Kevin Love may have poured 34 points and 14 rebounds in his return game, but the Denver Nuggets would mentally check into the game during half-time as they came back from a 14-point deficit, to stuff the T-Wolves with a loss; 101-94.
This was a game in which it was a tale of two halves; the first half was the typical Nuggets looking abysmal, hesitating, no sense of authentic urgency. Nuggets fans are very familiar with that type of Denver team, one that is down double digits in the half, only to lose by 20+ points. A team that is looking more like a junior varsity team versus an NBA team. However, they came out passionate, hungry, and willing to fight for a win despite a 14-point deficit.
Denver went on a 14-2 run to start the second half and they turned up their defense with incredible performances from Danilo Gallinari, Andre Miller, and Andre Iguodala. It was Iggy, Gallo, and Dre that each scored 11 points in the second half alone and in the process limited Minnesota to just 36 points in the second half and less than 28% shooting. Now, THAT’S Denver basketball, everyone has wanted to see this season.
The NBA Mistress Game Ball goes to Danilo Gallinari, without a blink of an eye, he was the best player on the court. He was consistent through the whole game and he’s always been an underrated passer, rebounder, defender (wonderfully defensive in this game), but his shot is finally falling and it’s what myself and other critics have wanted from Gallinari. There’s no doubt about it, Gallinari does the little things that matter — similar to how many overlook Andre Miller’s “little things” but that’s different somehow — but when Gallinari is looked at being one of the top scoring options for Denver. Yes, buckets do matter – Also, if it looks like you couldn’t dribble ball down the court without a heart attack, please leave the “If you don’t understand Gallo, you don’t understand basketball” statements to yourself. - but Gallinari has been consistent over the past three games and if this keeps up — remember consistency is key — this could be a magnificent year for Gallinari.
Andre Iguodala turned himself around in the second half and looked dynamite. I’ve been on his case the past few games — just like Gallinari’s — because I know what Iguodala can do in Denver’s system, and it was great to see him do just that in the second half. He got the party started in the second half by making a three-pointer and during the 14-2 run, he scored six. He may not do things in a conventional way, or a way we want things done, but he does it in an ‘AI9′ fashion. Truth is, this may have been the game, where things cliqued for him in an offensive fashion.
Andre Miller, 11 points and 5 assists, was HUGE in the fourth quarter; whenever Denver needs someone to take that step, more often than not it seems as though Miller is that guy. Ty Lawson may have played like dog poo-poo in the first half, but he did show flashes of the Ty Lawson who know and love. He ended up with 18 points and 9 assists, and more importantly, came through in free throws and hit shots when Denver needed buckets. He may only be 50%, but the later part of the game is indicative Ty Lawson is bound to come back to his sensational form.
Jordan Hamilton played nearly 20 minutes, scored 12 points, and is starting to look more comfortable on the floor, which is a positive when Denver is struggling in future games. Kenneth Faried was an offensive mess, but — as usual — was cleaning the glass and accumulated 14 rebounds. I do not care what any “basketball expert” says, Faried is an impact player. He’s a game changer, and so far this season, no sophomore slump. Kenneth Faried is — dare I say — one-in-a-decade players in terms of his NBA heart and passion.
Well, hello, Kosta Koufos!!! The exchange between himself and Kevin Love demonstrated Kosta has a little bite, and I LIKED IT! His defense is improving and he’s becoming a bit more consistent, which is a positive when JaVale McGee has a game like he did. McGee was just TURRIBLE!! Botched offensive plays, no defense, and his one rebound says it all.
I loved the Memphis win, but this win is my favorite thus far into the season. Denver was poised for a beatdown, but rather than succumb to another blowout, Denver put their noses to the grindstone and earned a spectacular win against a division opponent.
Denver basketball, nice to see you again.