The Denver Nuggets essentially beat themselves Monday night in a loss to the Utah Jazz. As it was yet another poor showing from the charity stripe for the league’s worst free throw shooting team. It would go on to be a major determining factor down the stretch as they finished just 18-32 from the line for the evening.
That said, after a sizzling 73 percent start in the first half the Nuggets failed to successfully attack the rim in the second, mustering a lowly 18 points in the paint and a 36 percent effort from the field.
Their poor showing at the line and a 14-0 run by the Jazz in the third quarter ultimately cost Denver the momentum of their four game winning streak. George Karl referred to the the game as a “physical and mental fight” and at times the first was truer than the latter as there were seven technical fouls called on the night. Two of which were against Nuggets swingman Andre Iguodala, who was ejected with 3:24 remaining in the third.
Iguodala took the game and the ejection as just part of the process.
“You can learn from every game,” he said. “You can learn if you don’t do the right things, if you don’t put the game out of reach like you’re supposed to, you can lose the game. Some things were out of our control, but we still have to learn to be mentally tough — including myself — to get through it and fight for a win. (via Ken Berger, CBS Sports)”
So while it’s always positive to take something away from a loss, what good is one unless I get to over-analyze and overreact to every player’s performance?
Still a loss? Well, you’re stuck with me anyway. (players will not appear if they did play at least 15 minutes*)
Danilo Gallinari: C+
Gallo took the floor despite battling a stomach flu, so he was understandably passive in this one. He finished with a modest 12 points on 4-10 shooting in 27 minutes, although he did knock down two of his four three point attempts and dished out three assists. Nothing too impressive, but he should be feeling much better for Thursday’s match up with Golden State.
Kenneth Faried: A
The Manimal continues to be a pillar of consistency for the Nuggets night in and night out. He finished with a team-high 21 points and 9 rebounds, but most impressively he finished 8-12 from the field and 5-6 from the line. I can’t really commend the fact he recorded a steal and a block, seeing as Denver’s front court was just flat-out lit up all night. However, he was really the lone bright spot in loss and continued to build on his solid All-Star campaign. You can vote for Faried at NBA.com or by simply tweeting “Kenneth Faried #NBABALLOT”.
Kosta Koufos: C
Ah, to be decidedly average. He finished with yet another “to McGee or not to McGee” performance, posting 7 points, 9 rebounds and a blocked shot in over 27 minutes. There’s nothing impressive here really, but he continues to be efficient. By the way, yes Kosta, you were supposed to be guarding Al Jefferson.
Andre Iguodala: C
It looked like Iguodala was on pace for another brilliant night before being ejected. He posted 10 points on 5-9 shooting, had four boards and a pair of steals in only 24 minutes. It doesn’t really matter all that much though, because as Karl said following the game, “You can’t get technicals and you can’t get thrown out of big games on the road, you can’t do that.”
Ty Lawson: C+
16 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 7-17 FG. There’s just so much too like about his production and so much to hate. His 0-4 display from beyond the arc only lends itself to Lawson’s shooting slump and his aggression still appeared sub-par for him at best. Plus, his late game mishap with the game on the line isn’t going to do his confidence any favors. Ugh, maybe I spoke too soon.
Corey Brewer: B
Brewer was solid. He was disruptive defensively, he knocked down both of his threes and didn’t have a turnover in 29 minutes. While his impact on the game was relatively minute, the fact Karl drew up the final play for him and gave him such a massive chunk of playing time hints that Karl seems to have faith in him. Don’t be surprised if we continue to see a larger role for Brewer moving forward.
JaVale McGee: C
His 10 points and two blocks are decent numbers coming off the bench, but they’re not enough to overshadow his 2-6 from the line. McGee didn’t do the Nuggets any favors in this one, and I can only dream of the day when he’s half as efficient at the line as he is sending people to it.
Andre Miller: F
Why a guy averaging 20 percent from deep for his career is launching his first three of the game with 5.9 seconds remaining is beyond me. He shot 2-7 from the field and had four turnovers to his single assist. As much as I love Miller’s game, he played a pretty integral part in costing Denver this one.
The Nuggets will look to bounce back against the Golden State Warriors Thursday evening. You can catch the game the game live on TNT at 10:30 PM ET.