The Denver Nuggets may have lacked in defense — something fans are used to in the Mile High — but they pulled through with their three-point shooting — although the percentage is still low — along with a few key players to get their first win of the season over the Detroit Pistons 109-97.
What do Chris Bosh, Spencer Hawes, Big Baby, and Greg Monroe have in common?
They have all burned the Nuggets, but Monroe’s impact wasn’t as great as the first three as they torched Denver, especial Bosh’s 40 point game on Saturday, but Monroe’s game was manageable for the Nuggets to overcome. While I am on the subject on bigs, I have a little beef with George Karl — I know! I know! I’m usually the level-headed George Karl apologist — the fact that Denver didn’t beat Detroit by at least 20 is bad enough, but the fact that he didn’t play Kenneth Faried more than 25 minutes is an error in itself. I understand Manimal was struggling defensively — as was the whole team — against this paltry team, but that’s not an excuse anymore.
Kenneth Faried is an impact player; we saw it in Miami and it was visible Tuesday night. Along with that, the combination of JaVale McGee and Faried is the most proficient in terms of bigs. While, I was criticizing Coach Karl of the indecision of not playing JaVale as much as I would like and in addition in tandem with Faried, but that wasn’t fair. McGee is having a huge issue keeping up, as in he’s huffing and puffing, when he plays anymore than 20 minutes; so Nuggets fans, let’s relax in blasting the coaching in that realm, because McGee will play limited minutes until he’s in better shape.
Something I didn’t note, and I should have, Coach Karl could have been saving Faried/McGee due to their back-to-back; tonight they play the Houston Rockets there. That’s not an excuse, but rather an observation.
The athleticism of McGee and Faried had Pepsi Center off of their keisters thanks to their bevy of blocks and slams. McGee ended up with a line of 16 points on 7-for-11 shooting, 3 rebounds and 3 blocks; Faried tallied 15 points on 7-for-10 shooting, and 8 rebounds during 23 minutes of play.
Other key players include Ty Lawson, who is still so instrumental in Denver’s offense when he’s finding the open man, or charging through the lane. He ended up with 15 points, 4 rebounds, 9 assists, and 4 steals. He also garnered ten free throws this game, over his zero free throw attempts during the Miami Heat game, which is correlated to his aggressive nature. He racked up nine assists as he connected with Denver’s bigs, when the opponents were defending Lawson; that indicative of a player that is growing and taking his role with the team seriously.
Andre Iguodala delighted fans with a 17 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 1 blocked shot line. The positive of Iguodala over the past few games — as Danilo Gallinari struggles with his offense — AI9 has been efficient in getting some offense flowing in the halfcourt, but Denver needs to play to AI9′s strength of transition buckets. However, that starts with the defense…which wasn’t visible during this game. Corey Brewer has been in my doghouse since leaving Ray Allen open on Saturday — never forget — but I have to admit his 3-for-7 from downtown helped Denver in pivotal moments and his energy seems to impact Denver in positive ways.
Andre Miller is an absolute delight to watch when passing the ball in transition and somehow he always connects with a big, especially JaVale McGee. One of the best decisions of Karl’s is the fact he plays those two guys together and you can see the bromance is already there. Miller accumulated 8 points, 3 rebounds, and 6 assists during the game.
Danilo Gallinari still has improvement to do with his shot and the looks he takes. For example, why he takes contested threes and passes on open looks is beyond me. However, it’s hard to uber critical when it’s only his second game back after his sprained ankle.
Consistency, defense, and Gallinari’s contribution is what will lead Denver to more wins, let’s see what they bring to the table during their second leg of a back-to-back against the Rockets.