Oh, and about a certain Italian...
Here is a stat line for you. 37 points and 11 rebounds. Would that impress you? This person was also 18 of 20 from the free throw line and took 19 shots to get his points. This was the stat line of one Danilo Gallinari. Who also did a pretty good job defending Carmelo Anthony who finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds on 30 shots (more on that later) and gave the Nuggets a huge offensive lift when they had no legs at the start of the game.
I'm done messing around. Extend Gallo now. Done ... there should be no hesitating or fidgeting of thumbs. He is a special talent with a high ceiling and if anyone at the Pepsi Center is reading this now, do us a favor and just extend Gallo to a nice (but not extreme) contract and lock this boy up for a long time. Done and done.
Aside from Gallo, you could tell this Nuggets team was dead tired. The team had to spend three hours at Dulles Airport in Washington DC waiting for a plane to be de-iced. The team arrived in New York at close to four in the morning. Many times the Nuggets were late getting over on rotations, leaving the likes of Bill Walker wide open to take uncontested shots (Walker finished with 15 points in 11 minutes) and letting Iman Shumpert penetrate the lane with impunity. This was a tough slog that the Nuggets could have very easily lost and given up on. They didnt.
-Andre Miller looked like he was fond of being thrust into the starting lineup (in place of Arron Afflalo who has a strained groin, and Rudy Fernandez who re-aggravated his Achilles tendon) but he really didn't get going effectively until the fourth quarter and overtime(s). Including a miracle, prayer, hail mary, whatever-you-call-it shot from 31 feet to beat the shot clock and tie the game. Dre finished with 14 points and 12 assists. Nice stat line Dre!
-Al Harrington started off very slowly. As if his shot was left behind in Washington. Yet, after he got over his initial struggles Big Al - once again - brought the hammer down a couple times with timely three point buckets and some nifty inside moves. Al seems to be really finding his groove lately and it's nice to see him in such a good place on this Nuggets team. That contract that Mark Warkentein signed him to isn't looking so bad right now. At least for this season. Big Al had 24 points and 11 rebounds.
Aside from that, no one on the Nuggets played less than 25 minutes tonight due to George Karl keeping an unusually short bench. Neither Kosta Koufos and Chris Andersen played tonight, and Timofey Mozgov played the most he has all season (30 minutes). He rewarded that time with 16 points and 7 rebounds and what I would describe as aggressive/angry play that we haven't seen from him all year. Ty Lawson still seems to be struggling a bit. While he had 10 points and 7 assists, he seemed off all night and was routinely out run by both Shumpert and Toney Douglas. Hopefully we can chalk this up to just being tired in general. Nene chipped in 12 points and 13 rebounds. He also seemed sluggish at the beginning but gained strength as the game went on. Also, how can we forget those two CLUTCH free throws at the end of the first overtime (after starting 0-4 from the foul line)? Amazing big man, remember what you did there and DO IT ALL THE TIME.
As for Melo. I have to say you saw the bad and the good from Melo tonight, which makes him the frustrating star that he is. For most of the game he was pedestrian at best. Missing shots. Lackluster defense. But in the fourth quarter and the first overtime, he was the clutch Melo that we saw so often in Denver. Hitting big shot after big shot. It was a trip to watch to be honest. As I said in the preview, I don't wish Melo any ill will at all, but I'm glad we have the players we have now. Exciting times in Denver, Colorado as our Nuggets have won 4 road games in a row (and in a 4 games in 5 nights stretch).
Additionally I'd like to thank Nate Timmons, Andrew Feinstein and everyone who came out to Jakes Food and Spirits for Stiffs Night Out tonight. It was great fun, the place was PACKED and we had three lucky winners for the ticket giveaway. Thanks to everyone who came out and made the event such a success. Heck, even my dad came out to watch the Nuggets win in double OT. Lets make the next Stiffs Night Out even better (although this one will be definitely hard to top).
Twitter: @jmorton78 https://twitter.com/#!/jmorton78