The Denver Nuggets are having a solid month of January. So far, through two weeks, the Nuggets are 6-1 and have averaged a league best 105 points per game. They are the best rebounding team in the league (46.4 rpg), third in assists (23.5 apg) and they are the sixth best unit in the NBA in points (102.4 ppg).
Denver is on a five game winning streak, beating their opponents by an average of 12 points, and one of the main reasons why they are experiencing so much success is due to the stellar play of forward Danilo Gallinari.
Gallo is having a great start to the month and his play on the court is paying dividends for his team. During Denver’s five game winning streak Gallinari is averaging 21 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and is shooting over 50% from the field. He’s been even more impressive in the clutch, hitting multiple game-clinching shots during Denver’s 6-1 start to the month.
None of the shots may have been bigger than his dagger against the Los Angeles Lakers on January 6. With the Nuggets leading 105-102 with less than 20 seconds remaining, Dwight Howard blocked an Andre Miller layup attempt but the ball went right to Gallinari who promptly hit a corner-three with 13.8 seconds left. It was a huge momentum swing as the Lakers just clawed within three points and had the Staples Center crowd behind them. The shot basically sealed the game and propelled the Nuggets to their second win over the Lakers in 12 days.
Denver is off to a great start this month but they are carrying momentum over from the end of December. After a blowout loss on Christmas Day, to the other Los Angeles team, they have gone 8-2 since including a win over the very same Clippers team to break their 17 game winning streak. The Nuggets have a slew of home games this month and they are taking advantage of them.
It seems like Gallinari is finally embracing his full potential after being the main piece in the Nuggets-Knicks blockbuster trade in 2011. He struggled in the playoffs, which prompted questions about his talent and ability to lead Denver deep into the playoffs but he has turned a corner this season.
Denver’s playoff chances are improving by the day and Gallinari is one of the main reasons why.