The Denver Nuggets entered Friday night riding the high of a dominating win against the Suns. The fear of a let down and a trap game turned out moot versus the Spurs.Embed from Getty Images
As I stated in our preview, the San Antonio Spurs always play the Denver Nuggets well no matter their talent level. And they did just that in a 102-96 loss. That makes the Spurs the second consecutive opponent this defense has held below the century mark. If the Denver Nuggets can keep up this effort on the defensive end, it could be a long season for their opponents.
The Spurs were coming off dropping 123 on the Orlando Magic in their last game. They had 7 players hit double-digit points in that game. None hit 20 points against the Magic though. Keldon Johnson was able to drop 27 against the Nuggets, but they only had 4 in double-digits this time. The bench scoring they rode to that blowout victory was non-existent as no bench player had a positive plus/minus against the Nuggets or more than 6 points.Embed from Getty Images
The Nuggets lost the turnover battle by 1 (21-20), and neither Monte Morris nor MPJ was able to reach 5 assists, they had 1 combined. They were offset by the 7 from Nikola Jokic and 6 from Will Barton. The Nuggets were also able to procure 10 steals and 2 blocks. The biggest concern was the 3-point shooting for the Nuggets.
The Denver Nuggets were only able to shoot 30% from three. The only reasons this didn’t come back to haunt Denver was that they shot 51.2% from inside the arc, and the Spurs shot even worst from distance (25%). If Denver runs into a team that gets hot from deep, they could be in trouble.
Here is a shot chart courtesy of Yahoo! Sports to illustrate the ineptitude on both ends of the floor: (Denver Nuggets Right/San Antonio Left)
Though if they continue to play defense as they have in the first 2 games, they may not allow anyone to get hot from anywhere on the floor. The Spurs also showed some moxie while never allowing the game to get out of hand and keeping themselves within striking distance. The Nuggets just hit the shots late the Spurs couldn’t. This was a great thing to see, two nights in a row a new player stepped up late to hit the shots Jamal Murray would be taking were he on the floor. Game 1 was Will Barton, game 2 was MPJ. If the Nuggets continue this collective effort, the time without Murray will be much more fun to watch than any anticipated.Embed from Getty Images
Player of the Game:
Nikola Jokic: The reigning MVP was nigh unstoppable when he went to the Sombor Shuffle or one-foot fade away he’s made famous. He ended the night with a slash of 32/7/16 in 29 minutes for his second double-double in as many games.
Bench Player of the Game:
Jamychal Green: While his 4 turnovers and 3 personal fouls were a little concerning. His 10 points and 3 steals were crucial when Jokic and Co needed a break.
vs Cleveland Cavaliers Monday, October 25 @ 7:00 PM MST
Where to Watch:
Cleveland: Fox Sports Ohio
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