Danilo Gallinari had 22 points in his best performance of the year, but it wasn’t enough for the Denver Nuggets as they fell 110-82 to the Brooklyn Nets Monday night.

Denver’s defense couldn’t stop a Nets squad that ranks just 25th in the league in points per-game. Seven Nets posted double-figures in points, with center Brook Lopez leading the way off the bench with 19.

The Nuggets kept he game close early, forcing six Brooklyn turnovers in the first quarter. Gary Harris and Darrell Arthur got the start for Denver, and it was obvious that the Nuggets defense was more active than usual, even if they did give up 26 points in the quarter.

“I’m just searching for five guys, a combination that’s going to play hard and play together. The lineup change is part of that,” said head coach Brian Shaw. “I thought that they were still holding their own. I thought when we made some subsitusions we went from being up to being down pretty quick.”

Brooklyn clamped down in the second however and got anything they wanted inside. The Nets finished the night with 62 points in the paint compared to Denver’s 38.

One encouraging sign for Denver was Gallinari’s performance. The forward was aggressive driving to the basket and his three-point shot looked on. He went 3-5 from deep and 5-5 from the line.

“Second night of a back-to-back, I really didn’t know what to expect,” said Shaw of Gallinari. “He shot the ball well and I thought he played well overall. I probably left him out there a little bit too long towards the end of the game. But just trying to look for signs to help him get his groove back.”

Meanwhile, outside Gallinari, the Nuggets got very little on offense with forward Wilson Chandler out with left adductors soreness. Ty Lawson finished with six points and ten assists, and Darrell Arthur and Gary Harris each finished with ten.

The Nuggets caught an unlucky break when Kenneth Faried left the game with a left thumb contusion, though Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post reports that X-rays came back negative. Faried got just 13 minutes of court time in his first game coming of the bench as Shaw continues to toy with the lineup.

The Nuggets did get a nice night out of newcomer Will Barton, who finished with 15 points and was constantly pushing the pace, something Shaw encourages.

“The new guys are coming in and they are playing hard,” said Shaw. “They’re trying to do the right thing because they don’t know what else to do. They don’t know the plays, the don’t know the schemes but they’re just trying to get it done with effort. This (loss) is more on our group that’s been here.”

The Nuggets will have a day off before welcoming in the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

Zach Marburger is a staff writer for Mile High Sports. He can be reached via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @BurchBurger.

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