Lebron James played like you would’ve expected after a huge loss to his former team as he and the Cleveland Cavaliers smashed the Nuggets on Monday night. The final score was 124-91 as the Nuggets simply couldn’t compete for most of the game.
After getting down early in the first quarter, by 15 points, the Nuggets just seemed like they didn’t have a chance at even a close game. The starters for the Nuggets played pretty awful as the whole lot of starters scored as many points as Lebron alone. Split between the five starters, they scored only 33 points as James put up the same amount.
There was a run in the second period, with both teams second units on the court, where the Nuggets had some energy and seemed like they might have a chance. They went on an 18-0 run and actually took the lead briefly, but ultimately they couldn’t keep the offense rolling and the defensive stops coming. There was a really exciting moment in the second period where the Bosnian Beast Jusuf Nurkic put up a huge block on a Lebron layup. Lebron appeared to have flopped and Nurkic turned around after the block and gave a smile. While this moment was fun to watch, it appeared to only fuel Lebron.
The second half was nothing to watch as the Nuggets got demolished in the two quarters. The fourth was especially bad as the Cavs put up 37 points while the Nuggets only managed to score 19.
For Lebron, he put up a big triple-double scoring 33 points with 11 rebounds and 11 assists. He certainly played like a star against the struggling Nuggets and showed why some call him the greatest player in the game.
The lone bright spot for Denver was Will “the Thrill” Barton who put up 27 points off the bench and provided pretty much the only energy for the Nuggets. Jusuf Nurkic also played decent putting up 11 points and pulling down 7 rebounds. But outside of those two there wasn’t much to watch.
The main story of why the Nuggets lost was a lack of energy and competition from their starters. As mentioned earlier, the starters managed to only score 33 points with only two players scoring in double figures, Gary Harris and Nikola Jokic who both finished with 11 points. If the Nuggets want to compete in the future, they need to show up right out of the gates and compete. The bench has been providing a lot of the energy for this team early in games while the starters seemingly need to take time to get into it. That can’t be the case, especially when going up against teams like the Cavs. Luckily, this season is practically finished for the Nuggets and with each loss they get a potentially better draft pick. While the losses hurt to watch, they just don’t matter this late in the year and the primary focuses needs to be preparing this team for next year.
The Nuggets play Wednesday night against the Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers have been absolutely dismal this year and it is a game the Nuggets should win handily. That is, if they don’t come out asleep like they did last night.