Danilo Gallinari had to leave the game tonight in the second quarter (4:30 mark) after his knee twisted and buckled without any contact. From my viewpoint, it looked like Gallo banged knees with Darren Collison, but that was quickly revealed not to be the case on replay.
It was a horrifying injury that left Gallo in severe pain on the baseline, clutching his left knee. What will the Nuggets miss with Gallo out of the lineup?
1.) Scoring - he's the second leading scorer on the team.
2.) Crunch-time scoring - he has proven over-and-over that he can/will hit big shots.
3.) Rebounding - he's been great late in games securing boards.
4.) Passing - he's one hell of a play-maker and a creative passer.
5.) Defense - he covers the perimeter and has been great in the post.
6.) Leadership - no question.
7.) Intangibles - he just makes the game easier for his teammates.
8.) Free throw shooting - the team's best foul shooter and frequent trip taker.
There's just so much Gallo does that can't be measured and I hate to use the word replace. The Nuggets can and will go on without Gallo if they must. The Nuggets have tremendous depth at the wing and can re-tool the team. It'll be up to George Karl on how best to go about life without Gallo, if it comes to that.
Gallo left the game and shortly before the third quarter the team released a statement saying Gallo would not return and that he would undergo an MRI on his knee on April 5th. We'll know more as soon as the injury is revealed.
"I don't know what the word is," said Karl. "There was a period of time when Gallo went down that the team seemed to be without spirit. They [Mavericks] came out with a great third quarter and I was really proud how we fought."
"It's a win," Karl said. "It doesn't feel as exuberant as if Gallo wouldn't have gotten hurt. We gotta figure things out and don't feel sorry for ourselves, just hang in there. We're versatile and we're deep."
So, the game went on and the Nuggets went on a run, down 77-70 after three quarters, came out in the fourth looking like a different team. We've seen the Nuggets do this before and they had some pep in their step. The Nuggets out-scored the Mavericks 25-17 in the fourth behind Corey Brewer's 8 points, Andre Miller's 7 points, and Andre Iguodala's 5 points.
"We win the game because Wilson and Corey's hustle plays," said Karl. "And just the guts of Andre Miller."
Miller was 3-4 from the field in the fourth, but just 1-3 from the foul line. He was in 'score mode' and was searching for his own offense throughout much of the quarter. Miller had nice match-ups in the post and went to work on Mike James and whoever else Rick Carlisle threw at him.
Brewer came up with a huge steal on Dirk Nowitzki with just 0:19 second remaining to keep the game at 94-93 Mavs. Chandler kept the ball alive on the other end and Kenneth Faried grabbed a rebound and was fouled and headed to the foul line where he missed both free throws.
Brewer came to the rescue and swiped a long rebound as Miller cleared out some Mavs rebounders from getting to the loose ball heading to the sidelines. With 0:07 seconds left, Faried wisely called timeout while clutching the ball.
Karl drew up a post-play for Andre Miller, but Carlisle put Shawn Marion on Miller and Karl said he whispered to Iguodala that he'd need to take it if Miller was covered. Iggy went and came up with a nice left layup that found its home.
Now with 0:02 seconds left it was up to Denver's defense to finish the game and protect the 95-94 lead. The Mavs called a timeout and Karl said the following took place in the Denver huddle.
"We have our switching team in the game a lot," said Karl. "Andre [Iguodala] zoned up off the ball really well. We were arguing about putting a big on the ball or zone up. Dirk is so good at catching that ball - Andre was really kind of zoning up Dirk and Corey got over the screen great. You can't ask for much better defense on that play."
It surprised the Mavs as Anthony Morrow ended up with the ball and Brewer blocked his shot attempt to seal the win.
A bittersweet win for the Nuggets.
Views you can use:
-Brandan Wright led the Mavs with 16 points. Of course he did - I watched a game earlier this season that I wanted the Mavs to win (against the Warriors) and Wright blew the game ... he hates me.
-Evan Fournier played 19 minutes tonight, but was just 1-6 from the field, but his one make was a big one that cut Dallas' lead to 80-79 off an And-1 shot.
-Brewer led the team with 23 points tonight, Miller with 22.
-This Gallo injury makes me sick. I just want to see the Nuggets get a fair shake in the playoffs with a healthy team and it feels like that has been ripped away. I don't want it for me; I wanted it for the team. I wanted this group to be able to try to prove that this great team game can see special things from a special team. I'll be wishing Gallo well and we'll have an update on his status tomorrow.
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