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Denver Nuggets Defense Falters Against Celtics

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Denver Nuggets start the road swing strong at 3-0, then run off a cliff in New England. After a thrilling 122-119 comeback win against Indiana on Wednesday, the Nuggets get out-rebounded and out-hustled defensively by Boston losing 131-112.

The last time we spoke here the Denver Nuggets were pwned by Portland. But, if you listen to me and Santiago on the Nug Life Podcast and followed my picks you should be sitting pretty this week. I advised that the Nuggets would start 3-0 and then run out of steam on the due east swing by the time they reached Boston. I of course was hoping to be wrong, but a 3-1 start and no worse than a 4-2 week long road trip is nothing to snuff at. These are humans, after all, their energy is finite, especially with no comforts of home.

Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics set the tone early hitting his first 10 shots before finally bricking a lay-up. For all the credit you want to give Boston for playing a solid game, you can’t help but blame lackluster effort on the glass by the Denver Nuggets within the same breath. Nothing gives this sentiment life like the video below:

Denver Nuggets vs Boston Celtics Highlight

That is not NBA basketball, that is Rec-League at best. The Nuggets got away with some bad quarters against inferior rosters of San Antonio and Indiana. You can’t have those extended lapses against teams like Boston and expect to win. Compounding the issue for the Nuggets was the fact they started so poorly falling to a 33-25 deficit by the end of the first. The Celtics started the game with a 61.9% chance of winning, which was the lowest that probability ever fell. The Nuggets allowed Brown and Co. to deliver no less than 31 points in every quarter.

The Celtics had three players exceed 20 points in the aforementioned Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Al Horford. Grant Williams’ 13 made it 4-out-of-5 Boston starters with double-digit points. Former CU Buff Derrick White and Payton Pritchard had 10 and 11 off the bench respectively. The Nuggets’ offense from the early portion of the road trip was only seen in spurts, not nearly good enough against the defending Eastern Conference Champions.

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For those that have been calling to see more Joker, you may have to argue we have seen too much over the last two contests. He has played almost the entire second half of both with four fouls. Jokic still managed to be the leading scorer in both games. He had 24 against the Pacers and 29 on Friday night. Unlike in Indiana where Nikola Jokic had five teammates join him with at least 15 points and a double-double by Aaron Gordon. On Friday night in Boston, he only had 3. Though Jamal Murray (14 pts/10 assists) and Bruce Brown (16 pts/10 rebs.) added double-doubles. The most telling stat though is 46-38, that’s how the Nuggets were out-rebounded by Boston. The Celtics never quit and the Nuggets never started.

It is only game 12 of 82, you can’t reasonably expect the energy level to be consistent over that many minutes on the floor. But the number one telling stat of the early season for Denver has been rebounding. When the Nuggets win the battle on the glass they are 7-0, they are 1-4 when they don’t. Although that seems pretty cut and dry, there is some nuance here to consider but is a storyline worth watching. We will see if a day off Saturday can re-energize this Denver Nuggets squad for another tough test in Chi-To

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What’s Next:

@ Chicago Bulls, Sunday, November 13 at 6:00 PM MST/8:00 PM EST

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Portland Pwns Denver Nuggets

Denver Nuggets start hot, Anfernee Simons dominates third, and Portland pwns the Nuggets on Monday night.

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If you turned the tv off after the first, you would have to imagine Denver dominated Portland. The Denver Nuggets jumped out to as much as a 13-point lead in the opening quarter, before settling on a 31-23 lead to end it. Air Gordon was on-time for all take-offs, MPJ was stroking from a distance, and Joker was doing vintage facilitating circus acts. Then the wheels fell off.

In the 2nd quarter, you had a taste of what was to come as the Trailblazers shaved 2 off the lead by winning the quarter scoring 32 to Denver’s 30. The Nuggets still had a lead though and were competitive. No way a Blazers squad on the second leg of a back-to-back could out-work the boys from a mile high, right?

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Anfernee Simons entered the locker room with 7 of the Blazers 55 points, he came out in the third and showed Blazers wasn’t just the nickname of his club. The fourth-year Shooting Guard went unconscious in the 3rd-quarter. Simons had 22-points, and went 6-7 from beyond the 3-point arc in the third alone. He would finish the night with 29 pts/3 reb/5 ast, second only to Damian Lillard in scoring who had 31. Denver’s defense can’t hope to contend for championships if they can’t stem the tide of a 4th-year player that averaged 10 points per game on 40% shooting in his career coming into Monday night. But hats off to the TrailBlazers for riding the wave all the way to the shoreline.

Look at this shooting chart for Simons in that third frame courtesy of Yahoo! Sports.

Anfernee Simons 3rd-Quarter Shot Chart vs Denver Nuggets Monday Oct. 24, 2022 via Yahoo! Sports

The Denver Nuggets has no answer for Simons and the Blazers offense until it was too late as Portland would take the lead 99-86 with a 44-point third. Denver could only muster 25 points in the quarter as a team. As I told you all on the latest Nug Life Podcast, the Nuggets cannot win with Aaron Gordon as the leading scorer on a consistent basis. Four games into the season, two of them Gordon has lead the Nuggets in scoring, both are losses. Small sample yes, but worth watching for vindication. We love AG here at TAI42, but he is a supporting actor, not the lead. Michael Porter Jr. was solid again with 18 points, and Bones was busy with 15 of his own. No other Nugget reached double-digits. Yes that means Joker didn’t either.

After the 78th triple-double of his career against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Nikola Jokic managed a 9/9/9 line. Your back-to-back MVP cannot disappear like that, regardless of foul trouble. The Nuggets need to stop pleading to the refs for call, albeit deservedly so, and play through the whistle. The lack of hustle has been unacceptable in their two losses, and at times in their two wins. The defensive effort will be key going forward. Can they rebound at home against a poor-shooting Lakers squad? That seems like their best shot.

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What’s Next?

vs L.A. Lakers Wed Oct. 26 @ 8:00 PM MST

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Denver Nuggets Lose More Than Game in Salt Lake City

The Denver Nuggets had just gotten manhandled by the Cleveland Cavaliers at home. You knew this team wouldn’t lie down and roll over. Through 3.5 quarters they didn’t. Even after losing their MVP.

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The Denver Nuggets had it stacked against them in Utah. No Jamal Murray, 2nd leg of a back-to-back, Utah coming off 4 days rest, and losing Nikola Jokic to a knee contusion less than halfway through the contest. Aaron Gordon going for 16 in the first half, and Will Barton dropping 16 of his 21 in the 3rd kept this Nuggets squad in it until the end. This game was 96-95 at 9:08 left in the 4th. Thankfully it seems Joker avoided serious injury.

This is where things went left for the Denver Nuggets. After the 9:08 mark in the 4th, Utah went on a 26-15 run to close the game and secure a 122-110 division win. When you look at the box score you get an idea of just how good this Nuggets squad was at scoring, all 5 starters in double digits, all but one with at least 19 points, 3 with at least 20. Problems came on the defensive end where Aaron Gordon drew 5 fouls, MPJ drew 3, and they gave up more than 100 points for the first time.

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Obviously, Gordon’s foul trouble curbed his defensive efficiency late, 4 of the 5 came in the second half. But the effort on the defensive end fell off a cliff once Joker was helped off the court after banging knees with Rudy Gobert. The Jazz had 7 players in double digits, 3 off the bench. Tim Conley hit from deep and facilitated at ease dropping 15 pts/5 asts/1 stl/1 blk. Jordan Clarkson had 19 off the bench showing why he was the NBA 6th-Man-of-the-Year in 2020/2021. And Rudy Gobert got his 3rd double/double in as many games with 23 pts/16 rebs and added a block for good measure.

The Denver Nuggets actually outshot Utah from three with a 35% to 31% edge, but Utah jacked up 11 more of them with 39 to Denver’s 28. They also made 12 to Denver’s 10, unlike Denver who had multiple possessions where they turned the ball over because they made one too many passes while they fought over who would actually take the shot. Utah was just pulling up and letting it fly, no matter how inefficient they may have been.

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You also saw the difference at the offensive boards, when the Nuggets took a shot, all but maybe 1 player would bail to the other end, no one would crash. When Utah was on offense, you would see 3-4 crashing the boards almost every time. Defense in the NBA is about effort more than anything, Utah had it, just like Cleveland did, and Denver didn’t, at least not for 4 full quarters. There were flashes in the first 3 quarters, the Nuggets kept it close throughout that time.

Though I do not condone the way Bol Bol has gone about expressing his frustration with his lack of floor time at points. I also don’t think he’s done anything that bad. If you were that talented watching your team lose back-to-back games, you would be frustrated too. I get why he is so upset, Rudy Gobert and Hassan Whiteside bullied the Nuggets in the paint once Jokic hit the bench for good and JaMychal Green was ejected with Hassan Whiteside for shoving each other. The Nuggets sorely needed size and paint D, why not give the kid some minutes?

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It seems there is some internal strife brewing between Bol and this coaching staff, but feelings should not interfere with winning basketball games. Especially against a division rival, you will most likely be fighting for seeding with by the end of the season. These games are early, but they still count. It seemed by the fourth quarter Coach Malone conceded their fate and just let the starters burnout down the stretch. All starters except Jokic, due to injury, had at least 34 minutes on the floor.

Even if the coaching staff was sending a message to Bol, what about Zeke Nnaji, or some scoring in the form of Bones Hyland? It was strange to see this team get bullied after losing two bigs and Malone do nothing to replace them with options on his bench that were healthy, young, and hungry. These are the situations evaluators dream of. And the Nuggets missed the boat.

I have no doubt we have a different outcome with Joker on the floor for the whole game, but that wasn’t in the cards. You have to play the ones you were dealt, this time, the Nuggets came up short in the Utah Rockies.

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Up Next:

vs Dallas Mavericks Friday, October 29 @ 8:00 PM MST

Where to Watch:

National: ESPN

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Denver Nuggets Look to Bounce Back Against Division Rival

The Denver Nuggets are coming off a bad loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Play first back to back versus well rested Utah Jazz.

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The Denver Nuggets could have used four days off to get things right after a 99-87 loss to the Cavaliers at home. Instead, they get to fly on a red-eye and face a Utah squad that has just been hanging out since Friday. The Nuggets turnover woes came to ahead in their matchup with a team that just took Evan Mobley 3rd-overall in this past year’s draft.

They now take on heated rival Utah Jazz on the road in a stretch that has the Nuggets playing 4-games in 5 days. But this is the pros, no crying over the scheduling. You just play the games they put on the calendar. This will be an early test of this Nuggets team’s resiliency. Will they rebound and play with the same energy that led to a 2-0 start? Or will they continue to sulk and look lethargic like the way that got Michael Porter Jr. called out by Coach Malone in his post-game presser? I believe in the former.

Here is a Denver Nuggets/Utah Jazz team comparison courtesy of Yahoo! Sports:

Both teams come in down their star PG, we all know about Jamal Murray, but Mike Conley is also on the IL with a sore achilles. After three straight games where the Nuggets kept their opponent below 100 points, this may be the one that passes the century mark. Utah can match Denver’s defensive game with their own lead by the Stifle Tower Rudy Gobert. They also play the boards well with the 4th highest rebounds per game at 52. The Nuggets are bottom-10 at 43.5.

Another stat that jumps out is the nuggets Free-Throw%, sitting 30th at 58.8 despite having the best Field-Goal% at 52.1. That is one of the weirdest stats I’ve seen in a while. Neither team’s offense is blowing the doors off anybody. They are pretty much neck and neck as you see above in PPG.

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I see this as being another defensive game where the Nuggets will need to dig deep to come out with a victory. The well-rested Utah Jazz will have to avoid a letdown after a long lay-off. Could be as sloppy as precise on either end. I think the extra jolt you get from playing a division rival will help both squads step up to the national stage of a TNT broadcast.

Key Stats:

30%

The bare minimum a team can shoot from behind the arc and win consistently. The Denver Nuggets shot just 23.7% from three and too many players looked scared to take the big shot. As good as Joker is, he can’t do this alone.

30

It’s looking more and more like Nikola Jokic needs to have this as his average PPG for this offense to reach its full potential sans Jamal Murray.

Key Players:

Michael Porter Jr.: You are going to hear this name a lot in this section. That happens when you sign a max extension in the offseason and average 11.5 points in the first 3 games. This must change.

Bones Hyland: The rookie got to dip his toes in the waters against Cleveland. He made waves leading the bench with 7 points in just 10 mins. He even got a brief look with the starters. Can his stock ascend even more? Coach Malone had high praise after the game.

Aaron Gordon: He has been the most consistent player outside of Nikola. This needs to continue as others around him step up their game.

Final Prediction:

Denver 107 – Utah 105

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Denver Nuggets Waste Vintage Joker Performance

The Denver Nuggets came into this game as one of seven undefeated’s. The Cavaliers riding a big win over Atlanta looked to change that.

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The Denver Nuggets were 2-0 on the strength of their defense holding the Suns and Spurs to under 100 points as has been talked about ad nauseam. They however were plagued by turnovers in both games and three-point efficiency in game 2. Both would rear their ugly heads against the Cavaliers early.

The Nuggets began the night 4-21 from three, with two of the four coming in the last 60 seconds of the first half. The Nuggets were actually down 10 points with 40 seconds left in the half. Then Joker drained his first three of the game and then after a quick turnover by the Cavs drew a 3-point foul with 3 seconds left. Which gave the 4-point first-half deficit 50-46.

These are the first and second quarter shot charts for both teams. Cleveland in red and Denver Nuggets in blue. Courtesy of Yahoo! Sports:

The Nuggets were extremely lucky that the deficit was that small. If the Cavs could have hit their own buckets that is. They started 3-11 from deep and only 19-39 from inside the arch. There was also early foul trouble from the Nuggets that necessitated the early departure of Michael Porter Jr. who had 2 less than halfway through the first quarter. His replacement P.J. Dozier didn’t fare any better as he ended up with 2 of his own before the quarter was over.

This led to something all of Nuggets Nation has been waiting for since the pre-season. Bones Hyland got his first taste of NBA action and boy did he shine. In just over 7 minutes of play in the first half, he put up 5 points on 3-5 shooting, a steal, rebound, and just created utter chaos on the defensive end in concert with fan-favorite Facundo Campazzo. This kid is another in a long list of 2021 Rookies that have started the year strong.

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The MVP Nikola Jokic helped this team stay in it with a 15 point/12 rebound double-double in the first half. But no other Nugget had more than 5 points or 4 rebounds. Half-time adjustments being needed would be a serious understatement.

Though you wouldn’t know half-time adjustments existed with how the Nuggets started the third quarter. They allowed the Cavaliers to build as large as an 11-point lead before the 7-minute mark in the 3rd. This was done on poor shooting by the Nuggets, and absolutely abysmal effort on the defensive end. Too many times the Nuggets defenders were caught watching the play, instead of actually playing their man.

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You thought some energy was injected into the team when MPJ made catch-and-shoot 3 at the 6:30 mark of the quarter. Then you saw Joker pick up the pace running the floor after rebounds. He would have had a triple-double by the end of the 3rd had his teammates just hit the wide-open shots he created. They ended up drawing to within one of Cleveland 66-65. Mostly due to poor shooting by Cleveland on their own end. Denver ended the quarter 7-31 from distance, Cleveland was 6-21.

The Nuggets would tie the game at 70, but that was just when the Cavs found their stroke and Denver went cold. Cleveland would promptly go on a 23-7 run. Denver would show flashes here and there of what made them 2-0. They held 3rd overall pick to just 10-points and 8 rebounds. The slack was more than picked up by Jarrett Allen 21 pts/16 rebs and Kevin Love with 22/6. The Cavs had 5 players in double digits total, as opposed to Denver’s 4. But Love almost outscored Denver’s bench by himself (22-24).

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The Nuggets didn’t do much of anything right in this one. Outside of finally getting to see Bones get minutes, there was nothing fun about this game for Nuggets Nation. They lost the Turnover battle 22-14, shot 23% from three, 22 personal fouls, it was just bleh. You can easily say this was. a “trap” game. But I warned about this in our preview. The Nuggets players outside of Nikola Jokic obviously weren’t listening. They held their third opponent to less than 100, but still lost 99-87.

The Denver Nuggets now get to hustle to DIA and jump on a jet to Salt Lake City to face a Jazz squad that hasn’t played in 4 days tomorrow.

Up Next:

@ Utah Jazz Tuesday October 26 @ 8:00 PM MST

Where to watch:

National Broadcast: TNT

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Denver Nuggets Face Cavs at Home

The Denver Nuggets have started 2-0. Look to continue dominance against Cleveland Cavaliers at home.

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The Denver Nuggets have held their first two opponents to less than 100 points as we mentioned in our review. They look to make it three in a row when they face Cleveland on Monday in Ball Arena. This will also be the first game in the first back-to-back of the season for the Nuggets as they have to jump on a red-eye for Utah after the game.

Despite their 1-2 record and history of ineptitude whenever King James is not on his throne. There are many reasons not to take this team lightly. Not the least of which is their 9th ranked scoring at 117 per game. As opposed to the Nuggets 24th ranked offense at 106.

Here is a breakdown of the Denver Nuggets vs Cavs matchup courtesy of Yahoo! Sports:

Denver Nuggets vs Cleveland Cavaliers matchup breakdown.

That top-5 field goal percentage and Assist/Turnover ratio jump off the page as well as them sitting atop the league at 32 Assists Per Game. It’s crazy to think after facing the Suns and Spurs to start the season, the Cavs might be the most complete offense the Nuggets have faced. Their 101-95 win over 2020/2021 Playoff darlings Atlanta Hawks on Saturday should stand as a warning to this Nuggets squad. This is an even better squad than the one that came into Ball Arena less than a year ago and left with an 8-point win. Even with the Darius Garland injury, Clevelands 5th leading scorer, the Nuggets can’t breathe a sigh of relief. The Cavs have 7 players averaging double-digits.

Despite tying for the league lead in road victories a year ago. The Denver Nuggets have a chance to show why Mile High Basketball is a cut above the rest and put the league on notice that coming to Denver is a problem.

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Key Stats:

40%

The Cavs have yet to shoot less than 40% from the field. The Hawks came the closest at 41.2%, if this new Denver D can get them close to this number, it should be a blowout.

20

Michael Porter Jr. has yet to break this point barrier through 2 games. The scoring possible in this game will necessitate him picking up the slack the way he did after Murray was injured last year for this team to win consistently.

Key Players:

Facundo Campazzo: Can the pest continue to distress the opposing PG’s and cause headaches all over the court?

Michael Porter Jr.: Can he find the form that had people believing the loss of Murray wouldn’t derail the season?

JaMychal Green: The vet’s 3-point shot will be crucial to the bench scoring. If he gets hot early, lookout!

Final Prediction:

Denver 113 – Cleveland 96

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Denver Nuggets Take on Spurs in Home Opener

The Denver Nuggets are riding high as they return to Ball Arena after a road victory to open the season. The Spurs join them after their own opening day win.

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The Denver Nuggets and San Antonio Spurs both opened their seasons with victories. Now San Antonio comes to Ball Arena to face a Nuggets squad close to full health. Outside of the missing Jamal Murray, this Nuggets squad showed why all the concern over a sub-par preseason that saw them win only one game was a mirage. This Nuggets squad is new and improved with a 110-98 victory over the Suns.

After watching Michael Porter Jr. take a step forward and have a career-high 5 assists, and Will Barton drop 20 points with 4 treys and 5 assists of his own. I have a new appreciation for Malone and Co not blowing up this roster with a big trade. And Aaron Gordon proved his worth with 12 points and great defense that culminated in a huge block late in the 4th quarter that helped Denver keep its lead before pulling away.

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The Spurs are coming off a thumping of Orlando 123-97 where they put forth a collective effort. They had 7 players reach double digits. With their leading scorers actually off the bench with Devin Vassel dropping 19, and Lonnie Walker IV with 17. While San Antonio usually had a singular player to highlight such as Duncan Robinson, Kawhi Leonard, etc. This squad boasts an ability to score from anywhere, with anyone.

The Denver Nuggets will need the defensive effort they showed after halftime for the full 48 minutes. I don’t see this Spurs squad going cold for 3-4 minutes at a time the way the Suns did in game 1. This Spurs roster is just too deep. But this Nuggets roster is not as shallow as it showed in game 1 either. So this should be an absolute epic early matchup yet again.

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Key Stats:

5

If MPJ, Will, and Monte can all have 5+ assists, this offense can more than keep up with the Spurs.

Win the TO Battle

When this Nuggets squad takes care of the ball on offense and causes havoc on the defensive end, they are almost unstoppable.

Key Players:

Monte Morris: while he had an adequate game one (9 pts/3 asts/4 reb) he will need to take another step to ensure this Nuggets offense stays on schedule.

Jeff Green: His 13 points led the bench in game 1, his veteran leadership and scoring will be key to this bench reaching its potential.

Bones Hyland: Can the youngster find the court?

Denver Nuggets Begin Season Where It Ended

The Denver Nuggets open the season against the team that ended their hopes of a 2021 NBA Championship. They look to get one back against the Phoenix Suns in the season opener.

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The Denver Nuggets get an early chance at revenge for an early exit handed them by the Phoenix Suns in last years playoffs. While the Nuggets made waves by keeping the status quo. The Suns took it to a different level making only 3 transactions total this past offseason. They traded for Landry Shamet on draft night. Then signed JaVale McGee (yes that JaVale), and Elfrid Payton in free agency. With both squads being almost identical to the ones that met 4 months ago, most expect a similar result.

This includes Vegas that has the Suns as pretty heavy favorites. I think they are discounting this squads bench a bit after a 1-4 preseason. I say doubt them at your peril, as this bench might be the best since J.R. Smith was in his prime and leading the charge off the pine as a top-5 Sixth Man. The Nuggets may have found their new Sixth Man in Bones Hyland (whom I highlighted in my season preview here) who led the team in the preseason in points (76), three’s (13), and assists (23).

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The playoff matchup was a stark contrast from the regular season meetings between the two. The Denver Nuggets won the season series 2-1. They did nead one and two overtimes to get those victories, and the lone win by the Suns was by only 3 points. Nobody in their right minds had the Suns winning the series before it started, let alone a dominating sweep. So it’s interesting to see so many that are adamant the Suns are going to cover a 6 point spread.

I don’t see the Suns sneaking up, let alone continuing a small sample size dominance after a 4 month hiatus. Chris Paul even has something to say about that.

“It’s not going to be easy getting back,” he said of a return to the Finals. “Like Coach Monty (Williams) says: We’re not sneaking up on anybody this year.”

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Like CP3 said, they will get every team’s best shot, every game. Let alone the team with a personal vendetta and a conference rival. Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic wants to prove that wasn’t a one-year fluke. He even opted out of playing for the Serbian National Team of his home country so he could rest and recover for this season. He knows without Jamal Murray to lighten the load he will be leaned on heavily to make this offense go. While also needing to be solid on the defensive end too. He averaged almost a 30 point triple-double (30/16/7) in those 2 regular season wins. If he can do that, and the bench can shoot at least 40% from the field, Nuggets win. If they don’t, Nuggets end up with another one in the nuggs like this.

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Players to Watch:

Monte Morris: Can he keep this offense humming while Jamal Murray heals?

Bones Hyland: Can he capitalize on a strong pre-season and maybe even push Monte for a starting spot?

Bol Bol: Does the kid finally earn a bigger role after leading the Nuggets Summer League team in scoring?

JaMychal Green: Can the Vet fulfill his promise as a big man with range?

Key Stat:

30 and 40

I kinda gave this away in the last paragraph above. Thirty-plus points for Joker, and 40% from the field from the bench. If those two numbers can be met, the Nuggets win.

$172 Million

That’s the cost of a rookie max extension for 2018 first-rounders. No, Ayton is not Joker or Embiid but he is just a rung below. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that Ayton and the Suns were unable to come to an agreement before the deadline. While the world watches Ben Simmons, I’ll be watching the Arizona desert for smoke signals, indicating a possible fire.

Final Prediction:

Denver Nuggets 120-Pheonix Suns 108

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Denver Nuggets 21/22 Season Preview

The Denver Nuggets were a world-beater pre-Jamal Murray knee blowout. After, holes began to show. Then the Phoenix Suns exposed those flaws eliminating them in a 4-game sweep.

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We all know the story of the 2020/2021 Denver Nuggets. Before Jamal went down, they were The Final’s favorites. They were easily able to keep up with the scoring of the Clippers and Nets. As well as play stingy D post-Aaron Gordon trade. Then Jamal grabbed his knee, and the wheels began to fall off. In 48 games before the injury Murray averaged 21.2 points. But instead of hitting the panic button and finding a Murray replacement. The Nuggets kept the status quo and look to replace by committee.

Lest we not forget the step forward Michael Porter Jr. made in Murray’s stead. He averaged 23.2 points, 55% from the field, and 44% from beyond the arc. They also resigned Will Barton, Austin Rivers, and JaMychal Green. While adding veteran Jeff Green from the Eastern Conference powerhouse Nets in Free Agency. I actually like this, instead of making a move you may regret by trading away MPJ or Gordon for a band-aid. They trust their internal talent to hold the fort while they wait for the reinforcements.

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We should see Porter Jr. take another step while being the second option behind reigning MVP Nikola Jokic. Aaron Gordon who averaged 10 PPG in 25 games with Denver will see him go more towards his career average of 12.1, and maybe even past that with a larger offensive workload. Monte Morris and Barton will add stability to a starting unit that won’t have to learn to play with a new piece which should lead to a much smoother start than if a big new addition was made.

I have seen some chatter, but Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland could be the best 6th-man the Nuggets have had since prime J.R. Smith. And Bol Bol is looking like a legit superstar in the making during the summer league where he averaged more than 20 points per game. I know that Bones and Bol are currently buried down the depth chart. I see that changing around Christmas time giving Nuggets Nation a special and exciting gift going into the New Year.

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The roster consistency has lead to the consistent rise of the Nuggets over the last 5 years as you can see below:

Projected Starters:

PG Monte Morris

SG Will Barton

SF Michal Porter Jr.

PF Aaron Gordon

C Nikola Jokic

Key Reserves:

PG Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland

PG Facundo Campazzo

PF Jeff Green

C JaMychal Green

Projected Record:

52-30

Awards Won:

Nikola Jokic MVP

Aaron Gordon DPOY

Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland 6th-Man