The team is going through a bit of a cold start, struggling to shoot the basketball, execute on defense, and play with effort on both ends of the court. Coach Malone laid into the team after their loss to New Orleans on Halloween, criticizing them for their lack of intensity, after which starting point guard Jamal Murray stood up and responded to his objections, according to a report by Mike Singer of the Denver Post. After only five games, the team is already showing signs of stress in the locker room.
They'll need to be on top of their game tonight, with the Magic having improved from years ago when they were a bottom-dwelling team in the Eastern Conference. Nikola Vucevic is one of the top centers in the league, and they’ve seen improvements from Jonathan Isaac and Terrence Ross that have helped them become a tough beat.
Who: Denver Nuggets vs Orlando Magic
When: 5:00 PM MT
Where: Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
|PG||Jamal Murray||DJ Augustin||Nuggets|
|SG||Gary Harris||Evan Fournier||Nuggets|
|SF||Torrey Craig||Jonathan Isaac||Magic|
|PF||Paul Millsap||Aaron Gordon||Even|
|C||Nikola Jokic||Nikola Vucevic||Nuggets|
|BENCH||Monte Morris, Malik Beasley, Jerami Grant, Michael Porter Jr, Mason Plumlee, Jarred Vanderbilt||Markelle Fultz, Terrance Ross, Al-Farouq Aminu, Mo Bamba||Nuggets|
Injury Report: Bol Bol (out), Will Barton (probable)
What to Watch For
User Engagement. The Nuggets look disengaged on both ends of the court. They look lethargic in transition, stagnant on offense, and passive on defense. If they engage and commit to playing with intensity and executing, they’re a really good team. Love him or hate him, Mason Plumlee gives top effort every night. The rest of the team should take notice.
Who gets small forward minutes? Torrey Craig started for Will Barton last game, but was bad on offense and the opposite of helpful on defense. Michael Porter Jr. had good moments on offense, but struggled on defense. If Craig constipates the offense and keeps running into his teammates on defense, he shouldn’t be playing.
Post defense. The Magic are big and athletic. They’re going to be able to score at the rim, and often. The Nuggets may turn to a Plumlee-Jokic front court to try to combat the height of the Magic front court.
Magic 105 - Nuggets 97