With an odd back-to-back coming up, the Nuggets needed an easy win. Christmas Day the Nuggets will be in Los Angeles vs. the Clippers and then travel back home to face the Lakers the following night. Why not just say in L.A. and play the Lakers? Schedule makers are like Alicia Silverstone ... clueless.
The Nuggets were able to figure out their offense tonight and started the game on the right foot; jumping out to an early 29-23 lead. Denver scored nearly 30 points in the opening frame, but they didn't connect on a three-pointer until Jordan Hamilton (yes, he got burn tonight!) buried a three at the 8:02 mark of the second quarter to give the Nuggets a 40-31 lead.
The Nuggets would hit five more threes to finish the night 6-20 from deep. Not too shabby. Seven Nuggets scored in double figures on the evening. Kosta Koufos led the way with 16 points on 8-10 shooting to go along with 5 blocked shots.
The biggest takeaway from the game was Ty Lawson not playing in the second half due to injury:
Hopefully he won't miss any time and can play against the Clippers; the team will need Ty in Los Angeles. In his absence, Andre Miller started the second half and eventually gave way to Evan Fournier. The rookie had 8 points and 2 assists. I continue to be impressed by his game and think the more he plays the better he will get. It's a total luxury to have him on the bench, but very hard to find minutes for him as the rotation is finding a groove.
The Nuggets shot 51% on the night and didn't need a lot of foul shots, they finished 10-15 from the free throw line tonight. Denver also didn't turn the ball over for what seemed like an eternity. They finished with 12 turnovers as some sloppy play in the second half reared its head with George Karl going deep into his bench.
A very easy win tonight and one that was needed after that frustrating performance by the team in Portland.
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-JaVale McGee hit two nice semi-fadeaway jumpers tonight. I've noticed him working on that shot this season and now it is starting to fall with some regularity. He has shown great body control when he goes into the air and is finding success on that particular shot. Can't wait to see him develop more as a player. He was 7-8 on the night for 14 points on just under 18 minutes of action.
-Hamilton had another good outing for the Nuggets scoring 11 points (5-12 shooting) and tallying 5 rebounds. He has a bit of ways to go defensively, but his offense is much needed and he continues to show he can score in the NBA. As Jeff Morton pointed out via text - his offense will come together even more as he is able to blend his desire to score with making passes. Sometimes it's easy to read what he wants to do and he'll force bad shots, but more playing time might help him in those areas.
-The fastbreak battle was a close one tonight, but the Nuggets won it 22-17. It has been nice to see Denver get out and run. The best part - they are finishing a whole lot better in transitions than they were early in the season.
-The Andres - Miller and iguodala led the team in "Your Welcome"s tonight with 8 assists each. In fact, Iguodala nearly had himself a triple-double with 15 points, 8 assists, and 8 rebounds. Good to see him playing with a smile on his face (at times) and sinking shots. One play Danilo Gallinari found him (by passing through a defender's legs I think) and Iguodala was so wide open he hesitated on the layup before putting it away as he was expecting somebody to be defending him.
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