Denver Nuggets vs. Golden State Warriors: Postgame Grades and Analysis
David Lee was the star of the game, scoring 31 points on 13-of-15 shooting to go along with nine rebounds and six assists. At one point, Lee reeled off 10 straight baskets.
Golden State needed Lee’s hot start to keep up with Denver and eventually overcome a 16-point deficit. The Nuggets were led by Andre Iguodala’s 22 points and Ty Lawson’s 17 points and nine assists.
Stephen Curry had one of his best games of the year, posting a double-double with 20 points and 10 assists.
Both teams played little defense to begin the game, and coach Mark Jackson looked decidedly irate. His team responded by holding the Nuggets to 45 second-half points after giving up 35 in the second quarter.
Lee and Curry proved too much for the Nuggets despite an Andre Iguodala game-winner being waived off as the clock expired. The final score stayed at 106-105.
Now for the game grades.
Stephen Curry: A
This is the type of game that Mark Jackson has been pushing Steph Curry to deliver. Curry posted 20 points, 10 assists and four steals.
The perimeter defense from the Nuggets was virtually non-existent, allowing Curry to attack off the dribble and feed David Lee in the post or Klay Thompson spotting up on the wing.
When the game was getting away from Golden State, it was Curry who led the Warriors back from a 16-point third-quarter deficit, knocking down shots to open the defense up for David Lee.
Ty Lawson: B+
Lawson was a pain in Golden State’s side the entire night. The Warriors did not have an answer for Lawson, who continually broke through their defense to create open looks for his teammates.
Additionally, with the Warriors playing poor defense for most of the game, Lawson was able to get out in transition and beat the defense down the floor, resulting in multiple easy baskets for the Nuggets.
Scoring 17 points and dishing out nine assists, Lawson paced the Nuggets in the second and third quarters, but his play eventually tailed off in the fourth.
Klay Thompson: B+
It was raining in Oakland all night long as Klay Thompson dropped 21 points on 10-of-19 shooting. He also added nine rebounds and three assists.
Thompson consistently looked smooth as he nailed jumpers from all over the floor. He was able to attack a weak Nuggets perimeter defense and repeatedly get to the elbow for easy baskets.
While his defense was average at best, Thompson helped keep the Warriors in the game late in the first half, allowing Steph Curry to close the game and chalk up a win for the Warriors.
Andre Iguodala: B
Iguodala hit a potential game-winner with what looked like five-tenths of a second left, but it was reviewed and waived off because he released the ball just after the game clock expired.
Andre was all over the floor tonight, scoring 22 points to go along with four rebounds, four assists and three steals.
It was Iguodala’s energy that helped propel the Nuggets into the lead after the half, but Denver’s poor defense came back to haunt him and the Nuggets.
Danilo Gallinari: B
The Italian forward was on fire in the first half. He finished with 20 points and nine rebounds.
With the Nuggets down early in the game, Gallinari was able to free himself up for easy jumpers and kick-outs from Ty Lawson.
The problem came in the second half when the Warriors’ defense began to take Galo’s easy looks away, forcing him to attack off the dribble. Gallinari was unable to regain his form, and the Warriors were able to hang around and eventually pick up a late win.
Harrison Barnes: D+
Barnes’ impact was limited, to put it nicely. While he was able to penetrate and get to the foul line, he was not able to find any open shots and simply could not get anything to fall.
Defensively, Barnes was no match for a hot-shooting Danilo Gallinari and was consistently subbed out in favor of Jarrett Jack and a three-guard lineup.
David Lee: A+
Had it not been for David Lee’s play in the first half, Denver might have run away with this one. Lee was unstoppable in the paint as he connected on ten straight shots at one point.
Lee scored 31 points on 13-of-15 shooting to go along with nine rebounds and six assists. Needless to say, this was clearly one of the best games of Lee’s career.
While Lee faded in the third quarter, he picked up right where he had left off when the game was on the line. The Nuggets had no answer for him all game long.
Kenneth Faried: B+
Every time Kenneth Faried steps on the floor, the same results are nearly guaranteed. Faried was one of the few Nugget defenders who played with energy and enthusiasm.
Faried was all over the floor on both ends, and his hustle in transition allowed him to score easy baskets and block five shots.
Kenneth’s play allowed coach George Karl to go small, with the athletic forward playing center. With Andrew Bogut still out for Golden State, the Warriors consistently played David Lee and Carl Landry in the post, forcing Landry to try to keep Faried off the boards.
Kosta Koufos: B-
Koufos played relatively well, finishing with six points and five rebounds and connecting on all three of his shots.
However, there just were no minutes for a big center, because George Karl and Mark Jackson matched small lineups all game long.
Festus Ezeli: C
Much like Kosta Koufos, the rookie out of Vanderbilt had limited minutes available. He was not quick enough to guard JaVale McGee, and his best matchup was against Koufos who played sparingly.
Ezeli looked good clogging the paint when the Nuggets penetrated, which they did consistently all game long.
However, Ezeli looks out of his comfort zone being forced to play minutes against opposing teams' starters while Andrew Bogut is still hurt.
Jarrett Jack: B
With Mark Jackson putting his trust in Jack, the Warriors were able to overcome the Nuggets' early hot shooting and come back for a win. Jack played 29 minutes and contributed 18 vital points.
Jack’s presence at point guard allowed Steph Curry to play off the ball and attack from the wing. Furthermore, Jack was able to find Curry for multiple jumpers that helped the young guard get back into the flow of the game.
Corey Brewer: C
Denver’s penetration opened up the floor, especially from the corners for Brewer to either shoot or attack off the dribble. While Brewer scored 12 points, he only shot 4-of-12. His main impact was to increase the defensive pressure, to provide Andre Iguodala some help at that end.
Unfortunately, Brewer’s presence on the floor was met by multiple Warrior runs. He finished with one of the few negative plus-minus ratings on the team at negative thirteen.
With 11 points and seven rebounds, JaVale McGee was the main contributor from the Nuggets’ bench. He was playing relatively well until early in the fourth quarter, when he decided to attempt a floater and then two turn-around jumpers. George Karl quickly gave him the hook and his night ended.
Andre Miller’s impact was limited mainly due to the stellar play of Denver’s guards.
Jordan Hamilton played ten minutes, scoring five points, but was not needed considering the Nuggets' hot shooting.
Golden State: D
There was absolutely no scoring coming from the Warriors’ bench. Carl Landry led the way with six points and eight rebounds, despite playing 30 minutes. Draymond Green contributed two points, but like the Nuggets' bench, was unable to have much of an impact thanks to the starters' play.
Nearly all of the bench minutes went to Jarrett Jack as Mark Jackson opted for his three-guard lineup, virtually eliminating any bench impact.