Another week in the books as the Denver Nuggets regular season is now 25% complete. It wasn’t the best of weeks for the Nuggets as they had some tough competition and struggled at times. Now in the middle of an east coast road trip, the Nuggets will get a chance to get back on track later today with a contest against the Brooklyn Nets.
Nuggets struggle against top tier teams
Two of the three games Denver played this week were against teams with a top four record in the NBA: the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics. Sandwiched in between was the lowly New York Knicks. The week didn’t get off to a great start as Denver was unable to keep pace with the Lakers despite being within the friendly confines of the Pepsi Center. LeBron James and Anthony Davis did their thing while the Lakers dominated the glass and controlled the game throughout. The Nuggets put up a good effort, but just didn’t have enough to get the win.
Nothing helps a team bounce back like playing the Knicks. After Denver dropped the game against the Lakers (their second straight) they were looking to get back on track and the Knicks proved ample opportunity. The Nuggets used the second quarter to blow the doors wide open on the contest and were lights out from the three point line to turn this one into a laugher. The beat down would end up being so bad that it was the straw that broke the camel’s back on Knicks coach David Fizdale. He was fired the following morning.
The Nuggets wrapped up the week with a trip up to Boston to face the Celtics. After struggling for what feels like forever, Nikola Jokic finally broke out with a big night leading all scorers with thirty points. Unfortunately, he didn’t get much help as Jamal Murray was the only other Nugget to score in double figures (ten points on fourteen shots) meanwhile Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were at their best. They combined for forty-seven points while Kemba Walker chipped in nineteen of his own. After falling behind in the second quarter Denver got close in the third but the Celtics trio proved too much and handed the Nuggets their third loss in four games.
G-League Update: Bol Bol sent back down
The Nuggets transferred Bol Bol back to the Windy City Bulls this week. He had been recalled back up to the NBA level, no doubt so that the Denver training staff could check in and make sure everything is still copacetic after Bol started seeing game action again. They appeared to be satisfied and now Bol is back to dominating the G-League again. He went perfect from the floor in his first game back. His teammate P.J. Dozier didn’t have quite as much success in the one Windy City game this week. Meanwhile, over with the Erie Bayhawks Vlatko Cancar continues his strong play. He scored in double figures in both Bayhawks games this week, including going 5-8 from three in one contest. It was Jarred Vanderbilt who stole the show this week however. He came off the bench last night for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and put up twenty-one points, ten rebounds and three blocked shots.
Player of the week: Nikola Jokic
Nobody put together three straight good games this week and Jokic wasn’t at his best in the loss to the Lakers. However, despite not shooting a ton Jokic got back to being the focal point of the offense against the Knicks and a big reason the Nuggets were able to knock down twenty-one threes was because Joker was consistently hitting wide open shooters with passes. Most importantly though Nikola appeared to find his stride again against the Boston Celtics. He was aggressive from the start and got back to being a bully on the inside. He even hit a three, the first make from outside in several games. No doubt Nikola would much rather have had the win, but the way he played in Boston was a good sign.
Fun moment of the week: Altitude gang is live from New York
Our friends over at Altitude TV couldn’t help themselves when in New York this week and naturally had to create a mock Saturday Night Live intro. All in all pretty strong production right here. I’ll let someone else tell them that Thursday Night Live is probably unlikely to get the same level of attention and national syndication.
YES I MADE IT ON TNL (THURSDAY NIGHT LIVE!) pic.twitter.com/TmOFy3LGrA— Katy Winge (@katywinge) December 5, 2019
Another great week of podcasts on the Denver Stiffs podcast channel. Gordon Gross and I kicked off the week with a lengthy discussion on the Lakers and then Ryan Blackburn discussed Jokic’s ongoing struggles. Finally, The Dig looks even deeper into the Nuggets issues on offense.