The Nuggets came out and for the first time in six games scored more points in the first quarter than the opponent. In fact, the Nuggets controlled this game from the get go and never trailed against Memphis. A close fourth quarter brought the Grizzlies close, but the Nuggets had enough of a cushion to take the win 109-105.
A strong first quarter from the starters was exactly what the Nuggets needed. Nikola Jokic came out strong and put up 7 rebounds and 7 points in the first quarter alone, and although he didn’t put much up more for points the rest of the game, his strong rebounding game allowed some of the other Nuggets players to score.
Will Barton for the second straight game scored over 20 points with 25 off the bench. He is cementing his case as a sixth man of the year and solidifying his position in the Nuggets future as someone to come out and provide energy every game. Barton led the Nuggets in minutes played as well with 32:56 of playing time. Taking that much time allows for the Nuggets, who play the second game of a back-to-back tonight, to play there starters for more minutes.
Emmanuel Mudiay came out and played a great game as well. At one point Muiday knocked down three straight three pointers in the third quarter and really pushed the Nuggets ahead. Muiday had 17 points overall, but he also turned the ball over 5 times. The shooting for Mudi was solid, but his ball protection got a little sloppy at times. The minutes he has earned has definitely allowed him to improve, but he is by no means at his ceiling. A good passing game from Muiday hasn’t happened in a while and he needs a game like that tonight if the Nuggets want to win again.
The Nuggets play a struggling New Orleans Pelicans team who is without their star player Anthony Davis. The game is winnable but will be tough coming off a game last night. The Nuggets are going to need a well-rounded performance from a few players otherwise they will get tired out. They also need to play smart and take care of the ball. Mudiay can’t have five turnovers again, but having another good shooting night will go along. Gary Harris also needs to be a scorer for the Nuggets and he certainly needs to put up more than 5 points like he did last night.