Kenneth Faried and the Nuggets were all smiles on Monday night.
Our Nuggets were overdue for a home-based blowout. In fact, it had been a month since the Nuggets knocked out a home opponent by more than 10 points at Pepsi Center (they beat the Hornets by 13 on March 9th) ... and the Nuggets have since lost to the Hornets.
Well, the Nuggets delivered a blowout indeed ... and then some ... defeating the Warriors by a whopping 39 points on Monday night. It's too bad we can't use some of those 39 points and apply them to the upcoming games ahead, because the inconsistent Nuggets will certainly need them as the schedule draws tougher opposition than Golden State.
While Monday's contest presented a balanced attack from the Nuggets - and ample rest for several key players - it was essentially the Kenneth Faried show. Faried scored 27 points on 12-18 shooting and grabbed 17 rebounds (7 offensive). He finished the game with a +/- of +33. And while I cannot confirm this to be true or not (as I don't have the time to scour every box score this season looking at +/- records), I suspect his and Arron Afflalo's +33 was the best +/- posted by a Nugget this season.
But the box score doesn't do Faried's game justice. Watching the game in-person, Faried's energy was infectious and set the tone for the entire evening. In fact, the only time the Warriors put up a respectable effort in the first half was when Faried sat for about 6 minutes. Faried didn't just grab rebounds - he gobbled them up in mid-air. Faried didn't just dunk the ball - he slammed it down. Nene Hilario never had a game like this.
Of course, it helps when your opponent's power forward (in this case, David Lee) shoots 4-15, is in foul trouble and plays only 23 minutes. But remarkably, Faried played only 24 minutes!
Here are some other observations from the not-so-cheap-seats ...
... before Golden State called their first timeout, the Nuggets were up 14-2. The blowout was in hand early.
... Warriors' head coach Mark Jackson has gained a lot of weight. Not an easy job coaching this wayward franchise.
... watching Faried in person, is there another player on the Nuggets that loves playing as much as he does?
... unlike Saturday night when the Warriors waxed the Nuggets in Oakland, the Nuggets were quicker to every lose ball throughout the game.
... say what you want about Andre Miller, but while many NBA players sit out with an assortment of injuries, he's playing with a bad shoulder and dished out 12 assists tonight.
... it was good to see Danilo Gallinari back and he seems to have a natural chemistry with Faried that will pay off in the future. One BIG complaint about Gallo's game, however, is that he insists on leaving his feet when passing, leading to many Nuggets turnovers throughout the game.
... Corey Brewer somehow, someway made two three-pointers. None of which were made when the game was in question. Brewer's third three-point attempt missed the rim entirely, further proof that Brewer should never shoot a three again.
... Afflalo continued his solid play, contributing 8 rebounds and 5 assists along with 15 points and solid defense. I think Afflalo is finally in good shape ... just in time for a playoff run!
... Hall of Famer Rick Barry sat right behind me and my friend Kevin, whose father was the ABA Players Association legal counsel. Barry couldn't have sat behind two bigger NBA/ABA nerds than us, and we had a great time talking to him throughout the game about NBA/ABA history, the state of the game today, the situation the Warriors are in and so on. Barry pointed out that the Nuggets really need an assistant coach who knows how to coach big men ... and we couldn't have agreed more. The Nuggets seemingly have 12 assistant coaches and yet none of them were former centers and the Nuggets carry four centers on their roster ... an oddity for the NBA. Hanging out with the Hall of Famer made an otherwise boring blowout a real treat.
Non-Stiff of the Game
-Kenneth Faried: Faried had been playing a bit aimlessly lately and more than made up for it with tonight's performance. 27 points on 18 shots in 24 minutes?! Seriously?!
Stiff of the Game
-David Lee: The typically solid Lee was a total dud on Monday night. Faried ate him alive and Lee never got his game going, attempting many ill-advised errant shots en route to a 4-15 shooting night.
Even though the Warriors laid down and died from the tip-off tonight, perhaps the Nuggets can channel the energy they showcased on Monday and have it carry over to Wednesday's game against the Timberwolves. It's time for the Nuggets to be world beaters at home again!