Pepsi Center was popping Thursday night. Midway through the third quarter as the Denver Nuggets were beginning to build a lead on the star-studded Oklahoma City Thunder, Emmanuel Mudiay dropped off a pass for Mason Plumlee who flipped in an easy jump hook and the crowd all erupted onto their feet. So too did the Nuggets bench, including their franchise center, Nikola Jokic, who was on the bench and waving his arms with as much excitement as the people in the stands.
He wasn’t alone. The entire bench was on their feet. Malik Beasley. Jamal Murray. Even Kenneth Faried and Darrell Arthur who didn’t log a single minute in the game. The team was all into it. It’s something that had been evident for the last few weeks, starting with the win in Atlanta. Whatever adversity the team was facing in the early weeks of the season, it appeared as if they were facing it together.
“I was not in a rhythm in the first half. I don’t know what happened. I was just not in a rhythm and I couldn’t make shots and I was taking bad shots. And then Mase (Mason Plumlee) came in and he actually, he played really good. Paul (Millsap). Will Barton of course. All our bench. Not just the subs but the guys that are not playing. Trey Lyles, D.A., Kenneth (Faried). We have a lot of good guys on the bench waiting for their opportunity.”
Then, unprovoked, Jokic threw this out there.
“As a group we are getting better. I mean... I like this team, to be honest. We as a team play really good and go all out like a team.”
The Nuggets are 7-5 and on the season and 4-1 on this home-stand. They’re slowly figuring out their offense while winning on defense. Most important of all, it seems as though they are as unified as ever before.
Check out the audio below.