Here we are ladies and gentlemen, the final stretch. It all comes down to these last twenty or so games. The Denver Nuggets look to make a much needed playoff run for the sake of its franchise, players, and fans.
Heading into the NBA All-Star break, the Nuggets were badly beaten and bruised, but still hanging in there. Injuries plagued Denver before the break but the Nuggets went on to defeat the Golden State Warriors and tie an NBA record for most 3’s made in a single game with only nine players in the rotation.
During All-Star weekend, Denver had three young players travel out to New Orleans to perform in the Rising Stars Challenge, a game between U.S. and foreign first/ second year players. Jamal Murray, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Nikola Jokic were the selected three, but Mudiay was unable to play due to injury. Jamal Murray, A.K.A the Blue Arrow, walked with the MVP Award by scoring 36 points and going 9-14 behind the arc.
Towards the end of the break, the Denver Nuggets became engulfed in the trade deadline rumors, especially after DeMarcus Cousins was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans. After that, the 8th seed seems to be a wanted destination by more teams than just Denver. But through it all the Nuggets stayed pretty much put. They did send a pick away to the Milwaukee Bucks for Roy Hibbert, but for the most part Denver is staying under the radar to help develop some home grown talent.
Finally the stressful yet entertaining break is over and it’s time to get back to the game. Sorta. With their first game back, the Nuggets went on to face the Boogieless Sacramento Kings. All of Denver’s players were healthy but showed a rough start to the final stretch of the season. The Nuggets ended up losing 116-100 and boy was it ugly.
Nothing seem to work for the Nuggets offensively or defensively and all together they just looked lost. But how? The team’s chemistry seemed to be booming during the break and there was plenty of time for Denver’s newest edition,Mason Plumlee, to settle in but honestly, it was just a slow start that the King’s took advantage of.
The great thing about the Denver Nuggets is that they’re quick to recover and learn from their mistakes, sometimes. 24 hours later the Nuggets faced the Brooklyn Nets at home with everyone still available to play. Midway through the first quarter, the Nuggets not only took the lead but solidified it until the very end. At one point they even led the Nets by 32 but finished the game with a final score of 129-109. Denver shot an impressive 50.5% from the field and 45.2% from the three hitting 14-31 from the arc. Kenneth Faried did exit the game with some back spasms but good news is Plumlee recorded his first double-double in Denver. This all might not sound like much given the fact that the Nuggets delivered the Nets’ fifteenth loss in a row but hey, a win is a win. Especially with the 8th seed close on the line.
Although the Nuggets didn’t pick up any big names from the chaotic trade deadline, I believe what Denver’s front office is doing is the right thing. Roy Hibbert isn’t one of the greats but he is a veteran. If anything, he is another role model for the young Nuggs. I have also reached a point to where I don’t want to see anyone go. As a fan, I have watched this team grow together and bond pretty well. No drama or whining from the players or staff. Danillo Gallinari has even come out and said multiple times that he wants to retire his jersey and end his career here.
With all that being said, I hope the Denver Nuggets can now utilize each individual player’s ability and unleash their true potential, make a playoff run, and come back even stronger next season.