The Denver Nuggets hold off the defending champions, the Golden State Warriors, 108 – 102
In tonight’s preseason opener, the Nuggets experimented with rotations and ended up with the win. One could argue that it is only the preseason, but Nuggets fans were looking for more than just a win.
In tonight’s game, fans caught a glimpse of Paul Millsap’s influence on the court for the first time scoring 22 points while making four of his six three point attempts. Millsap scored 16 points in the third quarter and managed to get a double-double by grabbing 11 boards. Though Kenneth Faried did not play tonight, I believe it is safe to say that Millsap will be the starting power forward when Malone announced the starting lineup due to his floor spacing and playmaking abilities.
Nikola Jokic looked like himself tonight with a no-look behind the back pass to Gary Harris which resulted in a goaltending violation by the Warriors. Jokic also scored 12 points while getting six rebounds and two assists. I expect that assist number to jump up this season with the addition of Millsap.
Jamal Murray did get the start tonight but the point guard that shined tonight was Emmanuel Mudiay. Mudiay came off the bench and showed definite signs of improvement from the offseason. He looked comfortable on the floor and didn’t try to rush things out of his control. By the end of the night, Mudiay poured in 19 points while making three of his four three pointers, dishing out four assists and grabbing two rebounds.
Mudiay did turn the ball over four times throughout the game but other than that he looked really good out there. I’m not saying tonight was concrete evidence for Mudiay to start but I feel starting him next game would be a great opportunity to see if he can.
Overall, the Nuggets seemed to stick to last year’s offensive plan by making the extra pass and taking the open shot.
Defensively, the Nuggets looked pretty good. Not great but not bad, definitely a step up from last year. If they can keep that going for themselves, the Nuggets have a playoff spot no doubt. Here are some team stat comparisons.
108 PTS 102
48 REB 53
23 AST 17
44.4 FG% 41.5
46.4 3P% 12.1
67.6 FT% 83.3
The Nuggets’ next preseason game is against the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, October 2nd. Expect some different player rotations and combinations, especially from Kenneth Faried and Emmanuel Mudiay.