"It was the first game where I felt we were wearing another team down with the pace of the game and the aggressiveness of team play," said George Karl.
The head man of the Nuggets couldn't be more right. His team, powered by Kenneth Faried and Corey Brewer, blew the doors of the Jazz tonight at the Pepsi Center.
It was a classic Pepsi Center game tonight for the Nuggets. They held the Utah Jazz, coming off a win against the Lakers, at bay all night, built a lead, and put them away in the fourth quarter. George Karl was able to open up his rotation tonight and played Timofey Mozgov (for meaningful minutes in a twin tower setting with JaVale McGee and Kosta Koufos), Evan Fournier, Anthony Randolph, and finally Jordan Hamilton.
Karl experimented with two different twin tower lineups with Mozgov with McGee and then Mozgov with Koufos. Which one did he prefer?
"I liked Timo and Kosta on the court together," said Karl. "I thought they protected the basket real well together."
The Nuggets tallied 12 blocks on the night with Koufos getting three of them and Mozgov adding two of his own. McGee had one block and it came as the Jazz were trying to hit a final shot before the end of the first quarter, out on the perimeter.
Kenneth Faried was his usual special Manimal self with 18 points, 11 rebounds (4 offensive), and 2 blocks. Faried also was 8-10 from the foul line, incredible! Not be to outdone, Corey Brewer provided the long-range shooting and went 5-8 on the night from downtown, 7-14 overall, for 20 points to go along with 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Andre Iguodala was his efficient self tonight going 7-12 from the field for 15 points and 7 rebounds.
Lawson powered the Nuggets play-making early and recorded 7 assists on the night. Lawson only scored 9 points and his poor free throw shooting carried over from the Rockets game as he went just 1-4 from the charity stripe. Karl said post game that Lawson has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders right now for the Nuggets' offense. Denver sure could use Danilo Gallinari to break out of his shooting slump.
Gallo notched just 5 points on 2-11 shooting. He did add 6 rebounds and 4 assists to go along with his nice defense, but the most concerning statistic is his 1-2 shooting from the foul line. "Getting right" can be aided by aggressive play and more free throw attempts. Getting to the rim for easy layups should help Gallo gain confidence which would also help his shot.
Kosta Koufos had a breakout game against his former team. K2 put up 15 points on 6-8 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds (4 offensive), 3 blocks, and 2 steals. By far his best game of the season. What I liked best about his game tonight? He was finishing with authority in the paint and going for dunks instead of layups. Koufos was also 3-4 from the foul line.
"That was an incredible block. That was big time stuff," said Karl. "I didn't know he could get up that high."
"I was shocked," said Faried.
Let's see it again ...
"We got burned a little bit early in the game. We didn't go to our double-teams in the first quarter. We knew we were going to experiment with our double teams, because we haven't had any of those games this year," said Karl. "We thought maybe playing straight up the first six minutes, and they were pretty effective down there. Jefferson got his one hoop at that time and Millsap stepped in on Kennth a couple times and got good position."
After that early stretch, the Nuggets just controlled the inside game the rest of the night on both ends of the floor.
Big win for the Nuggets, 104-84.
Denver will be in California tomorrow night to face the Golden State Warriors.
Views you can use:
-The Nuggets were 18-25 from the free throw line tonight. Take out Lawson's 1-4 and the team was 17-21 or 80% on the night.
-The Jazz were just 4-23 from downtown on the night or 17% ... ouch.
-Kenneth Faried will probably make the not top-10 on Sportscenter for his missed breakaway dunk attempt, just a couple night after earning top play honors on the four-letter network. Karl had this to say about said miss:
"I had that same problem with Shawn Kemp when he used to throw the ball off the board and dunk it," said Karl. "He would miss one every once in awhile too."
Karl did talk extensively about Faried post-game for what he brought to the game and what he has been bringing to the team since the Miami game.
"His energy is contagious," said Karl. "It's a big part of why we were successful last year and I think it's going to have to be a big part of what we do this year."
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