Nuggets end season at home with a loss

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Denver could not figure out the Utah Jazz for the fourth time this season as they lost their final game at home against the division rival. The final score was 100-84 and it capped a lackluster home record for the Nuggets. Finishing 18-23 at the Pepsi Center is not what a team wants to do and it was actually a step back for the Nuggets as they went 19-22 in 2014-2015 season. There will be one final game for the Nuggets in Portland against the Trail Blazers.

The final home game of the season actually favored the Nuggets until a dreadful third quarter. The Nuggets had a 62-58 lead until the Jazz decided to tighten down on D and turn the tide in their favor. At the point, the Jazz then went on a 24-0 lead that completely destroyed the Nuggets, the energy of the crowd, and any potential they had at winning this game. A 24-0 run for any team is a sign of weakness somewhere in the lineup. For the Nuggets, it was just an inability to get the ball to a scorer to take some of the momentum back. The Jazz did play great defense during this stretch, but there has to be someone to step up and want the ball. This just didn’t happen and it gave the Nuggets a 0-4 record against Utah on the year.

The game wasn’t all negatives, even if the Nuggets lost. Nikola Jokic did play a great game putting up 19 points and pulling down 11 boards for a double-double. Emmanuel Mudiay also scored 19 of his own and limited his turnovers to only two. Two turnovers is not fantastic, but that has been an area of focus for Mudi this year and two is certainly better than a lot of games this year.

Gary Harris also had a pretty good game and he has shown himself to be a player deserving of the most improved player award. Harris has greatly improved his effectiveness on both ends of the court since his rookie year and has been the Nuggets most consistent player. He is never lacking energy and while he is not a premier scorer, he will be a cornerstone to this developing Nuggets franchise and has already cemented himself worth of playing with this team for many years to come.

One more game this season and the Nuggets surely want to end on a high note. Losing at home in front of the home crowd is always a motivator, so the Nuggets will surely come out and look to end on a high note and give them some momentum to come off to into the offseason.

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Nuggets beat the Spurs 102-98

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The Nuggets beat the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night. The win was no doubt a good win for the Nuggets, but the Spurs, who have already clinched a playoff spot, were resting most of the starters. This was probably a lot of the reason for the win, but some big games from the Nuggets young core was also a contributing factor.

Jusuf Nurkic and Nikola Jokic started together for the first time and boy did they look good. Nurk put up a career high 21 points and pulled down 9 rebounds. Jokic put up a career high 15 rebounds and scored 8 points. The two big men looked strong for the Nuggets and if they can play together with this sort of energy next season, the Nuggets will be looking at a scary good starting 5.

Emmanuel Mudiay will be part of that starting five and the young point guard had himself a really solid game as well. Mudiay put up 20 points with 5 assists and 6 rebounds. Overall, it was a hard fought and well earned win for the Nuggets.

The Spurs who rested LaMarcus Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard, and Tony Parker were definitely playing with their B-lineup, but they are still an NBA team and the Spurs have depth so this win showed some grit from the Nuggets.

The Nuggets are 33-47 on the season and while the year was by no means a good year, there was a lot of growth from the young guys and fans of the Nuggets should expect some serious potential for the playoffs in the coming years. Next year might not be the year for the Nuggets to compete for a championship, but they will almost certainly compete for a playoff spot. With some experience under the young guys’ belts, they will be able to play with more confidence and act like they’ve been there before. Coach Malone and his philosophy will be familiar to all of the players and this should bode well for the Nuggets.

There are only two more games this season for Denver. A final home game against the Utah Jazz tomorrow afternoon, and one more game against the Portland Trail Blazers on this coming Wednesday. Win or lose, the Nuggets should be excited for the future and ready to use this season as a stepping stone towards their bright future as playoff contenders.

Nuggets fall to Kings 115-106

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For the second straight game in a row, the Nuggets failed to beat a team that was without a couple of their main players. Sacramento was without Demarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo on Saturday night, but they still managed to come back against the Nuggets and win 115-106.

The game was really a tale of two halves. The first half, in which the Nuggets won both quarters and played really well all around, and the second half where the Nuggets team couldn’t make the stops needed and basically fell apart in the fourth quarter. The first half saw strong play from different pairings of the big men Nikola Jokic, Jusuf Nurkic, and Joffrey Lauvergne. The big men played in pairings and played well in the first half, showing off their passing skills, ability to pull down rebounds, and their scoring touch.

The second half saw a Kings team that was able to take control of the game and come back from their deficit they ended the first half with. Rudy Gay and Seth Curry both played really well for the Kings and were the prime reason they won the game. The Nuggets just couldn’t stop them during their respective hot streaks and in the fourth quarter, the Kings managed to pull away from the Nuggets. The Kings outscored the Nuggets by thirteen in the fourth quarter with 31 total points against the Nuggets 18.

Gary Harris did his best to keep the Nuggets in it as he scored 19. Lauvergne and Emmanuel Mudiay also scored 15 apiece of their own, but aside from those three, no one stayed consistent enough with their scoring to give the Nuggets the win. This game was also the second straight poor shooting night from Will Barton. Barton scored only 2 points on 0-9 from the field. This shows how much Barton means to this team coming off the bench. If he were to come out and score even a little bit, this team could’ve kept their momentum and possibly won the game.

The loss isn’t the worse thing that could’ve happened. It does give the Nuggets a better chance at a higher pick and only adds character to a team that needs to learn to hate losing. The road forward doesn’t get any easier for the Nuggets who play on Tuesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Nuggets officially eliminated, lose to Pelicans

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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.

Nuggets hold on for win over Grizzlies

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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.

Nuggets lose to Mavericks 88-97

Nuggets lose to Mavericks 88-97

Denver lost to Dallas on Monday night in a game in which they turned the ball over 21 times while the Mavericks only turned it over 3 times. The major story of the game was obviously turnovers, but it was not necessarily stellar defense that caused them. The Nuggets played like the young team they are and simply beat themselves.

Every player that played more than 8 minutes for the Nuggets had at least one turnover. Both Kenneth Faried, in his first game back after missing six straight, and Emmanuel Mudiay had four turnovers apiece. Those turnovers were clearly costly and the Nuggets lack of care for the ball was just something that comes from a team playing too loosely and sloppily.

Some players on the Nuggets did have good game despite the tough loss. Sixth Man of the Year candidate, Will Barton, continued to state his case for the end of the year award and put up 23 off the bench on 7-14 shooting from the field and 5-9 shooting from beyond the arc. Barton continues to play as a great force off the bench and a consistent bright spot throughout the season. Mudiay, ignoring his turnovers, also played really well. He put up 16 points on a decent night of shooting, but also tallied 6 rebounds and 7 assists. A good, rounded game like this show some of Mudis potential to play as a star. If he can now cut down on the turnovers while still playing aggressively, he will develop into the player the Nuggets thought they were getting when they drafted him. Don’t get me wrong, Mudiay has played great all year, but he has a ways to go still.

Gary Harris was the only other Nugget to score in double figures with 13 points. It was yet another solid performance from Harris who has been an extremely consistent player all year long. The young core for this team is very solid and very promising and watching them put it all together is a pleasure.

The Mavericks played as a team fighting for a playoff spot as nearly every player showed up. Seven different players scored in double figures and the Mavs held onto the ball where the Nuggets couldn’t. Going into the final minutes of the fourth quarter, the Mavs had only turned the ball over once. They tripled that number in the final three minutes, but ultimately they had enough of a lead to seal the deal.

The Nuggets get a day of rest before getting back to the action against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Nuggets will look to win for the first time against the Grizzlies this season as they have lost the previous three games.

Nuggets lose big to Clippers

Nuggets lose big to Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers, behind a big performance from DeAndre Jordan, beat the Nuggets handily sunday afternoon with a final score of 105-90. With the win, the Clippers sealed their way to the playoffs for the fifth straight year.

The Nuggets competed early after a slow 0-6 start form the field, but ultimately could not hold off the Clippers and big man DeAndre Jordan. Jordan finished with 16 points, 16 rebounds, and 6 blocks in a great performance.

Emmanuel Mudiay struggled all game to put in any shots as he finished with only 4 points on 2-15 shooting. That kind of game is not something that should happen often for Mudi, but in only his first season games like this will occur. What matters most is how Mudiay rebounds in the next game. Tough games happen for everyone, but the great players come back and don’t let a bad game hold them down.

On a brighter note, Jusuf Nurkic played great for his second game in a row and showed again why the Nuggets believe him to be a part of their future. Nurk finished with 19 points and 7 rebounds in 24:12 of playing time. The Bosnian Beast has really come along since some middle of the season drama and injury issues. With the offseason coming quickly, the big man can get fully healthy and hopefully be a part of the Nuggets playoff run next season.

The starters for the Nuggets didn’t play well again, but the bench is showing to be a real bright spot in this season as they can come out and compete with teams day in and day out. Will Barton, DJ Augustin, Joffrey Lauvergne, and Nurkic are all great bench players who can come out and light up the score sheet and control a game at times. With the development of the starters like Nikola Jokic, and Mudiay, the bench will get some of the pressure taken off of them. With that, they can come out with energy and hopefully continue off of what a growing starter core starts games with.

An injured Kenneth Faried missed his sixth straight game with lower back problems. He was a game time decision on Sunday so he is getting closer to being game ready, but there is no reason to rush him back to action.

The Nuggets will be playing the second game of a back-to-back tonight against the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs are competing for the playoffs so the Nuggets will be playing spoiler on Monday night.