Maybe Brian Shaw believes in a half-court kind of offense, maybe even the Triangle. It doesn’t matter. With the kind of players he has, which are a better fit for what George Karl ran there in the years after Carmelo Anthony left, it’s much better to let this team run, which is what they do almost better than anyone else, especially at home, leading to an impressive 117-113 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Nuggets have some balance issues, and some bad lineup selections as well. Withotu a shooting guard Shaw trusts, he has Randy Foye playing next to Ty Lawson. Other options, with Evan Fournier, Nate Robinson and Andre Miller sitting on the bench, might be better, especially giving the young Frenchman more minutes, scoring 10 points in only 13.
J.J. Hickson and Kenneth Faried continue to play together in the starting five, which does bring a lot of athleticism and offensive glass attention, as the two combined for 21 rebounds (7 offensive) and 28 points, but the Nuggets are better when Timofey Mozgov is playing next to one of them, as the Russian center added 10 points and 5 rebounds in only 17 minutes. JaVale McGee not currently being with the team isn’t really noticable.
Another advice we already gave Shaw was giving more minutes to Wilson Chandler, who had an impressive night coming off the bench, scoring 19 points in only 22 minutes. He shot 6-of-9 from the field and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, although playing against the Minnesota defense, happily joining the Nuggets in a carefree, attack only kind of game, isn’t the biggest challenge the NBA has to offer.
The Timberwolves had no problem getting on the scoreboard as well, but their lack of interior defense and a weird night from Ricky Rubio denied them the win. Kevin Love had his ninth double-double of the season with 28 points and 10 rebounds; Kevin Martin scored 27. However, Rubio couldn’t get anything to drop for him, and turned the ball over six times to counter his 8 rebound, 12 assist night. As much as Love and Martin are great to watch in action, the most important player the Timberwolves have is Ricky Rubio, and bad nights for him are usually spelled losses.
The Denver Nuggets are still waiting for Danilo Gallinari to return. It’s not going to help with their defense, but it will mean that they can stop using Jordan Hamilton in the lineup and maybe Shaw eventually wises up and stops starting Hickson or Faried as well (most likely Hickson, who will do better as a backup center to Mozgov). However, by stopping his insistence on turning Lawson into a player he simply can’t be and letting the team run the floor like its used to he’s not only won three games in a row, but also brought the Nuggets back to where they should be, which is around the bottom pile of the playoff contenders.
For the Timberwolves, without a defense that can get some stops from time to time, it’s going to be a season filled with frustrating nights, no matter how fun their offense can be to watch at times.
Kevin Love – It was our defense all game. Our rotations weren’t there. We needed to help the helper, ball screen rotations, they were off all night but we were still right there at the end. We feel as if we can get a lot better with this team. It’s still mid-November and we’re going to get a lot better.