Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 104 Atlanta Hawks 108

Denver Nuggets 104 Final
Recap | Box Score
108 Atlanta Hawks
Danilo Gallinari, SF 34 MIN | 3-10 FG | 10-10 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 16 PTS | +1

Loved the hustle and energy, but fact the fact he can no longer shoot straight is starting to limit his impact on the floor. Solid effort, but he just doesn’t work as a one-dimensional straight-line driver on offense. He showed a distinct lack of confidence in his shot and it affected his play in the second half.

Kenneth Faried, SF 26 MIN | 2-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | +7

Foul trouble was the main issue here as the Nuggets struggled to keep up on the glass while Faried was out. He still managed to lead the team in plus/minus and was a big factor in the Nuggets’ late surge.

Timofey Mozgov, C 28 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 13 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -4

Really good effort in a lot of areas that won’t show up on the box score. He was foul prone and sloppy, but for an emergency start Mozgov started things off on the right foot and was solid at the end of the game as well. The rebounding output is encouraging considering Mozgov was pretty terrible all last season.

Ty Lawson, PG 37 MIN | 12-16 FG | 3-4 FT | 1 REB | 7 AST | 32 PTS | +4

Outstanding, with really the only blemish being that game-clinching turnover in the final minute. It’s been about a good 7 months since Ty’s played anywhere near this level and the Nuggets will look like a different team if this guy starts showing up more than once every 19 games.

Andre Iguodala, SG 38 MIN | 2-10 FG | 0-1 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 5 PTS | -1

I get that he doesn’t care about his own offense and generally makes his impact on the other end of the floor, but 5 points and 7 turnovers in 38 minutes is unacceptable. Sloppy effort and a poor finish out of someone the Nuggets are expecting to be a leader on the floor.

Anthony Randolph, PF 6 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -6

Not great, but I find it hilarious/fitting/sad that both times Karl has brought Randolph off the shelf he’s played him next to JaVale McGee.

Jordan Hamilton, SF 4 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -4

Still kind of in the rotation, but not really

Corey Brewer, SF 25 MIN | 8-15 FG | 2-3 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 19 PTS | -15

The Nuggets aren’t really playing good basketball when Brewer chucks up 15 shots and and plays like this, but he scored 19 points without hitting his threes and gives you the gaudy numbers off the bench.

JaVale McGee, C 24 MIN | 5-8 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 11 PTS | 0

JaVale’s first stint off the bench is where the Nuggets started getting pounded inside and it continued the rest of the night. His failure to keep Hawks off the glass and protect the paint were a main reason Atlanta got control of the game and held onto it most of the night. McGee needs to focus on providing a solid presence down low and defense.

Andre Miller, PG 18 MIN | 2-5 FG | 4-4 FT | 1 REB | 7 AST | 8 PTS | -2

For the first time all season I get to say something positive about an Andre Miller performance. He started off the game normal (read: slow and awful) before undergoing a stunning transformation at the half. Miller was moving twice as fast as we’ve seen all season, closing out on shooters and looking unusually active on both ends. Whatever the halftime message was, Miller clearly got it.

Two Things We Saw

  1. The Nuggets got destroyed down low, giving up 19 offensive rebounds and allowing the Hawks 95 shots to just 78 of their own. They got in a fast-paced game with Atlanta, but too many turnovers and an inability to bang with Horford and Josh Smith cost them a chance at winning. The Nuggets look soft down low and purely reliant on transition offense for everything they do.
  2. We know Denver’s fast paced style will be a challenge on back-to-backs with the fatigue factor. We also know they can get in a fast-paced game and still struggle with the wrong matchup, especially Gallo on the more physical fours and fives in the league. Until Denver changes it’s style of play, the excuses to lose are highly unlikely to ever run out. Right now this looks like a team on the verge of giving in to that mentality and just waiting for the schedule to turn their way.

Corey Brewer and the Denver Nuggets at the crossroads

The two big stories in Nuggetsland this August have been the trade for Andre Iguodala and the personalized training that JaVale McGee and Kenneth Faried are receiving under the tutelage of Hall of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon. Recently however, my thoughts have turned to another player who will undoubtedly be of lower profile in Denver’s 2012-13 season, but in several ways will still be of great importance.

Most Nuggets fans very much enjoyed tracking the progression of last season’s team with the NBA TV produced documentary The Association: Denver Nuggets (and if you were living in a cave and somehow managed to miss it, please proceed to the Association page at NBA.com here, where all episodes can be watched for free). Going back through the series recently, I found the third episode to be particularly heartbreaking and inspirational.

Just as Denver was struggling through a bad stretch of injuries and losses late January and early February last season, Corey Brewer had to take a three game absence to mourn the passing of his father, who succumbed to a long battle with diabetes complications. Making an emotionally charged return on Feb. 11, he helped the Nuggets win a closely fought 113-109 road victory over the Indiana Pacers in one of his stronger performances of the season. (more…)

3-on-3: The summer of one

The latest edition of our ongoing 3-on-3 series centers around one — one player that intrigues each of our writers in three different areas of the game. With hardly any roster space left for free agents, a serious need for star power and a Summer League team boasting with young talent, the fact remains: The Nuggets could certainly use an adjustment or two. Though we aren’t general managers and don’t control the fluidity of the roster, we can at least point out several players that we feel would benefit the Nuggets in some fashion — which is exactly what we aim to do, 3-on-3 style.

(more…)

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 118 Atlanta Hawks 117 (OT)

Atlanta Hawks 117 Final
Recap | Box Score
118 Denver Nuggets
Kenneth Faried, F 25 MIN | 3-6 FG | 2-4 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | -10

His numbers were solid and the foul trouble was kept at a minimum. However, you got a dstinct sense Faried was trying to avoid whistles as he was occasionally exposed against Josh Smith and the Hawks’ many perimeter scoring threats. Faried did do a great job running the floor and going after rebounds like he always does. You’d like to see him work on a shot that isn’t a dunk, but his pure hustle makes it easy to overlook a lot of the rookie-type flaws in his game.

Danilo Gallinari, SF 37 MIN | 6-13 FG | 6-7 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 19 PTS | +4

Hands down, that was one of the craziest game winners I’ve seen. Gallo is getting to the rim like he used to but the elevation and finishing ability just don’t look right. Karl finally realized Brewer does not need to be starting even with a half-functional Gallinari available, and Gallo responded with his usual “starter” numbers. Defensively Gallo was better than the rest of the Nuggets so it’s easy to crown him as the undisputed hero of tonight’s game.

Nene, C 39 MIN | 8-16 FG | 6-6 FT | 6 REB | 5 AST | 22 PTS | -3

This is a really tough grade to give, because Nene made the game winning free throws and after Josh Smith fouled out, he was far and away the best big on the floor. Unfortunately I cant overlook the fact Nene played soft against Smith, who flat out embarrassed him. The only thing worse than his late game defense was watching Nene settle for jumpers nine times out of ten against Zaza Pachulia. It was one of Nene’s best games of the year, but I’m left with a sour taste in my mouth trying to evaluate his overall night. That just… wasn’t good.

Arron Afflalo, SG 35 MIN | 3-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 7 PTS | -3

The leadership isn’t there. If the Denver Nuggets are going to fix their perimeter defense, it starts with Arron Afflalo. He is the only one capable of setting a good example. There are games where he’s clearly more concerned with getting his offense going rather than holding himself and his teammates accountable on defense. I could care less how many shots he takes — the Nuggets need more out of him from a leadership standpoint, because right now nobody cares about guarding the perimeter.

Ty Lawson, PG 35 MIN | 8-11 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 7 AST | 21 PTS | 0

Lawson’s early offense carried the Nuggets to a big lead, but his aggression seemed to be missing for a good part of the game. There’s no way you can complain about Lawson’s production, but he’s capable of a lot more. Lawson deferred to Andre Miller and Al Harrington way too much in the fourth quarter, and whether that’s a coaching decision or Ty’s refusal to demand the ball remains unknown.

Al Harrington, PF 30 MIN | 8-12 FG | 3-4 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 19 PTS | +15

Al Buckets was once again the steadiest player on the court for the Denver Nuggets. You know exactly what you’re getting out of Harrington and his production rarely wavers enough to call him out. The story of the game was the fact he was perhaps the most important Nuggets player in terms of containing Josh Smith, for nothing more than the simple fact Harrington forced Smith to play defense. Smith would later foul out of the game in OT.

Andre Miller, PG 21 MIN | 2-3 FG | 1-1 FT | 0 REB | 8 AST | 5 PTS | -3

My feelings on Miller are well-known, and it needs to be said right away Dre played his best individual game in weeks. He played probably about as well as he can play and was not in the game during the worst stretches, during which Denver really fell apart. The simple assessment I reach time and time again is only further affirmed by every game I see. When he comes into the game, Denver goes from a middling defensive team with potential to a terrible defensive team with no hope.

Corey Brewer, SF 18 MIN | 5-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 12 PTS | +3

Brewer thrived in a much more appropriate bench role. His production remained constant while his efficiency improved. It pretty much validates the fact Brewer is better suited to coming off the bench. The major problem I had with Brewer was his reach-in foul on Kirk Hinrich late in regulation. He just can’t seem to wrap his head around the fact you don’t need to go for a steal or deflection every single time you attempt to defend the ball.

Rudy Fernandez, SG 16 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 5 PTS | +2

Not much was expected out of Rudy after missing the last 11 games, but he was a surprisingly effective spark off the bench in the first half. His minutes were carefully monitored and he was only used for short stretches, but Rudy had a net positive impact during his time on the floor.

Timofey Mozgov, C 9 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | 0

Awful. Really tough to watch, and judging by Mozgov’s reaction to coming out of the game, he seemed to know it. The good news is he barely played and the Hawks fortunately weren’t capitalizing on Denver turnovers in the first half.

Prospecting: Digging for gold in the 2011 NBA Draft

With the Denver Nuggets already out of the playoffs and the NBA Draft a little over a month away, speculation on how the Nuggets will approach the draft and who it will take with the 22nd pick is firmly underway. Equipped with an enticing asset in Raymond Felton as well as the less attractive Al Harrington — both of whom are overshadowed at their respective positions by other teammates, thus making them somewhat trade-able — the Nuggets have the option to make a variety of moves if prompted. (more…)

2010-11 Game 68: Denver Nuggets 102, Atlanta Hawks 87

It’s hard to understand (or even grasp the concept for that matter) what heaven must be like. Undoubtedly arriving in such a palatial and euphoric location would be blissful on the highest level. And though we can’t exactly embrace that feeling until we get there, we can certainly estimate as to how it might be. Watching the Denver Nuggets since the landmark Carmelo Anthony trade, one can only assume, is just like heaven. (more…)