Iguodala, Miller lead Nuggets past Grizzlies

By Aaron J. Lopez, Nuggets.com

Posted Dec. 15 2012 01:35AM

Andre & Andre proved to be an invaluable combination for the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.

Andre Iguodala emerged from a mini slump with a big game at both ends of the floor and Andre Miller scored all 18 of his points in the second half to lead Denver to a hard-fought 99-94 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Iguodala, who averaged 8.8 points during Denver’s five-game road trip, finished with 20 points, seven assists, five steals and four rebounds. For good measure, he also blocked two shots.

“I didn’t try to think too much,” Iguodala said. “I’m just trying to get consistent and not have too many highs or too many lows. Hopefully when we start getting more home games and I can get more comfortable, it’ll be better.”

Playing at home for just the second time in 19 days, the Nuggets (12-12), Denver improved to 2-0 against the Grizzlies (14-6) this season. As is often the case against Memphis recently, it wasn’t easy.

The game featured 15 ties and 21 lead changes. Rudy Gay had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds, but his 3-point attempt rattled in and out. Miller then hit two free throws with 4.9 seconds left to clinch it for Denver.

“I just normally come and get JaVale [McGee] and [Corey] Brewer and the other guys involved,” Miller said. “They fall in line from there. It’s just one of those games where some easy baskets just came to me; nothing was forced and that just how the game played out.”

Miller didn’t score his first points until the 5:30 mark of the third quarter, but he bedazzled the Grizzlies with an array of low-post moves and midrange shots.

“He just gave us a different look offensively,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “He is amazing with some of the stuff he does and how he gets it done. As confident as he is, we don’t win this game without Andre Miller.”

Miller finished 6-for-10 from the field and 6-for-6 from the foul line. The Nuggets entered the game last in the NBA in free-throw shooting (.672) but went 23 of 26 against the Grizzlies.

“I thought that they got to the free throw line and we didn’t,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. “We shot some 3s and that was really helping us, but they made plays. They got some plays and made some stops.”

Iguodala made one of the game’s biggest plays with less than 2 minutes left and Denver leading 91-89. After Danilo Gallinari came up short on a 3-point shot, Iguodala grabbed the rebound out of midair and scored on a putback just before the shot clock expired.

“Those are the easiest shots to get a rebound on, the short shots, because it’s hard for the defense,” Iguodala said. “I actually thought he got fouled. I think a few other players thought he got fouled, too, so play kind of stopped for a second. I was able to get position to get the ball and finish it.”

Iguodala then scored on a breakaway dunk 23 seconds later to give Denver a six-point lead, and the Nuggets held on for the victory.

“Against a really good team, that was a good win for us,” Gallinari said. “We were able to do the right things at the right time at the end of the game.”

Gallinari finished with 14 points, including two on an alley-oop to himself. After picking up his dribble near the free-throw line, he tossed the ball off the backboard and followed it for a dunk.

“I don’t know what I was thinking,” Gallinari said with a smile. “I was kind of stuck. After the (shot) fake, I didn’t see anybody helping (defensively). It was on the only thing I could do, so I did it.”

JaVale McGee also had a highlight play when he blocked a shot by Zach Randolph in the fourth quarter. Instead of swatting the ball back at Randolph, he pulled it down in mid-air and started a fast break for Ty Lawson.

McGee often has been called for goaltending on similar blocks in the past.

“(The officials) haven’t seen anybody do that before so they automatically think it’s a goaltend,” McGee said. “I told (assistant) coach (Melvin) Hunt today that I’m going to keep doing it until they realize it’s not a goaltend. I’m just trying to keep the ball in play, so I might as well grab it.”

McGee and fellow big man Kosta Koufos finished with four blocks apiece. As a team, Denver also had eight steals.

“It seemed like defensively, we controlled the game.” Karl said. “It was a tough-minded win against a team that I think is going to be very, very successful this year.”

The Nuggets return to the road Sunday against the Sacramento Kings before facing the San Antonio Spurs at Pepsi Center on Tuesday.


Andre Iguodala

Points 20, 8-11 FGs, 1-2 3FGs
Rebounds 4, 1 OFF 3 DEF
Assists 7
Steals 5
Blocks 2


Points Rudy Gay 21, 10-21 FGs
Rebounds Kenneth Faried 10
Assists Jarryd Bayless 11
Steals Iguodala 5
Blocks K. Koufos, J. McGee, M. Gasol 4


Nuggets coach George Karl on gritty victory:

"It was a slow-down, pull teeth, punch, grab, hold kind of an old-school basketball game. I think it is a really classy win for us."


Iguodala putback with 1:56 left

With the shot clock winding down, Nuggets forward Danilo Galliniari missed a 3-pointer, but Iguodala tracked down the rebound and scored on a reverse layup to give Denver a four-point lead with 1:33 to play.


Postgame Quotes

Nuggets coach George Karl

On how much Andre Miller carried the Nuggets down the stretch:
“We needed some balance to just penetration. We were doing okay there but he just gave us a different look offensively. He is amazing with some of the stuff he does and how he gets it done. As confident as he is, we don’t win this game without Andre Miller, without a question. It was a slow-down, drag, pull teeth, punch, grab, hold, kind of an old school basketball game. I think it is a really classy win for us. It is a tough-minded win against a team that I think is going to be very, very successful this year. Defensively, I think we are really coming [together] if we just learn how to rebound the defensive board. I think in the last three games, teams have shot 30 percent on their first shot. We are just having trouble rebounding the ball and giving other teams possessions with our turnovers. It’s difficult sometimes to have momentum and flow and turn it over and also give them a lot of second shots.”

On if he was surprised Memphis didn’t adjust to Denver’s low-post defense:
“They have the best high-low game in basketball. I thought Kenneth [Faried] was really good trying to get into [Marc] Gasol and I thought when they got the ball, we double teamed them, not every time but we made some good reads and never gave up the open three. I thought they went to the pick-and-roll game and most of their pick-and-rolls have options to go to the post-up. It seemed like defensively, we controlled the game.”

On JaVale McGee closing out the game:
“The only play that I remember that disturbed me was trying to go for a steal with four seconds at the end of the quarter. It was an irresponsible play. Other than that, I thought he had a good feel for the game. His length was bothering a lot of shots. At the end, they got a layup underneath on [Zach] Randolph but Randolph does that to a lot of guys. It is a step forward for him. Right now, who finishes the game, is determined by who I think is probably mentally in the game.”

Nuggets point guard Andre Miller

On pushing pace at the end:
“We were able to force some turnovers and get some easy baskets. A big-play by Ty [Lawson] reaching in there and getting a steal. Andre [Iguodala] was active on defense tonight. It was a good team effort, as in keeping there bigs to low rebounds.”

On his play and teammate reaction:
“I just normally come and get JaVale [McGee]and [Corey] Brewer and the other guys involved. They fall in line from there. It’s just one of those games where some easy baskets just came to me; nothing was forced and that just how the game played out.”

On Gallinari’s alley-loop to himself:
“I was right there. I was looking at it the whole time, I knew it was coming. He [Gallinari] and Andre [Iguodala] can do that a lot more when they get pressured. It was a great play.”

Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari

On the big win tonight:
“Against a really good team, that was a really good win for us. We were able to do the right things at the right time at the end of the game.”

On being physical against the Grizzlies:
“No doubt. We know what kind of team they are and they want to play defense. We know what their concepts on defense are and we wanted to come out and be aggressive and be the first and not be weak and be beaten by them.”

On his and Andre Iguodala’s play:
“Andre did an unbelievable job. He was a presence on the court, and like you can see from the stats, he was very good, not just on offense, but defense as well. He had like five or six steals as well.”

Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins

On the difference down the stretch:

“I thought that they got to the free throw line and we didn’t. We shot some threes and that was really helping us but they made plays. They got some plays and made some stops. I thought it was a good game overall but we couldn’t match up with the one lineup. We had the lead at different points in the game when that lineup came in the game and as soon as they came in, we surrendered the lead and then we had to battle back and we did a good job of battling back and being close, down one or two at the end of each quarter and then at the end, we were in the same boat.”

On commonalities in the last three games:
“Well tonight was not like any of the other losses. Our pace was good, we moved the ball better, we had 27 assists, we were down to where we were getting 15 or 16 assists a game and we were just plotting. Tonight we got up and down, we got a lot of shots and looked more like we looked earlier in the season. We just didn’t finish sometimes. We have to better and transition. They had 27 fast-break points to our seven and we have to execute in those situations. We have to rebound better through the whole course of the game.”

Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay

On his final game time tying attempt:
“It felt good; I had my timing down. I had my feet under me. Sometime they go in, sometimes they don’t. Honestly it shouldn’t have gotten to that point. I feel like we could have won this game. Whether that shot went down or not, I think there were a couple of crucial plays earlier in the fourth quarter. It shouldn’t have come down to the last shot. With all due respect to that team, they [Nuggets] are a great team and they play hard, but I think we lost this game.”

On three consecutive losses:
“I think we can bounce back. This is when we show who we are. We’ve always been that kind of team, no matter what. It’s a tough road trip; there are tough teams and tough arenas, tough times, but we’ve got to move on.”



• Andre Iguodala recorded 20 points, seven assists and five steals in tonight’s victory. It is only the third time in his career that he has logged 20+ points, seven-or-more assists and five-or-more steals in the same game (Previous – 4/3/10 vs. TOR, 33 points, 11 assists, 5 steals).

• Kosta Koufos blocked four shots tonight, marking the third time this season he has blocked four-or-more shots in a game (fifth time in career). The Nuggets are 3-0 in those games.

• JaVale McGee also turned away four shots in tonight’s victory, the fourth time he has blocked four-or-more shots in a game this season (45th time in career).

• Andre Miller scored 18 points off the bench for the Nuggets, the second-highest point total this season for the point guard (Season high – 19 at MIA, 11/15/12). All 18 of Miller’s points came in the second half.

• Danilo Gallinari shot 2-of-4 from three-point range tonight en route to 14 points. In the last two games Gallinari has shot 6-of-9 (.667) from beyond the arc.

• Jerryd Bayless dished out 11 assists for the Grizzlies tonight while scoring zero points. The 11 assists tie a career high (11 assists on 1/24/11 at MEM). It is the first time this season that Bayless has been held scoreless.


• The Nuggets beat Memphis 99-94 tonight, moving to 6-1 at home this season. Denver has now won 25 of 27 home games over Memphis and 14 of 19 overall. Additionally, Denver is 2-0 this year against the Grizzlies after going 0-3 in 2011-12.

• Tonight was the fifth time in the calendar year of 2012 that Denver and Memphis have faced off. Those five games have been decided by an average of 3.4 points (3, 1, 3, 5, 5).

• In each of the Nuggets’ last three wins, they trailed by 10-or-more at some point in the game.

• Denver shot .522 (36-69 FG) from the field, moving to 2-6 on the year when shooting over .500 (2-0 at home, 0-6 on road). Their 69 field goal attempts is a new season-low.

• The Nuggets shot a season-high .885 (23-26 FT) from the charity stripe, moving 3-1 when shooting over .800 from the line.

• Denver scored a season-high 27 fast break points tonight, their eighth game with 20-or-more on the break.

• The Nuggets registered 10 blocks tonight and are now 5-1 when reaching double-figure blocks.

• Denver is now 10-2 on the season when keeping their opponent under the 100-point mark.

• The Nuggets’ 54 second-half points is a Grizzlies opponent season-high for points scored in a half.

• Memphis recorded a Nuggets opponent season-high with 27 second chance points.