I knew something was going to be said, I just knew it. As Danilo Gallinari was introduced to big applause as the Player of the Game, on Altitude, after the Nuggets defeated the Celtics 97-90, I had a feeling that the man who urges the Pepsi Center crowd on more than anyone would mention a little something ... and he did:
"I'm sorry for all the Boston fans, they gotta get outta here." Danilo Gallinari
And a big smile crept across Gallo's face, and then mine. You see, 90% of those Celtics fans at Pepsi Center have probably never been to Boston. Never pahhhked a cahhh in the Haahhhvahd Yahhhd. Probably don't know what a good bowl of chowdah is. So yeah, time to leave!
In the meantime, both Gallo and Ty Lawson had themselves monster games. Gallo's stats were 26 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds. Ty had 26 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds. At one point in the game, both men were the only Nuggets players who could score. And they say the Nuggets don't have a "go to" guy? Come on now. The Nugget are straight ballin' when those to are goin' off. And the Nuggets needed all the contributions they could get from those two men.
Additionally, Kenneth Faried had 7 points and 16 rebounds. For a stretch in the fourth quarter he played the best help defense of his life (particularly on an open layup attempt by Kevin Garnett). He also had two key put-backs to extend the Nuggets's lead in a critical moment of the fourth quarter. Gallo, Ty and Manimal all stepped up big time in this game.
On the flip side, a clearly still ailing Andre Iguodala had a single point (a solitairy free throw make at the end of the game) and shot a handfull of hairballs. Looked actually completely out of sorts offensively. However, his defense was impeccable. In fact, he had several key steals at the end and traded off defensive assignments with Gallo on Paul Pierce, who only had 10 points and was in foul trouble the whole game.
On the flip side, JaVale McGee was so bad in this game I often wondered why George Karl left him out there. No, it wasn't the black hole esque bad from the Knicks game in January. But it was bad. Outside of getting a fantastic pass from Gallo for an easy slam, McGee was goaltending, leaving people open and not boxing out. Just looking lost. I hope and pray that JaVale finds consistency someday. I really do. He's a good kid, but performances like this are a reason he doesn't start. Just sayin'.
Nuggets defense in the end of the third quarter into the fourth was exemplary. Nuggets need more gutty performances like this on the road, and hopefully they can get it. Nuggets are now 1-0 in season part two. Need more of these going forward.
Nuggets of Widsom
The Nuggets upcoming schedule features games that they should win. Or at least be favored as such. The time for pedal to the metal has begun and it's got off to a good start. However, in order for the Nuggets to fully succeed they need Iguodala at full strength and playing well offensively. Gallo and Ty seemed exhausted by the end, (both played close to 40 minutes) and that third guy needs to step up for the stretch run.
The trade deadline is in two days and the Nuggets don't play in the meantime. So there will be much speculation as to what the Nuggets will or won't do as the deadline approaches. Time will tell, but I'm inclined to say the Nuggets stand pat and ride out the stretch with and ever-improving unit of young players. There is, however, one trade the Nuggets didn't make that is causing the most stir. From our friend Chris Tomasson:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Sources say Nuggets turned down a trade offer earlier this season of Danilo Gallinari for Rudy Gay. Gallinari making them look smart tonite</p>— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) <a href="https://twitter.com/christomasson/status/304073004495798272">February 20, 2013</a></blockquote>
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Thank god ladies and gentlemen ... thank god.
Twitter: @jmorton78 https://twitter.com/#!/jmorton78
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