The Nuggets were eliminated from the playoffs for the third straight year, but for many, this is not a year of disappointment. A new coach along with some very talented, developing young players, have brought hope for the future for many fans rather than a sadness from missing the playoffs again. Coach Malone and the Denver Nuggets are going to be a playoff contender in the coming years, so a losing season doesn’t hurt as much. However, losing to depleted teams like the Pelicans hurts a little.
The New Orleans Pelicans won on Thursday night 101-95.The Pelicans are a depleted team who have lost the most games to injured players of any other team in the league. They were playing the Nuggets who were on the second game of a back-to-back though and the Nuggets just couldn’t seem to find a rhythm outside of their one top scorer for the game.
Darrell Arthur put up a season high 24 points, but when the Nuggets went with a small lineup with Arthur being the only “big” his scoring actually limited what the Nuggets could do. Arthur was taking shots from outside of the pain and while he was the hot hand, if he missed no one was there to pick up the rebound. This hurt the Nuggets when they weren’t playing either Kenneth Faried or Nikola Jokic who were the only players other than Arthur who had more than 3 rebounds.
It was a game where Jusuf Nurkic was out again due to illness and where other big man Joffrey Lauvergne only logged 10:43 of playing time. With those two not getting the playing time and coming off playing last night, the Nuggets couldn’t get any real production from the center position. Nikola Jokic played decently, earning 9 points and 8 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to carry the position.
Overall this was a forgettable game for the Nuggets and its good it is coming at the end of a season that doesn’t matter much anyways. The team can take this game as a lesson that every team is a threat to win in the NBA.The rest of the season can be focused entirely on developing the young guys as much as possible. Experimenting with different lineups, allowing the young guys to lead the team, and other things like that are what Coach Malone can do. Losses and wins just don’t matter, but the future of the Nuggets is looking up.