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Game Thread: Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Lakers

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Didn't we just see these guys?

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

For the second time in three days, the Denver Nuggets face off against the Los Angeles Lakers - this time in Ontario (the one in California). Denver won at Staples Center on Friday night, riding the shooting of Jamal Murray through the last of the fourth quarter to pull out a victory. While the win was fun, it wasn't without areas that Michael Malone could use as coaching points, most specifically in the pick and roll coverage at the top. If Malone does want his bigs to fall off the ball handler and "catch," then he needs to have them at least a half step closer, especially on shooters the quality of D'Angelo Russell. While giving up an open 15 foot jumper is preferable to an open three or shot at the rim, the choice isn't really between these three shots. Having the big close the gap even marginally still keeps the ball handler contained, but makes that open jumper a contested one - most often over a seven footer. As long as the guard can even just slow down the roll man, it makes it a much less clear decision for the ball handler.

Also emerging as a story line from last game was Emmanuel Mudiay's continued struggles through two preseason contests. He has yet to find any sort of scoring touch, and the turnover bug has again seem to have bitten the young point guard.  With the understanding that it's only two games - preseason games - having your starting PG shoot less than 25% from the field plus turn it over almost as often as he makes an assist won't lead to the long term success the Nuggets are searching this season.

With that being said, and while Mudiay's performance so far has been concerning, it is far too soon to panic. It is, after all, the preseason and only two games. One thing that I feel would help would be for Malone to run a play or two early in the game to get Emmanuel an easy shot (one he hopefully makes). I doubt you'd ever hear him say it, but his early struggles have to be weighing on him at least somewhat. Seeing the brown bouncy sphere go through the orange ring thingy a time or two could do nothing but good.

Although many other questions abound about the Nuggets this early preseason, I'll leave it to those smarter than me to break down. Enjoy the game.