|Danilo Gallinari, SF 32 MIN | 3-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 8 PTS | +3
His shot selection could be a lot better since returning from an ankle injury, but it’s just Gallo’s second game back. The zero free throw attempts is concerning but otherwise Gallo looks like he’s still rusty and working his way back. If he doesn’t figure it out offensively, Denver will struggle to keep up with the better teams in the league
|Kenneth Faried, SF 23 MIN | 7-10 FG | 1-3 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 15 PTS | +8
The Manimal looks to be back to his normal efficient self and chipped in an extremely energetic 23 minutes tonight. Defensively he struggled along with the rest of the bigs but his energy continues to have a profound effect on the rest of the team. Denver was quicker to every loose ball tonight tonight and a lot of that can be credited to the presence of Faried.
|Kosta Koufos, C 30 MIN | 7-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 14 PTS | 0
A poor second half and lackluster rebounding effort spoil an otherwise solid performance. He had three blocks but looked lost protecting the lane and limiting Detroit’s penetration. As a starter Koufos hasn’t had a bad game but the Nuggets lackluster defense has looked soft with him in the middle.
|Ty Lawson, PG 39 MIN | 3-8 FG | 8-10 FT | 4 REB | 9 AST | 15 PTS | +21
Ty seems to be settling down into a role nicely and for the first time was able to affect the game with his raw speed. Lawson needs to do a lot more offensively but the fact he earned ten three throws after shooting none if Miami is a huge improvement.
|Andre Iguodala, SG 36 MIN | 6-15 FG | 2-2 FT | 10 REB | 4 AST | 17 PTS | +6
Solid double double and all around production from Iguodala. Strangely, Denver has looked like a much better half-court team with Iguodala on the floor. While Gallo continues to provide unreliable scoring the Nuggets have relied on Iguodala’s willingness to take big shots.
|Corey Brewer, SF 20 MIN | 4-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 11 PTS | +5
He seems to be sticking in his newfound 3-and-D role with the Nuggets this season. Brewer dribbling still scares me and he isn’t a lockdown defender by any means, but as long as Brewer is hitting spot-up threes he’s very valuable. Fans of J-Ham might not want hear it, but Brewer’s strong play is the main reason he’s being squeezed out.
|JaVale McGee, C 18 MIN | 7-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 16 PTS | +9
Progress has been slow for JaVale. He had a great overall game outside of a mini blooper reel segment in the middle of the second quarter. Denver’s a different team with JaVale on the floor but he’s been unable to play a steady 20 minutes without mental mistakes and frustration piling up.
|Andre Miller, PG 26 MIN | 2-5 FG | 4-5 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 8 PTS | +1
As expected, Andre delivered some indifferent defense along with wizard-like passing and floor general skills. Solid game but at this point in his career, Miller can’t stay in front of the average guard who’s at least a decade younger than him.
|Wilson Chandler, SG 16 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | +7
Liked his hustle, but he continues to force difficult shots and pass up good ones. I do consider this game progress for Chandler but he’s been tough to watch since attempting to return from hip surgery. Would like to see him be a lot more active on defense but we still don’t know what Chandler is able to provide yet.
How do you build a championship roster?
That is a question that General Managers and Presidents of Player Personnel must ask themselves every day. What complicates things is while every team starts every season at 0-0 not every team is created equal. What works in one market is not feasible in another. Add in the fact that no two teams are at the same point in their process of building a team and the possibilities for every team are endless. Every decision creates a ripple in the pool of NBA chaos.
It’s been a while since the last — or first, depending on how you look at it — version of Nuggets News graced the front page of Roundball Mining Co. For this we apologize. We know how important it is to keep the Nuggets community as up-to-date as possible on everything concerning its favorite sports franchise, but this lockout has taken a serious toll on our passion… and that’s hard to do. (more…)
Quite a few storylines unfolded on Tuesday night in Secaucus, N.J., but none were bigger than the Cavaliers winning two of the top four overall picks behind the fortuitous, and confident, 14-year-old Nick Gilbert, son of Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and team representative for the night. (more…)
For two consecutive games the Denver Nuggets have outscored its opponent by at least 19 points. It’s too bad neither of those teams happened to be the Lakers or Heat, but taking care of business is taking care of business last I checked, no matter who the opponent is. (more…)
Tonight the Nuggets notched their first win in Phoenix since 2004, and for George Karl it was his first win in the desert since 1997. Whatever has kept the Nuggets from winning in the US Airway Center in years past certainly was not preset this evening as the Nuggets took it to the Suns from the get-go, and did not let up all game.
Recap by GoldenNugget
Watching the Denver Nuggets and Detroit Pistons go at it tonight, seemed eerily similar to the match we saw Tuesday against the Washington Wizards. Both teams had many highlight plays, pushed the pace and couldn’t figure out how to get a stop if it’s life depended on it. Yet once again, the Nuggets came out victorious, which is usually the case when this style of ball is implemented.
How close is Carmelo Anthony to becoming a member of the New Jersey Nets? Close enough that the Nets and Pistons “were surprised on Sunday night when Denver allowed the players included in the proposed trade to play in a game against the New Orleans Hornets.” That sounds like a deal that is all but done.
You can find thoughts on tonight’s 101-99 loss to the Pistons in the Daily Dime from both Dan Feldman of Piston Powered and myself. Judging from the quote from Chancey in box five under “Quote of the Night” he agrees with the premise of my comments.
The Denver Nuggets just cannot beat the Detroit Pistons. They dropped another winnable game on the road and it is officially time to really start to be concerned about this team.
The Pistons started the game off on fire making six of their first eight shots, and they were able to collect the offensive rebound on both of the misses and eventually convert. Fortunately for the Nuggets Chauncey was making everything he threw up too. Billups clearly felt comfortable returning to Detroit and he lit up his former team scoring 21 first half points on 7-11 shooting. The first half was not just all about Chauncey though as Denver was able to find a lot of holes in the Piston defense on their way to 54 first half points.
The Nuggets started the second half out strong as well using the pick and roll to continue to create holes in the defense. Chauncey made a three, his fourth of the game, with 8:26 left that put the Nuggets up 65-54 and gave him 26 points on the night.
At that point Richard Hamilton had seen enough. After the ensuing Pistons possession Hamilton stood under the basket, made a gesture to Rodney Stuckey who had been covering Billups that communicated, “This is not working, you guard Dahntay Jones because he cannot score” and he began hounding Chauncey all over the court. Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess then began trapping Chauncey off of screens and that really slowed down the Nuggets attack. For the rest of the night the Nuggets struggled to score. In fact, from the time Hamilton started covering Billups the Nuggets only scored 12 points over the next 12 minutes and only scored 30 points over the final 20 minutes. The only reason they managed to score that many points was because J.R. Smith put up ten points in the final five minutes of the game.
Even with the limited offense if J.R. converts on a dunk attempt, on which he may or may not have been fouled by McDyess (Altitude never showed a replay of what may have been the most important play in the game, but after watching it a few times it did not look like McDyess touched the ball at all), The Nuggets might have pulled this game out.
In a game without Carmelo the Nuggets’ supporting cast was just not strong enough. Linas Kleiza started, but was virtually useless scoring only two points in 26 minutes proving his one point performance in the first meeting was not a fluke. Kenyon Martin shot 3-13 and scored a measly six points. Chris Andersen missed jumpers and tip ins alike to finish 1-8. Even with his strong finish J.R. was a sorry 6-16. A major key to the game was in the second half Chauncey, Nene and J.R. scored all but five points for Denver. A team with only a couple of weapons can be easily defended.
In the third quarter Detroit only had to worry about Chauncey and Nene. After Nene made a jumper less than a minute into the fourth quarter he only attempted two more shots and one of those was a meaningless three at the final horn. After Nene’s final bucket early in the fourth Chauncey and J.R. scored all of the Nuggets points, but one, a free throw by Anthony Carter. You want your best players to shine down the stretch, but the lack of diversity in the Nuggets offense played into the Piston’s hands.
Defensively the Nuggets played hard for most of the game, but they did not play together. Almost all of the Pistons’ shots were uncontested as defenders either blew assignments and rotations or were simply out of position.
I was worried about how the Nuggets would respond to the suspension of Carmelo and I thought they played hard. I think that the fact it was Chauncey’s homecoming game helped keep the effort up. Unfortunately the focus and determination just was not there, especially on defense.
Up next the Nuggets return home for a Thursday battle with the second place Trail Blazers and then follow that up the next night with a battle against the surging Jazz in Utah.
Additional Game 61 Nuggets
Mindboggling Game Stats
Pace Factor: 79.4 – Very slow partly due to the lack of turnovers, only 17 combined, and offensive rebounds, 28 total.
Defensive Efficiency: 126.0 – Very poor.
Offensive Efficiency: 119.7 – This number belies how bad they were in the second half thanks to Billups hot first half and J.R.’s hot final five minutes.
The Denver Nuggets have had a difficult time winning games in a couple of places around the NBA. In recent seasons they broke a long jinx in Sacramento. Last month the Nuggets stopped a long losing streak in Orlando. With that victory against the Magic the Palace in Auburn Hills now fills the role as the Elm Street for the Nuggets nightmare. Denver has not won a game at the Palace since a 99-88 win on March 10, 1995, when Grant Hill was a rookie and Joe Dumars was still four seasons away from retiring. By the way, the Pistons had the sixth worst record that season.
As everyone knows by now Carmelo will not take part in the game tonight and even though he is suspended I found it odd that he returned to Denver instead of taking part in practice Monday and sitting on the bench to support his teammates. We could speculate all day about the significance of his departure, but for now let’s just focus on the game tonight.
The Nuggets are struggling having lost four of their last six games including three straight on the road while after losing eight straight the Pistons have beaten the Magic and the Celtics on the road. Coinciding with that two game winning streak is the absence of Allen Iverson officially due to a back strain, but unofficially due to the decision to move him to the bench.
While you can make a very strong argument that the Pistons are better off without AI, it is more difficult to do so with the Nuggets missing Carmelo. If someone else was experiencing a hot streak there might be some hope that he will step up and fill Melo’s offensive shoes, but the entire Nuggets team is in the midst of a prolonged shooting slump. As those of you who read this blog regularly know I track various Nuggets stats from game to game and post them on the right sidebar. For what seems like weeks the Nuggets field goal percentage has held steady at 47.2%. Today it stands at 46.8%. That may not seem like a significant drop off, but consider this. The Nuggets as a team are shooting only 43.8% since the All-Star break. When everyone is struggling like that it makes it doubly difficult to replace your best offensive player.
Carmelo missed the first meeting between the two teams due to his fractured hand and the Nuggets struggled to score so we may be able to soak up some insight from that game.
According to the game notes Karl has selected Linas Kleiza to start in Melo’s small forward spot. Kleiza has proven to be a streaky scorer and the Nuggets will need him to switch over from his current cold streak to a hot streak mighty quickly. The chances of Kleiza suddenly breaking out are greatly reduced by the fact that he is going to be checked by Tayshaun Prince. Kleiza shot 0-6, missing a couple of open layups to boot, and scored one point in over 34 minutes in the first meeting.
The Nuggets will also need a big night from J.R. Smith as well although unlike Kleiza Smith will need to do more than score. He will need to be aggressive and attack the paint in order to create easy scoring opportunities for both himself as well as his teammates. J.R. shot 3-13 in the first meeting.
Of course aside from Melo’s suspension is Chauncey’s first game back in Detroit since he was traded to the Nuggets. Undoubtedly Chauncey will experience a wide range of strong emotions. Chauncey had a nice game attacking the rim, but as the game wore on he forced some three point attempts. Billups will have to duplicate his 11-19 effort from the first game for the Nuggets to have a shot.
It would be nice to have Nene provide some post offense although he struggled to do so against the Pistons physical front line in the first matchup. Nene only shot 3-7, but he did get to the line 12 times. The Nuggets will need him to step up tonight.
Kenyon is always capable of having a nice offensive game when he is getting in the lane instead of hoisting jumpers, but in the first meeting he shot a sorry 6-15.
More so than raising individual games the Nuggets must raise their collective team game. They will need to play with the focus and desire on defense that they displayed against the Lakers and on offense they can earn good shots for each other by playing unselfishly and patient offense. Unfortunately with Melo out the offense has a tendency to become stagnant with one pass and a jump shot as everyone is trying to make up for Melo’s absence on their own.
The way Denver is playing right now I really do not like their chances tonight. I am almost as down on their chances tonight as I was before the Laker game, but I will hold off on any prediction of doom so soon after being proven wrong just a few days ago.
Previous Matchup: Game 38 – Den 90 Det 93
Don’t look now, but tomorrow’s matchup between the Detroit Pistons and Denver Nuggets might be lacking some star quality.
Allen Iverson is likely to miss the game due to back problems and now Benjamin Hochman is reporting that Carmelo Anthony is probably going to be in Denver. Unfortunately, the game is in Detroit. The reason for Melo’s return to Denver has been cited as personal. That is pretty vague so the imagination starts running, but Rex Chapman informed Hochman that the personal matter is not a legal matter. It is never good to hear that a player has to leave his team and I hope that whatever the issue is comes to a swift and happy resolution.
While Melo’s situation gets your attention, it is not quite as interesting as the story behind Allen Iverson’s absence. AI left the Pistons game versus New Orleans after straining his back. He has been checked out and apparently is alright however, he claims he is not healthy enough to play and is seeking additional medical assistance.
Chris McCosky from the Detroit News thinks that Iverson’s back problem has been exacerbated by finding out that he is going to be coming off the bench instead of Rip Hamilton. McCosky reports that AI is healthy enough to play tomorrow against Denver as an MRI on his back was clean, but his absence is because he needs time to “celar his head.”
I am a big AI fan, I think he is an incredible athlete and can be one of the most exciting players to watch in the entire NBA. Sadly, his I-just-want-to-win routine that he has been selling in Denver and now in Detroit is starting to show some significant holes.
Iverson has made some sacrifices in Detroit. He is making what are the ultimate sacrifices in his mind as he is playing fewer minutes and taking fewer shots. The problem is what he believes is required to win basketball games is not what is best for the team. AI thinks basketball games are won by him being on the floor for 42 or more minutes a night with the ball in his hands. While many players who get older become not only content, but desperate to fill any role they can on a contending team to win a title AI believes that a contending team has to fill the role of providing four other players to be on the floor with him.
When the team is losing as the Pistons had been before he hurt his back the answer for how to turn things around in AI’s mind is not to bring him off the bench further marginalizing him, but to leave him on the court longer and give him a larger role.
The Pistons had lost eight straight with AI. Since he hurt his back they have won two straight pulling out games at Orlando and at Boston. I think the jig is up. I think the Pistons are better off without AI and I think AI would be better off with a team that needs him. We all know the real reason why Joe Dumars traded for Iverson was for his expiring contract and not his talent. With today being the final day to waive a player and allow that player to be eligible to play for another team in the playoffs I think it is best for all involved for AI to be bought out and set free.
Where would he go? I have no idea, but if the Celtics are interested in Stephon Marbury someone is going to be interested in AI.
With Carmelo Anthony out for three to four weeks the Denver Nuggets are going to have to pay a little more attention to detail on offense in order to earn good shots. So far they have done a very good job in the first halves of their two games they have played without Melo. However, in the second half of those two games they have stopped moving without the ball and attacking the rim. They begin settling for outside jumpers and as a result their production really falls off. They got away with it against the Miami Heat, but the Nuggets basically handed the Detroit Pistons a win due to their poor second half execution.
For my very first Film Room segment at RMC I have compiled some clips from both halves of the Detroit game to show the stark contrast between how the Nuggets have played offense in the first half compared to the second half.
In my humble little game preview I mentioned that I expected the Denver Nuggets game against the Detroit Pistons would be frustrating. I had no idea how frustrated I would be by the end of the night.
The Nuggets followed the same blueprint they used against the Miami Heat. Play a great first half and then abandon everything that made the first half a successful one.
I was baffled by the Nuggets play in the second half, especially on offense. They played like the Portland Trail Blazers had sent out a memo threatening legal action against any team who displayed any kind of movement or purpose on offense. It was despicable and four hours after the end of the game I am still insane with anger. Denver could have played better on defense, but it was their lack of offense in the second half that lost this game.
The sad thing is as hard as Denver worked to lose this game Detroit played so badly, they barely won.
I am planning on putting together a Film Room segment on tonight’s performance so we can all relive the special torture.
Maybe I expect too much from Chauncey Billups, but I continue to wait for him to organize this team and demand that they run some semblance of an offense after they start to chuck up bad shot after bad shot. Instead of putting a stop to it, he seems to join the parade eager for his turn to chuck up a bad outside shot.
I thought there were instances where he got caught up in trying to be the Pistons himself and in the second half he was clearly tighter playing against his former team than Allen Iverson was. Of course, that was to be expected as he felt a greater attachment to Detroit than AI did to Denver.
If Denver is going to hang onto their spot in the standings while Melo is out they must win games like this. They cannot rely on J.R. Smith and Linas Kleiza making almost all of their three point attempts as they did against Miami. They can do enough defensively to stay in these games, but if they continue to play one on one take the first shot available offense in the second half they will be lucky to win two or three more games before the end of January.
Additional Game 38 Nuggets
Mind Blowing Game Stats
Pace Factor – 86.3
Defensive Efficiency – 107.8 – It would have been better if they did not give up six points on free throws in the last nine seconds.
Offensive Efficiency – 104.3 – The collapse in the second half was total. In the first half they shot 50% and had an efficiency of 111.2. In the second half they shot 33% and had an efficiency of only 97.5.
At the beginning of the season who would have guessed that when the Detroit Pistons came visiting the Denver Nuggets that neither Carmelo Anthony nor Allen Iverson would be in a Nugget uniform?
As we all know, AI will be on the court though with his new team and supposedly a new role. Looking at his points per game and what he has been saying it would appear that Iverson has toned down his one man band, but I am not so sure. J.A. Adande has an article on ESPN.com talking about how the Pistons are getting the chemistry down and AI is allowing Rodney Stuckey, who has been great over the last six weeks, to handle the ball more and he is happy to let someone else carry the water and as a result the Pistons enjoyed a seven game winning streak.
Like Lee Corso I have to say, “Not so fast my friend.”
Sure AI is playing a couple fewer minutes than his traditional 40 plus a night and yes, he is taking fewer shots, but the true reason why his scoring has fallen so far is because he is not making shots. Before I declare AI to be a new reformed team player, I will have to see him fitting into a half court offense.
The good news for the Nuggets is AI has never beaten a former NBA team in his first try. That’s right, he is 0-1. I have no idea what Chauncey Billups’ record against his former teams is and he has far too many former teams to look it up. I am pretty sure tonight’s tilt will be more emotional for Chauncey than AI.
Denver has become a much more efficient offensive team thanks largely to the exchange of Iverson for Chauncey. Detroit is still a solid defensive team, but they are no where near the juggernaut they used to be in the glory days and it will be interesting to see who the Pistons assign AI to defend with Chauncey and J.R. on the floor.
Even though they are no longer a defensive force, Detroit still plays at a slow pace. Denver will have to be ready to play intense defense as they did for most of the game against the Heat and if they move the ball on offense they way they did on Wednesday they will have success on offense even if J.R. and Linas Kleiza are not red hot from behind the arc.
From an injury standpoint we all know Melo will be on the bench once again nursing his fractured hand. For the Pistons Rip Hamilton is out and Rasheed Wallace missed his third straight game on Wednesday in Portland and tonight he is a game time decision. Even if Wallace does not play the pistons have a strong front line with Antonio McDyess, Jason Maxiell, Amir Johnson and Kwame Brown.
The one area that really concerns me is Kleiza guarding Tayshaun Prince. Well, actually I am worried about Kleiza no matter who he is guarding, but Prince has stepped up his offensive game with three straight 20 point performances and he is crafty enough that he just might abuse LK. As far as the closing lineup of Billups, Anthony Carter and Smith goes, I like Billups on Stuckey and Carter on AI, but Prince will be a tough cover for Smith as well due to his length.
The Nuggets have a four game losing streak at the hands of the Pistons and wile they are a good team, Detroit is no longer the conference finalist caliber squad they have been over the previous six seasons. I think we can expect a close, sometimes frustrating, physical grind it out game and hopefully the Nuggets can get another win without Melo.