Denver Nuggets Use Outstanding Second Quarter to Power Past Clippers
Dec 26, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Luc Mbah a Moute (12) guards Denver Nuggets forward Nikola Jokic (15) in the first quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
The Denver Nuggets powered past the depleted Clippers behind solid games from Gallinari, Barton, and Jokic to remain a game behind eighth seed.
Despite being five games under .500, the Nuggets are still well within range of snatching the eighth seed away from the Sacramento Kings. The Nuggets needed to win tonight against the shorthanded Clippers, and even though they struggled, they still found a way to win.
Want your voice heard? Join the Nugg Love team!
Nikola Jokic has played the best basketball of his career lately, when he has remained out of foul trouble. He added 24 points along with 10 rebounds. Jokic has far and away been the most outstanding Nugget since the lineup change.
The Nuggets look like a completely different team when Nikola Jokic is on the court. Jokic finished a +17 on the night, which was by far the best by a Nugget. The team thrives off of Jokic and it is obvious that he is the centerpiece of the franchise and the player the Nuggets need for their future.
Building around Jokic should be the top priority for the Nuggets if they want to contend in the league.
Will Barton was also a bright spot for the team tonight, as he finished with 23 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists in 32 minutes with a +7. Barton has been a very hot topic on this Nuggets team as some fans would like to trade him while his value is high, while others would like to keep him.
Barton remains a key part of the Nuggets’ rotation, and will probably remain that way. He has stated in the past that he wants to be on this team and doesn’t want to be traded, a big reason as to why he could stay in Denver for at least the rest of this season.
More from Nugg Love
As for what went wrong, the Nuggets failed to keep their big lead and almost choked up the game, but thanks to clutch free throw shooting from Gallinari, the Nuggets were able to escape with the win. The Nuggets committed way too many turnovers in the second half and it allowed the Clippers to walk right back into the game.
The Nuggets also need to figure out their rotation for good. Although players struggle with inconsistency, it doesn’t help that the rotation is changing game to game. Getting good lineups and good match-ups, teammate wise, would allow the Nuggets to develop a better team chemistry and get better.
The Nuggets will have to continue this winning streak heading home to face the Sixers and Timberwolves. The Nuggets are still only a game out of the eighth spot, and only are only a few wins away from being in the playoff picture, but they will need to stay winning.