The Nuggets took care of business Sunday night, surviving a couple flurries from the Nets to win the first game of a NYC back-to-back, .

Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray had great games for the Nuggets, casting aside concerns over their slow start to the season. Jokic had 21 points, 14 rebounds and 4 assists, with a couple highlight passes and some great work on the boards. Murray had a great game manager performance, scoring 26 points with five assists, and finishing the night as a +32 in the plus/minus.

Paul Millsap also finished with a double-double, filling up the box score with 13 points, 11 boards, 5 assists, and 3 blocks. Wilson Chandler had his best game of the season, finishing with 18 points on 7 for 11 shooting.

Spencer Dinwiddie was the best Nets player on the evening, with 22 points, 4 boards, and 4 assists, continuing to prove that he’s worthy of a rotation spot for his team.

The Nets started the game running, and the Nuggets were able to match them with their halfcourt offense. Jokic and Murray were able to get the game off to a good start, making a few baskets including a 3-pointer from Murray. The offense was clicking, with a few buckets off cuts that were reminiscent of last season’s offense.

The starters ran out to a 17-11 run, and the reserves checked in and forgot the scouting report that the Nets like to run, losing shooters in transition and the Nets closed the quarter on a 19-7 run to take a 36-29 lead.

Joe Harris (what Jimmer should have been) was on fire for Brooklyn, calmly knocking down 3-pointers in transition and off screens, but the Nuggets were able to gather themselves and trim the Nets lead down little by little. The comeback was fueled by the Nuggets third year point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, who naturally came out on fire against a team with D’Angelo Russell on the roster.

Didn’t matter where Mudiay was shooting from, his shot was falling in that quarter, as he went 6 for 8 in the first half with two 3-pointers and three assists. The Nuggets were able to get the score to 58-55 thanks to some shooting from Murray and Harris, and Barton knocked down a triple at the buzzer to cap the scoring in the half and settle the score at 63-60 for the bad guys.

The third quarter was when the Nets transformed back into the Nyets, a team that is incapable of hanging with actual NBA teams. The Nuggets went on a 40-11 run in the quarter, with the forwards getting work in to hang 40 in the quarter. The run was made possible by execution on defense — the team was moving on a string, closing out and rebounding missed shots to turn the tide for the team.

The Nets closed on a 10-0 run because the reserves were missing shots and turning the ball over, with three of each leading to easy buckets for the Brooklyn basketball team. That run morphed into a 17-5 run as the reserves began to let the Nets right back into a game that the starters had seemingly put out of reach.

The starters were able to check back after the reserves allowed the lead to shrink down to 12 points, and Jamal Murray continued his hot shooting to help close the game out for the Nuggets. The Nets emptied their bench with 4:30 left, and Michael Malone gave Trey Lyles some run while Richard Jefferson saw his first action as a member of the Denver Nuggets.

Three Takeaways

Emmanuel Mudiay gets up for D’Angelo Russell games. Against the Russell when he was with the Lakers, for his career, Mudiay has averaged 11.4 points and 5.4 assists, and has made 7 of 12 3-pointers. Tack on another 15 points and 5 assists for Mudiay against Russell, as the two 2015 draft picks did battle again. Mudiay had some dumb moments in the second half, but he was on fire in the first half, definitely trying to send a message to a player he regards as a rival.

Managed turnovers. They had one turnover in the first half and five in the second half. The reserves started turning the ball over in the third quarter/fourth quarter stretch, and a 26 point lead shrank down to 12 points before the starters restored order.

Murray was especially great in this category tonight. The team knows he’s going to be able to shoot well from the floor, but they need him to manage the game well if he’s going to be the starter. Tonight was a big step for Murray as a starting point guard — now he just needs to do it again tomorrow night against another team with a below average point guard rotation.

Still haven’t learned how to defend 3-point shooters. It doesn’t matter if it’s in transition or halfcourt. The Nuggets guards would lose track of shooters in transition, letting them keep the pace up for the game and just rack up points. They’d fall asleep in halfcourt sets and give up corner 3-pointers to players whose main skill is shooting jumpers.

Here’s an example: Malik Beasley drew a charge in the second quarter, but if he hadn’t got that call on Trevor Booker, he had left Sean Kilpatrick wide open in the quarter. That’s a bad process, good result situation. Beasley shouldn’t be there to draw that charge – he abandoned the strong side shooter for Trevor Booker on a drive! Don’t do that! Read the scouting report and play with effort, execute!

Box Score

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