Nov 13, 2016; Portland, OR, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari (8) shoots over Portland Trail Blazers forward Mason Plumlee (24) and forward Meyers Leonard (11) during the third quarter at the Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports
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The Denver Nuggets once again showed an inability to finish the game tonight.
The Denver Nuggets dropped to 3-7 after a frustrating loss tonight. While it looked promising at first, the woes that plague this teams returned in the second half.
The Nuggets were short-handed tonight, however they need to figure out how to play a consistent game for 4 quarters. While the beginning and end of the game did show signs of promise, the mid ground was a pure collapse and ended up in their seventh loss.
There are many factors right now that are starting to create an uproar in the fan-base and frustrating the players when they could easily have a winning record right now.
Unfortunately, hindsight is 20-20, and the Nuggets are one of the most disappointing teams so far this season.
They only tallied a pathetic total of 11 assists in tonight’s game and were out-shined in the game against Detroit as well.
As a team they are only averaging 18.7 assists per game and Jameer Nelson is the leader in assists at only 3.8 per game, which are putrid numbers for a point guard, but to his defense he is the backup.
So how bad are the Nuggets at creating assists?
The Nuggets are 28th in assists per game and only behind the Toronto Raptors, who have DeRozan and Lowry do all the heavy lifting, and the Utah Jazz, who shocked me that they were that low. Without a pure superstar, playing a none-team style game will hurt the Nuggets just as it did in their collapse tonight. Not to mention the Nuggets assists ratio is a horrendous 13.8. Assists ratio is the number of assists a team has per 100 possessions. Needless to say, the Nuggets have a problem.
The Nuggets high turnover rate may have had something to do with their complacency tonight as well.
Denver needs to find a way to move the ball around without turning the ball over if they want to be taken seriously.
Before you riot, ask yourself are the Nuggets are really putting forth their best defensive effort? In almost every game so far, they have given up over 100 points and the perimeter defense has been suffering.
Harris’ presence was missed drastically tonight as the Blazers back-court ate Denver for breakfast.
They allowed Lillard to drop 32 points along with his counterpart, C.J. McCollum pouring in 21 points.
The worst part is that the Bosnian Beast looks menacing from a defensive standpoint, but is allowing average to sub-par opponents in the post to bully him. Even with Nurkic down in the paint, the Nuggets give up a disastrous 49.8 points in the paint per game which is the NBA’s worst. This must be fixed.
The Nuggets must get better defensively now and no later.
Oct 21, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Wesley Matthews (23) defends against Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) in the first quarter at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Jamal Murray is starting to get comfortable
One of the few bright spots is that Murray had one of his best nights tonight.
He is starting to look more and more comfortable with his shot and gaining more confidence while playing with the big boys.
He shot a solid 50% from the field posting 19 points. The 19 points was Murray’s new career-high which we soon hope to see broken again.
He seems to be getting acclimated to the offense finally which is good news for the Nuggets going forward, considering they will need all the help they can get from their bench.
The cherry on top was him shooting an outstanding 55% from downtown.
Nov 13, 2016; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) shoots over Denver Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler (21) during the fourth quarter at the Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports
The Nuggets need to get healthy soon
Without Barton, Arthur, and Harris was a lot of firepower Denver couldn’t utilize tonight.
Barton is an offensive weapon that could’ve came in handy and Harris could’ve been used to contain Lillard a bit. Arthur is needed to add more variety and options to the front-court rotations.
Unfortunately, Denver had their hands tied without any of these options tonight and were forced to play short-handed once again this year.
If the Nuggets could just get fully healthy, it would be a giant step towards becoming a consistent team going forward. Without Arthur’s stretch 4 ability, teams have been feasting on Denver’s inability to keep teams honest in the front-court.