Don't Make Me Use The Bat
Three season highs (Koufos, Collison and Afflalo) let us open open up some distance, and while I typically have internal grading rules about handing about more than 2-3 As, its hard not to when guys are putting in their best work of the season.
Link to Boxscore
Barnes ( D ) -- On a night when four Kings went for 18+ points, Matt Barnes seemed content to go out there tonight and just occupy a space on the floor. Unfortunately that space was usually not quite near enough to Danilo Gallinari, the man he was generally tasked to guard. Tonight the best contribution that Barnes could have given us would have been solid D on the Nuggets’ high scorer on the season, but that just didn’t happen. Offensively Barnes was often less than quiet, particularly in the first half when he missed both of his threes (one very badly) and blew a dunk in transition. He did throw two good outlets to Collison early in the game and found him on an around-the-horn pass for a three in the late going, but other than that, he was pretty much invisible. -- Capt.
Cousins ( A- ) -- not quite Zen Boogie this time out, not with Nurkic in there to bang and yap, but Cuz played a largely in control game, that until a couple of loose who cares threes in the dying minutes, was close to mistake free. Never in foul trouble, zero TOs, several of his misses were desperation against the clock. be nice to have the Boogie boarder back though.
Koufos ( B+ ) -- got beat quite a bit by Jokic/Nurkic, but competed hard against them, and was highly efficient on the other end with his little hooks for finishes. Even added an uncharacteristically nice interior pass to a cutter.
McLemore ( D ) -- played a pointless first half where he was just taking up space. But in the early third hit a couple of threes to help us hold off the Nuggets surge. Of course Harris was scoring too easily the other way, to make that surge possible, and with Afflalo finally arriving, Ben sat the rest of the way.
Collison ( A ) -- there were still some shaky moments, and specifically the 3rd when the Nuggets crept back into things, but I think you have to give an A to a guy's best game of the season. Finally looked to score, and did in a major support role for Cuz. And Mudiay and Nelson were hardly a threat the other way.
Tolliver ( C ) -- having a hard time going higher than this for a 7pts 2reb game. Did hit a three, and a long two late that was nearly a three. But mostly he was just in there for matchups with 3pt shooters at the 4 chased Koufos.
Casspi ( C ) -- I think this was a little better than the numbers indicate, and of course the numbers don't indicate much with 0pts. But he did hustle, and gave an effort on D with mostly good results as part of the hustling bench crew.
Cauley-Stein ( INC ) -- ok, look, I'm not going to F a 1+ minute stint, but Willie basically played himself right to the bench after getting a 2nd quarter look and playing soft on both sides,
Temple ( B ) -- for much of this game he couldn't hit the broad side of the backboard (although Mudiay did with a noble attempt to break one). But he filled in at backup PG, began to make defensive plays, and by the end of the game his hustle play, including a late o-reb and finish to help close things, overwhelmed the outside shooting woes.
Afflalo ( A- ) -- and as soon as Lawson disappeared, Afflalo suddenly reappears. Odd that, but oh so well timed. And not only did Afflalo reappear, it was with perhaps his best game of the season. We finally got major use out of his guard/SF post game, and seemed to be using him in Rudy sets. Gave us an effort on defense, and was the 3rd of Boogies tripod of support scorers.