The Denver Nuggets let the Minnesota Timberwolves walk into the Pepsi Center and take a victory out of Denver Thursday night, winning 101-97. The Nuggets were passive throughout the game, made too many mistakes and shot poorly from the free-throw line. While coach George Karl dismissed the game as one of a handful of embarrassing losses each team has throughout the season, some players were harder on the Nuggets.
Ty Lawson’s postgame comments, gathered by Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post, expressed pointed anger at his teammates:
“It’s kind of deflating, man,” Lawson said. “We’ve got to pay attention to detail. We go through all this (preparation), pregame, shootaround. Before the game we have all this stuff written on the board, and no one’s really reading it. Not on the same page. And at the end of the game, that’s what happens. If we’re supposed to trap, and we don’t trap, they get easy buckets.”
While not directed at anyone in particular, Kenneth Faried, Danilo Gallinari and Javale McGee all had below average nights for the Nuggets. A lack of focus could be the cause of some of the Nuggets early season troubles and they sit 18-16, but they have also played 22 road games to just 12 at home. January is a big month for the team as the Nuggets hope to gain momentum at home, only playing outside of Colorado three times.
Andre Iguodala shared Lawson’s views to an extent in his comments to Nuggets.com’s Aaron Lopez, citing a lack of respect and energy for their opponent:
“There should be a lot of lessons learned,” he said. “It just comes down to having to play at a high level every night. You can’t disrespect an opponent like that because they can come out and hit you in the mouth like they did tonight.”
Iguodala is a veteran presence on team along with Corey Brewer and point guard Andre Miller. However, despite Iguodala’s ability to lead the team on the court, he is not the key to Nuggets success. That largely lies with Lawson, Faried, McGee and Gallinari. Lawson scored 16 points in the game, his first back from injury, but has not consistently shown the confidence driving and shooting that he exhibited last year when the Nuggets took the Los Angeles Lakers to seven games in the first round of the playoffs.
The Minnesota loss, ending an eight game home winning streak, deflates the good energy around the Nuggets they gathered after ending the Los Angeles Clippers‘ big winning streak on New Year’s Day. The team hopes to find its identity on this long January home stand and return to the level of basketball that had people excited over the summer. If their young players do not produce, general manager Masai Ujiri is not afraid to trade players. The Nuggets have a feel good team, but they need to listen to instructions.