Denver Nuggets vs Philadelphia 76ers: 4 Key Takeaways

Dec 5, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) celebrates with guard Malik Beasley (L) after his three pointer against the Philadelphia 76ers during the second half at Wells Fargo Center. The Denver Nuggets won 106-98. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets outlasted the 76ers last night in a tight 106-98 game.

Denver was finally able to snap a 3-game losing streak albeit against Philadelphia.

The story of the night was rookie sensation Jamal Murray who posted a remarkable 22 point performance. It was also nice to see Denver hold an opponent under 100 points for once, something that they have accomplished only a couple of times this year.

Murray was one of four Nuggets to hit 20 points. Danilo Gallinari (24), Will Barton (22), and Jamal Murray (22) were the leading Nuggets. Besides them, only Wilson Chandler hit double figures with 10 points, and Jameer Nelson had 7 big time points. This Nuggets team showed resilience and potential last night, but there are still some negative takeaways from this narrow victory.

While there are still many concerns surrounding this Nuggets squad, last night’s game could potentially serve as a spring board for a winning streak, and we hope that this game plus the Nets game on Wednesday could spin this team in the right direction.

There were 4 key takeaways from this win.

Dec 2, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Houston Rockets forward Corey Brewer (33) guards Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) in the second quarter at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 2, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Houston Rockets forward Corey Brewer (33) guards Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) in the second quarter at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Jamal Murray has been impressive lately.

Whenever he has a quiet game, he seems to always bounce back with a great performance the following game.

Murray has certainly learned since his shaky start to his career and caught fire at the right time. Last night, he had one of the best player differentials on the team at 11. Murray is showing why many Denver fans think he will be the Steph Curry of the team in the future with a field goal percentage of 66% and a 3 point percentage of about 43% in the win.

He deserves to be in the conversation for Rookie of the Year, and while Philly’s Joel Embiid has been impressive too, Murray could easily capture the illustrious rookie title.

Easily may actually be a rough stretch. The 76ers rookie has averaged 18+ points per game this season and over 7 rebounds. Even with an impressive end to the season, Jamal Murray may take a backseat for the ROY award.

Dec 5, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Darrell Arthur (00) defends the shot attempt of Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) during the second half at Wells Fargo Center. The Denver Nuggets won 106-98. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Denver’s defense has been atrocious this year.

While the injuries have hurt this aspect of their game, they should still be showing more fight against the opposition. Last night, on the other hand, they showed a glimpse of a defensive fight. The Nuggets still gave up 98 points which is quite a bit, but considering opponents normally put up 100 or more points on the Nuggets, it is a start.

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It’s been said time and time again that Gary Harris will aid Denver’s defense when he returns, but for now they need to learn how to make do without him. If they can improve defensively now, then they can cause havoc for the opposition when Gary Harris does come back.

Last night can mark the start of a defensive revolution for the Nuggets if they play their cards right.

Dec 5, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) defends against Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried (35) during the second half at Wells Fargo Center. The Denver Nuggets won 106-98. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Kenneth Faried was only played for 12 minutes last night by Coach Malone.

With the limited playing time, he only logged 2 points. However, it was not from a field goal.

That is correct they were from 2 made free throws by the Manimal himself. This may be more of a takeaway from the entire season so far, but it is worth noting Faried’s improved free throw shooting. There has been multiple times this year where he has shot 80% or better from the line. He is showing that he is taking a gigantic leap forward with his free throw shooting, adding a facet to his game. This would be incredible for Faried’s play time going forward as Coach Malone has struggled to keep him in the lineup.

Faried was just not a good matchup against the 76ers. With Embiid down low and Ilyasova on the wing, the Manimal was left without anyone to guard. The small ball lineup was a much better option for Malone. Chandler and Gallinari have been a good option all year, and Faried may soon see his 23.5 minute per game drop off.

This is a welcome sight to Denver fans who love the Manimal but want him to add other factors rather than just crashing the boards. Last night, the 100% free throw shooting is something we wouldn’t see normally from Faried in the past even if it was only one trip to the stripe.

Dec 5, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay (0) attempts to shoot and is fouled by Philadelphia 76ers forward Richaun Holmes (22) during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Emmanuel Mudiay Struggled Yet Again

Mudiay has had an up and down year to say the least. He seems to take one step forward and two steps back. He struggled against a 76er team whose weak point is their point guard position which is very concerning.

His field goal percentage only a whopping 16.7% which only resulted in 4 points. His differential from the win doesn’t paint a pretty picture of his play either which was a low -1. Also, he did not record a single block or steal, which is odd considering one of the underrated parts of his game is his defense. As someone who genuinely wants Mudiay to succeed, it is disheartening to see him play like this multiple times this season.

He needs to turn things around fast especially since he has to guard the speedy John Wall later this week. If not, then some time spent on the bench to develop and mature behind a veteran may be in order for this young point guard.

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