Danilo Gallinari is starting to look himself again after coming off a thigh injury, leading all Nuggets in minutes played. He shot 7-of-11, including 5-of-6 on threes, with 23 points, four rebounds and four assists.
The Nuggets biggest lead was 14 and they really did show signs of putting the Kings away, but the game was never really in hand until late in the fourth quarter. Kenneth Faried put up some ‘Manimal’-type numbers tallying another double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds. His +/- was a +20, showing he put a great defensive effort.
Ty Lawson continued his hot play with 24 points and seven assists. He wasn’t great from the free-throw line however, shooting only 6-of-12. Shooting a terrible free-throw percentage is an area the team needs to work on, and they won’t win those close games in the playoffs shooting 62.5 percent from the line. The Nuggets continued to put up points in the paint, and had fewer turnovers and more fast-break points than the Kings.
If they can repeat this trend, minus the horrid free-throwing, they have a chance to win seven in a row when the Los Angeles Clippers come to Denver Thursday night. Andre Miller will have a chance to show Chris Paul how to really throw a great alley-oop ball, and JaVale McGee will show Blake Griffin how to really throw it down. Lob City will take new residence at the Pepsi Center if the Nuggets come out with a win.
The Nuggets now have one more win than the Memphis Grizzlies but three more losses, so that puts them a game behind at fifth place. Denver still has a great chance of taking that fourth spot from the Grizzlies and the two teams go head-to-head at the Pepsi Center Friday, March 15. The Nuggets also have a very strong chance of winning their fourth straight road game when they travel to play the Phoenix Suns next Monday.
Looking ahead, the Nuggets next road games after the Suns will be a back-to-back set, with the first game being played against the Chicago Bulls and the next day the team travels to play the Oklahoma City Thunder. Ouch. These are two tough teams to play with a day off for rest, let alone two days in a row.
With Gallinari hitting his stride again and Lawson taking his place as a team leader, the Nuggets continue to be a fun team to watch. All they’ve got to do is start hitting some free throws.