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.

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

nuggets vs kings

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.

Nuggets win 116-105 in LA

Nuggets win 116-105 in LA

The Nuggets came out and won in Kobe’s final game against Denver with a well-rounded team effort. Kobe put up 28 points, but it wasn’t enough to push the Lakers for the win as five players for the Nuggets scored in double figures.

The bench provided the energy for the Nuggets in this game with DJ Augustin leading the charge. Augustin led the Nuggets in scoring with 20 points and was great beyond the arc shooting 5-7. Augustin’s good play since coming to the Nuggets has been the center of quite a few wins already and the pickup is proving to be valuable for the Nuggets.

Jusuf Nurkic also played great as he racked up a season high 18 points in 26:18 of playing time. Nurkic continued to show why he is such a valuable player when healthy and him and Joffrey Lauvergne paired up and played well as the two big men. Even with the starters not playing terrific, the bench energy and scoring ability carried the Nuggets to a win.

Perhaps the most positive note of the game was the defense of newly signed Axel Toupane. Toupane was guarding Kobe primarily and shut him down for the most part. Although he only scored 8 points in 22 minutes of playing time, he put up a +26 +/- and kept Kobe in check while on the court. The defense from Toupane has been a huge bright spot and probably the biggest reason the Nuggets signed him for 2 years.

The win was a good one for the Nuggets, but ultimately it was more harmful than helpful at this point of the season. Every win puts the Nuggets at less of a chance for a high draft pick, and every win really doesn’t make them playoff contenders. The wins can be called and characterized as “character wins” and still count for something. The growth of young players on the Nuggets is definitely worth something for each win and with that the future gets a little bit brighter. The Nuggets future is bright, next season even looks like they could compete, so with each win is more experience.

Denver plays again tomorrow night against the other Los Angeles team, the Clippers. It will be another tough game for the Nuggets, but is a good opportunity for Emmanuel Mudiay to play one of the best point guards in the game, Chris Paul. The pressure should fuel the fire for Mudi, so expect a hard fought performance from the rookie.

Nuggets win with crazy buzzer beater

Nuggets win with crazy buzzer beater

Emmanuel Mudiay got the overhand pass from Darrell Arthur inbounding the ball with 3.1 seconds left. Mudi dribbled down the court for the shot, got the ball knocked out of his hands momentarily, recovered, and launched a prayer just as the clock expired. The ball left his hand with .1 second remaining and, against all odds, the ball went in to put the Nuggets ahead and give them a win.

The final score against the Philadelphia 76ers was 104-103, probably much closer than it should’ve been against a team that has only won three games on the road, but a win is a win and even bad teams can have good games.

The Nuggets started with some energy coming out of the gates on an 8-0 run, but later fell behind as the 76ers started to get hot. They went on a 17-0 run to take the lead and finished the first quarter with a big lead over the Nuggets of 35-24.

After a pretty dismal first quarter, the Nuggets found a unit with some of the energy they started the game with and started to play some great defense. Jusuf Nurkic was at the center of it all as he played great defensively, putting up 4 blocks in 16:06 before sitting with five fouls. That quarter was the only quarter the Nuggets outscored the 76ers in, but they outscored them by 19 points, allowing only 10 points on some great defense.

The second half was mostly filled with some good three shooting from the 76ers who shot 40.5% from beyond the arc on 15-37 shooting throughout the game. The good shooting was shared between multiple players and was the only reason Philadelphia competed until the end. Despite there continued shooting from three, the Nuggets just couldn’t seem to defend it as well as they should.

Emmanuel Mudiay had a terrific game as he put up a double-double with 27 points and 11 rebounds. But more importantly for Mudiay was his clutch (or lucky) three point shot to win the game. Even if it was a little bit of luck, Mudi has shown his ability to maintain calm with the game on the line and has played very well in the fourth quarter when it has mattered. A few missed layups late here and there have occurred, but he doesn’t let it phase him and has made multiple clutch threes and some great plays on defense throughout the year. The young rookie has plenty of room to grow, but that is only a testament to how high is ceiling is with how well he has played.

The other starters for the Nuggets played well also with both Gary Harris and other rookie Nikola Jokic scoring 18 points. Jokic also earned himself 5 assists and 8 rebounds.

The Nuggets with this win have matched their season total last year with ten games remaining on the schedule. The Nuggets will play the Los Angeles Lakers for Kobe’s final game against the Nuggets before he retires on Friday night.

Will Barton can’t carry Nuggets to win

Will Barton can’t carry Nuggets to win

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.