The Denver Nuggets lost their third game in a row Friday night, falling to the Miami Heat 108-91 in AmericanAirlines Arena. Denver is now 26-44, good enough for the eighth worst record in the NBA for all you tanking enthusiasts out there. The Nuggets have given up 106 points per game and been out rebounded 150-114, over the past three games. One of Denver's biggest problems in this game was shooting a countless number of bad three's and missing free throws. Denver took 27 three's, making only seven of them and shooting a underwhelming 53% from the charity strike.
Miami's backcourt had great success in this game, Wade and Dragic combined for 40 points, nine assists and nine rebounds on 56% shooting from the field. Hassan Whiteside also did some damage for the Heat, highlighted by a big dunk in the third quarter. I mentioned Whiteside in my preview as the player to watch in this game, and he didn't disappoint, finishing with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. Whiteside was a big reason the Heat were able to out rebound Denver 44-35 and was a monster on the defensive glass, limiting Denver's second chances. The Heat also scored 26 easy points off of 16 Nuggets turnovers, also getting easy shots at the rim scoring 52 points in the paint.
For the Nuggets, I thought their frontcourt played well, but wasn't really utilized much in the fourth quarter. Jusuf Nurkic and Kenneth Faried combined for 36 points, 13 rebounds, six steals and three blocks on 68% shooting from the field. Both guys did a great job of finishing around the rim and controlling the paint offensively, leading Denver to 52 points in the paint. As I mentioned earlier, neither guy really was utilized in the fourth quarter and Denver didn't try to get anything going in the paint to end the game. Nurkic and Faried had only two combined shot attempts in the fourth quarter, as the Nuggets chose to take long jump shots and contested three's instead of attacking inside. The Nuggets were outscored 21-13 in the fourth quarter.
Ty Lawson continued to struggle here against Miami, I was disappointed to see this as I thought playing against a old foe like Goran Dragic would fire him up. Denver's starting point guard still couldn't find a rhythm on offense, scoring only 10 points on 12 shots and hesitated to shoot. I don't want to speculate or make too bold of a prediction here, but I have a funny feeling that a potential divorce between the Nuggets and the former Tar Heel star could be coming this summer.