Nuggets Make Up for Loss in New York
Over the past couple of days I have witnessed Nuggets’ and NBA fans consistently doubt the Paul Millsap signing. He played 34 minutes and scored 8 points on 2-13 shooting on Monday vs the Knicks and his fit on the team was questioned. Tonight he proved what he can bring to an already talented Nuggets squad.
Defense was the Key in the Victory
The Nuggets showed their versatility on defense as they lead the way with 9 steals, 4 blocks -2 of which came from Nikola Jokic- and solid team defense for the most part. Gary Harris and Jamal Murray lead the way as DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry combined to 19 points on 8-20 shooting. four players recorded at least 2 steals for the Nuggets and four players recorded at least one block.
Serge Ibaka who is a pest for any opposing defense was held to 4-10 from the field on his way to a measly 11 points. only 5 players scored in double figures for the Raptors as Norman Powell lead the way with 14 points. No Raptors player nabbed double-digit rebounds last night and the Nuggets had a 5 rebound lead on Toronto.
Nuggets’ Young Point Guards are Finally Showing Up
Jamal Murray had scored 20 points per game or more in the previous two games and didn’t slow down in this one. Murray finished the game with 24 points as he shot an efficient 8-10 from the floor and 1-3 from the 3 point line in less than 22 minutes of action. Emmanuel Mudiay has been key for the Nuggets in their previous games and last night was no exception.
The Nuggets started the season struggling in their 2nd quarters as their bench unit has had a hard time getting it going. Mudiay has jump started the second quarters as of recently. Before last night Mudiay has scored 15 points or more in his previous 3 meetings and he scored 16 last night. Finishing around the rim has been difficult for the young point guard since 2015 after he was drafted 7th overall, but he showed promise after finishing consistently finishing over bigger Raptors defenders. Mudiay is shooting over 45% from the 3 point line this season.
Nikola Two-Points Shy of Triple-Double
If you were watching the game without keeping an eye on stats, you’d find it difficult to believe Jokic flirted with a triple double. Jokic posted a line of 8 points 16 rebounds and 10 assists. Jokic is a unique talent because he can affect the game in so many different ways without scoring.
Overall it was a great game by the young Nuggets squad. They are slowly going back to the ball movement and offensive fluidity they played with last season and Millsap is starting to fit in. The score will make this game a lot closer than it really was. The Nuggets led by as many as 36 points and never trailed as they defeated the Raptors 129 to 111.