Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 101 Minnesota Timberwolves 94

Denver Nuggets 101 Final
Recap | Box Score
94 Minnesota Timberwolves
Danilo Gallinari, SF 35 MIN | 6-11 FG | 6-6 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 19 PTS | +6

It wasn’t pretty, but Gallo put forth a pretty epic display of all-out effort when it mattered most. He finally got to the line in some huge moments and battled hard under the basket when he needed to. He played his most solid ball when the Nuggets needed it most and was huge on the defensive end against Kevin Love.

Kenneth Faried, SF 35 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 14 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | +14

He fouled out and had 4 turnovers in a sloppy offensive showing, but the Manimal was relentless on the glass and forced the Timberwolves to adjust by pulling Nikola Pekovic out of the game. His hustle changes games in a pretty special way no matter what the stat sheet says.

Kosta Koufos, C 23 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | +17

His ability to change and alter shots was a major reason why the Nuggets weren’t down 40 in a pretty awful first-half performance. Koufos got into it with Kevin Love in the second half and has really picked up his defense after a slow start to the season.

Ty Lawson, PG 33 MIN | 5-12 FG | 6-8 FT | 2 REB | 9 AST | 18 PTS | 0

A C-minus effort through three quarters and an A through the most important one is what lands Lawson here. Ty hit shots and free throws when the Nuggets needed them, but came out dazed and confused for a good two and a half quarters to start the game. The good news is Lawson’s shooting is starting to come around.

Andre Iguodala, SG 36 MIN | 7-16 FG | 1-1 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 18 PTS | +1

It’s really tough to grade Iguodala after two night and day halves like that. He looked like a completely different player following halftime and showcased a creative side to his offense we haven’t yet seen in him as a Nugget. Iguodala has been smooth and steady in every close game the Nuggets have been in, regardless of how well he’s played personally. It’s not necessarily conventional, but that is leadership.

Jordan Hamilton, SF 19 MIN | 3-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | 0

Karl actually brought Hamilton off the bench early and stuck with him through a pretty dismal stretch in which the Nuggets couldn’t get anything right. Hamilton stayed with it and responded with a few timely threes and a smooth twelve points in his bench scoring role.

Corey Brewer, SF 17 MIN | 3-6 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | +3

He did some admirable dirty work on cleanups and putbacks, but Brewer seems to have regressed after a hot shooting start and is unsurprisingly starting to come back down to earth. Brewer probably played a few too many minutes for how erratic his play been as of late.

JaVale McGee, C 15 MIN | 2-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -13

Ugh. This was looking like the good old JaVale as he started things off with a near-airball 20 footer and a quick pull up jumper in transition. He eventually recovered to play some better basketball in the second half but not by much. This was a chance JaVale had to come in early and earn some trust but he wasn’t able to capitalize.

Andre Miller, PG 27 MIN | 4-9 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 11 PTS | +7

He just Lebrons people in the fourth quarter out of nowhere. I have no idea how or why, but he can turn it on in a way no other Nuggets player seems to able to. Miller got some key runs going in the second half and was clutch with a few crafty and-ones over the Timberwolves defense

Three Things We Saw

  1. Something is clearly not right with Ty Lawson, but his second half may have been proof his abnormally poor play isn’t sustainable. Ty’s fighting his way through it and if he can just avoid losing total control of the game as much as he does, I have no doubt we’ll see a game-changing Ty Lawson on the floor much more frequently.
  2. The Nuggets finally made some shots in the second half and with credible shooting on the floor, showed how dangerous of an offense they can be. Denver can score in bunches with good spacing present as evidenced by a rare 30-point quarter to close the game. Regression to the mean feels nice.
  3. It’s still not great basketball, but the Nuggets have started to get into some semblance of rhythm and flow throughout two tough road games against quality teams. They are getting much better at filling in the gaps defensively and holding their own against absolutely brutal front lines in both Memphis and Minnesota. It wasn’t pretty, but you can’t help but come away pretty damn impressed.

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.

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