Just two days after a blowout win against the Brooklyn Nets, the Nuggets were defeated by the Memphis Grizzlies. Denver lost the first two contests in the three game series to include the frustrating loss in November where the Grizzlies were mistakenly awarded possession with seconds left on the clock putting up a buzzer beater for the win making today’s loss even more painful.

After weeks of a lengthy injury report, the Nuggets were finally healthy with the exception of Kenneth Faried who has been experiencing back spasms. The Grizzlies also had the benefit of a healthy and active roster going into this afternoon’s game.

Denver started Jameer Nelson, Gary Harris, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler & Nikola Jokic answered by Memphis with Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Chandler Parsons, JaMychal Green & Marc Gasol.

Wilson Chandler was the first to score, but inhibited early ball movement under the rim by failing to pass to wide open teammates when he started to get double, and triple teamed. Danilo Gallinari came out aggressive taking shots to the rim for uncontested dunks. Perimeter defense continues to be a problem for the Nuggets as several outside shots by the Grizzlies went undefended. A lack of defense resulted in some challenges offensively and the Nuggets were unable to capitalize on a few possessions in a row allowing the Grizzlies coming within two points as the clock wound down in the 1st. The Nuggets struggled somewhat on the offensive boards missing multiple second chance attempts allowing the Grizzlies to take the lead

In the 2nd quarter Jamal Murray attacked on offense driving to the rim without a care in the world. His teammates followed suit causing Memphis to take a quick timeout to regroup. Zach Randolph proved somewhat difficult to guard as he continued to find himself open for shot after shot. Danilo Gallinari showed aggressiveness under the rim drawing fouls, but the Nuggets continued to falter on defense allowing Mike Conley & Marc Gasol to assert their will. The Grizzlies stayed ahead by a couple of points, but good ball movement by the Nuggets allowed for several wide open dunks, and a three point shot by Jameer Nelson to put the Nuggets down by just three points 50-47 heading into halftime.

At the start of the third, Gallinari put up a three and a quick dunk to put the Nuggets back in the lead. The Grizzlies persisted in their struggles with ball movement while the Nuggets played good defense forcing turnovers.

However, the Nuggets quickly slipped their grip on D allowing a couple easy inside shots by the Grizzlies while Coach Malone took a quick timeout to allow the Nuggets to get their focus back. For the next few possessions Denver struggled on the offensive glass and missed several second chance opportunities allowing the Grizz to take back the upper hand. As the 3rd quarter drew to a close Will Barton & Jamal Murray added a couple 3-pointers to tie the game at 68.

At the onset of the final quarter, Jamal Murray got to work in the mid-range and under the rim. Mason Plumlee contributed on defense and added some dimes in the process. However, Denver continued to slack on the offensive glass with a team total of only seven offensive rebounds halfway into the 4th quarter. A quick turnover, and a bad foul by Denver at the 3-point line put the Nuggets down by 7 and Jamal Murray back on the bench. The Nuggets failed to regain momentum ultimately losing 105-98.

Top three takeaways:

  1. The Nuggets continue to struggle with consistency. I believe that wishy washy defense is the main culprit of this problem. Denver needs to figure out a way to bring a consistent 48 minute game because as they say, defense wins championships. However, I will give them credit for improvement—they’re doing (a little) better than they were earlier this season.
  2. Denver is doing a better job of not digging early holes to crawl out of. If they can just get everyone to commit on D they will be better able to finish games they otherwise set themselves up to win.
  3. Something is STILL up with Jokic. Maybe he needs a nap? What’s the deal? HELP!