Here is an insane running diary of tonight's Nuggets game. A huge double overtime win for the Nuggets. It was a back and forth game that featured Melvin Hunt's ability to draw up great plays in key situations.
Melvin Hunt going with Ty Lawson, Gary Harris, Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried, and Jusuf Nurkic to start. A traditional lineup that doesn't help the Nuggets spacing with Manimal and Nurk near the paint. Let's see how this will go. Hunt also said pregame that he wants to cut down the rotation and play the younger guys more minutes. Hunt wants to go with nine or 10 guys versus 13. Let's see what happens ...
Jeff Morton said at practice that Melvin Hunt indicated that Al Harrington's role with the team would evolve. I'm excited about this. Heard he was a great locker room guy and I've always wanted to chat with him.
Well, we have our answer! I really like this move. Harrington lives in Denver and it's good to have recent former players around this team, really really like that.
8:02 mark: Nuggets have been going into the post to Nurkic and Faried with little success thus far. Faried had a quick jump hook blocked a few possessions earlier and needs more patience in the post.
7:21 mark: Harris with a nice block on Omer Asik deep in the paint on bunny attempt, leads to a transition play and Lawson buries a three to make it 10-9 Pelicans. Sneaky good play by Harris and something he brings to the table, a nose for steals on defense.
6:22 mark: Lawson runs a half court set, a little 1-5 pick and roll with Nurk. Ty finds Nurkic just inside the free throw line and the big man puts it home. Nice touch from Nurkic and he's moving well after the ankle injury. With Nurkic out, we forgot about him a little bit - nice to see him back in the lineup and I want to see one or two monster games from him before the season is up.
4:12 mark: Jameer Nelson, J.J. Hickson, and Will Barton check in as the first subs. When will the Hickson playing time era be over? Enough. Give me King Joffrey Lauvergne or give me death! Maybe I didn't understand Hunt's pregame speech. I hope the nine or 10 guys he talked about isn't excluding Joffrey!
2:40 mark: Barton tosses an alley-oop to Faried, Kenneth gets it, but comes down with ball as he wasn't ready for pass. Loses ball on way down, Barton steals a lazy pass and gets it to Hickson, Hickson finds Faried under the hoop for a big dunk. Nice unselfish play JJ!
1:55 mark: Just realized Erick Green and Nelson are on the court together. Hunt is losing his mind. Odd lineup out there with Faried, Hickson, and Barton being the other three out there. Joffrey has to play too, right? Hunt going to continue to play everyone he has ... at least for today?
Nate's Take: Odd first quarter. Spacing isn't as sexy with a traditional starting lineup. A lot of guys saw the court: Lawson, Harris, Gallo, Faried, Nurkic, Hickson, Green, Nelson, Barton - only Joffrey stayed glued to the bench of the active players (I don't like that, but three quarter left).
Opening the quarter, Hunt goes with Nelson, Green, Barton, Hickson, and Joffrey(!).
9:43 mark: Totally forgot Norris Cole is now with the Pelicans.
There is a timeout and I have no idea what the score is ... gotta say though, $250,000 bonus? I'M IN THE WRONG BUSINESS! (That's a Todd Glass joke for those who are hardcore stand up comedy fans.)
8:12 mark: It's 32-29 Pelicans. Joffrey has been running the floor nicely, but nobody risking a transition look to him yet. Cole isn't shy about shooting and he makes a tough runner over Joffrey, now 34-29 Pelicans. Joffrey gets whistled on the other end for an offensive foul for wrestling, I guess? Let them play!
7:02 mark: Cole has taken last three shots for Pelicans. Yikes. Gallo buries a three on the other end and Chris Marlowe calls him La Barba aka The Beard? haha Marlowe is insane and I like that.
6:01 mark: Will Barton with a nice one-on-one move to get a layup. Don't believe me? Fine, here!
4:18 mark: Gallo buries another jumper and he now has 9 points on 4-6 shooting. Gallo fires away on the next possession from way downtown and misses ... 4-7 now, but shooters gotta shoot! Altitude show replay of Gallo's made jumper over Eric Gordon. Gordon had no chance at blocking the shot and Gallo's high release is a weapon.
3:24 mark: Gary Harris is back in the game. Let's watch him ... Evans blows by Harris (made Evans go left, and he did) and gets all the way to the rim to make it 41-40 Nuggets. Harris is last guy back on offense and floats to corner as Gallo drives and gets And-1 opportunity ... hits the free throw to make it 44-40 Nugs. Harris then forces Evans right, at top of key, and that leads to a foul under the hoop as Evans dropped off a pass deep under hoop. Timeout taken and Harris walks by Nurkic (who is talking to Lawson with his arm out pointing at something) and Harris moves Nurk's arm to avoid running into it, ha.
2:11 mark: Gallo vs Gordon and Gallo wins again with a body bump, then fall back jumper, and nothing but net. That's 12 points for Gallo and Harris gets called for another foul on the other end, his third in the half. Harris is a pretty serious guy, at least around media and tough demeanor on the floor, hope he's not being too hard on himself. Looks to me like he needs to get over some type of mental struggle at the moment. Barton comes back in for me to close the half.
Nate's Take: Weird lineups, but much better quarter for the Nuggets. Denver found some success my mixing and matching on offense. Some good movement of guys and passing, and some good isolation plays - in particular from Gallo.
Denver's defense doing a pretty decent job of bottling up plays going to the rim, keeping Anthony Davis off the glass (he has just 1 rebound), but Nuggets getting a little lazy from time-to-time in transition defense. I need to keep an eye out for how Denver is defending pick and rolls in the second half.
It's a little interesting to see Hunt using Green more as a two guard today. Nelson handling most ball handling situations, and that's allowing Green to focus on shooting and scoring off the ball as an undersized guard. Green is just 1-2 from the field in 9 minutes, but had a nice corner three in mini-transition.
Same starters for the second half.
11:28 mark: Davis tries to hand ball off to Evan above the key, Harris deflects ball and it goes out off Evans - Nuggets ball. Nice play rookie!
11:10 mark: Nurkic gets an offensive rebound and just crumples to the ground. He rammed his head into Omer's stomach and may have a neck stinger or something. He gets up and walks to bench while pulling his jersey over his face a little bit. That was weird, but he appears to be fine.
10:33: Gallo and Davis are guarding each other! Davis blocked Gallo's layup on one end and made a jumper over him on the other. And then Davis throws in a nasty alley-oop dunk over Gallo, one handed in mini-transition.
Harris is 0-2 on the night. I'll caution folks from Tweets like the above with this: he's a rookie, he's had no role on the team yet, and hasn't been getting much opportunity. We don't know if Harris is a bad shooter or not yet. Time will tell, but we can say he's been really bad this season and Harris is very aware of it. He wasn't too comfortable talking about it in the locker room with me the other night, but I don't know him very well and I'm sure he's thinking about it more than anyone.
But Harris hasn't taken too many shots yet and it's his rookie season. I'll caution folks from condemning his shooting based on this season, but it can be a sign of concern for all of us. He has a pretty shot, and I think he'll be fine eventually.
7:51 mark: Pelicans up 57-52 and Denver isn't coming with a ton of energy to start the second half. And Faried is the small forward right now with Hickson and Nurkic also out there.
5:58 mark: Davis now has 5 blocks on the night. Lawson has been attacking him well by getting into his body, not so much for Faried and others. Gotta take some of his flight out of him on close shot attempts.
4:46 mark: Barton nails his second three of the quarter and it's 65-62 Pelicans. Denver cut the 10 point deficit quickly.
4:19 mark: Altitude camera catches Melvin calling an out of bounds play that starts with Zipper something number down or something ... Here is the play that followed: https://instagram.com/p/0RGD7-qgIr/
Nuggets out of bounds play.
A video posted by Nate Timmons (@natetimmons) on Mar 15, 2015 at 4:39pm PDT
2:32 mark: Marlowe mentions there is a nice battle shaping up for the Kuni Lexus Drive of the Game. That always makes me laugh, but I wouldn't mind taking a piece of the Kuni Lexus money! Or just getting to drive a new Lexus around. They should have a contest for us fans where we get to drive a Lexus around for some reason. More Lexuses? Lexi? for all!
2:20 mark: Marlowe says Gallo is on the bench with four fouls, which prompts me to respond out loud, "Gallo has four fouls?" #HotTake
Nate's Take: Nuggets were outscored 30-21 in the quarter. Just didn't feel like Denver came with a lot of energy in that quarter. Got more action going in the middle of the period, but Pelicans took control of game there. Let's see how the final quarter plays out.
11:25 mark: Barton attacks the rim from the corner and hits a tough layup. Really liking his game. Hunt has Nelson, Lawson, Barton, Gallo, and Hickson. Davis hits a layup after an offensive rebound and it's 79-73 Pelicans.
That's just crazy! 26 points, 9 rebounds, 8 blocks, 7 assists. Incredible.
Barton has 16 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists in 28 minutes thus far.
6:57 mark: Gallo misses a long out of rhythm three. He has disappeared in the second half with 0 points to follow his 12 point first half. Gallo is now 5-11 from the field in this one. Yet, Denver is hanging around 87-85 Pels.
4:07 mark: Nuggets up 91-89 now as Barton nails yet another tough runner for Denver, he has 20 points now on 9-13 shooting off the bench. Was asked on twitter how much he'll cost to keep. I said maybe 3 years, $10 million ... maybe 3 years and $25 million after these types of games! haha I have no idea, but I want him back in Denver.
3:13 mark: Nelson drives, but misses floater off the glass. Evans shoots a three on the other end and nails it. It's 93-92 Nuggets.
2:30 mark: Lawson misses a fall away jumper, Davis rebound.
2:14 mark: Evans uses a pick to get by Barton, Faried doesn't stop him (stays with the big), and Barton can't recover. Easy layup and Pels back on top by a point 94-93. Good game.
2:05 mark: Barton and Ty run a two on two game, leads Ty to drive and kick to Nelson who hits a long two in the corner. Eric Gordon nails a three on the other end. 97-95 Pels.
1:22 mark: Gallo finds a cutting Nelson, but his shot is blocked.
1:10 mark: Davis goes for monster jam, blocked by Faried. Barton with a block on offensive rebound on Dante Cunningham attempt.
1:02 mark: Nuggets run action to get Faried open running hook, he nails it. Davis hit on the other end. Nelson nails a floater over Davis and gets creamed after the shot is released. What action!
28.8 mark: Wowza, Anthony Davis goes isolation on Faried, he jab steps and nails a 20 foot jumper with good defense by Faried. Guys just make shots. Wow.
12.2 mark: 101-99 Pelicans and Denver inbounding. Pretty play to run pick and roll for Ty and Faried. Movement everywhere and Faried goes right at Davis and hesitates just enough to lift Davis off the ground and delay allows Faried to get open look. 101-101.
4.3 mark: Faried fouls Davis with one to give.
2.9 mark: Davis gets a long jumper and misses ... overtime.
Same lineup for Denver: Ty, Nelson, Barton, Gallo and Faried. Dance with the ones that brought ya ...
4:23 mark: Nelson nails a three after a Davis layup. It's 104-103 Denver. Davis hits another jumper, he's up to 34 points.
2:35 mark: Nelson made a three from the elbow, then Ty and Barton missed threes from the same spot.
Davis is 16-25 from the floor for 36 points. Unreal.
38.4 seconds: Davis misses a jumper on the baseline, Barton can't corral rebound and ball goes out of bounds in a 107-106 game. Rough play.
Pelicans ball out of bounds: Pelicans use up the entire shot clock and Gordon hits a lefty floater in the lane that Gallo almost blocked off help defense. Really good shot by Gordon.
14 seconds, Gallo inbounding: Timeout Denver.
14 seconds: Nelson inbounding: Finds Gallo, he finds Barton, who nails an elbow three to tie it up. Unreal.
8.6 seconds: Tyreke Evans gets all the way to the rim and misses the layup. Another OT.
I was going to run to Tokyo Joe's after the game to grab some grub ... so hungry, may eat laptop.
4:37 mark: A pretty play to get Faried an open dunk attempt, but he missed the power jam ... he was really going for a slamajama there.
1:30 mark: Gallo buries what could be a dagger three to put Denver up 114-109.
1:12 mark: Gallo misses a jumper, some pretty moves to get the shot off as the shot clock expired. Faried battled for ball and out of bounds on Davis.
37 seconds, 9 secs on shot clock: Barton throws ball away into back court from under Pelicans hoop, Faried and Davis face for it, Faried wins, and then dribbles up and fires up a three that hits off the front of the rim. Hero ball, didn't work.
29 seconds: Gordon gets the ball at top of key after timeout, Davis cuts to hoop, Gordon horrible pass out of bounds. Nuggets ball.
27 seconds: Nuggets advance ball to mid-court. Gallo runs out, but quickly cuts to hoop with nobody there ... he catches, hesitates, and draws foul on Cunningham. Gallo 2-2 at the foul line and it's 116-111 Nuggets.
True Robin, some great plays out of timeouts.
This game is over! Evans misses a corner three and Barton heads to foul line. Pelicans looked totally defeated after that missed three. They blew this game. Don't get me wrong, Denver flat out won it, but NOLA needed this one, bad. Can't lose these types of games and expect to make the playoffs in West.
Great win for Melvin Hunt and the Nuggets: 118-111.
Views you can use:
-Davis finishes with 36 points, 14 rebounds, 9 blocks, and 8 assists. Wow.
-Will Barton sets a career high 25 points on 10-16 shooting in 47 minutes!
-The Nuggets outscore the Pelicans 9-2 in OT2.
This was the play of the game, IMO:
Nate Timmons | Denver Stiffs| March 15, 2015