According to Fox Sport’s Sam Amico, the Nuggets have expressed interest in Orlando Magic shooting guard J.J. Redick; however, chances of landing him are slim due to Redick being content with his current role with the Magic. Amico also suggests the Nuggets could make a minor move at the deadline by offering up Wilson Chandler, Corey Brewer or Anthony Randolph.
Punch Bowl Social, located at 65 Broadway, has brought a lot of new faces to the South Broadway area of Denver — and now it’s looking to bring some more, in the form of the Denver Nuggets. On Feb. 20 fans will get the opportunity to meet their favorite Nuggets players (at a cost of $100), with funds benefiting Kroenke Sports Charities. The event is 21 and up and will last from 7 to 9 p.m.
So, technology sucks. My computer just died after typing the entire recap. I was literally right clicking to copy the entire post when it died, erasing everything. Probably a good night for that to happen though. Here’s all you need to know about the game:
A little over two months ago I posted a video piece on Andre Miller’s clutch play that helped seal Denver’s victory against the Indiana Pacers on Dec. 7. With eight points and an assist in just 104 seconds, Miller poured it on in crunch time to lead the Nuggets to a big road win at a time when they were struggling.
Unfortunately, we are back in the Film Room today to visit what essentially was the opposite scenario. In their heartbreaking road loss to the Celtics on Feb. 10, the Nuggets were down just two points with 48 seconds remaining in the game’s third overtime when Miller retrieved the rebound off a missed Kevin Garnett jumper. And as every Nuggets fan not living under a rock is well aware, from there the train rapidly derailed from the tracks.
The Film Room video, followed by analysis of Miller’s play and George Karl’s coaching, is after the jump.
|Corey Brewer, SF 28 MIN | 3-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 9 PTS | -10
Brewer did what he normally does as far as energy goes despite being moved into a starting role due to the injuries to Andre Iguodala and Danilo Gallinari, which helped the Nuggets as they tried to recover from an early double digit deficit. What didn’t help though was the abysmal shooting night though. On a night where the Nuggets were missing around 30 points due to injury someone needed to step up and Brewer was not the answer. His good defense helps his grade a bit but it is hard to overcome those shooting lines.
|Kenneth Faried, SF 31 MIN | 6-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 11 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 15 PTS | -11
Faried did his normal Faried things for the Nuggets, score his points in ultra efficient ways and provide energy for the team throughout the night but a large part of the problems the Nuggets had on the defensive glass has to fall on the team’s best rebounder. When a team gives up 15 offensive rebounds it is hard enough to win, let alone when they give up two on one of the final possessions of a close game when they are down four key rotation players. What hurts the most is the rebound that eventually led to Rudy Gay’s game winner hit Faried in the hands, but he was unable to corral the ball.
|Kosta Koufos, C 20 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | -3
Koufos missed some easy shots and made some tough ones, rebounded the ball pretty well but still allowed to many offensive rebounds, and had a nice block when the Nuggets were making a run to get back in the game, but also blew some rotations. Basically he played about as average as one can in his limited minutes.
|Ty Lawson, PG 39 MIN | 12-20 FG | 4-6 FT | 1 REB | 9 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 29 PTS | +8
Lawson was absolutely incredible for the Nuggets tonight, and was the reason the game ended up as close as it did. Lawson created more offense for his teammates than the nine assists indicate and got himself to the basket at will. He also had two great steals that led to easy Nuggets baskets in a game his team desperately needed easy points. While losses are never easy to take Nuggets fans should be excited about the rest of the season if Lawson can use tonight as a springboard for more dominant performances.
|Evan Fournier, SG 18 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -10
The offense looked good for Fournier for the most part, but a couple of bad decisions on not shooting the ball and some rough defense hurt his grade. With such a pure stroke Fournier needs to be willing to shoot the ball even if the window he gets is not a big one, and a couple times tonight he was not and instead drove into traffic and got into trouble. On the defensive side of things Fournier had a nice moment where he jumped a Raptors dribble hand-off but for the most part he struggled to stay in front of Demar DeRozan. The offensive flashes that should get people excited were there, but so were the defensive problems that should cause worry.
|Anthony Randolph, PF 27 MIN | 6-13 FG | 4-6 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 16 PTS | +10
There are going to be plenty of people who disagree with me on Randolph’s grade due to how his final boxscore reads and his pretty good play in the fourth quarter, but a couple of things stood out to me that don’t allow me to go higher than a B minus. Early in the game Randolph had a sequence that went like this: Dunk, steal, try to dribble to much after the steal and get the ball stolen from him, hit nothing but backboard from four feet away, charge. It was just ugly. Add in the fact that he missed a dunk/layup that was wide open, completely whiffed on a pretty good pass from Andre Miller when he was wide open in front of the rim with no one around him, and missed another layup on the break and he cost the Nuggets plenty of easy points in transition. Then the end of the game comes, and Randolph is on the floor while the Nuggets struggle rebounding and he fails to set a good screen on the final inbounds play then gets knocked backwards on the hand-off once the ball gets in. In the end it was a typical Anthony Randolph night; on one hand flashes of good and on the other plays that make you realize why he doesn’t get more minutes.
|Jordan Hamilton, SF 28 MIN | 3-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 7 PTS | +2
Hamilton was aggressive but as a player who is known as a shooter he needs to shoot better than 3-10 from the floor in his opportunities. On the bright side he made a great block in transition after turning the ball over and played hard the entire time he was on the court. Like Randolph and Fournier the flashes were there, but the overall game wasn’t good enough.
|Timofey Mozgov, C 12 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | 0
Mozgov was a big body while he was in the game. Four points and three rebounds in 12 minutes isn’t bad, but he got put on another poster by DeRozan and was slow in his help a couple of other times.
|JaVale McGee, C 5 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +2
Two fouls in five minutes isn’t good, but McGee left the game due to injury and didn’t have a chance to make up for it.
|Andre Miller, PG 31 MIN | 5-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +7
Like Randolph, Miller’s line looks much better than what he gave the Nuggets on the floor during the game, mostly on the defensive end. Multiple times Miller was part of a miscommunication that led to open shots for the Raptors, and other times he walked when he was supposed to be stepping in to help on drives. The most telling moment was on Hamilton’s stellar block. The Raptors had a 3 on 1 break against Miller and looked to have an easy bucket after Miller stepped towards the player who received the first pass and they swung the ball back to I believe Kyle Lowry running the break. Miller turned back around and just stood there as Lowry took another two steps and went airborne for his layup. Luckily for Miller Hamilton came flying out of no where to block the layup but it is the kind of effort that “veteran leaders” shouldn’t be demonstrating.
I just flat out didn’t get a lot of George Karl’s decision making tonight, and in the end a few of the decisions ended up costing the Nuggets the game. First of all, if a coach wants to preach accountability and unselfishness, how can he continue to clearly play favorites? JaVale McGee got in the game, scored a basket and committed a foul, and was taken out all in one minute in the first quarter. Meanwhile Andre Miller, who in pure selfishness cost the Nuggets the game on Sunday against the Celtics, plays 31 minutes. Then as the Nuggets are getting killed on the class late in the game Karl continued to play Anthony Randolph instead of going to either Koufos or Mozgov. If his problem was the Raptors playing small then why have Randolph on the floor anyway forcing him or Faried to have to play Alan Anderson? Isn’t that a perfect spot for Jordan Hamilton? Then on the final possession of the game Karl used Randolph, clearly the most frail member of his team, to try and set a screen for Cory Brewer and then take the inbound pass from Lawson and execute a hand-off to get Ty going towards the basket. Except Randolph was knocked back, fumbled the ball and Lawson was unable to get a good shoot. Isn’t that a perfect situation for a big body like Koufos or Mozgov? It was just a bad night for Karl even despite being short handed.
|Danilo Gallinari, SF 49 MIN | 7-20 FG | 2-3 FT | 10 REB | 3 AST | 3 STL | 2 BLK | 4 TO | 18 PTS | -12
Gallo’s shot was off for the majority of the game, and poor shot selection didn’t help matters. He had a couple of spectacular defensive stops on Pierce early in the game, and continued to make life difficult for whoever he was guarding. His rebounding was solid as well. Had his last three point attempt fallen, we might be talking about him as the player of the game.
|Kenneth Faried, SF 39 MIN | 5-10 FG | 4-7 FT | 12 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | -11
If you only read the box score, you might mistakenly believe the Manimal had a really good game. He was his usual energetic self rebounding and running the floor. But he was consistently lost on defense, rotating to the wrong guy or simply failing to contest shots. He also missed two critical free throws, committed several dumb fouls, and got called for a technical foul at a terrible time.
|Kosta Koufos, C 19 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -9
Kosta was fairly solid in the first half of this game. He kept his guy out of the paint and made his shots when he was able to cleanly catch the ball. Despite his relative effectiveness, he didn’t play after halftime.
|Ty Lawson, PG 55 MIN | 13-22 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 9 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 29 PTS | -6
Ty started out playing tentatively, but as the game wore on his confidence grew. He hit several big shots throughout the game, including a clutch jumper to give the Nuggets a three point lead late in the second overtime. He also did a good job setting up teammates for most of the night. Unfortunately, he became a non-factor as fatigue set in late.
|Andre Iguodala, SG 20 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | -8
Iggy left the game around halftime with an apparent neck injury (right cervical strain). In retrospect, it seems likely he was playing in considerable pain in the first half. His usually strong defense was instead nonexistent. He seemed to be trying to avoid contact, preferring to pass to Koufos in traffic rather than taking the ball up strong in the paint. The team performed much better with Brewer in the game.
|Corey Brewer, SF 28 MIN | 5-15 FG | 3-5 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | +7
During the first half of the game, Brewer seemed to have Boston’s defense figured out, and he was able to get to the rim a few times in the halfcourt as well as on the break. His chaos-causing defense played a big part in keeping the game close, and just before halftime he saved the ball right to Koufos to cut the Celtics lead to four. Unfortunately, he missed a few shots at the rim and then fell in love with his jumper a bit in the second half.
|JaVale McGee, C 32 MIN | 2-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 16 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +9
JaVale seemed to be the antidote for what was ailing the Nuggets for a lot of this game. He erased a bunch of points at the rim, and the rest of the defense seemed to tighten up as a result. He struggled in overtime, taking a couple of bad shots, rotating slowly on Jeff Green’s tying three pointer, and simply failing to contest Kevin Garnett’s midrange jump shots.
|Andre Miller, PG 40 MIN | 7-18 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 5 TO | 15 PTS | +6
Andre Miller had one really good play, getting in position to rebound a missed free throw, which gave the Nuggets the possession they needed to tie the game. He also made several bad passes and didn’t contest some of the most important Celtics shots of the game. Finally, he twice tried to make go-ahead three pointers that were nowhere close to going in, rather than finding a better shot.
|Wilson Chandler, SG 33 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | +4
Ill Wil played some phenomenal defense during two of the Nuggets’ biggest runs this game. He negated this somewhat by taking some ugly shots, including a point blank miss that he managed to catch on the other side of the hoop.
Coach Karl made two good decisions tonight: he called a timeout early in the game after the team came out unprepared, and he played JaVale McGee a lot of minutes down the stretch. He also gave the two point guard lineup far too many minutes, left a much smaller player trying to guard Kevin Garnett for much of the second quarter, didn’t make appropriate defensive substitutions (such as putting a player on Paul Pierce who’s tall enough to contest his shot), and didn’t choose to intentionally foul during two circumstances when the Celtics needed a three pointer to tie the game. It’s the coach’s responsibility to prepare his team to play and to put them in the best position to succeed, but neither of those things happened tonight.
Most recent trade rumors involving Timofey Mozgov have indicated that he is on the block and the Nuggets are actively shopping him. A report today from ESPN.com‘s Marc Stein appears to throw cold water on all of that:
Is the following mere posturing or the real-deal stance in Denver? Only time will tell, but one source plugged into the Nuggets’ plans insisted this week that Russian center Timofey Mozgov — widely presumed to be a lock to be dealt before the deadline — will not be moved unless the return is “crazy good.” Don’t know that such an offer is going to materialize for a player behind Kosta Koufos and JaVale McGee in George Karl’s frontcourt rotation.
Of course, “crazy good” relative to Timo is pretty vague, especially considering that much of his market value might come more from his size and expiring contract than his talent. But the bottom line appears to be that, for those hoping for the Nuggets to make some noise before the Feb. 21 trade deadline, it may be best not to hold your breath.
Stay tuned to Roundball Mining Company for updates as the deadline approaches.
|Danilo Gallinari, SF 37 MIN | 6-13 FG | 4-5 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 4 TO | 19 PTS | +1Gallo played a great all-around game tonight. His shooting was quite efficient, and he led the Nuggets with 19 points. But perhaps more importantly he played some solid defense, and he did a great job on the glass, pulling down nine rebounds, including four offensive. The only glaring problem with his game tonight was his four turnovers, and that’s what prevents him from getting a solid !.|
|Kenneth Faried, SF 30 MIN | 7-12 FG | 3-6 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 5 TO | 17 PTS | +1It would be a mistake to think that it’s necessarily a problem if Faried doesn’t get a double-double. His impact on this game was huge. He downplayed his performance in postgame comments, saying, “I only had seven rebounds. That’s not me at all.” But in fact he was his typically high energy self, attacking the rim and breaking through the Cavs’ paint defense with consistency. Defensively, when he got switched onto perimeter shooters (especially Alonzo Gee in the first quarter), he was sometimes late to rotate, and he had the same turnover problem as Gallo.|
|Kosta Koufos, C 17 MIN | 5-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | +1Koufos was very effective in the first half, scoring eight points, many on putbacks from his five offensive rebounds. One thing that’s probably not said enough about Kosta’s consistency is that often what it means is when some of his teammates are struggling, he’s there to pick up the slack. George Karl decided to go small in this game, and Koufos didn’t play too much or make too big a difference in the second half, but he was a big part of Denver taking the lead into halftime.|
|Ty Lawson, PG 35 MIN | 3-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +8Lawson got off to a slow start. Not only was his shot not falling, he somewhat reverted to the less aggressive style of play that limits his effectiveness. Fortunately, he didn’t let that get to his head and he came out in the second half with more determination. While he never really found his shot, he did a better job of pushing the pace, driving, and finding good looks for his teammates. When he was defending Kyrie Irving, he did at least a respectable (if not great) job of it. And unlike most of his teammates, he did a great job of protecting the ball.|
|Andre Iguodala, SG 35 MIN | 6-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 14 PTS | +8This was pretty much the prototype of the kind of game we’d like to see from Iguodala on a regular basis. His playmaking was outstanding (he logged more assists than either point guard), he executed his offense mostly within the flow, letting it come to him rather than trying to force it (with a few exceptions), and when he was assigned to Irving, he did a very good job of containing him and limiting his effectiveness. Alas, like Gallo and Faried, he gets bumped down a half grade for four turnovers.|
|Corey Brewer, SF 21 MIN | 2-6 FG | 6-8 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +3Brewer made such little impact in his first half minutes I hardly noticed he was even on the court. But he found his spark plug in thesecond half, bringing his usual hustle and energy, and making some good fast break and defensive plays. Overall, however, this was not one of those games that he really put his mark on.|
|JaVale McGee, C 18 MIN | 6-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 4 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | +7McGee detractors who malign his out of control play (a criticism which admittedly often has merit) and lack of fundamentals may soon find themselves with a rapidly diminishing supply of ammunition. In recent games including this one, he more often than not has been playing level-headed, fundamentally sound basketball. It has taken time, but the work the Nuggets coaching staff (and, perhaps, Hakeem Olajuwon) has done with him is definitely starting to pay dividends. In this game his ability to block and alter shots was huge, including one very impressive block-catch-and-steal which I still do not think was a goaltend. He also shot an extremely efficient six of seven field goals. but once again, the turnover demerit is in effect.|
|Andre Miller, PG 25 MIN | 3-8 FG | 4-5 FT | 6 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 10 PTS | +2Miller was trying to force things too much when he first came out, resulting in some poor decision making and a couple early turnovers. But he did find a way to play more within the flow after that, and he made a markedly positive impact in the second half with some pretty big shots and assists that helped the Nuggets maintain their lead. And like so many above him, he would have ended up a half grade higher if not for the turnovers.|
|Wilson Chandler, SG 23 MIN | 2-6 FG | 3-4 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | +9Chandler is still finding his way on offense, and hopefully someday soon he’ll get there. But he was deployed in this game primarily for defensive purposes, and he held up that end of his responsibilities well. Like Iguodala, he did a good job on Irving, and he also had a couple nice steals resulting in Nuggets points the other way. Ultimately, however, if he can’t find a way to perform more consistently on offense, it will be hard for Karl to find more minutes for him than the 22 he had tonight.|
|George KarlKarl sent Iguodala out to cover Irving on early possessions. This was a sound strategy, and I am generally in favor of putting Iguodala on the opponent’s best player early and often. What he didn’t have a backup plan for was what Denver would do if another player heated up like Alonzo Gee did. Fortunately the Nuggets weathered his first quarter onslaught (and let’s face it, Gee wasn’t going to stay hot forever — he’s no Sammy Dalembert), recovering in the second quarter to take the lead into halftime. And ultimately the strategy to limit Irving paid off. He finished the game with a fairly quiet 26 points on a fairly inefficient 10 of 24 shooting, and at no point in the game did he ever take control of it. The Nuggets played sloppy, but it’s always hard to discern how much of that is on the players and how much on lack of preparation by the coach, especially when going on the road after a long home stretch. The Cavs are better than their reputation, and this could have been a trap game, but the Nuggets were in control of it the whole game after the first quarter, and there wasn’t much to complain about in terms of matchups and rotations. So in accordance with what we might call Kalen’s Axiom, in which ultimately winning the the thing that matters most, Karl gets an A for a successful start to this road trip, and the Nuggets’ ninth consecutive win.|
The Denver Nuggets got off to a fairly rough start at the beginning of the season. Sure, they had one of the most brutal opening schedules of any team in the league, but the problems appeared to run deeper than that. Players like Ty Lawson and Danilo Gallinari, who Denver was counting on to provide perimeter shooting that would space the floor, came out cold as ice.
The Nuggets started off right there in the hunt for being the worst team in the league in 3-point shooting and free throw shooting, and their defense, which was supposed to get a boost from the addition of Andre Iguodala, was flailing. They just could not seem to get it together, and it looked like Denver had team problems which ran much deeper than a tough schedule.
Then around mid-December, things started to turn around. (more…)
|Danilo Gallinari, SF 30 MIN | 4-9 FG | 6-6 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +26
Gallo had a more tentative game than he’s recently experienced but he still played solid basketball. He spent most of his time driving the lane and being creative with his mid-range game, which is always good. His defense was solid throughout the night as well.
|Kenneth Faried, SF 26 MIN | 9-10 FG | 3-4 FT | 12 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 21 PTS | +19
Had this game been close Faried likely would have finished with close to 30 and 15. This was the most energized he’s been in weeks. Why? Perhaps national TV had something to do with it. If so, someone needs to tell him the Nuggets are playing on national TV more often. One thing Faried does need to improve on is his pick-and-roll offense. He’s still setting pretty weak picks and rolling halfheartedly to the basket.
|Kosta Koufos, C 21 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | +16
Again, Koufos rebounded well but otherwise he was invisible. His interior defense has been his strong suit this year, but the last few games it’s dropped off tremendously.
|Ty Lawson, PG 31 MIN | 5-11 FG | 6-8 FT | 3 REB | 12 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 16 PTS | +40
I love seeing the 12 assists from Lawson. You have to remember: Every time he gets an assist the Nuggets get at least two points. That means he directly contributed to at least 40 points against the Bulls! His game was confident in nearly every aspect; however, he was having trouble defending the pick-and-roll. He needs to get better at fighting through screens.
|Andre Iguodala, SG 26 MIN | 6-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | +21
Iguodala had a really good first half. His jump shot was falling everywhere. His offense dipped in the second half, but his defense stayed steady throughout. He had about three or four really nice baskets this night.
|Anthony Randolph, PF 7 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +2
Pretty nice stat line for such limited time. Randolph is a very nice option to have this deep on the bench. The kid can play. He’s never going to be the stud we all thought, but he’s proven that he can be relied on when the Nuggets are in a pinch.
|Jordan Hamilton, SF 8 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +4
I’m just saying: If this dude played for the Wizards or Bobcats or some other crappy team, he’d average 16 and seven — maybe better. It’s amazing how talented he is and how little playing time he’s earned in nearly two years of being a Nugget. Against the Bulls he missed his first three shots, then promptly dropped two deep threes all in the span of a few minutes time.
|Corey Brewer, SF 18 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +6
Brewer was pretty quite but his defense was great, as usual. He does an excellent job of switching with haste. While some Nuggets tend to switch lackadaisically, Brewer is always up in the face of his opponent, whomever that may be. He also did a great job of getting out on the break even though he didn’t score many baskets.
|Timofey Mozgov, C 8 MIN | 3-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +4
Mozgov looked good. He had an ally-oop and even hit a deep rainbow jump shot.
|JaVale McGee, C 14 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | +14
This was one of McGee’s best games of the year in terms of efficiency. He had several SportsCenter Top 10-caliber dunks and some very impressive, blue-collar like blocks. In fact, that’s how I’d describe McGee this game: blue collar. Yes, he was a little flashy at times, but never overly flamboyant like he has been in the past. I’ve made peace with the fact McGee is likely never going to be a starter under George Karl, but come on, the dude deserves more time.
|Andre Miller, PG 24 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 7 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | +1
I really am enjoying this version of Andre Miller more than the myopic, scoring version we’ve seen throughout the year. He needs to be a facilitator, defender and all-around utility guy. When he does that, the Nuggets reserve squad becomes much better as a team.
|Evan Fournier, SG 10 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | 0
Fournier just hasn’t looked good in recent games. He’s making a lot of rookie mistakes and fouling too much. He needs to be more aggressive and not think so much when he gets the ball.
|Wilson Chandler, SG 19 MIN | 8-9 FG | 3-3 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 24 PTS | +7
What. The. Hell… Seriously. Chandler is like that dude you played ball with in high school who every blue moon would just go off and force everyone to look at each other in pure bemusement. You really can’t do anything but scratch your head. Chandler was shooting under 30 percent from the floor over the last five games coming into this one and suddenly goes off from downtown. I really wish he was a bit more consistent, but this is a good sign. He’s proven he can have incredible outbursts, it’s just a matter of getting more playing time before it all comes together.
What is there to complain about? McGee deserves more time… And that’s about it. Karl had his guys ready to play this game and it showed in the final score. This might have been the best full game the Nuggets have played all year. Their defense was incredible the entire night. That’s where it all started. If they play this type of suffocating defense in the playoffs, they can get out on the break all they want. But it has to start with defense. That seems to be the message Karl is preaching these days and it’s one I can dig.
The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla was recently up to his usual pot stirring shenanigans (which I thoroughly enjoy, by the way) when he suggested the Nuggets make a move for Kevin Garnett. In his largely opinion-driven piece Kiszla sarcastically touches on the sad reality that is being a fan of a mid-market team; however, he does include some interesting statements about Garnett’s willingness to come to Denver. Kiszla claims KG “wants nothing to do with the Nuggets” but that the “Nuggets must continue to monitor the situation” as there’s a good chance The Big Ticket could be dealt by the trade deadline. It’s worth noting Garnett has a no-trade clause in his current contract with the Celtics.
For the second consecutive season, the Denver Nuggets will not be represented in the NBA All-Star Game. While there is a strong case to be made that their two leading scorers Danilo Gallinari and Ty Lawson have been playing at an All-Star caliber level in 2013, dreadfully slow season starts and a talent-rich Western Conference left them far outside the bubble of serious consideration.
This does not mean, however, that Nuggets players will be completely absent from All-Star Weekend. (more…)
|Danilo Gallinari, SF 36 MIN | 7-14 FG | 5-7 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 22 PTS | +14
Gallo’s night was highlighted by an incredible, off-balance trick shot that was the pinnacle of the Nuggets surge in the fourth quarter; but he played well all night. This might have been the most confident I’ve seen him shoot in a while. He didn’t even think of hesitating. He also played excellent defense and had a few very impressive blocks. Gallo’s truly coming into his own right now.
|Kenneth Faried, SF 30 MIN | 5-11 FG | 3-4 FT | 10 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | +8
Faried played very underwhelming for most of the night, but turned it on in the fourth quarter. And by turned it on, I mean TURNED IT ON. He was all over the place, getting blocks, steals, rebounds and nasty dunks. His energy has wavered lately but as long as he comes through when the Nuggets need it, that’s all that matters. He also played great defense in the fourth quarter.
|Kosta Koufos, C 17 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | 0
Koufos was struggling most of the night. He missed really easy shots and even had trouble defending, which is something he’s usually best at. Just not a great night for Koufos all around, although it’s good to see he found way to contribute on the glass.
|Ty Lawson, PG 37 MIN | 6-11 FG | 9-11 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 22 PTS | +8
Ty struggles with his assertiveness at times. You could see this game. After getting his shot blocked by Sanders he wasn’t as driven to penetrate as he had been. What I’ve noticed is that he’s starting to overcome his hesitance faster than he has in the past. Against the Bucks he recovered from a lull in the middle of the game and was all over the place in the fourth quarter. His jump shot was smooth and precise and his defense was even on par with some of the Nuggets wings.
|Andre Iguodala, SG 32 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-2 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 4 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | +10
Excellent defense from Iguodala. Every time you turned around he had his arms in the dribbling vicinity of his opponent, knocking the ball loose. He did struggle a bit offensively and got caught several times trying to find one of his teammates after dribbling into the lane and stopping, instead of making a move one way or the other. But again, his defense was overwhelming this game.
|Corey Brewer, SF 27 MIN | 6-13 FG | 7-9 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 20 PTS | +14
This is a patented Corey Brewer-Denver Nuggets basketball game. He’s done this so many times throughout the season and it’s helped the Nuggets win so many games in the process. How he does it is by being active — more than anybody else on the floor. He’s up and down, in and out, cutting, finding the open spots on the floor and then converting when his team needs it most. His defense was great, not only the fourth quarter, but the entire game as well.
|JaVale McGee, C 18 MIN | 3-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 4 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -11
I thought McGee was sound for about 17 minutes. He had a few mistakes (i.e., fouls) but otherwise, he was exactly what the Nuggets need him to be. I can’t even remember how many nice tips, deflections and rebounds he had that were savvy and helped his team recover the ball. He also played very good help defense, evident by his four blocks on the night.
|Andre Miller, PG 22 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 9 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -2
Miller got a little selfish at times and took some ill-advised shots, but otherwise he was fantastic. His distribution was up there with some of the best games he’s had all year. Not only were his passes on target, but they were smart and deceptive.
|Wilson Chandler, SG 21 MIN | 3-11 FG | 1-2 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | -1
Chandler needs to figure out how to take better shots. I think this means driving more. The Nuggets offense is predicated of driving to the lane and Chandler is usually at his best when he’s participating. He also can’t settle for jump shots. He’s just not a good jump shooter. His defense and rebounding were awesome though. As long as he keeps those up, his offense will fall into place.
Talk about a complete shift in momentum. I was baffled most of this game. I could not believe how well the Bucks were playing and how poorly the Nuggets were defending. Above all else, I could not understand why Karl didn’t come up with a better scheme to prevent the Bucks from penetrating. I know it’s not his style, but even trying a zone defense would have at least given the Bucks something else to try and combat. Instead, Milwaukee pick-and-rolled the Nuggets to death until the fourth quarter came around and their backcourt started hoisting up jumpers. Additionally, the Nuggets were getting killed inside and not once did Karl go with a taller lineup so that one big could roam with the pick-and-roll while the other stayed home to protect the paint. Where he deserves credit is for the fourth quarter. He obviously had a great speech before the final 12 minutes and implemented an effective gameplan that relied on energetic, suffocating defense and getting out on the break.
The Arlington Heights Daily Herald is reporting a “popular rumor” currently in and around Chicago is the idea of trading Bulls shooting guard Richard Hamilton for Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov. While we’ve yet to hear anything definitive regarding this rumor, chances are it’s just that: a rumor. Nevertheless, it does give Nuggets fans a decent idea for what other teams might be willing to exchange for the backup Russia center. Though Hamilton hasn’t accomplished much in a Bulls uniform this year he’s still an experienced player who knows how to win in the playoffs.
The Internet is teeming with analysis, breakdowns, opinions and diatribes of every kind. There are good articles and there are bad articles — then there’s Matt Moore’s profile piece on what Andre Iguodala’s defense has meant to the Denver Nuggets this year. If you read one article this year, I’d advise you to make it this one. Here, Moore manages to get Iguodala to talk about all aspects of his defense, but most importantly he shines light on the underlying theme: that Iguodala’s defense is all about obstruction. It’s not about flash. It’s not about blocks or steals (although he gets quite a lot of both). It’s all about restricting his opponent from doing exactly what they want on the floor. By approaching defense in such a cerebral manner Iguodala not only makes himself look good, but his entire team as well — which in turn, makes all of us very, very happy.