The Nuggets broke their three game losing streak by defeating Portland on Thursday night 132-120. That game was a big win for the Nuggets considering that they had lost to them their last two meetings this season.
Thursday night’s game was followed by another win against former Nugget, Carmelo Anthony, and the Knicks 127-114. Pending the outcome of the Portland-Golden State game, the Nuggets could find themselves a game behind of Portland for the 8th seed in the Western Conference.
So how did this happen?
I think the first clue to these wins would start with adding Jokic and Chandler into the starting lineup, along with Gary Harris returning, after sitting sixteen games out with a foot injury. The chemistry with this group has been absolutely unreal, and they’ve led us to wins the past two games with their serious amount of energy. With this starting lineup in the past two games, the Nuggets have not trailed for a single second.
At the half, the Nuggets were shooting at 51%. Kenneth Faried led at the half with 12 points. By the end of the fourth, Faried was the leading scorer for the Nuggets with 25 points off of the bench, followed by Mudiay with 22 points. Tonight’s starters had 74 points and there scored an incredible 53 points off of the bench. Denver continued to attack the paint tonight, making 68 of their points from within. The Nuggets ended the night with 55.6% with their FG attempts and 37% from downtown! 7 of the 14 players who set foot on the court tonight ended up with double digit numbers on the board. Tonight, the Nuggets only had 10 turnovers but those turnovers led to the Knicks making 23 points.
While the Nuggets may be figuring things out, they still struggled tonight with their free throws. The team shot 17-29 from the line for 58.6%. The Nuggets have been inconsistent this season with their free throws but that’s definitely something that can be improved upon.
Carmelo Anthony led all scorers with 29 points in his 36 minutes but those 29 points weren’t enough to take down the Nuggets. The Knicks shot a low 43.8% and 34.8% from three-point land. The Nuggets were able to make 17 points off of the 13 turnovers that the Knicks had. After tonight, the Knicks head back home to New York with their third consecutive loss for a 2-3 record on this away trip.
After their embarrassing blowout loss in Dallas, the Nuggets finally had their wake up call. Whatever it took for them to realize it, Nuggets fans around the league can rejoice in the fact that the Nuggets are finally playing Denver Nugget, Mile High Basketball.
The Nuggets, now 11-16 on their season, seem to have finally found their groove with the lineups that Coach Malone has had on the court. It is not too late to turn this season around, the Nuggets just need to make sure that they keep their momentum going. Now it’s time to sweep this three game home stand with a revenge win against Dallas.
Are the Nuggets finally figuring out what their identity is?
While it’s only been two great games and it’s a small sample size, one thing is for certain; the Nuggets team we’ve seen recently is certainly starting to look like a playoff team.