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Denver Nuggets Rundown, Games 10-13: The Honeymoon Is Over

November 12,2018 23:14

Denver Nuggets Rundown a regular series of digests rounding up news, notes and numbers from the most recent set of Denver Nuggets games. The previous Rundown for games 5-9 can be found here. Stats are from NBA.com unless otherwise indicated.and more »

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, right, takes a rebound away from Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic in the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, in Denver. Milwaukee won 121-114. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)ASSOCIATED PRESS

Denver Nuggets Rundown a regular series of digests rounding up news, notes and numbers from the most recent set of Denver Nuggets games. The previous Rundown for games 5-9 can be found here. Stats are from NBA.com unless otherwise indicated.
Nuggets in a Nutshell
Following a 9-1 season start which marked Denver’s best since 1976, the Nuggets have done a 180-degree pivot and dropped three straight, suddenly losing their grip on the identity of toughness and resiliency which helped them scrap their way to hard-fought wins.
Where Denver Stands
Record: 9-4 (.692); Previous: 8-1 (.889)
Standing: 3rd in Western Conference (2 games back), 2nd in Northwest Division
Net rating: 6.2 (6th); Offensive rating: 110.3 (9th); Defensive rating: 104.1 (4th); Previous: 9.5 (3rd), 110.3 (12th), 100.9 (3rd)
FiveThirtyEight NBA Prediction: 51 wins, 93% playoff chances; Previous: 54, 97%
ESPN Basketball Power Index Ranking: 6th; Previous: 7th
Games 10-13:
G10: W 115-107 vs. Boston Celtics
G11: L 87-89 @ Memphis Grizzlies
G12: L 110-112 vs. Brooklyn Nets
G13: L 114-121 vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Team leaders in games 10-13
Points: Jamal Murray, 23.3; Rebounds: Jokic, 11.0; Assists: Jokic, 5.3; Net rating: Monte Morris 13.7
Nuggets Nuggets
Jamal Murray’s career-high 48-point explosion led the Nuggets to a big win over the Celtics. It was the brightest ray of hope in an otherwise mostly-cloudy four-game stretch. As I broke down in my film study and analysis of the Blue Arrow’s big game, he has diversified his offensive game with a wider array of mid-range pull-ups and driving floaters and finger rolls.
As his average of 15 points on a shiver-inducing .373 effective field goal percentage (eFG%) over the subsequent three games drove home, however, delivering efficient and productive scoring with consistency is still eluding the 21-year-old early this season. Additionally, Murray is struggling with some of his basic point guard duties such as feeding Nikola Jokic in the post and in general just taking care of the ball. He will need to work his way through these issues if he is to eventually hit the high ceiling he appears capable of achieving.
Craig has value to this Nuggets team as he brings a particular defensive energy and intensity which can change games, but this utility is better deployed off the bench, and it should improve Denver’s chances of winning more games until Will Barton returns from injury if Juancho continues to start in the interim. Craig got a “DNP – Coach’s Decision” against Milwaukee as the rotation was tightened to nine players, but he’s a Malone favorite so he should see minutes with some regularity.
The Nuggets’ defensive progress appears to be real, albeit inconsistent. Despite Denver’s defensive rating falling from 100.9 to 104.1 over the last four games, and the barrage of 3-pointers hurled their way by the Nets and Bucks, they continue overall to defend at a level they were incapable of prior to this season. Take this defensive possession, which literally put a rare smile on Michael Malone’s face:
One need look no further than their three latest losses to see that they still have much progress to make in maintaining a high level of defensive vigilance over the course of entire games, and particularly in crunch time, but with a 13-game sample size now in tow, it seems highly unlikely that they will fall once again to the bottom third in the league where they have dwelled for years on end.
The Nuggets debuted their new blue City Edition jerseys emblazoned with “Mile High City” last Friday. It was the first of their series of “Mile High City Nights” at the Pepsi Center in which bands and DJs will perform at games when the team wears the new uniforms.

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 09: Paul Millsap #4 of the Denver Nuggets plays the Brooklyn Nets at the Pepsi Center on November 9, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)Getty

The roll-out, which also featured a new alternate court logo, was somewhat bemired with Denver’s first home loss as they fell to the Nets despite a huge 37 points and 21 rebound performance from Nikola Jokic. But the new design looks clean and sharp, and it would appear the jersey is bound to be the second-most popular after the much-hailed revamped rainbow skyline jerseys (which in another subplot, reportedly sold out in five minutes).
Upcoming Games
G14: vs. Houston Rockets, Nov. 13, 9 pm ET
G15: vs. Atlanta Hawks, Nov. 15, 9 pm ET
G16: @ New Orleans Pelicans, Nov. 17, 7 pm ET
What to Watch For

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