Tag Archives: Nuggets Game Review

Denver Nuggets Sweep Rockets at Home

Embed from Getty Images

Back-to-back home games for the Denver Nuggets against the Houston Rockets lead to back-to-back double-digit wins. The latest is a 120-100 drubbing on Wednesday night.

We told you last game the Denver Nuggets dynamic duo was back, but Wednesday the rest of the Bat Family showed up. Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic were back at it going for 33 pts./14 asts/13 rebs/1 stl/1 blk combined with Blue Arrow firing up a game-high 26 points. That may not seem like much until you realize they both only played a little over 5 minutes in the 4th combined. And you don’t need the gaudy numbers from game 1 against Houston when Bruce Brown and Aaron Gordon combine for 38 points and 6-11 from three.

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the Slovenian Sniper Vlatko Cancar did his best Dr. J impression from the Denver Nuggets free throw line:

Denver Nugget Vlatko Cancar takes flight from just inside Free Throw line.

Cancar did more than put up a highlight dunk as he put up 13 pts and 5 rebs on 5-6 shooting while going 3-4 from deep. Fellow bench player Ish Smith had a nice contribution of 6 pts/7 asts/2 rebs. That slash from Ish isn’t his biggest contribution, it’s his leadership and control of the floor as a vet. He showed it best after the game when he apologized to Coach Malone and the starters for not being good enough to keep them on the bench in the 4th of a 20-point win. He does a great job of being a defensive pest and keeping everyone involved and energized on offense.

I want to see a bench lineup with him and Bones, I don’t think you need to pick and choose who to have on the floor. Calvin Booth is showing exactly why Minnesota was able to poach Tim Connelly. Bruce Brown has already shown to be a free-agent steal, Ish is starting to show he was more than a throw-in for the KCP deal with the Wizards. I think Ish as the backup PG and Bones as the backup SG will make a deadly second unit once this squad is fully healthy.

The Rockets’ starters were not terrible as you can see below courtesy of Yahoo! Sports:

Kevin Porter Jr. and Alperen Sengen were most impressive, not just because Porter lead his team in scoring at 23 points, or because Sengun had a double-double. But because Porter Jr. went 5-7 from three and 8-18 overall in over 32 mins on the floor. Sengun was even more efficient with 8-12 shooting. They didn’t just pad their stats in a blowout by chucking up 25+ shots.

The Rockets look to be well coached as well as they did fight hard enough at the end to force Coach Malones hand on the Denver Nuggets bench and send his starters back on the court to insure an easy victory. This forced Jamal Murray and Aaron Gordon to spend more than 30 minutes on the floor, something you don’t want in a 20-point win against a rebuilding bottom-feeder. The Rockets came into Ball Arena with the worst winning percentage in the NBA. They left with it even lower, just as it should be.

Embed from Getty Images

That may seem harsh for those who root for the Rockets, but when a top team in any league faces the bottom, this is what should happen. Unfortunately, for those who root for the Denver Nuggets, that’s not how it always goes. So you can forgive those of us in Nuggets Nation that began the series with bated breath after the Rockets were coming off back-to-back 120+ point outings. The Nuggets though gave yet another reason to be optimistic about what they can do in the 2022-2023 season.

What’s Next?

@Atlanta Hawks on Friday, Dec. 2nd at 5:30 PM MST/7:30 PM EST

Denver Nuggets Clean House

Embed from Getty Images

Dan and Santiago both called for a double-digit victory by the Denver Nuggets over the Houston Rockets. What they didn’t predict was a vintage Joker and Blue Arrow two-man performance.

March 30, 2021 that’s 607 days from Sunday’s game that pit the Denver Nuggets against the Houston Rockets. It’s the best of the west vs the worst. And we got to see Jamal Murray go for 30+ for the first time in 607 days. We also got to see something that took even longer at the same time, 618 days to be exact, since Joker and Blue Arrow both went for at least 30 pts. The NBA’s deadliest two-man game is back.

I and Santiago have been back and forth on when we would see this type of performance from the Nuggets franchise cornerstones. We were both wrong, but Nikola Jokic, as always, was spot on. Back in the pre-season Joker was asked when we would see the old Jamal. He said pretty plainly “I love to play with him, of course. I know he’s gonna be really bad for the next 20 games, but we’re gonna survive,” Jokic said, per Mike Singer of the Denver Post.

Embed from Getty Images

Some tried to take it as a jab, but even Murray knew he was only being honest. After that much time away from competition you have the proverbial “rust” to knock off. Well, Sunday night showed exactly what this well oiled ore-cart could do at a mile high. Once Jokic and Murray got started down the tracks, nothing could derail them other than rest at designated stops. I said I wanted a game where the starters didn’t play in the fourth, we got exactly that. All 63 points, 14 rebs, and 13 assists by the dynamic duo came in the first three-quarters.

That left Young Justice (Ish Smith and Zeke Nnaji) coming off the bench in the fourth and closing out a double digit victory with a little flash from the backup duo themselves dishing out 25 pts/8 asts/8 rebs/2 stls/1 blk combined. Ish has been impressive in his two games back from the calf-strain that sidelined him. Blocking shots, playing sticky defense, as well as some slick passing as the backup PG in Bones Hylands absence due to a non-Covid illness. Davon Reed was another bright spot going 3-6 from deep and playing top-notch defense in 25+ mins. on the court.

Embed from Getty Images

We keep talking about it, but it’s a worthy item of discussion, and that is the depth of this team. As Santiago stated, it wouldn’t be a Denver Nuggets game if there wasn’t a few names on the injury report. That was the case yet again with this one that saw Michael Porter Jr. and Jeff Green in street clothes. That has not, and seemingly will not be an excuse for this team. It’s next man up, and nobody flinches.

So down key players again, this squad responded with an oldie but a goodie that included a dominate third-quarter. This has been a bugaboo of this Denver Nuggets squad that has gotten entire segments on talk shows about it. And that is how bad this Denver Nuggets team has tended to be in the 3rd quarter of games. Houston was able to keep up in the first quarter with the Nuggets only amassing a 3-point lead 42-39. Then Houston won the 2nd quarter 29-28 despite Murray putting up over a third of his point total in the frame. I’m sure most in Denver felt a “hear-we-go-again” mentality creeping in during the halftime show.

Embed from Getty Images

Then Joker exited the locker room, and he could. not. miss. Almost literally (he missed one free-throw), Jokic went 7-7 in the third including two 3-pointers for 17 of his 32 points on the night. This lead Denver to a 106-91 going into the 4th and Joker and Murray getting the rest of the night off. This was well earned and should leave them well rested for game two of this mini homestand versus the Rockets on Wednesday night.

What’s Next?

vs Houston Rockets Nov. 30 @ 7:00 PM MST/9:00 PM EST

Subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Follow us on Twitter

Like our Facebook page.

We are affiliated with some companies/links on this page and may receive a commission if you make a purchase through them. Prices are subject to change. Consider supporting the dream!

Denver Nuggets Continue Road Dominance

The Denver Nuggets have quietly moved into 2nd place in the West, just a game back of Phoenix. Being 8-5 on the road after beating the Clippers in L.A. is a big reason why.

Embed from Getty Images

I’m sure many will want to put an asterisk next to the Denver Nuggets win Friday night in L.A. After all both of the Clippers biggest stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were both in street clothes. The reason I reject that caveat is this Nuggets squad has had an infuriating habit of playing up, or down, to their opponents level. Friday night, despite missing one of their stars (Michael Porter Jr.) and best bench player (Bones Hyland) was a buck in that trend.

In the last two weeks we have watched this Nuggets team lose their first home game against a below average Knicks squad. Then lose 4 of 5 starters due to COVID and other illnesses in Dallas yet pull out an improbable victory over an almost fully healthy Mavericks team on the road. Then give Detroit their first road win despite all those stars returning. Only to bounce back with consecutive wins on the road against the Thunder and Clippers. So I don’t care who was or wasn’t on the court for Los Angeles, the Nuggets needed this win to improve to 12-7, first in the Northwest Division, and second in the Western Conference. They are only .5 games back of the 12-6 Phoenix Suns.

Embed from Getty Images

There were no triple-doubles, even though Nikola Jokic had a 19 pt/10 reb double-double, the burden was spread around the Nuggets stars on the court. I just told you about Joker, Jamal Murray had 21 pts/9 asts/6 rebs, and Aaron Gordon lead all scorers while staffing every stat column with 29 pts/7 rebs/3 asts/2 stls/2 blks. Air Gordon was his best self against L.A. and it helped the Denver Nuggets to absolutely dominate beyond the final score of 114-104 would lead you to believe.

Even despite a typical poor 3rd and average 4th quarter that actually led L.A. to outscore Denver by two points in the second-half. You never really felt the ending was in question. John Wall lead all Clippers in scoring with 23 off the bench. No L.A. starter scored more than 16 with three not even cracking double digits. Only Marcus Morris and Terance Mann accomplished that for the Clippers.

Embed from Getty Images

As you seen above, Nuggets were one Joker free throw made from three starters cracking 20. That starting five included Bruce Brown with MPJ out. That means the nuggets are now 6-2 with Brown in the starting lineup. I love Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and what he brings but I still believe the Denver Nuggets best-5 includes Bruce not KCP. Pope has been lights out from three still shooting an absurd 49.4% from deep. But Bruce is no slouch at 38.7%, where the biggest difference comes is in the paint, both offensively and defensively. With Bruce starting the Nuggets average more than 60 points in the paint per game. That drops to less than 50 with him coming off the bench. There is also an almost 20 point swing in how many points opponents score in the paint against the Nuggets starters with/without Bruce.

I don’t think it’s disrespectful to say KCP is best served off the bench, salary is secondary to winning. Bruce brings a hustle and controlled chaos to this squad no one else can match. I have a fever, and the only prescription is more Downtown Bruce Brown. He’s not just a hustler, he’s a closer with a killer instinct the Nuggets have lacked outside of peak Blue Arrow since they started this journey during a Taco Bell commercial. He leads all Nuggets in 4th quarter minutes with 128, number 2 is Joker at 107. Some may say I’m crazy if they just look at the boxscore and see his slash of 8 pts/4 asts/4 rebs/1 stl. But you can’t just watch the highlights and be able to appreciate what this man brings to the team.

Embed from Getty Images

This team was dealt a tremendous blow when multiple viruses wrecked the locker room heading to Dallas. But the way they have responded as they slowly get healthy and still have Murray and Porter on pitch-counts after both missed all of 2021-2022. The way Bruce has been able to cover every hole that has ruptured in the Nuggets flagship so far this season has earned him a bigger role even when they are bak to full strength. Coach Malone said it best per Mike Singer of The Denver Post “Some guys are in the foxhole with you, some guys, like they’ve got one foot in, one foot out,” Malone said after the game. “Bruce is, he’s all the way in.”

You may ask, “Who takes his place off the bench? The natural answer might be, well who he replaces, KCP. But I posit that being a much bigger human in Vlatko Cancar. He does all you get from Bruce but with a less consistent shot. I believe Vlatko can iron out that shot if just given time on the hardwood. Here’s to hoping the Denver Nuggets are “all the way in” with Bruce as they head back home for their first home back-to-back of the season against the last-place Houston Rockets. And to them finally being over that roller-coaster of matching the opponents level and playing to their potential on a consistent basis.

What’s Next?

vs Houston Rockets at 7:00 PM MST/9:00 PM EST on November 28 & 30.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Follow us on Twitter

Like our Facebook page.

We are affiliated with some companies/links on this page and may receive a commission if you make a purchase through them. Prices are subject to change. Consider supporting the dream!

Denver Nuggets Give Detroit First Road Win

The Denver Nuggets came in with the best home record against a Pistons team that had yet to win on the road. After a seesaw affair, Detroit squeaked out a 110-108 win.

Embed from Getty Images

After one of the more improbable wins in recent memory in Dallas on Sunday night. The Denver Nuggets followed that up with a dud at home against the 3-win Detroit Pistons. It seemed like an endless uphill battle all night, every time the Nuggets pulled it close with an impressive run, Detroit always had an answer. All this after the three starters missing in Dallas (Jokic/Murray/Gordon) all returned to the lineup for the Association’s fewest 6th home game of the 2022 season.

This tweet by James L. Edwards III of The Athletic sums up just how unlikely this Denver Nuggets loss was:

We have talked a lot about the Nuggets rebounding woes, Nuggets are still undefeated when they out-rebound the other team. They are under .500 when they don’t. Even Coach Michael Malone said it after the game in his presser “They out-worked us on the glass, to me that’s the story of the game”. Rebounding has zero to do with talent, it’s 100% about hustle. To punch his point home Coach Malone advised that Detroit had 12 offensive rebounds for 17 pts. The sloppiness on the offensive end wasn’t helpful as the Nuggets committed 18 turnovers for 26 Piston points.

The Nuggets did get some offensive production as six players left Ball Arena in double digits. Led by reigning MVP Nikola Jokic who fell one rebound short of a triple-double with a 31 pt/10 asts/9 reb slash. But the defense that held Luka Doncic and Co. to just 97 in Dallas, was non-existent for too many stretches Tuesday evening. The Pistons were even missing their most dangerous scorer in Cade Cunningham yet still managed to shoot over 50% from the field for only the second time all season.

Embed from Getty Images

There were nine lead changes in this game, while lead changes are not abnormal in basketball, this is a lot in a game where the trailing team was 12-point home favorites against a team winless on the road. This is made possible when your depth disappoints. Many will point to Bones Hyland not playing in the second half (non-Covid illness) as why Detroit’s bench outscored the Denver Nuggets bench 53-22. In comparison to the Nuggets’ six players in double digits, Detroit only had 4. Where it gets to Detroit getting so much from the bench as opposed to the Nuggets. Detroit had 10 players make at least two buckets, the Nuggets only had seven. The depth that impressed in Dallas dried up in Denver.

This is not a five-alarm fire, it’s not even a candle glow. This is the first half of a back-to-back that has Denver flying from DIA to Oklahoma City after the game for a 6:00 pm tip-off. You hate to call this a trap game as you assume all three starters that returned gave it their all and the focus was there to almost erase a 15-point deficit with less than six minutes remaining to almost force OT on a last-second desperation shot that came up just short by Aaron Gordon off an intentional free-throw miss by Jamal Murray with 3.4 seconds left.

Embed from Getty Images

Speaking of missed free throws, missing nine continues a troubling trend for the Nuggets. The Denver Nuggets are 24th in the NBA in free-throw percentage at a paltry 75.5%. Here’s a quick reminder they only lost by two points. Free throws are named thus for a very obvious reason. How a team can shoot 40.9% (1st) from three and 49.2% (2nd) from the field and be so bad from the charity stripe is staggeringly mind-bending. I have a feeling Coach Malone is going to emphasize both free-throw shooting and hustle on the boards over the next several practices. This is a team full of vets that haven’t let a bad outing snowball into bad outings. Just look at the responses from losses to the Utah Jazz and L.A. Lakers as examples of how this team tends to bounce back. Here’s to believing that trend is the one that continues against the Thunder.

What’s Next:

@Oklahoma City Thunder Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 6:00 PM MST/8:00 PM EST

Subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Follow us on Twitter

Like our Facebook page.

We are affiliated with some companies/links on this page and may receive a commission if you make a purchase through them. Prices are subject to change. Consider supporting the dream!

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.

Embed from Getty Images

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.

Embed from Getty Images

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.

Embed from Getty Images

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?

Embed from Getty Images

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.

Embed from Getty Images

Up Next:

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

Where to Watch:

National: ESPN

We are affiliated with some companies/links on this page and may receive a commission if you make a purchase through them. Prices are subject to change.

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.

Embed from Getty Images

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.

Embed from Getty Images

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.

Embed from Getty Images

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).

Embed from Getty Images

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

We are affiliated with some companies/links on this page and may receive a commission if you make a purchase through them. Prices are subject to change.

Denver Nuggets Continue Early Defensive Dominance

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)

Denver Nuggets vs San Antonio Spurs Shot Chart (Denver 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.

Up Next:

vs Cleveland Cavaliers Monday, October 25 @ 7:00 PM MST

Where to Watch:

Denver: AltitudeTV

Cleveland: Fox Sports Ohio

We are affiliated with some companies/links on this page and may receive a commission if you make a purchase through them. Prices are subject to change.

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.

Embed from Getty Images

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.

Embed from Getty Images

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.

Embed from Getty Images

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 Get Revenge in Valley of the Sun

The Denver Nuggets had their last season ended by the Phoenix Suns. On opening night, they got started on the right foot with a 110-98 victory.

Embed from Getty Images

The Denver Nuggets have had opening night circled on their calendars since the schedule was released. After their unceremonious exit handed to them by this very Phoenix Suns squad with a dominant sweep at their hands. Good on the NBA schedule makers for not making basketball fans wait for this matchup. It was everything it was hyped to be. With hardnosed, borderline old school physical play throughout, and the momentum swings that make an instant classic.

Outside of the few minutes the Nuggets led in the first half, their win probability was negative until the 3-minute mark in the 3rd quarter. The Denver defense would clamp down with Aaron Gordon playing out of his mind in the 2nd half running the floor and swatting balls in every direction. The Suns’ stars were essentially non-existent in that second half. Phoenix’s leading scorer was Mikal Bridges with 16 points. Not a single Suns starter had a positive plus/minus.

The Nuggets on the other hand dominated with their starters. Every single one had at least a +18, and were lead in scoring by MVP Nikola Jokic’s 27. And all but Monte Morris (9 pts) were in double-digits. If there was any worries about this squad it’s the Bench being a bit anemic despite P.J. Dozier dropping 10 and new addition Jeff Green had 13. No other bench player for the Nuggets had more than 2 points.

As far as the key stats from our preview. Nikola fell just short of 30 with 27 points. And the Nuggets shot over 45% from the field. The biggest surprise in this game was the 20 points dropped by Will Barton as the 2nd leading Nugget scorer while going 4-8 from 3. Many times on the broadcast the announcers consternated about who would take up the big shot in the absence of Murray. At least for one night, Will the Thrill did his part and then some.

Will Barton Shot Chart courtesy of Yahoo! Sports

This was a wonderful game to watch for Nuggets Nation, but it is only game 1. They have another tough test in their home opener with the San Antonio Spurs who seem to play this team tough whether they are good or not. And they are never a slouch. So here’s to hoping the bench picks up the scoring pace, I believe an infusion of Hyland could elevate that unit. He saw 0 minutes on the floor in the opener after leading the team in scoring in the preseason. The way this Nuggets organization protects its young guns can be infuriating, but I trust they know what they are doing.

Up Next:

vs San Antonio Spurs Friday, October 22 @ 7:00 PM

Where to Watch:

Denver: AltitudeTV