Apparently the Nuggets played a basketball game tonight against the Minnesota Timberwolves. According to several sources, the Timberwolves ended up winning that basketball game by a score of 105 to 88.
The Nuggets came out hot early, which is impressive considering Nikola Jokic was the only regular starter in the opening lineup against the Timberwolves starting rotation of Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine and Ricky Rubio. Jokic was dominant in the early going, almost singlehandedly keeping the Nuggets in the game and looking like he'd have a monster performance. Wilson Chandler and Jamal Murray also pitched in with some scoring of their own, and at half the Nuggets were down 53-48. Jokic led the way with 11 points and six rebounds, but also committed four fouls in the first half.
Denver's luck pretty much ran out early in the second half. Jokic picked up two quick (soft) fouls and was out of the game with 11:00 to play in the third quarter. The Wolves took advantage of Jokic's absence and were able to extend the lead by double-digits. Murray was able to cut into the deficit by nailing a three and making a crafty reverse layup, but the Wolves starters' were just too much to handle. At the end of three, Minnesota was up 81-64 behind 18 points each from Towns and Wiggins.
With the Nuggets already down, during the fourth quarter Michael Malone gave time to all the players vying for that final roster spot. Minnesota kept pressing on and ended up winning in a blowout by 17 points.
Five Things I Think
1. The lack of coverage this preseason is unacceptable. This subject has been beaten to death both here and on Twitter, and I understand that it's too late this year to really make a difference for the road games, but I'll be damned if us Nuggets fan have to go through this again next season. It's 2016. Cars can drive themselves. Baja Blast is available in stores and not just in Taco Bell anymore. And yet basketball fans have to huddle around a radio like it's 1945, or otherwise search deep into the shadiest parts of the internet just to find a glimpse of their favorite team.
The whole situation in the case of the Nuggets can be summed up in one Tweet:
Haha GM Tim Connelly just text Koz asking for a stream— Alec Gwin (@alecgwin) October 13, 2016
If your GM has to text your radio guy asking where he can watch the game, I think it's time to make some changes.
Regardless, the message this offseason couldn't be any more clear for KSE and the Nuggets: the demand is there, and us fans want a piece of every minute of every game regardless of if it's a meaningless preseason match up or not.
2. Jokic can't afford to get into foul trouble. Jokic started off the game on fire, going 3-3 from the field and controlling the game but his fouls added up quickly, and came back to haunt both him and the Nuggets. He fouled out after playing only 11 minutes, and without him in the game Denver didn't stand a chance.
The refs were pretty trigger happy in this game, calling a total of 48 fouls, but even if that's the case Jokic needs to be more careful. The Nuggets already have a center in Jusuf Nurkic who is prone to foul a lot, and losing both players to something like foul trouble could hurt the team at some point. I'm not too worried about Jokic, but it is something to keep an eye on.
3. Jamal Murray is a special player. Besides Jokic's early offensive takeover and Chandler's 16 points, Murray seemed to be the best player on the court. He hit two of the Nuggets three three-pointers and shot 4-9, while continuing to show off his offensive repertoire. This kid is going to be a stud for the Nuggets and will certainly look to be awarded significant minutes as the season rolls on. I can't wait to see it happen.
4. Turnovers killed the Nuggets. This was a sloppy, sloppy game by Denver, which is fine considering how much time inexperienced players played, but you'd like to see better ball control and decision making as a whole. The Nuggets had 25 turnovers to Minnesota's 14, and everyone who saw court time registered at least one turnover. The biggest culprits, however, were Wilson Chandler and Nikola Jokic who had five and four turnovers respectively. Not good.
5. 3-point shooting is still a concern. The Nuggets shot a miserable 15 percent from deep, making only three of 20 attempts from beyond the arc. The theme of the entire offseason has been improving the three point shooting, but this is not a way to do it. However, Denver did shoot 80.6 percent at the free throw line, so there is still hope that the three point shooting percentages will improve, both with time and with the actual starting lineup playing.
Overall, I'd be quick to dismiss this game from memory. It was an ugly showing by Denver but without a full lineup and Malone pretty much designating this match to developing the younger players, the Nuggets played about as expected.
Up next, the Nuggets host Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors n the first preseason action to take place at Pepsi Center. Tip off is Friday night at 7 PM MST.