What a game. The Clint Eastwood film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly sums up tonight’s matchup perfectly as the Denver Nuggets seemed to struggle against the New Orleans Pelicans, but towards the end pull everything back together.
The good tonight was Nikola Jokic’s return. Jokic did not start, but was able to score 13 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists in just 22 minutes. He looked good out there, but was still sluggish trying not to strain his recovered ankle. Another good tonight was rookie Torrey Craig. Craig was recalled from the Gatorade League in order to play tonight and he was a big help. Craig was also given the start allowing him to score 6 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists along with 2 blocks in 18 minutes. Craig’s defense was key tonight as it even secured a chance to play in overtime with a last second shot block to keep the game tied. Obviously Craig will continue to bounce back-and-fourth between the G-League, but it was nice to see him gain some valuable minutes in tonight’s game.
Michael Malone on two-way player Torrey Craig: He gets a call in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin. He gets an Uber. Gets a 4 am wake-up call on a 5:15 flight. He gets here for shootaround, I start him and put him in on the final play of regulation. pic.twitter.com/8NrPBsL36N
— Harrison Wind (@HarrisonWind) December 16, 2017
The bad tonight was the defense. Specifically the defense in the first three quarters. Now do not get me wrong, the defense in the fourth quarter and overtime was great but it would not have been needed if the defense was better at the start of the game. New Orleans’ biggest lead was 18 and no one seemed to be guarding their man or boxing out. The Pelicans were making easy cuts and hitting too many threes while the Nuggets just looked unfazed and unresponsive. Luckily they were able to turn that around by starting the fourth quarter on a 12-0 run and winning it all in overtime with the final score being 117-111.
The ugly tonight was the absurd amount of flops from both teams. I understand the importance of getting to the free-throw line but at least get to the charity stripe with fast and heavy pursuit to the rim, not a weak fall backwards from little to no contact.
Tonight’s win was a big one as the Nuggets are trying to stay afloat in the Western Conference and keep a winning record along with continuing their 8 home game winning streak. Next the Nuggets head to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder December 18th. Below are some stats from tonight’s game.
48 REB 42
30 AST 27
12 STL 8
46% FG% 47%
44% 3P% 44%
64% FT% 71%