Offensively, the starters of the Denver Nuggets — aside from Kosta Koufos – was dismal, but amazing performances from Denver’s bench allowed them to beat the Indiana Pacers in a close-game situation 92-89.
Denver did a few things well, believe it or not, and one of the biggest takeaways during this game was their limited number of turnovers; just 8 to Indiana’s 18. Also, defensive pressure was picked up in the second half — credit to Andre Iguodala — and interior defense (something we all have harped on all season) was improved this game thanks to Koufos and a zoned in JaVale McGee.
Despite their 61.1% from the free-throw line and 17.6% from the perimeter, Denver won this from limiting their turnovers and increasing their defensive presence. Denver may never get a consistent three-point shooter this season, but they can negate this by playing solid defense. SURPRISE!
Ty Lawson is just horrendous this season; and his second game this season where he has failed to get to the line and garnered less than three points. In my opinion, he has only had one outstanding game this season and that was against Atlanta. 19 games in which he is physically present, but only shows glimpses of his former self is inexcusable. He has the tools, the skills, but doesn’t use them. I know George Karl will probably not do this, but at this point, Dre Miller is producing and leading like a starter more than Lawson.
Kenneth Faried, and as much as it pains me to say this, may just be — what someone on twitter (Conrad) suggested — what everyone thinks Blake Griffin is and that is just a dunker. He’s becoming a defensive liability, which is a shame considering he is one of the top hustle/energy guys in the league.
Andre Iguodala, Danillo Gallinari and Lawson’s shooting; they were a combined for 6-of-32 and luckily for them, Denver’s bench was able to produce in a big way. Although, Lawson’s whole game was dismal, Iguodala and Gallinari were able to impact in other ways during the game. For example, Iguodala was huge, defensively, in the second half and Gallinari was able to grab boards and exhibit his underrated passing.
The Bad ….
Denver still allowed too many three-pointers, as aforementioned, and Indiana was able to make 43.5% of their attempted three-pointers. Of course, their free-throw percentage is still a work in progress, to put it mildly.
The Good ….
Turnovers were limited, just 8 this game, which is tremendous considering they are averaging 16.15 turnovers a game and rank 27th in the league. As I mentioned above, if they can limit their turnovers, they may start to win more games and will aid in their botched perimeter and charity line shooting.
What about Denver’s bench? HELLLOOOO. They outscored Indiana’s bench 55-12.
The INCREDIBLE …
Andre “Old Man Swag” Miller. What are those Andre Miller haters saying this morning? *crickets*
”Right now I think he knows how to get shots down the stretch better than some of our other guys, some of our younger guys. He was running the pick-and-roll and the actions all game long probably better than anybody out there. He just has that old man knack.” – George Karl
Andre Miller is still one of the most underrated — perhaps his whole freaking life — point guards that will win a half-dozen games a year just by himself. In a 10-0 run late in the 4th quarter, Miller had 8 of those points.
Not only did he score 8 of those points, but he scored 6 buckets in a row and made one of the most important plays in the game when he stole a rebound from Stephenson and lobbed to JaVale McGee for a dunk with 1:38 remaining. Miller is about to take over games when Lawson is unable to and that was crucial during this game.
Speaking of JaVale McGee, McGee played his best game as a Denver Nugget. He was just perfect. Literally. He scored 20 points on 9-of-9 shooting and 8 rebounds; he was zoned in and focused. His offensive artillery was on full-display as he executed dunks and hooks with perfection.
Finally, I can’t leave out Corey Brewer who is becoming an offensive central point for Denver’s bench. He put up 20 points on 9-of-16 shooting, along with his usually defensive energy.
This was a much-needed road win for Denver and they needed a boost of confidence as they face the skilled and productive New York Knicks, one of the best teams in the league, on Sunday.
To have a shot at that game, they will need their best defense, best offense, and no milk carton players.