The Nuggets outran the Lakers in the first quarter, jumping out to a 33-28 lead after one. In the fourth quarter, Timofey Mozgov punished a worn down Pau Gasol on both ends of the court: blocking shots, drawing fouls, and making baskets down low. Mozgov tied a career high 23 points and also added 9 rebounds and 4 blocks. Kenneth Faried added a double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds, including a put-back dunk in the closing seconds that screamed, "LET THEIR BE TACOS!" To add more goodwill, Wilson Chandler not only returned, he went 4-7 from beyond the arc and finished the night 4-11 for 12 points in 21 minutes. His final three put the Nuggets up by 14 points in the fourth quarter, and the crowd into a frenzy. Chandler was expected to play between 15-25 minutes and met that goal tonight.
The Lakers were held to zero offensive rebounds in the first quarter, but then grabbed 11 in the second. Offensive rebounds kept the game close through three quarters ... closer than it had any right to be. Gasol was held to 44.4% shooting, but still managed 25 points and 12 rebounds. Jordan Hill scored 18 points and had 15 rebounds, with eight of them on the offensive end. The Lakers got lazy in the second half allowing two steals underneath their own basket. Nate Robinson and Ty Lawson happily took advantage on those, scoring easy layups.
Three things I noticed from tonight's game:
1. Closing with three shorts on the court. Lawson, Robinson, and Andre Miller created nice space for Mozgov and Faried to work down low. On paper, this looks like a strategy thought up by George Karl and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, but tonight it worked as the guards played scrappy defense and Denver's bigs won battle down low.
2. Evan Fournier's box score doesn't show it, but he made some great hustle plays in the first half. He hit the floor for a defensive board, snagged a nice offensive rebound, and hit open players off the drive.
3. Wilson Chandler didn't quite have his legs under him tonight. His missed dunk on a fast-break was ugly. He was also pretty short on a few shots. But his spot up threes were going down right when the team needed to pull away. As his cardio returns, look for those miscues to get cleaned up a bit.
Closing thought: Tonight the team found a great balance. They ran on missed shots by the Lakers in the first half and in the second half they successfully played the half-court game. Slowly but surely this team is putting it together. Let's see how they manage against rested playoff teams. The Timberwolves, Rockets, and Thunder are waiting.
Facebooking an Ex: Arron Afflalo goes 8-11 from downtown finishing with 36 points and 8 rebounds for Orlando in their 94-91 win over Milwaukee.
Alec Baldwin on Rumored Trade Talk with the Knicks:
You want to trade Faried? Faried's defense is weak? YOU'RE WEAK!
Tonight we saw the real Faried. The Manimal Faried. And to the Knicks he's gold. And the Knicks don't get him. Why? Because to trade him to the Knicks would be just throwing his talent away. Kenneth Faried is for closers. And tonight the Nuggets did just that, CLOSED!
The Opposition's take: Silver Screen and Roll
Next 5 Games
|Minnesota||Fri 11/15||6:00 PM MST|
|@ Houston||Sat 11/16||6:00 PM MST|
|@ Oklahoma City||Mon 11/18||6:00 PM MST|
|Chicago||Thu 11/21||8:30 PM MST|
|Dallas||Sat 11/23||7:00 PM MST|
Last 5 Games
|Los Angeles Lakers||Wed 11/13||W 111 - 99|
|@ Utah||Mon 11/11||W 100 - 81|
|@ Phoenix||Fri 11/08||L 103 - 114|
|Atlanta||Thu 11/07||W 109 - 107|
|San Antonio||Tue 11/05||L 94 - 102|