Nov 8, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay (0) shoots the ball over Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) during the first half at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
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The Denver Nuggets suffered a loss on a devastating buzzer-beater by Memphis center Marc Gasol, and here are the Nuggets grades for this demoralizing game.
The Denver Nuggets season so far has been defined by the word “almost.” They almost won’t against Portland; they almost won against Toronto; they almost won against Memphis. If they pull out all those losses which were less than five points, then they would be 6-1.
These growing pains will hurt them throughout this season, but if this isn’t their season, next season they will be ready.
Denver’s Overall Grade: B-
I actually did not hate Denver’s performance tonight- minus the turnovers. They settled for many shots and their defense was at times lackluster, but they fought. For a team as young as Denver, you need to see them fight.
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They yet again out rebounded Memphis 39-32. They were also able to get out on the break and run. They had 11 more fast break points than Memphis, but Memphis’ +24 points in the paint also proved to be crucial.
The only stat that should really matter is 22 turnovers. 22 turnovers is what hurt the Denver Nuggets tonight. Two turnovers in the last 30 seconds helped the Nuggets burry their own coffin.
Now, let’s take a look and grade each major Nugget in this game.
Nov 8, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay (0) reacts during the second half against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum. the Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Denver Nuggets 108-107. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
Emmanuel Mudiay- Grade: D+
Emmanuel Mudiay was part of the reason that Denver was repeatedly able to claw themselves back into the game and even into the lead.
The problem is that he ultimately can be blamed for this game. After an inexcusable turnover with about 25 seconds left, he turned the ball over again with just second remaining. He also was unable to get the pass that Carter threw over his head to Gasol.
This was not half bad. HIs seven turnovers is the main reason for his D+, and it will still be a problem for Mudiay throughout this season. He must cut this down to continue to be the Mile High’s starting PG. Mudiay is in the middle of a crucial season, and he must start to take care of the ball.
His efficient shooting was a huge plus tonight, and he has been shooting better and being more aggressive which does not help his turnover problem.
Nov 8, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Denver Nuggets center Jusuf Nurkic (23) controls the ball in front of Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) during the first half at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
Jusuf Nurkic- Grade: F
Nurkic was able to play 29 minutes, and in those minutes, he was inefficient.
The Denver Nuggets lack a solid post presence, but with Nurkic, they are given the defense tank in the middle. As they entered the “grind house”, they needed a strong performance from their big man. They ended disappointed and going home with their fourth loss.
Statline: 11 points, 7 rebounds, 6 turnovers
Nurkic has surprisingly been a turnover machine for Denver. His 6 turnovers tonight are more than double his 2.4 per game average. In both of Denver’s close losses this season, Nurkic has posted double-doubles and been one of the main reason for Denver’s success. Nurkic also at times seemed hesitant. He didn’t attack the rim much, he sat back and was smothered by the Grizzles swarming defense. He shot just one free throw which is less than his normal 4.4 free throw attempts per game.
This time the Denver Nuggets needed their big, and he wasn’t there to be found. As Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph were the second and third highest scoring players for Memphis, Denver saw the grind house completely destroy them.
Nov 8, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) shoots the ball over Denver Nuggets forward Nikola Jokic (15) during the first half at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
Nikola Jokic- Grade: C+
The Serbian Sensation, Big Honey, the Joker- whatever you want to call him- Nikola Jokic has not lived up to his nicknames throughout the beginning of this season, and tonight proved this again.
Jokic did hit a three tonight, but he was unable to solidify his mark on this game. Jokic was the team’s only starter to not commit a turnover. Throughout the entire game Jokic continued to struggle to contain Zach Randolph.
11/10Golden State Warriors
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Statline: 12 points (4-10 shooting), 5 rebounds
His statline along with his zero turnover is not horrible, but with all the hype, Jokic needs to produce more. He was bullied on the defensive end and was often times of out of sorts not the offensive end.
If you take out Jokic’s 23 point and 17 rebound game against Portland, Jokic has not scored over 15 points nor grabbed over 10 rebounds in any game. After a dominating performance against Team USA in the Olympics, Jokic was suppose to come back and show his dominance over the entire NBA.
That is not the case, and it may be some time before Jokic is truly able to break out in this league.
Jan 8, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari (8) shoots over Memphis Grizzlies forward JaMychal Green (0) during the second half at FedExForum. Memphis Grizzlies defeated Denver Nuggets 91 – 84. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
Danilo Gallinari- Grade: B-
Outside of maybe Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari has been the most consistent Nugget. His 21 points today means that the rooster has scored over 15 points in all 7 games this season. His effective 3-5 from deep was also crucial in helping spark Denver back into this game.
Statline: 21 points (3-5 from deep), 7 rebounds, 3 steals
My concern is for his minutes. His 38 minutes means that this was his sixth of the first seven games with at least 35 minutes. Gallinari, who is often injury prone, only is surpassed by Anthony Davis, Harrison Barnes, Kyle Lowry, and Wesley Matthews in minutes per game.
Coach Malone might want to scale back Gallo’s minutes while still finding a way to keep within striking difference.
Denver is now on their way home from their five game road trip. They were 2-3 on this road trip and have played one of the hardest schedules so far this season. Their next game will be played at home on November 10th against the Golden State Warriors.
Be ready at 9 PM EST as the Nuggets will try to outplay one of the best NBA teams.