Las Vegas -- Gary Harris had 33 points, Quincy Miller added 23 of his own, and Erick Green put up 17 points to go along with 4 assists in the Denver Nuggets' 110-82 victory over the Toronto Raptors. A very solid way to start out summer play.
NBA.com: box score.
The Nuggets relied heavily on three-point shooting, according to the box score (that only has Denver with 104 points) the team went 14-26 from deep aka 53.8%. While those numbers may or may not be correct, the team lived and died by the three. With Denver's three actual prospects on the team, that is no surprise as Harris, Q, and Green are all perimeter based players. However, the three took turns driving through the lane and finishing layups or dropping off easy passes for teammates.
Gary Harris: 33 points (10-17 shooting, 5-10 from deep, 8-9 free throws), 2 assists, 6 rebounds, 7 fouls, 2 steals, 4 turnovers. (The shooting stats on Green are off on NBA.com)
Harris was a beast. His shooting was on point: from his three pointers, to the foul line, and he even showed off a pretty floater. He is known as a defender and he showed that off too. On the defensive side, he stuck with his man, got in passing lanes, and doesn't give guys a lot of room to get comfortable. Following Harris' eyes on the defensive end, he was constantly checking where his man was (without the ball), finding the ball, and anticipating plays. His length hurt him a touch as he got his pocket picked on one play, but it didn't seem to be too big of a deal.
A couple spots where Harris struggled: fouling and recognizing double-teams with the ball in his hands. Harris picked up 7 fouls and would have been out of the game had it been a regular season contest, but his fouls were more-so of the aggressive type and not because he wasn't moving his feet or anything like that. A couple of his turnovers came on double teams. He was a little slow recognizing when the double was coming and threw one pass away and lost the ball when he tried to split the double with a dribble.
A very impressive first game from Gary and here is how he summed up his play.
Harris on the pace of the game:
"I'm still getting adjusted, there are still things that I struggled with today," said Harris. "But that's part of the learning curve."
Harris on if we can expect big scoring outputs from him:
"Hopefully, I just have to be consistent now."
Harris on having Arron Afflalo and Ty Lawson in the building:
"It was good that we get their support. They could be anywhere else right now, but they came to support us and that's a good feeling."
Harris on his chemistry with Green and Q:
"These guys have been a huge help for me ever since I got with the team. I think we all feed off each other and we kind of did that today and got off to a quick start."
Quincy Miller: 23 points (5-9 shooting, 4-5 from deep, 9-11 FTs), 3 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 fouls, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 4 blocks.
It was a tale of two halves for Q. He put up 21 points in the first half to go along with two flashy blocks. One such block came as a Raptor was free and clear attacking the rim, until Q came out of nowhere to swat the layup away up around the top of the white square. Miller's shooting was his strong suit, as was his ability to get to the free throw line. Miller looked comfortable on both ends of the floor and appeared happy to have the offense running through him.
Miller struggled a bit getting past his defender, but the strength he has added has helped him be able to finish plays through contact. A fine performance from Miller and he was a big reason why the team got off to such a great start.
Here is how Miller summed up his game:
On how this experience compared to last year's summer league:
"I was way more comfortable," said Miller. "I got a little more experience and from the start Coach [Patrick Mutombo] was telling me this was my team, so I was orchestrating stuff on the floor and motivating my teammates before we got on the floor."
Miller on the Nuggets' team defense:
"We played great. I was really surprised at how well we played on the defensive end. The key is togetherness, everybody buying into the concepts, sharing the ball, and we're playing like a team."
How important is defensive communication:
"Communication is one of the most important things. Coach expresses it everyday: focus, talk more, talk loud."
What has he told Green and Harris:
"I just have been helping them with little stuff here-and-there. Giving them advice and little tips that the vets gave me when I first came in and keeping their confidence up because that's a big part of it."
Erick Green: 17 points (7-11 shooting, 2-4 from deep, 1-2 FTs), 4 assists, 6 rebounds, 0 turnovers.
Green has always taken care of the ball. Today he again showed that and showed some additional passing skills. Green has a high release on his shot and a pretty quick release too. He attacked the lane, but wasn't always looking to score the ball. Here is how Green summed up his game:
On the game slowing down for him this year versus last summer:
"This year for me [the difference was] was being more calm, poised, acting like I've been here before, being more patient, and trying not to be all hectic and sped up," said Green. "I think I did a good job today, I have to be more aggressive, but I think for my first day out - we did well as a team and I thought from an individual standpoint I did okay."
How has the game slowed down:
"Honestly, just the pace. In college, I was so used to getting it and going - always full speed. In the NBA, I realized watching film, if you don't get it full speed, take your time and things will develop. When I get the ball I see the court, I'm not always looking to score, my head is up, I'm looking for passes, and I just feel more comfortable out there."
On how his time in Italy helped grow his game:
"It was a great experience and it helped me a lot. I even see it coming off screens here, making passes, I think it helped me a lot. It was a great trip and it helped me to continue to develop my game."
Hearing he picked up a little Italian:
"I can speak a little bit, I'm not going to show it off, but I can say a little bit. I understand it better than I speak it. I know a little Spanish, Spanish and Italian are kind of similar, but not too similar."
On if he and Danilo Gallinari could communicate:
"We could have some words on the court together." said Green.
A very good first game for the Nuggets. We probably shouldn't expect the team to shoot so well the rest of the week, but that was a fun one.