Danilo Gallinari stole and outlet pass and heaved a 55 foot prayer shot at the third quarter buzzer. It went in. That was probably the best moment this Nuggets team has experienced in a couple months. Or at the very least in 6 games.
Nice to see that for a change. I mean seriously, Outside of the Corey Brewer esque play of Will Barton (who continues to bring the energy) there has been little reason to smile this season.
Since the All Star break it's been the Gallo and Barton show. While Gallo hasn't shot particularly efficiently, he has played good defense and contributed in other areas. Barton has brought the energy and has provided a spark that the Nuggets have desperately needed for the better part of a month. Barton finished with 16 points and 9 rebounds. Gallo finished with a team high 21 points.
This game was competitive throughout as the Pelicans definitely missed Anthony Davis and quite frankly were lucky to escape Pepsi Center with a victory. Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans lead the way for the Pelicans, and quite frankly, with Nuggets center Jusuf Nurkic injured, Omer Asik kind of dominated the rebounding paint (finishing with 16 rebounds). The Nuggets managed to play the most competitive basketball we have seen since they beat the Los Angeles Lakers in the game before the All Star break.
That being said, the 99-92 loss represented the Nuggets sixth straight loss and 10th straight home loss (!?) sending the Nuggets to a 20-39 record. Nuggets are now 12-18 and home and quite frankly if A Davis was playing you'd believe that the score wouldn't have been as close as it was.
That being said, this was a competitive loss, with the teams within 7 points of each other the entire game. All the people have been asking for at Pepsi Center are competitive games, spirited efforts, and some reason to hope for the next year. While this near-victory doesn't help that it certainly makes people feel slightly better about things.
Nuggets of Wisdom
Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried. What to say about these guys. The infuriating thing about Ty is that he had 11 assists. He can get those assists in his sleep BUT he finished with 5 points and didn't bother shooting the ball. It was the very definition of a half-assed effort and was borderline inexcusable.
Manimal finished with 3 points and 6 rebounds. While he had a bit of the short end of the stick with having to play center, it just seemed less than enthusiastic. Lethargic. While you have the tanking-enthusiasts circling the Nuggets like a waiter at the end of his shift, it would have been nice to give the fans a game. You know? Nice to give the fans a win at home. Right now it seems like both Manimal and Ty have been the very definition of "checked out". What good does that do them AND the fans. No good at all.
Right now the Nuggets are continuing to lose, which benefits their lottery balls and percentages. However, I begin to wonder about the long term damage of all the losing. The Nuggets are spiraling out of control and the losses keep piling up. There's a bad culture and that can seep into many different parts of the organization and players. You need to have "Positive" losses if you are going to have a chance going forward. Right now, losses such as that are few and far between. Tonight was a rare exception.
Nuggets play the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday and hope to avoid a franchise worst tying 11th straight loss at home. We shall see.