning, he should really have the advantage. For some reason, he seems to often struggle against the Jazz frontcourt, and this game was no exception.|
|Julyan Stone, PG 5 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | -4He played! It was great to see Stone get his first minutes this season. He was moving just fine, and hopefully we will get more opportunities to see what he can bring to the table. Tonight, he looked good, playing with control and doing a good job of distributing the ball to his teammates. His single assist in five minutes would have been more like four or five if the other guys were connecting on their shots.|
|Andre Miller, PG 21 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 6 AST | 11 PTS | +11Had Miller’s grade been given at the end of the third quarter, it would have been in C/D+ territory. He was ineffective to the point of being a liability for most of the game. But after draining a big buzzer beating 3-poitner at the end of the third quarter, he found a way to at least partially redeem himself in the fourth with some pretty decent play that helped to step on Utah’s throat.|
|Evan Fournier, SG 6 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -5Of all the emptied bench players, the only one to really make a splash was Fournier. His stat line doesn’t look very impressive, but his hustle and energy made garbage time less trashy.|
|George KarlTo me, this win seems more on the players than the coach. But who knows? Maybe it ws an inspiring halftime speech that caused them to come out more energetically in the second half. The fact that Lawson, playing well, got only 24 minutes while Miller, playing pretty poorly, got nearly as many with 21 is, in this case, probably attributable to Ty’s injury.|
|Danilo Gallinari, SF 28 MIN | 4-11 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 12 PTS | -2
The Nuggets are a team full of inconsistencies, but Gallo might be the most inconsistent of them all. As I’ve said before, his jump shot is his crutch. It’s the most inconsistent part of his already inconsistent game and it’s what he relies on all the time. We’re nearly halfway through the season and he’s still barely shooting above the .400 mark.
|Kenneth Faried, SF 25 MIN | 3-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 8 PTS | +4
It’s tough watching Faried’s energy level fluctuate so much from game to game. He had one aggressive rebound against the Wolves and was nonexistent the rest of the time. The book seems to be out on Faried: Get physical and you take him out of the game.
|Kosta Koufos, C 26 MIN | 8-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 16 PTS | +19
This was one of Koufos’ best showings of the year. He was making all sorts of crisp cuts to the basket, blocking out and getting much-needed put-backs against an imposing Wolves front line. For some inexplicable reason Karl chose to sit him the entire fourth quarter.
|Andre Miller, PG 36 MIN | 5-12 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 10 AST | 11 PTS | +11I
t’s always frustrating grading Miller. It’s funny because McGee takes a lot of heat for ill-advised and often quite flamboyant decisions, but Miller isn’t far behind. How many awful 3-pointers in tight games has he taken this year? How many terrible late-game turnovers has he had because he was being selfish? Miller has such a great overall game and can be a excellent point guard at times, but he also makes some of the worst decisions on the whole team.
|Andre Iguodala, SG 36 MIN | 6-16 FG | 1-7 FT | 7 REB | 6 AST | 14 PTS | +6
Iguodala didn’t shoot well but I liked how aggressive he was. This has been missing all year from his game. He was simply teeming with enthusiasm against the Wolves. If he knocks down just a few more shots, this could have been a different and much more enjoyable contest from the Nuggets point of view.
|Anthony Randolph, PF 4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -3
Randolph looked pretty decent for only playing four minutes. He had a huge block and made some nice passes. Karl likes Mozgov, but Randolph is clearly the more talented prospect. Again, I’d love to see what he could do with 15-20 minutes at the backup power forward spot as I’ve seen nothing from him that would suggest he couldn’t handle it.
|Corey Brewer, SF 29 MIN | 5-13 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 12 PTS | -12
Is Corey Brewer the most consistent jump-shot maker on the entire team? Think about that. It’s definitely possible. No Nugget is shooting a particularly good percentage from the field (not including dunks) this year. While this is good for Brewer, it’s absolutely awful for the Nuggets as a whole. Nevertheless, Brewer had a solid game. He was energetic, hustled twice as much as other guys and played great defense as usual.
|JaVale McGee, C 13 MIN | 1-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -15
I rarely hand out F grades. In fact, I don’t know if I ever have. But I had to tonight. McGee played like he was high… or drunk… one of the two. He was all over the place, waiving his giant limbs around in an uncontrollable manner. He was falling over, making one completely bone-headed mistake after another. I just couldn’t believe how weird he was acting. Perhaps he was having a flashback from his days in Washington? I don’t know. What I do know is that Karl feeds off performances like this from McGee. This is exactly what he needs to use as an excuse to limit McGee’s minutes even more.
|Timofey Mozgov, C 13 MIN | 2-3 FG | 2-3 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -1
Mozgov played well. Quietly, he might be the Nuggets best one-on-one defender of all the bigs. He’s been showing more confidence lately and it’s showing in the box scores.
|Ty Lawson, PG 23 MIN | 6-9 FG | 3-3 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 16 PTS | -25
Lawson nearly saved the Nuggets tonight. He was making all sorts of clutch plays when the team was down. His shot was falling, which certainly helped, too.
|Evan Fournier, SG 8 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -2
Fournier does all the little things right, which is exactly what Karl wants. He had some really nice cuts to the basket and had active hands on defense. He needs to be more aggressive on offense though.
Karl drove me nuts this game. I don’t think he went two minutes without making a substitution. The Nuggets started the game off with a good vibe that he immediately squashed by messing around with the lineup over and over. People didn’t even have time to get settled in. Worst of all, I couldn’t figure out why Koufos didn’t play in the fourth quarter. What’s the reasoning behind that? Here he is having the best game he’s had in a while and all of a sudden he’s benched? Karl does this way to often for my liking.
|Danilo Gallinari, SF 29 MIN | 2-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | -8After exploding for a career-high 39 points against the Mavericks last night, the Rooster laid an egg in this one, shooting two of seven and getting to the free line just twice. When Gallo settles for contested long range jumpers and fails to attack the basket, his consistency and effectiveness suffer, and tonight was a perfect example. On defense, he could do nothing to slow down Rudy Gay’s onslaught in the 4th quarter which ultimately sealed the victory for memphis.|
|Kenneth Faried, SF 25 MIN | 5-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | -7Faried’s energy was a bright spot once again, as he started the game off strong with hustle and effort. But it was quickly dimmed as he got himself into quick foul trouble, limiting his minutes, and restraining the impact he could have as he held himself back to avoid fouling out. He did a good job on both ends of the floor, but ultimately had he avoided a few mental mistakes, he could have made a much bigger difference.|
|Kosta Koufos, C 26 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 8 PTS | -1In the first quarter, Koufos couldn’t muster up any ability to stop Zach Randolph on defense. He played better over the course of the game, but the larger problem, for which he and Faried share much of the blame, was a lack of defensive rebounding. The Grizzlies beat the Nuggets 17 to 10 on the offensive glass, and scored a bunch of easy second- and third-chance points as a result. Koufos ended up fouling out midway through the fourth quarter, and as the Nuggets were fairly fatigued and Faried was also in foul trouble, this proved to be somewhat costly.|
|Ty Lawson, PG 28 MIN | 1-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 3 PTS | -7Lawson was virtually invisible in this game, and when that happens it’s a pretty sure key to a Nuggets loss. Three points and one assist is simply an unacceptable performance from Ty, excuses about fatigue and a road-heavy schedule be damned. When he disappears, so do the Nuggets’ chances of winning.|
|Andre Iguodala, SG 41 MIN | 5-10 FG | 1-4 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 12 PTS | -12If the game had ended after the first half, Iguodala would have received an A. He opened up the game continuing his aggressive play, driving to the basket and creating easy scoring opportunities for teammates. (He was a better point guard than both Lawson and Miller in this game). But some very costly turnovers and otherwise head-scratchingly sloppy plays (360-degree pivot in the corner as he launches a wild, contested 3-pointer) down the stretch knock his grade down a few notches. But he did at least play with effort the entire time, and it’s good to see him putting that in more consistently of late.|
|Corey Brewer, SF 30 MIN | 5-10 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 12 PTS | -7Brewer is another player who might have earned a higher grade if not for some careless turnovers. He did make a few big shots at some key points in the game to keep it close, and defended well throughout, but he really only thrives when the Nuggets are getting up and down the court, and this was not that game. He was mostly a positive, but had a fairly limited impact.|
|Timofey Mozgov, C 13 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -5Mozgov was pretty good on defense and pretty bad on offense, where he looked pretty much lost. It may be a function of not always being in the rotation, but he doesn’t seem to really know how to fit into the offensive flow. It was unfortunate to see that in this game, because one would expect Timo to be one of the Nuggets players more adaptable to its slow-paced, half court style of play. There are rumors he is on the block, and it will not be in the least bit surprising if Mozzie is gone by the trade deadline.|
|JaVale McGee, C 22 MIN | 5-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | +1McGee was arguably the best Nuggets player tonight. True, some of the “bad JaVale” was on display, with some wild shots and errant passes. But his defense and rebounding were at the center of Denver keeping the game close for as long as they did. He has six blocks on the stat sheet, but his presence in the paint altered many more, and really took a dimension away from the Grizzlies offense. It was a good example of why he needs more minutes, yet he had only 22 in this game despite both Koufos and Faried being in foul trouble.|
|Andre Miller, PG 28 MIN | 2-5 FG | 3-5 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 7 PTS | +1The question is not if Andre Miller took bong hits at halftime, but how many. I’m sure from a Memphis perspective, Rudy Gay single handedly won the game for them in clutch time. From a Denver perspective, it can be said that Miller single handedly lost it (in more ways than one). He was just laughing and chuckling away as, at the most critical juncture of the game, he started inexplicably throwing the ball away again and again. This could have been the 9th game in 10 days, and there would still be no excuse for that, and it canceled out every bit of good he might have done earlier in the game.|
|George KarlI was fully prepared to give Karl a good grade for this game until the fourth quarter, when things fell apart. His biggest transgression was when he all but conceded the game with 0:46 remaining and the Nuggets down by eight after a missed 3-pointer by Gallo. With a judicious use of fouling and timeouts an eight point deficit is not insurmountable in 46 seconds, but Karl did not have his players foul at all, instead allowing Memphis to wind down nearly the entire shot clock until Wayne Ellington connected on a 3-pointer to seal the game. It was Z-Bo who grabbed the defensive rebound after Gallinari’s miss. Had George instructed his players during the timeout to immediately foul the rebounder if they miss their shot, Denver may have had an opportunity, perhaps unlikely but at least extant, to contend for the win, or a chance to go into overtime. Instead, he waved the white flag. Another fourth quarter mistake was leaving Faried in when the fact he had five fouls was clearly inhibiting his effectiveness on the court. What makes Faried valuable is that he’s always full throttle, so when he’s afraid to step on the gas, he should be sitting on the bench. I also thought Evan Fournier should have been sent in, given how ineffective both point guards were. He’d at least have been a pair of fresh legs, and perhaps a spark of energy off the bench. All of that said, it should be noted that Karl did manage the game fairly well for the first three quarters. Specifically, he went big to good effect. But if mistakes cost the game in the end, the importance of any early game positives fades away.|
|Danilo Gallinari, SF 34 MIN | 14-23 FG | 4-4 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 39 PTS | +31
Gallo set a new career high in points and it was no surprise why. His shot from deep was falling all night but he was scoring in a variety of ways and contributing in other areas of the game such as rebounding, passing and most importantly, defense. As we’ve said all year, Gallo is at his best when he plays like the well-rounded, versatile player that he truly is.
|Kenneth Faried, SF 33 MIN | 5-10 FG | 1-4 FT | 19 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | +20
Faried fell one rebound shy of tying his career high. His energy all night was insane. He seems to be coming out of a miniature slump and it’s all started with a renewed sense of enthusiasm on the glass.
|Kosta Koufos, C 25 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | +6
Koufos had a pretty mediocre night in terms of his overall presence but continued his streak of rebounding the ball well.
|Ty Lawson, PG 37 MIN | 5-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 11 PTS | +15
Lawson didn’t shoot particularly well but he was aggressive for most of the night. His shot just wasn’t falling but it’s not like he wasn’t trying to make things happen.
|Andre Iguodala, SG 34 MIN | 7-12 FG | 2-3 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 20 PTS | +31
This was incredibly refreshing. Iguodala (and his entire team) needs performances like these. It just baffles me how he can’t be this assertive every game. He’s by far one of the most talented players on the roster, yet he’s been playing with the type of passive mindset that a below-average bench player might possess. Karl must demand more performances like this.
|Anthony Randolph, PF 2 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -1
|Jordan Hamilton, SF 8 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-1 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -5
Pretty standard night for J-Ham: low minutes, some bright spots and one or two questionable decisions.
|Corey Brewer, SF 22 MIN | 0-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | -2
Brewer really struggled yet again. It’s hard to log zero points in over 20 minutes, especially considering how often he cuts to the basket and gets easy layups — but he did. This simply wasn’t his night.
|JaVale McGee, C 16 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | +2
McGee had a few nice buckets and some shots that made you scratch your head. Faried was probably stealing most of them, but I still wish he’d rebound a little better given his enormous wingspan and incredible athleticism.
|Andre Miller, PG 25 MIN | 5-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 9 AST | 11 PTS | +6
Miller had a really great game in terms of assists. This was one of his better distribution nights that I’ve seen in quite some time. Like many of his teammates, Miller has one job (outside of defense) that he needs to focus on: assists. Tonight, he achieved that goal and then some.
|Evan Fournier, SG 3 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | +2
It’s funny how things might play out now that we have this coach grader. Karl gets a lot of heat when the team loses, but there’s not too many who acknowledge when he brings his team prepared to play like he did against the Mavericks. The Nuggets were clearly focused and ready to play tonight. They didn’t run too many plays (as usual), but they were mentally in the game from the start and played excellent defense throughout. Tip of the hat to Karl for not conceding a road game like the Nuggets seem to have done far too many times in recent memory.
|Danilo Gallinari, SF 36 MIN | 6-10 FG | 4-6 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 19 PTS | +11
Through the course of this game, keeping a mental tally of player grades, I was fully prepared to give Gallo a C after a first half in which he had two makes, two misses, two blocks against, and didn’t really impact the game much at all. But he made his mark in the second half, finishing with 19 points on sixty percent shooting (including 3 of 5 3-pointers), and making some big shots down the stretch. Tonight was Brewer’s night, but the two things the Nuggets live and die by are Lawson’s aggression and Gallinari coming up big when it counts. He made some key plays in this game, including one huge three off a great read of a defensive lapse by Metta World Peace.
|Kenneth Faried, SF 39 MIN | 9-13 FG | 3-5 FT | 15 REB | 1 AST | 21 PTS | +7
Kenneth was in full-on Manimal mode tonight, a one-man wrecking crew on the offensive glass against one of the most formidable frontcourts in the NBA. There are times when Kenneth’s size renders him unable to be as effective, but this was one of those games in which through sheer will and energy he was able to play like the biggest man on the court. He definitely still needs to work on his defense, especially getting out to defend the perimeter against assignments with range like Pau Gasol, and the little things inexperienced players tend to miss (the Lakers announcers pointed out a good example of him failing to close out the baseline with his outer leg on a Kobe drive). But the most important team stat of this game may well have been Denver winning the offensive rebound battle 20-11, and if it weren’t for Brewer’s stunning performance, Faried would get the game ball.
|Kosta Koufos, C 20 MIN | 4-6 FG | 2-3 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | +7
Koufos did a respectable job against Dwight Howard, considering that that’s not a very level playing field to begin with. He seems to have tapped into some newly discovered toughness over the last few weeks, as well as a determination to score more. Given that he appears locked into the starting center position for the foreseeable future, both of these are welcome developments. It’s hard not to wonder, as Dwight was heating up in the third quarter before getting tossed from the game, if the Koufos-McGee combo could have weathered that storm. But he held his own through most of this game, and if he can continue his recent trajectory of improvement it will be very good news for Denver.
|Ty Lawson, PG 34 MIN | 6-15 FG | 4-5 FT | 4 REB | 14 AST | 17 PTS | +11
Never mind the shooting, 14 assists from Ty is something we always want to see. He did an excellent job of pushing the pace and setting the tempo the entire game. And he played smarter than we’ve seen in some recent games in terms of not driving into traffic too much and generally making better decisions. Neither he nor Andre Miller could do much to stop Steve Nash’s hot shooting, but Lawson did a good job, at least, of staying with him and making him put the ball down to limit the damage he could inflict.
|Andre Iguodala, SG 38 MIN | 5-15 FG | 5-6 FT | 11 REB | 7 AST | 17 PTS | +9
Iguodala’s playmaking was superb in this game, and he was two rebounds shy of a triple double. His 3-point shooting still leaves something to be desired (though this can be said of most every player on the team), but when he’s aggressive in transition and works hard on driving and kicking, his ability to create is dangerous.
|Jordan Hamilton, SF 5 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | +3
J-Ham’s 1-6 shooting line doesn’t tell the whole story. His shot wasn’t falling, but he played with energy and tenacity. It’s great to see a guard who isn’t afraid to mix it up in the paint, but his shot will come, and as long as he plays aggressively and keeps pulling down rebounds (he had three with a block in five minutes of action), he should be forging a path to increased minutes.
|Corey Brewer, SF 24 MIN | 9-16 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 27 PTS | +11
Wow. Brewer came alive in the second half, scoring 22 of his season high 27 points and all six of his 3-pointeers after halftime. While he can’t be expected to produce offensively like this night in and night out, when he does — and especially when his 3-pointers are falling (he shot a blistering 6-7 from the arc), the Nuggets suddenly become a much more difficult team to beat. He played a great game defensively as well, making life difficult for Kobe and earning a steal and two blocks in the process. Player of the game, arguably his best game of the season, and when we review the top ten Nuggets plays of the season next April, his incredible buzzer beater to close the third quarter will surely be in the top three.
|Timofey Mozgov, C 4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | +4
Timo made so little an impact in his four minutes of play that it’s nearly impossible to make a meaningful evaluation. He gets a B on the merit of doing no harm and being +4 on the floor.
|JaVale McGee, C 22 MIN | 3-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | 0
McGee needs to practice breathing exercises or some other sort of mentally calming activity. He’s at his best when he plays more restrained and less hyped up, but he’s an excitable boy, and too easily lets himself play out of control. Tonight he started off strong in the first, seemingly on his way to atoning for his fairly disastrous performance against the Clippers. But as he’s prone to do sometimes, he let his emotions get the better of him and went on to make some sloppy mistakes like pulling up on the rim after a big dunk, and too hastily inbounding an errant pass. Until JaVale learns to maintain his compusure, he won’t develop the consistency the Nuggets need from him.
|Andre Miller, PG 19 MIN | 2-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 6 PTS | -3
Miller was fairly ineffective on both ends of the court, and a veritable liability on offense. This was one of his sloppiest, least focused game of the season, as he missed a ton of what should have been easy layups, and made too many careless turnovers. His job is to steady the rudder by making heady veteran plays, and when he’s not doing that, it’s better for the Nuggets to have other players on the court (cough, cough, Jordan Hamilton).
It feels kind of crazy to give Karl an A for this game, when in the next game it’s a near-given that he’ll employ essentially the same strategy and rotations and the Nuggets will lose by 15. But if coaches are to be blamed for losses, they should be credited for wins, and this was one of the biggest, most gratifying wins of the season. Minus tick for leaving in Miller when he was eating it, but this was a game where, after an embarrassing loss on national TV, he trusted his players to pick themselves up, keep playing Nuggets basketball, and take confidence in themselves to win a big game. And this time, it worked, although some will certainly suggest he send Dwight a thank you note. Even so, in the most critical stretch of the game in the third quarter, when the Lakeers cut the Nuggets’ 13-point lead down to six, he let his team play through it, and that was the right call.
|Danilo Gallinari, SF 24 MIN | 1-10 FG | 5-5 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 7 PTS | +3
Gallo has been about as inconsistent as you can be to start the season. In seven of the last 10 games he’s scored under 10 points four times and over 20 three times. His shooting stroke seems to be the root of his problems. When he’s hitting shots, everything is great; when he’s not, he’s virtually useless. Gallo is so talented in so many ways, which makes it all the more frustrating seeing him pigeonhole himself into a one-dimensional shooter’s role.
|Kenneth Faried, SF 33 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | -4
Faried is another enigma on the season. He didn’t have a bad game but he started off on pace to have an epic one — then it was as if his motor ran out of gas in only five minutes time. This is becoming quite the trend with Faried. His energy just isn’t what it was most of last year.
|Kosta Koufos, C 27 MIN | 8-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 16 PTS | -4
Koufos was the Nuggets’ best player. That’s basically all you need to know to figure out how this game ended. He’s been steadily improving throughout the year and is now legitimately giving McGee a run for his money as to who’s the best center on the team. His defense and toughness were especially impressive against the Clippers.
|Ty Lawson, PG 32 MIN | 5-11 FG | 4-6 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 15 PTS | -8
It’s hard to dock Lawson too much as he was one of the only players actually trying to make something happen. His passes need to be more precise but other than that he was pretty solid.
|Andre Iguodala, SG 27 MIN | 4-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 9 PTS | -1
I still can’t figure this one out. Anybody know what the deal is with Iguodala? Please, share your secret because right now I’m dumbfounded. I knew Nuggets fans overvalued him from the start but I really thought he’d be a lot more impressive than what he’s shown thus far. Against the Clippers he was nearly lifeless. His nine points were a result of easy fast-break points, and that’s about all he did.
|Anthony Randolph, PF 4 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | +6
He’s clearly talented. He’s played well this season and had a few nice buckets against the Clippers.
|Jordan Hamilton, SF 17 MIN | 7-9 FG | 0-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 16 PTS | -4
Hamilton was the second best player tonight (maybe the best?) and tied Koufos for the team lead in points despite having played only 17 minutes. If this was not a “wake up” game for Karl and the rest of his teammates, then I don’t know what is. Hamilton played with confidence against the Clippers and it showed. Not only was he scoring at a rate which none of his teammates could match, but his decision-making and vision were in top form. He made some nice passes and didn’t make the “rookie” mistakes he’s been known to fall victim to. The fact is: On nights like this, when nobody is stepping up to score, Hamilton is a great option to play 30-plus minutes because scoring is all he knows.
|Quincy Miller, SF 4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 PTS | +6
Miller had a few nice dishes and played good defense. As always, I’d love to see what he could do with a few games of solid playing time.
|Corey Brewer, SF 21 MIN | 0-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 2 PTS | -29
Brewer was just not on. He’ll have games like this every now and then where he’s totally MIA.
|Timofey Mozgov, C 4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | +6
Mozgov got hit in the face with the ball because he couldn’t handle the speed of a pass. That’s all I remember from his run.
|JaVale McGee, C 19 MIN | 4-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | -23
The stats don’t tell just how frustrating this game was from a fan’s standpoint. McGee made numerous decisions (mostly passes) where I couldn’t even begin to understand what he was trying to do. He also had several incredible blocks and nice post-ups, but I could not escape how bad his decisions were on this night.
|Andre Miller, PG 23 MIN | 4-9 FG | 4-5 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 12 PTS | -14
Miller started off the game great with lots of aggressions but seemed to fade as it went on. Still, it’s nice having someone who gets up for big games on a consistent basis.
|Evan Fournier, SG 4 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | +6
Fournier was impressive as usual. Not a lot of time, but he made the most of it.
Many players received bad grades tonight so it doesn’t make much sense to reward Karl. He’s the one who devises this skewed game-plan of being satisfied with playing like crap on the road as long as you can win most of your home games. While the Nuggets have had a tough road schedule, I still don’t understand how a team this deep and talented can be happy with a 7-13 road record. On a different (but similar) note, I ran into my old high school soccer coach a few days ago and he said he hates watching the Nuggets because they always have an excuse to lose. While the Clippers are on one hell of a tear these days, I can’t help but think Karl deemed this loss as considered “OK.”
|Danilo Gallinari, SF 27 MIN | 1-10 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -9
I wish I could say it’s surprising, but it’s not. Gallo was due for another one of his duds and he predictably chucked his way to a 1-10 shooting nightmare. It’s the seventh time this season Gallo has failed to reach double figures in substantial minutes. I wouldn’t be so hard on Gallo if he hadn’t pulled the same tired act all last season. Gallo had an embarrassing moment towards the end, where he avoided a Damian Lillard poster by pretending to block out Koufos, his teammate.
|Kenneth Faried, SF 18 MIN | 3-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -13
3-10 shooting in just 18 minutes doesn’t even begin to tell you how bad it was. Faried was dominated by JJ Hickson from the opening tip and it never really got any better. Defensively, he looked totally lost yet again.
|Kosta Koufos, C 20 MIN | 3-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | -5
Koufos recovered from two quick fouls to put forth one of the few respectable performances from a regular rotation player. He cannot provide anything on offense, which limited his impact in an ugly game like this.
|Ty Lawson, PG 37 MIN | 6-15 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 8 AST | 13 PTS | -10
A really disjointed game from Lawson, who was able to penetrate but didn’t consistenty put pressure on Portland’s defense throughout the night. His speed and energy were not a factor in the game as Lawson mostly faded into the background save for a few garbage baskets towards the end.
|Andre Iguodala, SG 27 MIN | 5-13 FG | 3-6 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 13 PTS | -9
Not awful, but his shot selection is disappointing as his growing complacency with the Nuggets’ culture of indifference on the defensive end. He was supposed to be a part of the solution for Denver’s abysmal perimeter defense, a system so broken it’s shown little, if any, sign of improvement from last season.
|Anthony Randolph, PF 8 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -1
I continue to maintain that the Nuggets should be giving Randolph a look. His post defense isn’t any worse than Mozgov or Koufos and he outruns any center in the NBA with ease, a skill which shouldn’t go unnoticed in the Nuggets’ second unit. He is also one of the few Nuggets able to change and alter shots with weak side help, a fundamental skill often lacking in Denver’s regular front court play.
|Jordan Hamilton, SF 13 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-1 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | +6
He still can’t really get minutes or show he can consistently knock down a three. I would love to see Jordan be able to change games with his rebounding, passing and defense but right now he looks to be struggling a great deal with his overall confidence and shot selection.
|Corey Brewer, SF 29 MIN | 4-10 FG | 5-6 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 13 PTS | +4
A near double-double and lots of hustle, but the Nuggets offense is in a bad way when Brewer is playing 29 minutes as the main scoring threat off the bench. Brewer did his job but he should be earning minutes with his defense, not the other way around.
|Timofey Mozgov, C 10 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -5
Not traded yet, but the nuggets are obviously still trying. They don’t seem interested in giving him a chance or just moving on, so it’s likely he’ll continue to be showcased for other teams. We saw some bad hands and decent defense out of Moz, which is nothing new and doesn’t really change things for the Nuggets either way.
|JaVale McGee, C 15 MIN | 3-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | +2
He looked winded and flat out spent at the end of the game. As much as I think the Nuggets have to trust JaVale more and give him room to grow, McGee did not look like someone I’d trust to maintain effort for 30 minutes. He needs to play at the same level energy-wise throughout the game, something JaVale isn’t close to doing right now.
|Andre Miller, PG 28 MIN | 5-14 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 7 AST | 12 PTS | 0
He had a near triple-double and did a great job limiting his turnovers, but color me unimpressed with Andre Miller as a floor leader. He should have posted up Lillard 20 times tonight, but instead we got some truly awful shot selection including two hopeless threes on a night the Nuggets were desperately looking to him for leadership. As a defender, he looks washed up and near useless.
|Evan Fournier, SG 9 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | 0
Thrown into the fray after a bizarre first quarter in which Karl briefly emptied his entire bench, Fournier looked surprisingly comfortable. He struggled with his handle, but got pressure on the ball and was disruptive on the defensive end. If he can learn how to make shots, Fournier looks good enough in everything else to be a quality rotation piece.
|Danilo Gallinari, SF 35 MIN | 9-21 FG | 7-8 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 28 PTS | +10
This was by far Gallo’s best game of the year. Efficiency — throw it out the window. Points — I don’t even care. The bottom line with Gallo’s performance was that he hit shots at every crucial corner of the game. Whenever the Nuggets needed a basket, he was there to deliver. Often times this came in the most unlikely of scenarios (i.e., with a hand in his face). If it wasn’t for his clutch shooting tonight, the Nuggets win this game.
|Kenneth Faried, SF 29 MIN | 6-11 FG | 7-9 FT | 11 REB | 2 AST | 19 PTS | +3F
Faried was a monster for most of the game. His defense against taller power forwards like Tim Duncan will always be questionable but his heart is not. Anytime you can get a near 20-10 performance from your power forward you are in good shape.
|Kosta Koufos, C 31 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 14 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | +2
Again, this was one of the better performances we’ve seen from Koufos this season. In fact, given the circumstances, I’d say this was his best. Fourteen rebounds and four blocks is unheard of for a guy who’s just establishing himself as a starter in the NBA. His defense on Tim Duncan was flat out studly. I cannot say enough about that aspect of his game this evening.
|Ty Lawson, PG 38 MIN | 4-15 FG | 4-4 FT | 1 REB | 5 AST | 12 PTS | -2
Ty wasn’t especially potent but he did a great job of emphasizing the speed at which the Nuggets needed to play. He also had a few great steals that led to easy, momentum-swinging baskets.
|Andre Iguodala, SG 37 MIN | 6-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 6 AST | 14 PTS | +9
Another fantastic performance. I think you could argue this was Iguodala’s best of the year given what was at stake. He was a totally different person against the Spurs. He was fierce. He was on the prowl. He wasn’t messing around. He really appeared to be on a mission to show what he could do in George Karl’s fast-pace offense. Let’s just hope he’s finally adapting to the speed at which the Nuggets play.
|Corey Brewer, SF 29 MIN | 6-11 FG | 2-5 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 16 PTS | +2
Brewer was a total spark plug, as usual. He did exactly what the Nuggets needed him to do: hit big outside 3-pointers and play lock-down defense.
|Timofey Mozgov, C 6 MIN | 0-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 PTS | +4
Mozgov had a short stint but he wasn’t too shabby. Anytime he can log six points in six minutes, it’s a good outing.
|JaVale McGee, C 11 MIN | 3-6 FG | 4-10 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | -1
What an interesting night for the talented 7-footer. The Spurs tried to play Hack-A-JaVale late in the game, and although he missed most of his free throws, it was a strategy that didn’t really pay off. McGee didn’t log a lot of minutes but had one of the most efficient performances of anybody on the floor.
|Andre Miller, PG 23 MIN | 2-6 FG | 4-4 FT | 5 REB | 7 AST | 8 PTS | +3
We’ve had our quibbles with Miller as of late, but he was solid against the Spurs. He simply has a different style of game. It doesn’t always fit with what the Nuggets are trying to do but when the team is rolling he seems to fit in quite well.
|Danilo Gallinari, SF 26 MIN | 6-9 FG | 5-5 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 18 PTS | +19
Gallo’s aggression to start the game really set the tone for what ended up being one of the better wins of the season. He continues to improve and score in a quiet but effective manner.
|Kenneth Faried, SF 22 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | +27
Faried’s energy was where it has been most of the year; however, his minutes aren’t. Faried has endured a slump recently and it just so happens to come at a time when Karl has begun to limit his minutes. Odd.
|Kosta Koufos, C 18 MIN | 6-10 FG | 0-2 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 12 PTS | +24
Koufos played good defense — that’s what matters most. He was often in the right place at the right time to finish plays, which resulted in a nice stat line, but his solid play on the defensive side of the ball is what stood out most.
|Ty Lawson, PG 26 MIN | 4-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 11 PTS | +23
Lawson did a great job of pushing the pace. He hit a few big shots, but this was a night where his control of the Nuggets’ tempo shined most.
|Andre Iguodala, SG 28 MIN | 4-7 FG | 3-4 FT | 8 REB | 8 AST | 11 PTS | +28
The points weren’t necessarily there but this was one of Iguodala’s best games in a while. He doesn’t always have to score, but he needs to be aggressive with the ball in his hands at all times. He did that against the Kings and it really showed in the form of several highlight plays and an overall excellent performance from his team.
|Anthony Randolph, PF 7 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -2
Randolph was great in his limited time. He’s had somewhat of an interesting reputation as a selfish player over the course of his career but that was nowhere to be seen against the Kings. He made all the right decisions and had a few very impressive offensive possessions.
|Jordan Hamilton, SF 23 MIN | 6-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 15 PTS | -1
Hamilton was incredible in the first half — where all his points were scored. During one stretch he scored 12 straight points for the Nuggets. This hot shooting abruptly ended in the second half where he missed every shot he took. Hamilton has an enormous amount of talent but seems to only have one gear: score. If he can learn to shift every now and then he’ll be much better off.
|Quincy Miller, SF 5 MIN | 0-1 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 1 PTS | -1
This was Miller’s first appearance in a Nuggets uniform. It was brief and pretty inconclusive.
|Corey Brewer, SF 19 MIN | 2-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | +3
This was one of Brewer’s less impressive games in recently memory. It might be a small sample size but he doesn’t seem to fit well with Hamilton when they’re on the floor together. Brewer just seemed totally off his game against the Kings.
|Timofey Mozgov, C 9 MIN | 2-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -6
Mozgov is definitely showing much more confidence in his game this year. He’s still a step slow sometimes but he appears to finally be adjusting to the pace of the NBA.
|JaVale McGee, C 21 MIN | 7-9 FG | 5-8 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 19 PTS | +7
McGee was insane. He had three dunks in a row in the first half that nobody else in the NBA could execute. His skill level and potential were on display throughout the game and it was quite the sight to see. I really cannot stress just how impressive he was in the first half.
|Andre Miller, PG 24 MIN | 0-1 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 4 PTS | +9
Miller was a total dud. After Lawson set the pace he immediately came in and killed what momentum the Nuggets had built up. This is somewhat of a reoccurring theme with Miller. He simply does not run the way his teammates do. He’s always looking for the easy outlet pass and if it’s not there he meanders up the court like he’s on a sightseeing excursion. Miller is no doubt an important member of the Nuggets and a great locker-room presence to have, but he has to buy into what the Nuggets are trying to do a bit more on offense.
|Evan Fournier, SG 12 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | -5
Fournier looked great. You can tell he’s a smart basketball player with a gift for playing the game the right way and getting his teammates involved. It’s going to quite interesting seeing just how good he can be with a heavy dose of minutes.
|Danilo Gallinari, SF 36 MIN | 5-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | +1Danilo sometimes kind of disappears for stretches of games, but he sure has a knack at times for finding ways to come up with some big plays at key moments. That was on display tonight, when a couple of big 3-pointers and, most dramatically, a pass to himself off the backboard for a dunk put the kibosh on Memphis extending leads, and got the crowd pumped up.|
|Kenneth Faried, SF 25 MIN | 3-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | +6Kenneth for the most part was mostly a non-factor in this game. Sure, he had ten rebounds, but he really couldn’t get anything going offensively, and he really couldn’t compete with the Z-Bo/Gasol combo on the glass very well. He played great against Minnesota, but he’s only had 2 double doubles in his last 10 games, and he needs to find a way to bring out the Manimal more consistently.|
|Kosta Koufos, C 23 MIN | 1-3 FG | 4-4 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | +1As is usually the case when Kosta has a good game, the stat line doesn’t tell the story of how well he played, aside from his four blocks. Look instead to Marc Gasol’s 2-10 shooting. Koufos played admirably well against a frontcourt that has the potential to dominate him, and was a big contributor to Denver’s solid defensive performance.|
|Ty Lawson, PG 37 MIN | 5-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 5 AST | 13 PTS | +5We’d still like to see more aggression from Lawson. When he’s not shooting, he’s not doing enough to keep defenses honest and prevent them from packing the paint. That said, this was one of his best defensive performances of the season. Mike Conley did get off a couple three pointers, but he was kept ineffective most of the game, held to 5-14 shooting with only four assists. Ty still needs to work on not turning the ball over, however.|
|Andre Iguodala, SG 38 MIN | 8-11 FG | 3-5 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 20 PTS | +10this is the Andre Iguodala the Nuggets need to see more often. Tonight he played with an intensity and aggression that has far too often been missing from his game this season, and it really paid off. As with Lawson, turnovers are still a problem, but it was great to see him running the court harder, disrupting the Grizzlies offense with the kind of scrappy defense his reputation is built on, and above all operate within the flow of his team in a comfortable way. If he can genuintely find his comfort zone, it’ll be great news for Denver.|
|Corey Brewer, SF 24 MIN | 3-6 FG | 3-3 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 9 PTS | -1This was a quiet performance from Brewer, mostly solid, but relatively understated compared to his recent play. He didn’t make too big of an impact on this game, but he was serviceable in the minutes he played, allowing Gallo and Dala some brief respite without much dropoff.|
|Timofey Mozgov, C 5 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -11The five minutes Mozgov played in this game were probably his worst of the season. Karl sent him in after Koufos picked up his second foul, and should be credited with recognizing that tonight was clearly not Timo’s night, and pulling him out of the game quickly.|
|JaVale McGee, C 24 MIN | 4-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | +13Tonight’s JaVale McGee is George Karl’s dream JaVale McGee. His defensive presence set the tone for the entire team. He didn’t try to do too much or force things on offense. He played a fundamentally sound game, making few mistakes and, like Koufos, played great against one of the league’s best 4/5 duos. And man, he just blocked the hell out of that ball. There are four on the stat sheet, but easily more than two or three times that were altered because of his presence in the paint. And his block-catch was reminiscent of LaPhonso Ellis’ classic play: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVFSfRVzQ8s|
|Andre Miller, PG 29 MIN | 6-10 FG | 6-6 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 18 PTS | +1Miller continues to struggle defensively at times, but at least the effort is there this season. Like most Nuggets fans, I’m not a big supporter of the two point guard lineup, but I can empathize with wanting to have your best players on the floor when the game is on the line, and Dre probably gets some undeserved runoff from that fan frustration. But if the “crafty veteran” tag seems cliche, that’s not because it isn’t true. His handle on the game and his ability to post up have been among the most consistently reliable pluses for the Nuggets this season. A Marc Gasol and-1 brought Memphis within one point with 0:53 remaining, but four made free throws by Miller sealed the game for Denver.|