Denver Nuggets Overall Record: 11-16
The Nuggets played four games last week going 2-2, starting off strong and failed to finish well. The key difference between last year’s team and this current team is stability on defense. The Nuggets will give up long runs for nothing. The key is stopping fast breaks with hard fouls. On the defensive end the team is extremely passive. No one steps up and stops the man their guarding. They make it easy for opposing teams by shooting 3 pointers and not getting back to stop the breaks. Let’s take a look at what went on this past week.
December 14 – Denver 114 – Houston 108 – Win
Will Barton played an awesome game. Matched up against James Harden he proved that he can defend. Although Harden scored 24 points, he only scored 9 against Barton. I was surprised to see Denver compete from start to finish. Jameer Nelson started in place of rookie Emmanuel Mudiay which changed the dynamics of the team’s fortune. Nelson finished with 10 points and 7 assists. Gary Harris added a career high 21 points off the bench.
December 15 – Denver 112 – Minnesota 100 – Win
In as many weeks the Nuggets beat the Timberwolves in an exciting contest. The previous week the Nuggets went into overtime to win by 2 points. The week they won by 12. The Nuggets are undersized but played with a lot of heart. The surprise “Player of the Game” was Guard Randy Foye. Randy scored 19 points and Denver picked up their fifth win in six games. Kenneth Faried added 19 points and 10 rebounds. Will Barton scored 14 and 7 boards with five assists. As a team the Nuggets hit 10 of 18 threes en route to the 12 point win in Minnesota.
December 18 – Utah 97 – Denver 88 – Loss
It was too much Gordon Heyward for the Nuggets. He scored 26 points that lead the Jazz to a 9 point victory. Jameer Nelson tied the game up at 86, shortly after that the Jazz went on a run. That’s where the problem is, this team isn’t stopping long runs by the opposition. Danilo Gallinari is still in a slump on the offensive end. He only scored 11 points in 30 minutes. If he’s the leader, he has to lead in every category on the scorers sheet. This game they should’ve won easily, but found a way to lose.
December 20 – New Orleans 130 – Denver 125 – Loss
How in the world does a player leave after the first quarter, return for basically the second half of fourth quarter and put up 27 points for the game? Only “The Brow” knows. Actually the Nuggets know, Anthony Davis of the Pelicans knows and certainly Nuggets head coach Michael Malone knows. Malone stated after the game, “Embarrassing… You give up 130 points. You give four, 30-plus point quarters. There is no excuse.” The Pelicans had six players finish in double figures, including 21 points apiece from Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday. The Nuggets put up points but gave up more. The Nuggets defense didn’t step up when it was needed to at the end of the game. Emmanuel Mudiay missed this game (fourth straight), Will Barton had a career-high 32 points for the Nuggets and Kenneth Faried finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds in the losing effort.
Upcoming Schedule – All Times Central
12/22 vs. Lakers 8:00 pm
12/23 @Suns 8:00 pm
12/26 @Spurs 7:30 pm
12/27 @Thunder 6:00 pm