Oct 31, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Denver Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay (0) dribbles the ball past Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) in the first half at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
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The Denver Nuggets are in the midst of a collapse that was to be expected. As they suffer their second loss, the Nuggets will need to fix several things.
The Denver Nuggets were in a hole early taking a 13 point deficit into halftime. Through good play and a defined pace, they clawed their way back into the game as it got interesting down the stretch.
The Denver Nuggets were yet again dismantled by the other teams stars- which may continue to be a problem throughout the season. The DeRozan-Lowry tandem gave Toronto a combined 62 points and just 4 turnovers. Wow.
On the other hand, the Nuggets played a hell of a game too. They saw six players including all five starters score over 12 points which is as incredible impressive. Along with that, they again out rebounded their opponent 46-43 with Jusuf Nurkic snatched a career-high with 18 boards.
This game provided several key takeaways that the Nuggets should further look at. Here at Nugg Love we try to take some facts away from each game. And, for this time, we took to Twitter to ask our followers what they thought about the game.
Oct 31, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry shoots for a basket against Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari (8) in the fourth quarter at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors won 105-102. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
The Rooster- How Danilo Gallinari Needs to Step Up
Gallinari is up first on the deck. This is the tweet that got the gears turnings. So, I dug deeper.
@Nugg_Love substitutions at the wrong times, Gallinari not playing defense and not rebounding.
For being a 6-10 small forward on the best rebounding team in the NBA, a sad 3.3 rebounds per game can not cut it. Gallinari has played the most minutes of any Nugget at 38.8 per game yet has rebounded the least of any starter. The starting small pulled down just two rebounds in his 37 minutes of time last night.
Along with that, Gallinari has been uncharacteristically bad from the field. He has shot just 3-11 against the Raptors and continues his struggles from the field. Through the first three games, Gallinari has shot a measly 31.6% from the field.
So, Michael, you were right with this one. Some substitution problems will certainly be tweaked out as the team gets accustomed to playing in close game, but you are spot with the Gallinari observation.
Dec 22, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Will Barton (5) and guard Gary Harris (14) react during the first half against the Los Angeles Lakers at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Should Gary Harris even take Will Barton’s spot?
This is certainly an interesting one, and it comes with several parts involved.
@Nugg_Love Love Gary Harris but Will Barton should be the starter, Faried with energy off the bench with Gary's defense and scoring ability????
The Denver Nuggets are in for a tough decision when Gary Harris is fully ready to come back. Right after the draft Coach Malone reassured the team that Murray would not immediately start over Harris, but Barton is the real threat.
Barton provides a spark that the starting unit does not have without him. He has been the only majorly constant Nugget. Mudiay has struggled, Jokic has struggled, and Nurkic has struggled, but Barton has been the key contributor in ALL three games.
With that said, how can you take one of the hottest and best players and send him to the bench when the first unit needs scoring. Short answer, you can’t. Barton’s 18.0 points per game leads the Nuggets team and his 50% from the field and 57.1% from the three point line also speak volumes to how well he is playing. Oh, and Barton is shooting 94% from the line.
Along with the seventh worst usage rate of the Nuggets ten players that have seen court time, Will Barton has provided a spark without demanding the ball. Is it just me that views that as impressive?
In the end, it is a decision that only coach Malone can make, but it sure will be a difficult and intriguing one. Tell us what you would do on Facebook or in the comments below.
Oct 31, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors guard Cory Joseph (6) takes a shot for a basket over Denver Nuggets center Jusuf Nurkic (23) in the fourth quarter at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors won 105-102. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Is Nurkic the key difference maker?
Last night Nurkic prove that he may be able to take that next step to be a dominate big in the NBA.
@Nugg_Love definitely Nurk's command of the post when he has been on the floor
This command in the post has shown in his absurd stats.
Last night Nurkic posted 13 points, 18 rebounds and 5 blocks on 5-14 shooting and 3-7 from the line. His shooting stats in this game were not overly great, but they have been better in the first two games, so there is little to worry about.
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Nurkic’s offensive rating is the team’s best, his defensive rating is second best, and his net ratings is also second best. With the team’s best rebounding percentage and player impact estimate, Nurkic has proved himself to be a crucial part of everything the Nuggets plan to do from here on out.
Nurkic has been a beast for the Denver Nuggets, but his efficiency might be a struggle throughout the season.
For a big who takes the majority of his shots inside the paint, Nurkic must be able to constantly shoot at least 45% for this team.
Oct 31, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) looks to make a pass as Denver Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay (0) and forward Nikola Jokic (15) defend in the first half at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Is the rotation going to be a problem?
The Denver Nuggets have lost two nail biters back-to-back, so could the rotation be a problem?
@Nugg_Love the rotation needs to be figured out especially for the bigs… By figured out I mean have jokic on the floor
With Nurkic seeing his first fourth quarters minutes last night, some other Nuggets- especially Jokic- took a back seat in the fourth quarter. Along with Nurkic and Jokic, Faried’s minutes will prove crucial as they like him down the stretch too.
With that said, the rotation for certain games could continue to be a problem especially as Darrell Arthur and Gary Harris set to return soon.
Arthur will cut into the already loaded front court, so who suffers? Along with those four, the Nuggets have shown the ability to play a successful small ball lineup, so it may be easy for Nuggets to completely abandon the idea of the twin towers.
Give us your thoughts on how Malone should handle the soon-to-be health lineup with those two back.
Oct 31, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) gestures to fans during a time out in a 105-102 loss to Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Can the Nuggets form a reliable connection within their team?
The Nuggets will be able to pull out several key wins if their bench can and starters can be counted on.
@Nugg_Love deep enough to stay with any team. If they can get to a point to count on players to use their skillset consistently…
This one is somewhat hard to expand on. The Nuggets need to start closing out games, but it is crucial they start winning the game within the first three quarters.
Throughout the last two games, the Nuggets have seen unquestionable late game execution struggles, so winning the game before this moment should be key. The NBA season is 82 games, and the Denver Nuggets have possible the NBA’s best bench.
With the return of Harris and Arthur, this team will be able to rest their starters while still threatening their opponents at all times in the game.
This is a key for them. They are deep enough, but their players need to prove it.