Breaking Down Danilo Gallinari’s 47 Point Night


While 16 NBA franchise are gearing up for the postseason and assembling their rosters for a potential two-month playoff run, the rest of the league, including your Denver Nuggets, is left looking towards the draft lottery and on a quest to find some kind of silver lining in their season.

The Nuggets’ year to this point has followed the narrative of a bad 90”s rom-com that save for a few one-liners was overall just lethargic and depressing.

Jusuf Nurkic, the 20 year-old Bosnian Beast is most-likely a keeper, Melvin Hunt had the team inspired for about two weeks, and the Nuggets have played their way into a top-10 draft pick.

However the most important take home point from this season has centered around one Italian swingman who you might find taking down as many Aperol Spritz’s (a Gallinari favorite) as he has downtown Denver females.

If you’ve been sleeping on Danilo Gallinari, it’s time to wake up and smell the pesto.

Gallo’s post All-Star game averages of nearly 19 points and 5 rebounds on 44 percent shooting from the field and 40 percent shooting from three would have Rick Ross yelling “Gallo’s back” instead of “Tupac Back,” but it’s the way he’s scoring that shows just how far he’s come since injuries negated his last two years of basketball.

Gallinari, neck beard and all, went off for a career high 47 points on just 23 shots in last Friday’s double overtime victory over Dallas. Gallo played nearly 46 minutes, shot 7-12 from three point distance, a perfect 10-10 from the line and finished with a shot chart that would make any NBA nerd salivate.

Lets take a look back at Gallinari’s 47 point night:

Gallo started things off with a beautiful drive to the rim off a shot fake which sent Raymond Felton flying and would have made pump-fake don Dwyane Wade stand up and clap. Gallinari was left with a clear path to the rim and took advantage. Injuries over the past two year have forced Gallo to be a bit tentative when presented with an open path to the rim, but he’s becoming more and more comfortable as he logs more minutes. According to, Gallinari’s taken 18.6 percent (104/558) of his shots in the restricted area this year down from 28 percent (244/871) last year. Seeing Gallo drive more and more as the season goes on, reiterates that his knees are feeling closer and closer to 100 percent.

Next, Gallinari finds himself in an iso situation defended by Tyson Chandler on a switch. Gallo takes his time, gets Chandler off balance with a hesitation dribble and elevates over him for three. Per, Gallinari has been so-so in his 118 isolation situations this year, shooting 40.5 percent from the field and his eFG% is up to 44.6 percent. For comparison, Rudy Gay who has more than double the attempts in iso situations (256) than Gallo does is shooting 44.1 percent from the field an has an eFG% of 47.2 percent, slightly higher than Gallinari’s.

Gallinari’s next bucket comes off a catch and shoot from the left corner, Gallo’s sweet spot. On the season, according to, he’s shooting 50 percent (26/52) from the left corner three, but his catch and shoot field goal percentage is still on the low side at 36.8 percent for the year. Part of that can be blames on Gallinari’s slow start and a lot of the blame can go towards Denver’s lack of ball movement throughout the entire year. (Denver ranks dead last in passes per game by a considerable margin per However, Gallinari’s was feeling it against Dallas, as he finished 6/10 in catch and shoot situations, and was 5/8 on catch and shoot threes.

He followed that three up with another three, this time off a well-executed Ty Lawson pin down.

Next, Gallinari mixes it up and finds himself as the screener on a pick for Ty Lawson at the three point line, in what has been a pretty typical set for Denver this season. After Dallas switches the screen and roll, Gallo finds himself defended by Felton and uses his size to shield the smaller guard and create room for an easy step back two.

One thing Gallinari has always been effective at is recognizing spacing and knowing what lanes to fill on the both fast and secondary breaks. Here, he patiently waits as Wilson Chandler draws two defenders, leaving himself wide open for another catch and shoot three.

Here, Denver gets the matchup they’re looking for after JJ Hickson screens for Gallinari and Dallas once again switches, leaving Amar’e Stoudemire on the perimeter to defend Gallo one on one. Just like he did against Chandler for his second bucket of the game, he gets Stoudemire with a quick hesitation dribble and elevates over him for another three.

Next, we see Gallinari go off the dribble as he shows out with a couple quick jabs, and catches Richard Jefferson on his heels. That’s the only opening Gallo needs as he takes a quick dribble and elevates over him while slightly fading away, a move that Chris Paul has patented over the years.

Here’s an example of Gallinari’s increased upper body strength, a testament to how hard he’s worked in the weight room coming off the series of injuries he’s had to deal with. Throughout the first half of the season, this set would undoubtably produce an off-balance jumper, but Gallinari now feels confident enough in his body to take the ball to the rim. Per, he’s shooting an impressive 48.7 percent on drives this season, thats higher than prominent penetrator Ty Lawson and up there with guys throughout the league like Kyrie Irving (48.6 percent) and Monta Ellis (48.7 percent) who are regarded as some of the best in the league at getting in the lane and finishing at the rim.

Gallinari has always been effective backing down smaller defenders and taking them into the post and he doesn’t disappoint here when guarded by Devin Harris. You can almost hear Ty Lawson yelling out “mouse in the house!” as Gallo backs Harris down, draws a foul thats somehow missed by Dedric Taylor, before eventually getting a clean look from the foul line.

Gallinari was a man possessed in both overtimes scoring eight points in the first and nine in the second. Here, Ellis loses track of him after a Denver offensive rebound and Gallo, who’s always had a knack for finding open spots when a defense breaks down, steps into the space Ellis vacates and calmly knocks down another three.

A couple possessions later in the first overtime, Gallinari, who’s now sitting at 35 points receives a cross-court pass from Lawson, and barely gets off the shot in front of a lunging Ellis. Something that was apparent watching Gallinari versus Dallas was how consistent his form and footwork were throughout the night. When he has the ability to get his feet set, he’s a near top-tier shooter in this league because his form and up and down motion are so consistent.

Part of what made this performance from Gallinari so special was how he scored in a variety of ways. He shot 5/8 off the dribble, 6/10 in catch and shoot situations, and 3/4 when he pushed the ball in transition and penetrated to the hoop. Here, Gallinari is in the midst of scoring 12 straight for Denver spanning from the end of the first to the second overtimes. He ended up with 17 of the Nuggets’ 22 overtime points.

Gallinari’s seventh and final three pointer came on another switch, this time guarded by the much smaller JJ Barea. Instead of taking him down into the post like he did successfully agsint Harris and Felton earlier in the night, Gallo, gets his heat-check to go down from three.

Gallinari’s final bucket of the night came on an offensive rebound after a Randy Foye three, came up short. This follow is a testament to Gallo’s basketball IQ once again. He’s got a tremendous feel for the game and is familiar with the tendencies of where missed shots will land after they bounce off the rim.

Gallinari sunk another two free throws after this tip slam to finish a perfect 10-10 from the line, but couldn’t get anything else to fall from the field.

Gallo had a chance to put an exclamation mark on the evening with a game winner, as the Nuggets had the ball with a second left and down one. However Interim Head Coach Melvin Hunt, opted to throw the ball into Kenneth Faried on a designed play who was guarded by Felton on a switch. Faried, who is shooting a abysmal 35.5 percent on post ups this year missed, and one of Denver’s most exciting games of the year ended with an unsatisfied feeling that has unfortunately been a theme that Nuggets’ fans know all too well.

Gallinari finished his career night with a game-high 124.3 OffRtg, a 22.4 NetRtg and without a touch or even a look at a potential game winner.

Coaching decisions aside I’m happy for Gallo, this was big for him and important for the future of this organization.

He deserved to enjoy his career night, and i’m sure he did in grand fashion, with few much-needed Aperol Spritz’s, surely accompanied by some of Denver’s finest.

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