Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 97 Golden State Warriors 112

Denver Nuggets 97 Final
Recap | Box Score
112 Golden State Warriors
Kenneth Faried, F 21 MIN | 0-2 FG | 1-4 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 PTS | -11

I’m still trying to figure out why Faried didn’t see any meaningful time past the start of the game. He’s suffered through slow starts before and usually still finds a way to make things happen. Faried’s rebounding performance was very poor, but I’m confident he would have made a difference if given the chance. This likely wouldn’t have ended up as one of Faried’s better games, but after all he’s been through this season I am shocked George Karl continues to have so little confidence in one of his better players.

Jordan Hamilton, G 18 MIN | 0-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 PTS | -8

Hamilton followed up his brilliant start last night with a dud. Considering he’s only seen meaningful minutes in about five games so far, his struggles are understandable. I liked the fact Hamilton played with confidence but he looked like a guy doing his best not to screw up instead of a high energy difference maker. He needs more time, and unfortunately the Nuggets don’t have that as they’re fighting for their playoff lives on a nightly basis.

Kosta Koufos, C 18 MIN | 4-4 FG | 3-4 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | -7

Koufos also struggled on the boards quite a bit, where the Nuggets were thoroughly dominated by Golden State. His production was solid, but much of it came in garbage time. Like Faried, he was another guy who never got going because he didn’t play a significant role. Even so, Koufos could have a more immediate impact in the starting lineup and he’s just been blending in.

Arron Afflalo, SG 40 MIN | 6-11 FG | 3-4 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 16 PTS | -13

Afflalo did all of his damage in the first quarter and subsequently disappeared for the rest of the game. I find it hard to put much blame on him after watching him carry the starters with a tremendous effort last night. Afflalo doesn’t excel at creating offense, but he’s been forced into taking a higher volume of increasingly difficult shots. At some point, the Nuggets must make an effort to get him some help and run an actual offense that does not depend on Afflalo going one-on-one so much.

Ty Lawson, PG 34 MIN | 8-13 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 21 PTS | -21

You might not be able to tell from the box score, but this was a half-hearted effort from Ty Lawson. Going against the Warriors’ point-guard duo of Charles Jenkins and Nate Robinson, Lawson did all he could to take a backseat and coast through the game. He was clearly Denver’s most favorable matchup and just didn’t step up. You have to wonder if he’s started to lose confidence and defer after a couple of bad games and the resurgence of Andre Miller.

Al Harrington, PF 28 MIN | 7-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 19 PTS | -9

The highlight of Al Harrington’s night was getting into it with Warriors fans after starting the game on fire from deep. The raucous home crowd was giving him the full-on Joe Lacob treatment by the end of the night. I appreciate the show of emotion and competitive fire, but showboating against opposing fans during a blowout loss is just quintessential Al Harrington.

Andre Miller, PG 26 MIN | 5-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 14 PTS | -7

After an apathetic, indifferent, and just flat-out bad start to the season, Andre Miller seems to have finally turned things around. He’s been consistent for the first time all season and his change in attitude has been admirable. Defensively, Andre’s play leaves a lot to be desired even against B-list NBA talent. The team needs to play at a high level defensively to get the most out of Andre Miller, and it’s safe to say that hasn’t been happening.

Corey Brewer, SF 29 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 9 PTS | -7

Brewer was once again a mess. While he finally upped his production, it came at the cost of high volume shooting and low efficiency. He just runs around the court without rhyme or reason and against the Warriors, he did not make a positive impact on defense. If he’s not going to hang his hat on perimeter defense anymore, Brewer just needs to play smarter. Ten shots and five three point attempts is not acceptable for a player with such limited offensive talents.

JaVale McGee, C 23 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | +5

McGee’s been pretty bad since his move back to the bench. The issue appears to be mental more than anything, as his confidence is currently so low he’s focused purely on avoiding mistakes more than anything. McGee showed some good things tonight, like the fact he can be an imposing defensive presence at the rim. Unfortunately, he also showed the lack of discipline and maturity that’s earned him his reputation. McGee can still be a fantastic player for the Nuggets if he can put it all together, but with only a handful of games left and JaVale struggling, there may not be enough time.

Julyan Stone, G 4 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | +3

Stone played a few garbage minutes, shot a midrange airball and recorded a foul. His performance was short and basically meaningless, but more importantly a sign of a how non-competitive the Nuggets were against the lottery-bound Warriors.

Rapid Reaction: Minnesota Timberwolves 117, Denver Nuggets 100

Denver Nuggets 100 Final

Recap | Box Score

117 Minnesota Timberwolves
Wilson Chandler, SF 33 MIN | 5-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 5 AST | 12 PTS | +4
Chandler cut down on the “difficult shots” he tends to fall in love with and got to the rack hastily. He also dished out five assists and made a few hustle plays. But Chandler needs to score more than 12 points per game for the Nuggets to have a shot at at winning.
Kenneth Faried, F 30 MIN | 8-13 FG | 1-1 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 17 PTS | +6
In the first half Faried was underwhelming. He wasn’t doing anything well except drawing fouls, but as the game progressed he really turned up the heat. His energy in the second half was excellent and more importantly, honorable. In a game in which nobody seemed to care, Faried did, and that’s certainly one positive to take away from a negative day.
Timofey Mozgov, C 6 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -2
It’s becoming more apparent that Mozgov simply isn’t up to par with the type of competition he sees on a nightly basis in the NBA. He’s perpetually slow to react, out of position and for the most part, maladroit. As someone on Twitter stated, if he played with the second unit perhaps his confidence would elevate. It’s clear at this point, he has no business being a starter especially with McGee now on the roster.
Corey Brewer, SF 33 MIN | 2-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 7 PTS | -20
For the amount of minutes he received, there was no reason for Brewer to score only seven points and snag two rebounds. These types of performances have become a trend, unfortunately. Brewer is often effective in short bursts but can’t sustain a high level of play for an extended period of time. As a role player he’s excellent, but if he’s your starting shooting guard, you’re in trouble, as the Nuggets found out on Sunday.
Ty Lawson, PG 37 MIN | 5-14 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 14 PTS | -7
Did Lawson finish with a bad stat line? Not at all. If this was a win he probably would have received a B. But that’s the problem: it wasn’t. Lawson is without question one of the better players on the Nuggets roster, if not the best. Yet for whatever reason he’s been invisible over the last several games. It’s clear that when Lawson goes, so do the Nuggets, and because he hasn’t been effective lately, neither has his team.
Al Harrington, PF 25 MIN | 3-9 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | -18
This was one of Big Al’s worst games of the season. Nothing was going in and half the time he was busy committing terrible fouls rather than focusing on defense. It’s hard to look too far into his performance however, given that none of his teammates played that well either.
Andre Miller, PG 25 MIN | 6-8 FG | 2-3 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 14 PTS | -19
Andre Miller did Andre Miller. And that’s all I have to say about that.
Chris Andersen, C 5 MIN | 0-0 FG | 2-4 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -3
It’s beyond perplexing why Mozgov still plays more minutes than Birdman. Andersen knows the NBA game, has carved out a role and usually plays it well. His energy is something the Nuggets are in desperate need of right now yet Karl seems sold on a young, inexperienced center for reasons unknown.
JaVale McGee, C 25 MIN | 6-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 13 PTS | -12
McGee was hands down the pleasant surprise of the day. His mistakes were nothing compared to his teammates, meanwhile he played twice as good as any of them. His interior defense was superb and his effort was top notch. If McGee continues to play this good, we’ll have to tip our hat to Masai Ujiri for a fantastic trade, yet again.
Julyan Stone, G 4 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-1 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | +1
You know you’re in trouble when… your third-string point guard is the best defender on your entire team. Let that one slowly simmer for a moment. Julyan Stone cares about defense and actually wants to play it. So why can’t he get some run when what he does best is the Nuggets biggest need? He only played four minutes but for the type of defensive effort he displayed, he gets an A.
Jordan Hamilton, G 17 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-2 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -15
Hamilton was a mixed deck of cards. He did some things well but also committed a few “rookie” mistakes. It’s hard to evaluate him in detail when he doesn’t get consistent playing time.

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Rapid Reaction: Utah Jazz 121, Denver Nuggets 102

Denver Nuggets 102 Final

Recap | Box Score

121 Utah Jazz
Wilson Chandler, SF 27 MIN | 5-11 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 13 PTS | -23
Chandler takes a lot of difficult shots and makes a decent amount. But he needs to work on scoring in the flow of the offense rather than relying on tough buckets all the time. He also needs to work on his consistency. Twenty seven minutes is more than enough time for Chandler to put up more impressive numbers than he did on Friday.
Kenneth Faried, F 22 MIN | 5-7 FG | 6-8 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 16 PTS | -15
Faried was energetic as always, especially from the start of the game. Then, for some inexplicable reason, George Karl decided to bench him midway through the first quarter and all the way though most of the second. Faried finished with only 22 minutes of playing time (the same amount as Corey Brewer and Arron Afflalo) despite being one of the most effective players on the floor.
Timofey Mozgov, C 18 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -15
Mozgov followed up one of his better performances of the year by disappearing against the Jazz. He was hesitant, aloof and as always, a step behind the action. Mozgov has had a lot of time to prove himself and is still wildly inconstant and timid. If he doesn’t show some signs of improvement, he could be moved this summer.
Arron Afflalo, SG 22 MIN | 3-9 FG | 7-7 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | -22
Yes Afflalo got ejected, but at least he showed some emotion. He was also one of the only players pushing himself and his team in the right direction by making something happen. Had Afflalo stayed in the game he likely would have eclipsed the 20-point mark for the third game in a row.
Ty Lawson, PG 31 MIN | 2-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 6 AST | 5 PTS | -17
Lawson was as bad as anybody. He had more turnovers than assists, was the antithesis of “assertive” and didn’t shoot well even when wide open. The fast-paced style Lawson employs requires a lot of energy, therefore fans shouldn’t expect him to be a “blur” every single night. But he MUST still control the pace of the game and act as a threat to the opponent, otherwise he’s no better than Derek Fisher.
Al Harrington, PF 28 MIN | 8-15 FG | 1-2 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 20 PTS | -1
Harrington came to play. Though his 20-and-10 performance came in a blowout, he still shot the ball accurately and played hard. He did everything the Nuggets expect and more.
Andre Miller, PG 27 MIN | 4-8 FG | 5-5 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 14 PTS | +4
And in our favorite part of the evening… For those who watched the game, you already know what it is: a typical Miller performance. Not enough ball movement, too much selfishness, the occasional highlight play, etc. He shot three 3-pointers, turned the ball over four times and did nothing to help the team win, yet somehow finished with an impressive stat line. The saga of Andre Miller continues…
Corey Brewer, SF 22 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 4 PTS | +2
Brewer was just too wild. He gambled on too many steals, drove recklessly into the lane one too many times and never seemed to be in control of his wiry body. He needs to relax and focus on defense.
JaVale McGee, C 28 MIN | 5-7 FG | 1-4 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | -7
After the first half McGee was nowhere to be found, however, he was a monster before that. The best part of the evening was seeing McGee’s athleticism on full display in addition to his limited number of “boneheaded” plays. The more he can limit his mistakes, the better chance he has of reaching his potential.
Julyan Stone, G 2 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -3
Not much to say here. Stone only saw a few minutes and touched the ball sparingly. It would have been nice to see him get some more time considering this game was lost at the start of the third quarter.
Jordan Hamilton, G 12 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | +2
Hamilton deserved more time than he received. This was the perfect opportunity for him to get some more action under his belt yet Karl refused to give in. He played with heart and made a nice 3-pointer but also took a hurried shot as well.

Nuggets Lacking Passers

The Denver Nuggets possess one of the more efficient offenses in the NBA (currently fifth in the league in offensive efficiency).  It is an equal opportunity offense that requires players who can create scoring opportunities for their teammates.  The bad news is they are running low on players who are good passers.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 90 Oklahoma City Thunder 103

Oklahoma City Thunder 103 Final
Recap | Box Score
90 Denver Nuggets
Kenneth Faried, F 20 MIN | 3-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 8 PTS | -7

There wasn’t much to write home about in a game like this, but Faried was clearly a bright spot. Great energy, great hustle, and nonstop aggression on both ends of the court. The fact he saw the fewest minutes of all starters is a travesty. With Nene out of the picture, George Karl has to come around to him eventually for the Nuggets to have a chance at success.

Danilo Gallinari, SF 32 MIN | 6-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 15 PTS | -5

32 minutes is a great sign. Physically, Gallo looked much better than he did in his first few games back from injury. It’s tough to complain about this performance, but I do think 7 three pointers and no free throw attempts is a bit too unbalanced. Gallo is ready to be more aggressive with his offense and the Nuggets need him to take on a larger role.

Timofey Mozgov, C 12 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | -11

Tough to watch. Seriously brutal. Way too many minutes. Needs to pick it up soon. Running out of short sentences here. At some point he has to learn how to not body check his man every time he’s defending the ball.

Arron Afflalo, SG 30 MIN | 4-11 FG | 2-3 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 10 PTS | -1

A really poor shooting performance, but I saw him giving significantly better effort than most of his teammates on both ends. Afflalo is at his best when he’s moving with out the ball, cutting to the basket and shooting off screens. There was no off-ball movement for Denver tonight and just looking at the box score doesn’t tell you how hard he was playing.

Ty Lawson, PG 36 MIN | 4-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 8 REB | 5 AST | 9 PTS | -8

Lawson started slow and was never able to get himself going. He’s always been bothered by the Thunder’s interior defense which is part of the reason OKC is such a a terrible matchup for the Nuggets. Let’s hope JaVale McGee can run a pick and roll because Ty could use an occasional screen and some kind of effort by a big man to help him create.

Al Harrington, PF 26 MIN | 1-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 5 PTS | -15

Harrington’s worst shooting game of the year, and another instance in which the Thunder just badly exposed the Nuggets for playing him so much. He was either stuck on Kevin Durant, Nick Collison or Serge Ibaka, none of whom he has any chance of guarding. Al also got hurt in the fourth quarter and I feel bad for him, but he played a brutally bad game.

Andre Miller, PG 24 MIN | 7-9 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 17 PTS | -14

Probably Andre Miller’s second best game of the season, and it comes with 4 turnovers and a -14 in 24 minutes. This kind of outcome when Andre Miller has a good game isn’t all that unusual, and that kind of tells you the whole story when it comes 2012 season and Andre Miller.

Chris Andersen, C 15 MIN | 1-3 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | +1

Birdman did his job. He provided energy off the bench and outside of Faried, was the best Nuggets big on the floor.He took several shots you did not want him taking, but Denver just had way bigger problems than Bird in this one.

Corey Brewer, SF 10 MIN | 2-4 FG | 2-4 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -5

10 minutes, 3 fouls, and not a whole lot else. Brewer can be so wildly up and down each possession which makes it very difficult to evaluate him. With Rudy returning to the lineup, it seems like Brew is getting lost in the shuffle a little bit.

Rudy Fernandez, SG 18 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 5 PTS | -9

Took some really questionable shots, made some really questionable passes, played some really questionable defense. On the other hand, Rudy did provide a nice spark off the bench in the first half. Can his presence have a consistently positive impact over an entire game though? That’s questionable.

Kosta Koufos, C 16 MIN | 2-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 5 PTS | -1

It’s good to see Koufos healthy and back in the lineup. He made some nice hustle plays and also appeared to have a bit of rust on his game thanks to his extended absence from the rotation.

Julyan Stone, G 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | +5

Got some good news that he won’t be waived to make room for Chandler. It looks like Rony Turiaf will be bought out of his deal to free up a roster spot for Wilson Chandler.

Jordan Hamilton, G 1 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | +5

Garbage time hero.

Three Things We Saw

  1. It’s tough to feel good about where the Nuggets are at right now. They’re amazingly 6-3 since the break, but aren’t playing inspiring ball. I mentioned in the last recap how the defense is so broken it’s a miracle Denver wins as many games as they do. I really don’t see a consistent effort on both ends of the floor, especially on the Nuggets’ home court. A roster shakeup was probably the right thing to do as this team just hasn’t developed any cohesion or trust. They win games when they run out and score a lot of points in transition, which just isn’t going to happen every single game, especially against the better teams.
  2. Part of the reason I believe the trade was made is the Nuggets realizing they can’t realistically compete on the Thunder’s level with what they have. It will likely take several years of first finding an identity and then figuring out how to build a system for success around that. Retooling and reshaping the team that was formed after the Melo trade never made very much sense. There just wasn’t enough evidence to suggest a team like that could win anything.
  3. Half court offense remains a big obstacle in terms of Denver improving with McGee and (possibly) Wilson Chandler coming on board. Without a post up threat or anyone who can create their own shot, Miller and Lawson are stuck playing 1 on 1 a majority of the time. Gallo is a player who I feel doesn’t really create his own shot and needs other playmakers on the floor to succeed. There will be plenty of touches for Chandler and McGee whenever they do come on board, the big question is whether or not they will actually help Lawson and Miller create better looks, something they are not able to do with this group.

Denver Nuggets midterm report card: rookies

In the last installment of Roundball Mining Company’s Denver Nuggets midterm report card series, we’ll be examining the rookies. Since this group of players hasn’t received the type of playing time most of their teammates have, we decided to evaluate them separately. Since the All-Star break, Kenneth Faried has managed to claw his way into the rotation, while Julyan Stone and Jordan Hamilton still remain isolated on the furthest regions of Karl’s bench. This extra boost in minutes has allowed us to get a better understanding of who Faried is, yet Hamilton and Stone are still relatively unknown commodities, therefore their grades should be taken with a grain of salt.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 99 San Antonio Spurs 94

Denver Nuggets 99 FinalRecap | Box Score 94 San Antonio Spurs
Corey Brewer, SF 33 MIN | 4-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 12 PTS | +2
Take away the three 3-pointers he missed and Brewer shot a much more respectable, and efficient, 4-8 from the field. While there’s nothing wrong with him taking a few open threes, keep in mind Brewer has never been a strong outside shooter and is much more effective when cutting to the basket.
Kenneth Faried, F 29 MIN | 4-8 FG | 3-6 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 11 PTS | -2
Faried had a relatively quiet night from a statistical standpoint. In 29 minutes you’d expect him to be well above a double-double; however, what can’t be ignored is Faried’s effervescent attitude and unrivaled enthusiasm that overflow into the rest of his teammates. His willingness to do the type of dirty work many NBA primma donnas won’t even consider is the epitome of the phrase, “a breath of fresh air.” Is it a coincidence that at the same time George Karl is showing confidence in Faried by prescribing him a heavy dose of minutes, the team is suddenly playing with a renewed sense of passion, heart and energy? I think not.
Timofey Mozgov, C 15 MIN | 1-3 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | +4
Prior to Mozgov exiting the game for the second time in as many nights, he was having yet another solid performance. While it’s frustrating watching him fumble more often than Brett Favre, it’s also encourage to watch him grow in other aspects of the game. His defensive effort is still there while his confidence continues to expand. Hopefully his injury was nothing serious as Mozgov needs as much playing time as he can get in order to keep evolving as a player.
Arron Afflalo, SG 37 MIN | 6-12 FG | 1-1 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 14 PTS | 0
Yes, his stat line isn’t gaudy but Afflalo gave the Nuggets nothing but positive output, and when you’re facing the Spurs, that’s EXACTLY what you need to do in order to win. Limiting mistakes must be No. 1 on your gameplan list when going up against San Antonion and no other player embodied this philosophy as much as Afflalo.
Ty Lawson, PG 39 MIN | 7-16 FG | 6-6 FT | 9 REB | 11 AST | 22 PTS | +6
Ty Lawson. Just let it simmer. Again, words aren’t going to do justice for just how big of a role he played in a huge road win for the Nuggets. He was one rebound shy of his first triple-double yet hit the first game winner of his career. This is the second night in a row where Ty Lawson has virtually won an important road game for the Nuggets by being unconsciously aggressive and taking control of his team’s offense as a whole, all while flirting with a triple-double. If this Ty Lawson keeps showing up the rest of the season, the Nuggets will be a totally different team than is currently constructed.
Al Harrington, PF 33 MIN | 6-14 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 16 PTS | +3
Harrington hit some huge shots when the Nuggets were on life support and for that alone, he gets high marks. Not only were these shots important, but many of them were difficult as well. Making difficult shots in tight games is not an easy task. You really can’t say enough bout “Big Al” in this regard. He also played pretty decent defense on Tim Duncan most of the evening.
Andre Miller, PG 25 MIN | 5-18 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 11 PTS | +4
Fans have struggled with Andre Miller all season long and while his “defense” has always been the topic of discussion, it’s now his selfishness that’s really driving people bananas. Against the Spurs, this culminated with a stretch — late in the game, mind you — where Miller missed 10 straight shot attempts, three of which didn’t even come close to going in. It was as if Miller totally disregarded the fact that (A) he even had teammates and (B) was in a close game that his team was in position to win. Almost every instance where he received the ball Miller immediately tuned out everyone else but himself and decided then and there that it was he who would attempt to score the basketball. Had Miller not been so self-centered the Nuggets probably would have won in a more comfortable fashion.
Chris Andersen, C 19 MIN | 2-2 FG | 1-3 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | +3
It’s tough grading “Birdman” in this scenario. He was more efficient and productive than Faried on a minute-per-minute basis, but also committed several frustrating mistakes that the Nuggets couldn’t really afford. For example, his two unnecessary fouls on Tim Duncan within 10 seconds of each other in the fourth quarter could have easily come back to bite the Nuggets in the ass. Thankfully however, Denver didn’t commit many more ill-advised fouls after that and kept the Spurs off the free-throw line to close out the game. Additionally, Birdman just looked tired out there. Perhaps all the trade rumors are wearing him down. Either way, he gave it his all and that’s enough for one night.
Julyan Stone, G 0 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | 0
Stone was again inserted to play defense on one possession and did his job. Now if he could just share a few of Andre Miller’s minutes and actually make an impact on the defensive side of the ball like he’s capable of doing, we’d actually be able to give him a real grade.
Jordan Hamilton, G 11 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | +5
Hamilton hit one huge 3-pointer but was otherwise somewhat invisible. It’s hard to do much in 11 minutes and at this point, it’s unclear as to where Hamilton stands in George Karl’s pecking order. You’d like to see him log more time but as has been mentioned above, mistakes must be limited against the Spurs. In this sense, Karl deserves some credit for recognizing this was probably not the best game for Hamilton to experiment in.

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 117, Houston Rockets 105

Denver Nuggets 117 Final
Recap | Box Score
105 Houston Rockets
Corey Brewer, SF 32 MIN | 6-16 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 15 PTS | +8
As usual, Brewer was instrumental in setting the tone of the game, especially in the second half. Brewer started off somewhat slow but steadily gained momentum after leading the charge with the fast break in the third quarter where the Nuggets outscored the Rockets 31-24. His defense was solid and his effort, yet again top notch.
Kenneth Faried, F 30 MIN | 7-12 FG | 2-5 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 16 PTS | +11
Kenneth Faried was born to play basketball. What is happening right before our very eyes is difficult to process. In only a short amount of time Faried has taken drastic steps in his game — as a rookie, keep in mind. Against the Rockets he was the Nuggets’ best player for an extended period of time before Ty Lawson took over. And by “best player” I don’t mean strictly with hustle alone. Faried really looks like he’s just on another level at times. His athleticism allows for him to make a handful of plays in one night that most guys wont make in a week. Faried’s impressive 22.8 PER currently leads the team and with more playing time, that will likely only increase. At this point it’s fair to say, the “Manimal” revolution has begun.
Timofey Mozgov, C 18 MIN | 1-2 FG | 3-4 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | +2
Unfortunately Mozgov re-sprained his left ankle that sidelined him earlier this month, but before going out he was having an impressive performance. While we’ve seen Mozgov steadily improve over the course of the season, we’ve still been waiting for his confidence to catch up. Against the Rockets, he finally appeared to combine his skill set with a confidence level that has been absent all year. Mozgov didn’t hesitate to shoot, rebounded well and actually attempted a few post moves in an assertive manner for once. Because of this, Mozgov gets his first A in six games.
Arron Afflalo, SG 31 MIN | 7-14 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 17 PTS | +6
Arron Afflalo was sent from above to do one thing and one thing only this game: ignite the Nuggets offense in the second half. Going into the third quarter, even though the Nuggets had played hard, they were still behind and in danger of losing the type of game they had all too often leading up to the All-Star break. Enter Afflalo, who scored 10 of the Nuggets first 13 points in the third quarter which ignited the Nuggets offense for a 15-5 run. Afflalo scored 16 of his 17 points in the second half and was without question one of the main factors that contributed to Denver winning this game.
Ty Lawson, PG 39 MIN | 6-15 FG | 9-12 FT | 7 REB | 15 AST | 22 PTS | +18
Words really can’t do justice for Lawson’s performance against the Rockets. Was this the best game of his career? You could argue that. He set a new career high in assists with 15, and was three rebounds shy of a triple-double. So statistically speaking, this was one of his better games as a Nugget. However, from an evolutionary standpoint, where upon you only analyze his progress as a player and where it culminates, this was hands down Lawson’s best performance of his Nuggets career. In fact, this was basically what his entire career was leading up to. The monster Ty Lawson we all know is hiding inside that diminutive frame finally emerged. Funny it happened this game too, considering just last night I published the Nuggets midterm grade report where I strongly implored Lawson to be more aggressive with his dribble, especially in the half court set. In all seriousness, if Lawson can have more games like these, the Nuggets will be a totally different team.

Al Harrington, PF
27 MIN | 5-13 FG | 1-4 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 13 PTS | +8
Harrington did nothing of great significance. Although he made a few big shots and played solid overall, this was a somewhat mediocre performance from “Big Al.” Nevertheless, he tried hard and played a role in an important Nuggets victory which shouldn’t go unnoticed.
Andre Miller, PG 31 MIN | 5-15 FG | 6-6 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 16 PTS | +7
Miller was basically in the same boat as Harrington. Offensively he had a few nice post-ups and key baskets on occasion, but overall, considering how well everyone else played, Miller was fairly pedestrian.
Kosta Koufos, C 21 MIN | 5-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | +3
In yet another quality outing Koufos provided the size, defense, intimidation and rebounding that is needed from him. He made all five of his shots and had two huge blocks that really gave the Nuggets a much-needed spark. With Mozgov likely out for at least a few more games, Koufos should do a fine job filling in his place.
Julyan Stone, G 1 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -4
Stone only saw one minute of action, which was really about eight seconds. He was asked to guard the scorching-hot Kevin Martin on the last shot of the first half, and proceeded to strip the ball from him preventing Martin from even getting a shot up. This was outstanding defense and for that alone, he receives a B.
Jordan Hamilton, G 10 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | +1
I felt Hamilton got somewhat of a raw deal in terms of minutes. He clearly got pulled after Karl didn’t feel he played well, however he didn’t have enough time to atone for his mistakes either. Though he missed all but one of his shots, none of them were bad, which makes the inaccuracy much more tolerable.

Nuggets News: Gallo’s return and a Chandler update

For those not following us on twitter, there’s been a couple more rumors swirling around the ongoing Wilson Chandler saga. The first coming out of hoopshype stating that the Toronto Raptors are actively trying to free up space for an offer sheet by trading Leandro Barbosa. The second and most compelling rumor causing much consternation amongst Nuggets fans is out of Sportando, an Italian basketball website which is reporting that Chandler’s agent Chris Luchey is “in serious talks with an Italian team to seal a deal for rest of season.”

Both rumors are sourced only to twitter and it’s fair to say they’re rooted in speculation more than anything else right now. As we’ve gone through several times with the Chandler situation, he is in a unique position and only able to negotiate in earnest with one team — the Denver Nuggets.

I would not put a lot of stock into the Leandro Barbosa rumors. He’s been on the trade block for a while and the Raptors know that desperately giving him away in a hurry is a questionable move considering there is no guarantee Denver does not just match their offer sheet. As has been reported by ESPN and Hoopsworld, the Raptors seem resigned to the fact that putting together an offer sheet at this late stage is not likely to work out well.

The rumors of Chandler’s agent negotiating with Italy only reinforces our view that Denver holds all the cards in terms of Wilson returning to the NBA. It’s clear that he wants to be in the NBA, even going so far as to negotiate an early release from his Chinese team and seek an early letter of clearance from FIBA. As we have assumed for a long time, Denver has no interest in signing Chandler short term and granting him the holy grail of unrestricted free agency in exchange for a few months of service.

Wilson must feel he is being forced over to Europe due to Denver not willing to accept a one year deal. Chandler can certainly apply pressure by threatening to head over to Europe for the remainder of the season, but Denver would still own his rights whenever he returns. Not to mention Chandler runs the risk of serious injury while he remains a free agent and there is no guarantee he will be rewarded with the richer contract he’s seeking by waiting till the summer.

The Nuggets are playing hardball with Chandler, as expected. All it means as the process will be longer and more drawn out as Chandler exercises his leverage and continues to test Denver’s resolve to give him the long-term deal he seeks. The Nuggets clearly seem more interested in protecting themselves rather than just getting him on the floor and it looks like a 50/50 proposition in terms of whether or not he’ll be back.

I highly recommend following us on twitter, as I often discuss Chandler stuff there and the situation is such that we won’t post about every future development as it occurs. You can follow me here and go ahead and give Kalen and Jeremy a follow as well.

On to the current links and Nuggets news, bullet-style this time for convenience.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 99 San Antonio Spurs 114

San Antonio Spurs 114 Final

Recap
| Box Score
99 Denver Nuggets
Corey Brewer, SF 29 MIN | 9-17 FG | 3-4 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 23 PTS | -18
It’s really tough to rely on Brewer’s offense, but his constant energy and enthusiasm sure is fun to watch. Brewer was having a pretty poor start to his night before exploding in the fourth quarter where he scored 12 of his 23 points. In an interesting development Brewer guarded Tony Parker with Andre Miller off the floor and was able to pressure him. Brewer’s being asked to fill too big of a role with all of the injury problems and his all effort deserves praise.
Kenneth Faried, F 22 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 4 PTS | -18
He was benched for Al Harrington yet again, but Faried proved he is indeed still a rookie and struggled to keep the fundamentally sound Spurs off the boards. The “Manimal” has been expanding his game and showing flashes of offensive talent but needs to be more consistent on the rebounding front to solidify his place in the rotation. Games like these will happen for the inexperienced Faried and while he struggled to be effective you never once had to question his effort and his ongoing drive to improve.
Timofey Mozgov, C 20 MIN | 3-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | -1
Mozgov was playing solid ball before getting injured against the Lakers and he’s really struggled to get back into form since returning. He once again started poorly, showing his penchant for fouling and turning the ball over too much. Mozgov did play better as the game wore on, but was generally dominated by the Spurs front line and it’s hard to overlook the fact he’s largely ineffective in his minutes right now.
Andre Miller, PG 27 MIN | 7-10 FG | 5-6 FT | 1 REB | 7 AST | 20 PTS | -17
Miller is more reliable as a starter than a reserve, so his impressive stat line doesn’t come as huge surprise. What the numbers don’t tell you is that Miller held the ball a lot and struggled to create decent opportunities as Denver fell behind by as much as 28 points with him directing the offense. Staying in front of Tony Parker also proved to be a nightmare for the slow-footed Miller, who tallied four fouls in 27 ineffective minutes.
Arron Afflalo, SG 39 MIN | 6-16 FG | 4-5 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 19 PTS | -8
Afflalo is banged up, clearly feeling the effects of nagging injuries and being asked to assume a big-minute, high-responsibility role as the Nuggets battle through numerous injuries. Despite Arron tweaking another muscle and struggling with fatigue he battled through a 39-minute night the best he could and came within one point of another 20 point performance — which would have been his seventh in the past nine games.
Al Harrington, PF 26 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 3 AST | 8 PTS | +3
Eight points on 10 shots and another tough performance to grade. While Big Al has continued putting up numbers in this injury-riddled stretch, the team is getting killed on defense as the ball movement on offense grinds to a halt. Harrington hasn’t missed a game yet and is clearly exhausted, but as a veteran leader he needs to focus on defending and getting the Nuggets offense back to their high-efficiency ways.
Chris Andersen, C 9 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -12
It wasn’t totally clear why Birdman entered the game, but he didn’t do anything of note outside of blocking two shots and badly missing a baseline jumper. Birdman could have come out with better energy, but he didn’t get much of a chance and was not in the game long enough to have an impact either way. It’s another example of why the Nuggets are struggling to keep Birdman involved considering they have no idea what to expect when he’s inserted into a game.
Kosta Koufos, C 19 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | -2
Koufos played very few minutes until the game was well out of hand, but he was part of a unit that sparked a second half run and showed life for the first time all night. He grabbed three offensive boards and was clearly more effective than most of the other Nuggets bigs, most notably Harrington and Mozgov. On nights like tonight you’d like to see him get rewarded and show what he can do in a big minute role.
Julyan Stone, G 21 MIN | 2-6 FG | 4-4 FT | 1 REB | 7 AST | 9 PTS | +2
When Stone becomes more of a threat to score the ball his game will really start opening up. Right now it’s clear he doesn’t have a lot of confidence in his scoring ability and he gets out of control trying to attack and do too much. Defensively, Stone’s play was top-notch and sparked a run where the Nuggets actually put up some resistance to Tony Parker and threatened to get back in the game. Stone is a rookie who needs work, but he brings great energy and in terms of overall point guard play I believe he thoroughly outplayed Andre Miller despite not being able to score.
Jordan Hamilton, G 27 MIN | 0-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 0 PTS | -4
Rough night for Hamilton, who took some bad shots early and showed where he still has a lot of room to grow in terms of figuring out how to best use his array of offensive moves. Jordan was hesitant tonight and often caught in between trying to drive or shoot. Although Hamilton was a dud in the scoring department, he grabbed nine boards and showed off his versatility as a big guard who can compete on the glass. Ultimately Hamilton’s role is to score and while he needs to be more aggressive and decisive with his offense, Jordan showed there’s more to his game than just shooting.

Rapid Reaction: Los Angeles Clippers 103, Denver Nuggets 95

Denver Nuggets 95 Final

Recap | Box Score

103 Los Angeles Clippers
Corey Brewer, SF 35 MIN | 3-10 FG | 6-7 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 12 PTS | +1
Brewer is usually an energetic spark of mayhem, but spent most of the evening hoisting up ill-advised 3-pointers and taking bad shots in general. Even his defense was mediocre, which is never a good sign.
Kenneth Faried, F 22 MIN | 5-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | 0
Look at the numbers. In 22 minutes Faried put up way better stats than Mozgov or Koufos yet he was relegated to the bench throughout the heart of the game. His defense on Blake Griffin virtually eliminated one of the Clippers’ best offensive weapons while his tenacity for 50-50 balls was top notch. Had Faried received more time, which he deserved, the outcome of this game may have been different.
Timofey Mozgov, C 23 MIN | 2-9 FG | 1-1 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | -4
Just when I was lightening up on Mozgov he goes off and has a game like this. It’s funny how Karl always preaches about rookies and their mistakes, yet Mozgov is by far the worst offender in this category, and for whatever reason seems to have some of the best job security on the team. What gives?
Andre Miller, PG 35 MIN | 3-15 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 8 AST | 8 PTS | -9
Miller was actually seen playing defense on a few occasions but was a ball stopper on far too many offensive possessions. Worst of all, he wasn’t making any of his shots. It’s nice to see eight assists, but really, none of them were all that spectacular. In 35 minutes, he needs to produce better.
Arron Afflalo, SG 38 MIN | 7-10 FG | 4-5 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 20 PTS | -14
Afflalo has very quietly had a fantastic little stretch over the last several weeks. This is now the sixth time in the last eight games that he has scored at least 20 points. The best part about this one, however, was the fact that it was done efficiently. Afflalo’s offense is, without question, improving right before our eyes.
Al Harrington, PF 29 MIN | 3-13 FG | 5-10 FT | 6 REB | 5 AST | 11 PTS | -11
Up until the fourth quarter Al Harrington was either going to receive an “A” because the Nuggets won due to him kicking it into overdrive, or a “D” because he took way too many shots he shouldn’t have and totally killed the flow of the offense. Obviously the latter ensued and as a result Harrington turned in one of the more perplexing performances he’s had all season. Big Al was far too selfish and shouldn’t even have been in the game the last half of the closing quarter because of it.
Kosta Koufos, C 22 MIN | 4-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | +1
You’d like to see Koufos hit the boards a bit harder but his effort, as always, was there and so were a few nice baskets too. Unlike Mozgov, Koufos hardly committed a glaring error and did the job he was assigned to.
Julyan Stone, G 13 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 PTS | +1
Stone was either nervous, off or possibly both. He had a few nice assists and was a floor general on offense but simply could not make the type of defensive impact we’ve come to see from him in the last few games. He also had some bad fouls that could have been avoided. Still, Stone’s effort on defense shouldn’t be overlooked as it was the best of any Nugget on the floor.
Jordan Hamilton, G 24 MIN | 6-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 18 PTS | -5
Wow. What a performance by Hamilton. As I tweeted, if not for him, I’d have been left without any hair; instead, I still have a few strands. We’ll touch on Hamilton more in the “Things We Saw” section but for starters, keep in mind just how smart he played. He took no bad shots, passed when he was heavily guarded, played solid defense and even skied for a few boards. His shooting was clearly (and I mean CLEARLY) worlds better than Rudy Fernandez, but keep in mind, this is a small sample size. It should also be noted that Hamilton was the only Nugget to stay after the final whistle and congratulate the Clippers on the win, while the rest of the team hurried off to the locker room with heads hung low.

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 103 Minnesota Timberwolves 101 (OT)

Minnesota Timberwolves 101 Final
Recap | Box Score
103 Denver Nuggets
Corey Brewer, SF 43 MIN | 4-15 FG | 4-6 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 12 PTS | -3
Brew logged huge minutes in this one and kept himself useful by shooting less. He hasn’t found his touch from outside in the past two games but has been much more reliable on the defensive end. Zero turnovers is a positive development and he continues to do a good job using his length to disrupt the passing lanes.
Kenneth Faried, F 36 MIN | 4-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 14 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | +6
Faried had the rebounding outburst many have long been expecting. He tallied 14 total boards and extended crucial possessions late in the game. The Manimal finally shined in big time minutes and made several game saving plays, most notably tying up Love for a jump ball in the closing seconds. Faired will put double doubles reliably when he becomes a part of the regular rotation.
Timofey Mozgov, C 11 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -17
Mozgov had a forgettable game. His conditioning was an issue last night against the Thunder and he was laboring up and down the court from the opening tip. He didn’t really fight for position much and despite being on the wrong end of some terrible passes by Miller 4 turnovers in 11 minutes just can’t be afforded.
Arron Afflalo, SG 44 MIN | 6-18 FG | 8-10 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 20 PTS | +3
Afflalo was big, especially after he rolled an ankle and stayed in the game to battle through. The Nuggets are reliant on him to pour in points during this difficult stretch and he seems to be embracing the added responsibility. Arron is carrying the largest load in terms of everything he is asked to provide on a nightly basis. His shot selection is improving as is his willingness to step up in important moments.
Ty Lawson, PG 17 MIN | 5-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 13 PTS | +2
Lawson was well on his way to turning around a a horrible start when he went down with another left ankle sprain in the second quarter. Ty did finish the half but was held out of the game following halftime. While he’s still struggling to execute the most basic of concepts on offense, Ty had the pace going in the Nuggets favor early. His loss will be costly if he’s out for the upcoming back-to-back and it was unfortunate to see him go down right as he started to get himself going.
Al Harrington, PF 40 MIN | 14-29 FG | 0-5 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 31 PTS | +17
I’ll give Harrington credit, he took 29 shots en route to a season high 31 points and were it not for his early offense Denver might not have mustered enough energy to erase their big deficit. He was not badly exposed defensively save for an awful mistake against Kevin Love with the Nuggets up four and in position to close with 14 seconds remaining in the game. Not only did Harrington inexplicably foul but he gave Love a great look at the rim and was fortunate to avoid the and-one. Harrington also missed all of his free throws including two that could have prevented overtime, but Denver probably doesn’t even get there without his help.
Andre Miller, PG 29 MIN | 0-8 FG | 5-6 FT | 6 REB | 12 AST | 5 PTS | +15
Miller had a perplexing game, carelessly turning the ball over early and getting himself ejected on a routine bad call after Lawson had already been lost with an ankle injury. He just was not there when the Nuggets needed him and didn’t have an excuse to get thrown out when he did (though it was a bad call and I understand why he was upset). Andre Miller is smarter than that and the Nuggets need better leadership out of him along with a bit more consistency.
Kosta Koufos, C 19 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -2
I expected Koufos to log big minutes after Karl denied him well-deserved playing time in OKC. It didn’t happen thanks to breakout performances by Faried and Harrington, but Koufos still received a decent chunk of backup minutes and performed admirably. His production did take a serious hit and it’s hard to judge Koufos performance as I barely remember seeing him do anything in his limited time on the floor.
Julyan Stone, G 18 MIN | 1-2 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 5 PTS | -3
Stone saw some really unexpected minutes as it initially seemed like Hamilton would be the beneficiary of Ty Lawson going down at halftime. Stone ultimately had to step in after Miller was ejected and his defense changed the game. Julyan still struggled pushing the ball in transition and controlling his dribble, but he made perhaps the most important play of the game by bothering Ridnour’s layup attempt just enough to prevent disaster. Stone’s versatility was also on display as he did a great job chasing Rubio around and switching onto Beasley a couple of times.
Jordan Hamilton, G 9 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | -8
He saw insignificant minutes, but they were not all that encouraging. Hamilton routinely lost his man on defense and was caught ball watching more often that you’d like. It’s too early to judge where Jordan might fit in but his defense on small forwards isn’t yet up to par and his overall awareness needs to improve. One thing I do love about Hamilton through is that he gets his shot off in a hurry unlike Afflalo for instance, who’s shooting motion is just painfully slow and drawn out.

Rapid Reaction: Dallas Mavericks 102, Denver Nuggets 84 [Updated]

Denver Nuggets 84 FinalRecap | Box Score 102 Dallas Mavericks
Corey Brewer, SF 35 MIN | 3-15 FG | 3-6 FT | 7 REB | 4 AST | 9 PTS | -4
Brewer certainly wasn’t as effective as he has been coming off the bench, and he continues to struggle with his shot, but seven boards, four assists and five steals are smart, hustle numbers no matter how you look at it.
Kenneth Faried, F 21 MIN | 4-7 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | +1
Faried once again played solid, although his three rebounds in 21 minutes are tough to swallow. It’s odd; the last few games Faried has actually played much better on the offensive side of the ball than on defense — his specialty in college. It’s nice seeing the “Manimal” show the ability to score, although at this juncture his rebounding and defense are needed more.
Kosta Koufos, C 26 MIN | 6-7 FG | 0-2 FT | 14 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | -14
Koufos continues to impress. In only 26 minutes he set a new career high in rebounds, at 14, and was one of the few Nuggets who actually came to play. His toughness, passion and defense are more than admirable, while his gradual improvement only corroborates his case for being a steady rotational player. At this point, you could argue Koufos is the best big outside of Nene on the Nuggets roster.
Arron Afflalo, SG 25 MIN | 0-6 FG | 3-6 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | -33
After scoring 20 points in three straight games Afflalo reverted back to the player he has been most of the year and laid an egg; however, being that most of the entire team did so as well, this performance can be somewhat forgiven. It’s going to be interesting seeing how Afflalo bounces back from this outing. Does he kick into overdrive and score in the upper teens like he’s capable of doing, or does he turn in another stinker? Stay tuned.
Ty Lawson, PG 28 MIN | 1-8 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 3 PTS | -15
All in all, this was probably one of Ty’s more disappointing efforts of the year. Before you chastise him too much though, keep in mind he was coming off 17 and 27-point performances the two games prior (which were both wins), and was met by a furious Mavericks’ interior defense every time he attempted to drive. Dallas really did a fine job of taking away the Nuggets penetration offense, which is essentially — Ty Lawson.
Al Harrington, PF 25 MIN | 4-12 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 13 PTS | -23
Harrington’s struggles continue. After leading the league in two-point shooting percentage through the early part of the year, Harrington has now shot over .500 percent in just one game this month. His overall field goal percentage has dipped nearly 10 percent in that time. All that said, Big Al has embraced the leadership role of a young Nuggets squad and is one of the few members of the roster who actually plays with a sense of pride on a nightly basis.
Andre Miller, PG 21 MIN | 0-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 PTS | -9
Twenty one minutes, zero points and two steals — what more can you say? About the only signs of life Miller showed against the Mavericks was when he angrily tossed the ball to a ref after not receiving a foul call while attempting to drive to the basket. Though his minutes did come in garbage time, it’s at least worth noting that Stone looked worlds better than Miller, especially on defense.
Chris Andersen, C 22 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-4 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -4
Birdman didn’t crack the rotation till later in the game but once he did, he gave his full effort on both ends of the floor. His turnovers were down and his boards were up, but most importantly, he followed up one great performance with another solid outing. Right now, consistency should be Andersen’s biggest goal.
Rudy Fernandez, SG 20 MIN | 5-9 FG | 2-4 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | -11
Fernandez looked as if he wanted to prove something to his former team near the start of the game, and succeeded in doing so. He hit multiple 3-pointers and even a few tough jump-shots, but the luster slowly faded and eventually Fernandez was rendered just as useless as most every other Nugget.
Julyan Stone, G 7 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 4 AST | 2 PTS | +10
Stone deserves a good grade because he truly made the most out of the time he was given and played the best defense of anybody on the Nuggets roster. George Karl should consider sitting down his entire team and forcing them to watch Stone’s lateral defensive movement as it’s quite remarkable and hands down better than anyone on the team. Furthermore, Stone’s penetration followed by his pinpoint passes is exactly the type of offense Karl urges his team to implement, which shows Stone is listening. Should Andre Miller find himself either traded or injured, Nuggets fans can rest assured knowing Stone would be able to fill in just fine… if not better.
Jordan Hamilton, G 9 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | +12
In some truly extended minutes Hamilton finally gave Nuggets fans their first glimpse into the type of player he can be, which is an offensive scoring machine (note: “machine” used lightly in this instance). In nine minutes “J-Ham” took eight shots and made four them. His drives to the basket were a bit ill-advised and his defense was inconsistent, but there was no denying the skill Hamilton possess on the offensive side of the ball. It would be extremely interesting seeing how he fares in the heat of a close game.

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 109, Phoenix Suns 92

Phoenix Suns 92 FinalRecap | Box Score 109 Denver Nuggets
Corey Brewer, SF 33 MIN | 3-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | +3
As usual, Brewer was energetic early on and set the tone from the get-go. Though not his finest statistical performance, he was still decent, all things considered.
Kenneth Faried, F 24 MIN | 4-9 FG | 5-6 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 13 PTS | -7
This was the first time Nuggets fans got an in-depth look at the “Manimal” and it was quite telling. Faried put up a solid stat line in 24 minutes and scored better than most probably imagined, however it wasn’t error free. Faried still needs to work on his positioning down low and must set better screens if he wants to ensure more playing time comes his way in the future.
Kosta Koufos, C 26 MIN | 4-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | 0
Koufos is quietly playing some outstanding defense at the moment. The near double-double is to be expected, but swatting three shots and snagging a career-high five steals is some damn good icing on the cake. The Koufos vs. Mozgov debate will rage on, however after performances like these Koufos certainly adds fuel to the fire.
Arron Afflalo, SG 30 MIN | 7-11 FG | 4-7 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 20 PTS | +16
This is now the third straight game that Afflalo has scored 20 or more points after not doing so the entire season. Before this mini-hot streak Afflalo looked lethargic, confused and out of place, yet suddenly he’s hit a switch that turned him into the player we all though he’d be coming into the season. Afflalo has looked great the last three games; let’s hope he keeps it up.
Ty Lawson, PG 26 MIN | 6-7 FG | 5-6 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 17 PTS | +11
I though this was one of Lawson’s better performances of the year in a few ways. First, he shot extremely well from the field, only missing one attempt all night. Second, he really pushed the pace like George Karl often implores his team to do. This is a tougher task than it may appear on the surface, as it requires a lot of energy and hustle which only a few players really possess. Moving forward, Ty needs to make it his job to get the rest of the team playing at a frantic pace.
Al Harrington, PF 24 MIN | 5-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 12 PTS | +24
Big Al has cooled drastically since starting off the season sizzling hot. His field goal percentage has dropped every month since the start of the season and in February he’s shooting a very poor .384 percent from the field as well as .257 from beyond the arc. Harrington should get back on track soon but it’s fair to question how much of a role fatigue may be playing at the moment.
Andre Miller, PG 22 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 7 AST | 2 PTS | +17
Miller had a few nice passes but turned the ball over a team-high six times which virtually nullified any positive impact he made on the game. Though his assists remain relatively steady, most all other aspects of his game are extremely inconsistent — including his effort on defense.
Chris Andersen, C 22 MIN | 6-9 FG | 4-6 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 16 PTS | +17
This was Birdman’s best game of the year and probably one of the better of his career. He single-handedly sparked the turnaround that altered the game into a run-away rather than a barn-burner which is where it was heading. His six blocks were two shy of a career high as was his 16 points. This was a breakout performance in which he passed Antonio McDyess on the Nuggets all time blocks list and in the process might have secured more playing time down the road.

Rudy Fernandez, SG
20 MIN | 4-8 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 11 PTS | +12
Fernandez had a solid outing by all accounts. He finally got his feet squared on his jump shot, which payed off in the form of some much-needed 3-pointers. He also had a few steals and played the way he should when coming off the bench (i.e., effectively and with lots of energy).

Julyan Stone, G
6 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -3
In six minutes all Stone had was one block and two turnovers. Nice to see him playing defense, but really, six minutes isn’t enough time to analyze much.
Jordan Hamilton, G 6 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -5
Hamilton falls in the same boat as Stone: not enough time. He turned the ball over more than he should have and missed both shots he took, but again, what can you expect in six minutes?

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 113, Indiana Pacers 109

Denver Nuggets 113 Final

Recap | Box Score

109 Indiana Pacers
Nene, C 22 MIN | 5-9 FG | 1-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | +3
Nene went out early due to a calf injury, which HoopsWorld is reporting he’ll miss a few games because of, however till that point Nene was playing aggressive basketball and fairly good defense too.
Corey Brewer, SF 34 MIN | 8-16 FG | 2-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 19 PTS | +9
Brewer was without question the star of the game. He had more energy than anybody on the floor and may have single-handedly won the game with his relentless poise. He was hustling for every lose ball, playing lock-down defense and even displayed a versatile attacking repertoire that he had yet to fully capitalize on for an entire game this season. Brewer was clearly playing inspired ball due to the unfortunate passing of his father and put on one of the more memorable performances, from an emotional standpoint, that I can ever remember seeing from a Denver Nugget.
Kosta Koufos, C 26 MIN | 3-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | -1
A fairly overlooked aspect of Koufos’ game, to me, is his toughness. More than anyone on the team, Koufos comes to play on a nightly basis with attitude and pride which is often on full display when a scuffle breaks out or when an opponent attempts to show off. Koufos is always there first to stick up for his teammates and doesn’t back down from anybody. I thought this part of his game was evident against the Pacers even though he didn’t put up the most gaudy stat line.
Arron Afflalo, SG 36 MIN | 8-11 FG | 6-6 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 23 PTS | +4
Afflalo appears to have finally arrived. After not cracking the 20-point scoring mark all season, Afflalo has now done so in back-to-back contests. This is the Afflalo the Nuggets paid a hefty price to retain over the summer and one that needs to continue showing up if the Nuggets wish to make a strong push for the playoffs in the second half of the season.

Ty Lawson, PG
36 MIN | 10-17 FG | 5-7 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 27 PTS | +3
Lawson was excellent against the Pacers. Though his assists were down, his points were up and in game the Nuggets desperately needed to win, he delivered exactly what the team needed most: points. His 27 tied a season-high from opening night against Dallas while his .588 field goal percentage was the highest he’s shot since the 25th of January.
Al Harrington, PF 36 MIN | 4-18 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | +4
Harrington’s .222 field goal percentage was the worst he’s shot all season, and was only compounded by the fact that it took 18 shots to get to that point. Still, Big Al was hustling and showing leadership during timeouts which cannot go unnoticed.

Andre Miller, PG
21 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-4 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 6 PTS | -9
Miller’s stat line for 21 minutes was bad, but not near as bad as his on-court demeanor and effort on the defensive side of the ball. Through almost half the season Miller has been nothing short of a complete enigma. Some nights he’ll show up determined to make the best impact he can while other nights he’s the worst player on the court. Against the Pacers, he was the latter and it showed when he exited the game upon which the Nuggets immediately played inspired basketball.
Rudy Fernandez, SG 18 MIN | 2-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | +7
Fernandez was virtually nonexistent even though he saw a decent amount of minutes. This, typically isn’t good but since the Nuggets managed to scrape out a win, he can be somewhat forgiven, especially since he didn’t shoot the amount of ill-advised 3-pointers he has been lately.
Kenneth Faried, F 12 MIN | 1-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 3 PTS | 0
Faried didn’t receive ample playing time but didn’t necessarily impress in those minutes either. Though in nearly every game Faried looks confused offensively and finds himself removed from the action entirely, against the Pacers it was even worse than normal. But what made things worse was his lack of impact on the defensive side of the ball. Faried absolutely must be more aggressive on the glass if he wants to find himself on Karl’s “good side.”

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