Timberwolves vs. Nuggets recap: Faried helps Nuggets rebound in OT win

Nuggets rookie forward Kenneth Faried finished the game with 10 points on 4-4 shooting (2-2 free throws), 14 rebounds (5 offensive), 2 steals, and 3 blocks in 36 big time minutes. In his rebounding duel with Kevin Love, Faried won it 14-13 (Love played 48 minutes) and helped ensure the win for the Nuggets, 103-101 in overtime. As my colleague Jeff Morton texted me after the game, "All things considered ... great win." Agreed.

If you watched the game, you can skip to the Game Recap section ...

1st quarter:

  • Timofey Mozgov, Ty Lawson, Corey Brewer, Kenneth Faried, and Arron Afflalo starting again. Ricky Rubio, Luke Ridnour (two starting point guards!!), Nikola Pekovic, Kevin Love, and Wesley Johnson for the Timberwolves. Pekovic is huge! Nuggets doing a good job rebounding early and a horrific job taking care of the ball ... three straight turnovers for Denver, two by AAA. Moz has hair gel in again ... not sure how he decides when to wear it, but Rudy Fernandez's model girlfriend should lend him her stylist ... and if he's already using her stylist, she should fire that person.
  • 6:21 mark and George Karl is forced to take a timeout, Denver is down 16-8 and looking like that brown stuff that a dog leaves behind after a walk after it has been eating all day. The Nuggets have 6 shot attempts and 5 turnovers ... pathetic effort thus far on the little things. A total of 9 rebounds have been available on the Nuggets defensive end and the Wolves have secured 4 offensive boards, not a good sign as Love and Pekovic are camped under the hoop on shot attempts.
  • End of 1st it's 30-18 Wolves. Denver's answer to rebounding woes is to go small with Kosta Koufos, Al Harrington who is 0-3 to start the night (0-2 from deep, bleh!), AAA, Lawson, and Andre Miller. Sure would be nice to see K2 and Moz out there together when Minny goes back to Love and Pekovic or perhaps Birdman for one of them, and why not Faried at small forward? The Nuggets do not look good tonight, the defense is non-existent. You'd think the Memphis and OKC games would give the Nuggets life, instead they look drained, thus far.
2nd quarter:
  • Karl stays small to open the quarter with Lawson, Miller, Brewer, "Big" Al, and K2. Wolves using Pekovic at center with rookie Derrick Williams at power forward right now. K2 needs to do some damage (Denver's D is just awful tonight). Nuggets need to find a way to get some stops or this game is going to stay out of reach. It's 34-22 right now in Minny's favor, this isn't the game to trade buckets.
  • Martell Webster, usually a clean look, is sporting a long mohowk, he looks like a techno DJ ... am I crazy or are the Nuggets one of the worst shooting teams in the league? It's 38-26 Wolves and DJ Webster just made a runner as the shot clock was expiring. Seems like every team in the league is able to hit jumpers on a consistent basis ... except for this Nuggets team. It's like DerMarr Johnson and Yakhouba Diawara are back on the team with Miller.
  • Nuggets lead 51-46 at the half (33-16 in the 2nd). The Wolves went cold for a small portion of the quarter and from the 8:59 mark to the 3:12 mark they scored just two points. Not totally the Nuggets defense as the Wolves just missing open shots, but Denver utilized an 17-2 run during that stretch and took a 43-40 lead. Lawson also sprained his left ankle in the period at the 4:51 mark and left the game after making two free throws ... he left 13 points, he came back with 1:16 left in the quarter. Faried checked back into the game around the five minute mark and gave Love all sorts of fits on the glass, game changing energy from the rookie and the rest of the team. After starting 0-3, Big Al goes 7-10 in the quarter and scores 14 points in the period ... Denver sorely needed his aggression as he hit layup-after-layup.
3rd quarter:
  • Notes on starters: Miller in for Lawson (ankle sprain, wont return from his return) and veteran Brad Miller is starting for Pekovic (ankle injury). It's a 6-0 run for the Wolves to start the half (52-51) and AAA just sprained his left ankle at the 10:12 mark. What the hell is with the left legs of the Nuggets? Unreal. And my Altitude feed is freezing like crazy ... this should be a fun second half. Denver needs to recapture the energy they had in the middle of the second quarter, came out very flat here in the third.
  • First sub at the 8:37 mark and it's Big Al for Mozgov ... not sure I like Al at center. Moz slams his warmups down on the floor from his seat on the bench, disappointed in his performance tonight. Both teams are freezing cold, Faried with a nice athletic up-and-under layup from the baseline ... it's 59-56 Denver and Faried is going against Love and Miller, he could dominate with his bounce. A Nuggets run here could really put the clamps down on Minny. Faried with a monster block on one end (on Rubio) and then gets a jam on the other end with tremendous hustle to save the play as AAA fumbled the ball to Brewer who fed Faried. Love this kid's energy, BELIEVE THE HYPE it's 63-56 Denver.
  • At the 4:09 mark in the 3rd, Martell Webster went to set a screen on Afflalo under the hoop and tried to slap AAA in the groin area! Look at the replay! Right before he made his 4-point play.
  • With 31.6 seconds left in the third, some ref made an awful call on Miller for an offensive foul. Miller gets a technical foul and then ejected from the game. Denver had a 76-69 lead there, Minny gets a few cheap ones and it's 76-73 Denver end of the 3rd. No Lawson, Miller, or Rudy Fernandez. It's Julyan Stone's time.
4th quarter:
  • The Nuggets are missing Miller, Lawson, Fernandez, Gallo, and Nene in this game and now quarter. Wowzah! It's 80-78 Wolves with 8:44 left to play ... Denver has Stone, Jordan Hamilton, Brewer, BIg Al, and K2 in there now, AAA getting ready to check in, likely for Hamilton - yep, for J Goin Ham. The officiating has been effing ATROCIOUS this game, as usual.
  • 1:39 left and Harrington buries a three (after bricking two free throws) and it's 93-93. Can the Nuggets execute late tonight with their cast of assembled characters?
  • 0:17 ticks left, Nuggets ball ... I can't take another overtime. What will Karl draw up here? Hopefully not a Big Al three-pointer, he's a bit cold right now. How about AAA? It's his time right? Right?! Afflalo gets the shot ... takes a baseline jumper and misses it at the buzzer ... are you kidding me. 93-93 end of regulation.
Overtime:
  • Karl decides to ride his lineup into the ground again. Stone, Brewer, AAA, Big Al, and Faried ... hope they have the energy!
  • 48.5 ticks left, Nuggets ball, and the offense has been horrific in OT. It's tied 95-95, only four total points scored in this OT by both teams.
  • Well, the Nuggets won this one ... 103-101. It wasn't pretty, it wasn't easy, but they'll take it over a .500 team.
Game recap:

We saw the Nuggets get pushed to overtime once again, but this time it was the Nuggets who the extra period with an Al Harrington three-pointer. It was also the Nuggets who failed to win it in regulation with a couple missed free throws by Big Al and a missed jumper at the buzzer by Afflalo.

In the overtime, we once again saw Karl use the same lineup that he rode during the final stretch of the fourth quarter. Stone (playing for the ejected Miller and injured Lawson), AAA, Brewer, Faried, and Big Al. It looked like that unit was completely gassed, but Rick Adelman used the same lineup as well and both tired squads tried to do battle and it was sloppy.

The big stories tonight ... Faried's rebounding, Big Al's offense (efficient or not), Stone stepping in to run the show in the fourth quarter, and the Nuggets resolve to not lose another heart-breaker.

Can't say enough about Faried tonight. Some people may have thought Faried was all hype, but those people are being proved wrong each time Bounce steps onto the floor. His offense is coming along and everything else he does he does so in a relentless style. Kevin Love has been billed as the best power forward in the NBA this season and Faried out-rebounded him and the Nuggets defense forced Love to search for his offense in uncomfortable ways. After giving up a combined 91 points to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook last night, the Nuggets "held" Love to just 22 points. Still a pretty fine night for the big forward out of UCLA, but he needed 22 shots to get 22 points. Faried pulled a bit of a Marcus Camby as he controlled the boards for Denver in the fourth and overtime and was a major factor in Denver's win.

Harrington was forced into the scorer's role once again with Miller, Lawson, Gallo, and Nene all out of the lineup down the stretch tonight. Denver's offense was very stagnant, but it somehow got the job done. Harrington started the game 0-3 from the field, scored 14 points in the second quarter off 7-10 shooting, and then shot 7-16 in the second half. Al's missed free throws tonight, 0-5, nearly cost Denver the game, but without his big second quarter the Nuggets might have never got back into this one.

Stone was thrown into a huge role and he looked pretty good. A couple turnovers and unforced errors, but he did a fine job off the pick-and-roll and initiated the Nuggets offense and played big time defense to do his part in the W. Stone had the stop of the night when he stripped Michael Beasley of the ball late and was 3-4 from the foul line in clutch situations.

Nail-biting wins over .500 teams are what things have come to in Nuggets Nation for the moment. The team was missing a starting lineups worth of players with Lawson, Miller, Fernandez, Gallo, and Nene out ... that's the team Denver has used to close games this season and none were available for the fourth quarter or overtime tonight. The Nuggets totally gutted this one out and found a way to beat a hot team, not too shabby.



Views you can use:
  • Nuggets 1-9 from deep in first half and 8-11 from the foul line. In the second they were 4-13 from deep and just 16-24 from the foul line.
  • Nuggets win the rebounding battle 57-50 (17-16 on the offensive boards). Not a ton of big center play in the second half as K2, Moz, and the Wolves Pekovic (injury) were all on the bench for most of it.
  • Faried in 1st half: 4 points, 4 rebounds (1 offensive), 1 block on a sure Rubio layup, and 1 steal in 13 minutes. Faried in the 2nd half: 6 points, 10 rebound (4 offensive), 2 steals, and 2 blocks.
  • Lawson left the game going 5-7 from the field with 13 points ... he was missed in this one.
  • Moz with 8 minutes in the first half and just 3 minutes in the second half. Koufos with 12 minutes in the first half and just 7 minutes in the second half.
  • Afflalo, minus the 0-4 from deep, had a nice game of 6-18 shooting and 8-10 from the foul line for 20 points and some solid defense. AAA missed a potential game winner, but he also hit a huge shot in overtime to keep the Nuggets alive.
  • Miller might have done the Nuggets a favor by getting booted tonight, he was 0-8 on the evening, but had 12 assists and 6 rebounds.
  • Koufos wasn't scoring tonight, but his 6 rebounds were needed, Mozgov had some nice offense in limited minutes (ankle issue?) with 4 points in the first quarter. Moz also had some fumble issues and 4 turnovers as he was visibly frustrated with his play.
  • Brewer got some revenge on his old team with 12 poitns, 8 rebounds, and three huge end of the game free throws (3-4 on the night).




Nate_Timmons on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/Nate_Timmons
ntimmons73@yahoo.com
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