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Recap: Nuggets lose to the Nets, head to losers bracket in Las Vegas Summer League tournament

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Say goodbye to the Summer Nuggets’ chances of bringing home a title.

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets played their final meaningful (we use the term loosely) Las Vegas Summer League game, losing 85-74 against the summer Brooklyn Nets. Malik Beasley posted 20 points, while Torrey Craig chipped in 14. Denver struggled to defend for most of the game, and they couldn’t buy a bucket for stretches offensively. The Nets used a versatile offensive attack win this one, and they will move onto the quarterfinals in the Las Vegas tournament, meanwhile Denver will play a consolation game tomorrow to close out their trip to Vegas.

The Nuggets started the game with Monte Morris, Malik Beasley, Torrey Craig, Tyler Lydon, and Robert Carter Jr. on the floor. With this group, Denver’s offense struggled to get going aside from Craig, who had Denver’s only four points in the first five minutes. Brooklyn’s interior defense was stellar throughout the first quarter, and the Nuggets simply couldn’t capitalize on the few times they found a seam. They found points here and there, but the Nets led 22-15 after the first quarter.

Things did not go much better in the second quarter. Actually, they went worse. Brooklyn jumped out to an 11-4 run to begin the quarter, and the Nuggets just couldn’t buy a bucket offensively. Eventually, Beasley hit a couple of three pointers, but the Nets responded with multiple threes of their own. Denver slowly crept their way back into things by attacking the paint and getting to the free throw line. Craig hit a three as well, and the half ended with Denver trailing Brooklyn 45-37.

Carter Jr. started out the second half with an emphatic slam dunk off a pick and roll, but it was followed up by nine straight Nets points.

Beasley hit a nice step back three, but immediately gave back the points on the other end with poor defense. Petr Cornelie entered the game and had one of the worst defensive possessions I have ever seen, though he made up for it with a baseline jumper. Denver remained a couple steps behind Brooklyn throughout this entire game, and that didn’t change in the third quarter. The Nuggets finished the quarter shooting 5/21 from the field and went down 69-50.

Beasley started the fourth quarter by hitting another three, but that was it for Denver’s offense for the beginning of the fourth quarter. The only other points Denver scored were free throws from a flagrant foul committed by a Brooklyn player on Craig and a midrange floater by Beasley. Beasley and Craig were the only players to really get it going offensively throughout the game. Denver finished up with reserves coming off the bench, and the game mercifully ended with a Nuggets loss,

Game notes:

  • Tyler Lydon was invisible. We have bashed this point in at Denver Stiffs, but it still needs to be said that Lydon will avoid shooting unless he’s wide open. That’s not necessarily bad, but it’s annoying to see a rookie with such poor aggressiveness. There’s a reason he didn’t get off the bench after his first stint in the second half.
  • The defense is still terrible. The rotations started out fine, but as the game went on, guys started reaching, refusing to move their feet, and letting the Nets get wherever they wanted to offensively. It’s a good thing the Nuggets signed Paul Millsap to a contract for the big boy squad. They are going to need it.
  • The Brooklyn Nets basically sent five of their roster guys down to Las Vegas Summer League. They had a clear advantage in this one. That’s all I will say.