The Denver Nuggets have suffered two bad losses in a row this week leading up to Christmas Day. First, against a subpar Oklahoma City Thunder team in a game in which the Nuggets came out with poor energy and effort from the start after having four days off due to a postponed game the week prior. Then, the Nuggets had an opportunity for a bounce back game the next night upon returning home and facing the Charlotte Hornets. The first three quarters of the game gave the impression to fans that the Nuggets had gotten the message from the previous night that they needed to play with more focus, energy and togetherness. It wasn’t a perfect game from the get-go, but the team at least put forth enough effort in three quarters that should have yielded a win on their home court.

In the fourth quarter, however, to say the Nuggets took their foot off the gas would be a major understatement. The Nuggets lead the Hornets 94-77 going into the fourth, and it looked as though they just might coast to a win. Things started falling apart from there, though. The defense gave up easy baskets, the offense had far too much isolation plays, and the Hornets started making shots. At the end, the Nuggets lost, 115-107, after losing the quarter by a whopping 28 points.

It was an embarrassing loss, but if there’s any consolation, it’s that at least one of the players acknowledges how tough a loss it was and seems motivated to not let it happen again.

Monte Morris has been having a great season as a fill-in starter for injured point guard Jamal Murray. On Thursday night, though, he was not his usual self, scoring only 3 points on 1/7 shooting. Morris’ lackluster performance is by no means the sole reason the Nuggets lost the game, but it’s refreshing to see a player publicly acknowledge his role in a loss and vow to be better. Morris is coming into his own as not only one of the most solid point guards in the league, but also a leader for a team missing two of its top three players.
If the rest of the players walked away from that game with a similar attitude as Morris, I’m sure we can all expect a different outcome in their next game Sunday night against the Los Angeles Clippers.