The Denver Nuggets entered today’s game against Indiana high on a six-game win streak, but instead played like a team at the end of a long road trip and on its third game in four nights. For the last three quarters of the game (see: the vast majority of it), Denver got run right out of the building.
Denver’s offense sputtered like an old car engine instead of the familiar well-oiled machine. The defense wasn’t any better. Bojan Bogdanovic had a career night, going 10-11 with 26 points in the first half alone. He would finish with 35 points, while Jokic led the Nuggets with 19 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. No one on the else on the Nuggets really impressed. Indiana would win by 40.
Yes, this was a classic “end of the road trip” type of game. But make no mistake: the level of effort on both sides of the floor was dismal. Michael Malone had some great quotes in New York on Friday, detailed excellently by Brendan Vogt here, in which the coach talked about the obvious complacency, lack of focus and discipline by the team. Today was case-in-point.
The silver lining is that Nikola Jokic continues to play some of his best basketball in what up to now has been a career-defining season. But when a team as deep as Denver can’t get anything going from anyone else on the roster, and zero defensive effort is made, they will lose much more often than not.
There are exactly 10 games left in the regular season. As disappointing as today was, there is still plenty of time for the Nuggets to get into playoff gear. On to the next.