The season is not being easy for Denver Nuggets, with little rest after their heroic display in the bubble playoffs, where they played the third Conference final in their history (three losses against the Lakers) after coming back from 3-1 twice (no one had done it in the same year) in the previous two rounds (Jazz and Clippers). The team is readjusting without players who had a well-known role (Plumlee, Craig) or directly very important (Jerami Grant). For now he has regressed in defense (his great workhorse) and there is an absolute discrepancy between the numbers of the stars (somewhat irregular Jamal Murray, dazzling Nikola Jokic) and those of the secondary ones. Worse than expected Gary Harris and Will Barton, with many kilometers in Paul Millsap’s legs, with negative sections on the bench and stopped by a positive Michael Porter Jr, the possible star in whose stretch they have put a lot of faith in Denver.
Total, that after airing the Thunder (119-101) the Nuggets have returned to 50% (7-7 now): much worse than anticipated and out of the playoff zone (although in the new area of play in). The West is tough and the irregularities of a strange season (COVID, the short preseason, the absence of an audience …) make practically all teams win and lose almost non-stop and often without (apparent) logic. With everything, 7-7 in fourteen games is a very poor pace for what these Nuggets expected, who defeated between the second and third quarters (66-43 total) to a Thunder who remain in a surprising 6-7. Surprising because Chris Paul is not even here anymore and the team is an absolute commitment to the future. But also because many victories are coming in tight finals (4-3 for them in those circumstances), a very high competitiveness for a team with the penultimate worst attack in the NBA and the penultimate worst. net rating.
The Nuggets, before embarking on a complicated five-game road trip, flirted with disaster in the first quarter (31-31), where they once again defended very little and returned to air one of their usual ills, the lack of concentration of the quintet. headline. After they did enough, partly due to the good production from the bench of the foreign rotation: 15 points and 5 assists from Monte Morris, 11 from PJ Dozier and a pair of fantasy passes from Facundo Campazzo, who finished with 3 points (1/6 shooting) and an assist in 19 minutes.
Nikola Jokic played at ease against a very poor team on the inside (and without Al Horford): 27 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists in just 21 minutes. A day of bath and massage for the pivot, little accompanied this time by Murray (5 points, 4 assists, 2/10 in shots) with good numbers from Harris, Millsap and especially Barton (37 points and 8 triples between the three). There was not much resistance in front from the Thunder led by their partner from attack / defense, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (14 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists) and the increasingly complete Lu Dort (20 points, 5 rebounds).