The Denver Nuggets took the sting out of the New Orleans Hornets, 102-84, and racked up their fourth consecutive win. Denver allowed this sub-par team to hang around in the first half, but as fans have seen the past few games coming out of the half, Denver took the ball and ran — during the past three games Denver has outscored their opponents 45-16 in the first five minutes in the third quarter — with it as much of the 4th quarter was spent in garbage time and Head Coach George Karl emptied the bench.
Speaking of the third quarter, Denver outscored NOLA 32-20 and the game was cinched during this time. Things that stuck out during this play was the fact Danilo Gallinari was aggressive despite his poor 3-for-9 shooting, and he still worked on the other side of the ball with 4 rebounds and 4 assists. The key with Gallinari is that he keeps his mental game strong when — and takes limited shots — when his shooting is off. There’s bound to be games where his shooting will be abysmal, but the key is to impact the game in other areas.
Another key factor is that Gallinari and Andre Iguodala are co-existing in a manner that’s allowing them both to get to 75%. Speaking of Andre Iguodala, he gets The NBA Mistress Game Ball once again as he sizzled during this game, offensively and defensively. Iguodala is hitting his sweet spot and is stepping up as the guy to get the job done. Iguodala is cementing himself as a guy that can bring the team 20/5/5 a game and could easily do that 60% of the time. Iguodala is exhibiting himself as one of Denver’s better players at the moment and his production proves this.
“I’m not even all the way there yet. I’d say I’m about 70 percent understanding what [Denver coach George Karl] wants. I’m starting to get a better feel for my teammates and where they’re going to be at and we’re not even 15 games in yet. I didn’t think I was going to hit my stride until January, so hopefully I can stay consistent throughout the rest of the feeling-out stage and then be ready, boom, once January comes around.” - Andre Iguodala
Guess what happens when Ty Lawson is aggressive? He’s productive and phenomenal. During this game he accumulated 17 points on 8-for-10 shooting and 6 assists. I believe Lawson is close to being 100% back in the game as Denver succeeds best when Lawson, Gallo, Faried, and Iggy are all in the game, both physically and mentally.
Kenneth Faried racked up his 8th double-double — 14 points, 12 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocked shots — and does what Manimal does. Also, his 14 points was on 7-for-8 shooting and I’m running out of adjectives to describe the Manimal; he’s just incredibly athletic, energized, and changes the temp with his momentum-building rebounds, dunks and blocks.
JaVale McGee is going to make boneheaded plays, it’s his specialty. He only played 11 minutes, had a productive line of 8 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 blocked hsot, but if this was a close game, I’m pretty sure there wouldn’t be a single complaint about his minutes. The fact is McGee will make a spectacular block or dunk, gets so caught up in the moment, then is out of position on the defensive end and ends up allowing points. With that being said, McGee’s pluses out weigh his minuses and I believe his shortened minutes had more to do with George Karl resting him for the second leg of their back-to-back in Utah Monday night.
Andre Miller – despite the moans from fans — has been solid this season in terms of being a facilitator. He has increased his defensive awareness and is concentrated on assisting his teammates.
Kosta Koufos. Five Blocks. That is all.
Denver Nuggets outrebounded the Hornets, 41-40, more points in the paint, 58-38, more fast-break points, 25-9, better free throw percentage, 81%-60%, and a better field goal percentage of 58.3% to 38.8%.
Quote of the night goes to Monty Williams:
“Not any good thing to take from a game like this. The NBA is a cruel league. They try to embarrass you every night and that’s what you saw tonight.”
Better the Hornets be embarrassed than the Nuggets; a real test comes for Denver Monday night as they face the Utah Jazz — undefeated at home — on the second leg of a back-to-back.
I think the execution of minutes last night were more indicative of George Karl planning for a vital division matchup.