The Denver Nuggets beat the Phoenix Suns last night 116-98 behind a spectacular shooting performance from Emmanuel Mudiay. This was the third straight win for the Nuggets and their fourth win of a ongoing seven game home stand.
The 20 year old Emmanuel Mudiay was 13-20 from the field and 4-7 from beyond the arc, racking up 30 points a career high. This game really showed Mudi’s scoring touch and despite a lack of assists and 4 turnovers, this game proves the young guards ability to score and carry his team to a lopsided victory.
Nikola Jokic, the other rookie who dazzled for the Nuggets, put up a double-double scoring 18 and pulling down 10 rebounds. This game only proved again how bright the future is for the Nuggets behind these two young guns. The ceiling is high for a young Nuggets roster and regardless of how far out of the playoffs they are, there is a lot to enjoy right now as a fan.
Gary Harris, Will Barton, Alex Toupane, and Darrell Arthur also scored in double figures as Denver extended their lead and closed out the game in the fourth.
Devin Booker, for the Suns, scored a career and game high 35 points, with 25 points in the second half, but it was not nearly enough to carry the struggling Suns to a victory. Only two other players scored in double figures for Phoenix.
For fans of the Nuggets, the future didn’t seem all that bright and playoff contention seemed like a pipe dream. But with Michael Malone at the helm establishing his basketball philosophy and the team clearly buying into it, fans have been reinvigorated and it is obvious so has the team. Players like Kenneth Faried, Danilo Gallinari and Darrell Arthur are the mentors to this team and while they are here the young players need to learn as much as they can. With leadership and motivation from these veterans, the Nuggets are not nearly as far away from being playoff contenders as some may have thought at the start of the year.
The Nuggets will play again Saturday night, rounding out their home stand, against the Washington Wizards. Although the winning ways hopefully continue, every win does mean a potentially higher spot in the draft. I for one, much prefer watching a winning team vs. a team trying to tank for a better draft pick so I will continue to welcome these wins with open arms.