At this rate, the Nuggets might never wear anything but the white-sleeved uniforms the rest of the season. Not that they are superstitious or anything.
Nuggets coach Michael Malone’s half-joking parting shot after his postgame news conference: “If it was up to me, we’d wear them the rest of the season.”
They can’t, of course. But the Nuggets have delivered three wins in those duds, the latest coming Monday night in a 117-107 victory over Dallas at the Pepsi Center. It is the first three-game win streak of the season and, just as important, moved the Nuggets to within one game of .500 at home.
“Anytime you can win three games for the first time this season, protect your home court, that’s what you need to do if you want to be a team that is a playoff team,” Malone said.
Home has had a vastly different feel lately. It has felt comfortable. The Nuggets, who have won six of their last 10 home games after an 0-3 start, are playing as confident a brand of ball at the Pepsi Center as they have in the last couple of seasons.
Before the game, Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said the Nuggets were playing an “amped up” brand of basketball at home. He was right about that. The Nuggets eclipsed the 100-point mark easily for the third straight game. They averaged 125.3 points in wins over Portland, New York and Dallas on the homestand.
The good news for the Nuggets is the home games keep coming. They have just two road games between now and the end of the year — both at the Blake Griffin-less L.A. Clippers — as the schedule evens out from a start that saw the Nuggets on the road in 15 of the first 25 games.
Sure, the uniforms have been different. But so has a starting lineup that has been revitalized with the injection of Gary Harris, Wilson Chandlerand Nikola Jokic. They had their best game yet Monday night.
Big games and career highs were all over the place. Jokic flirted with a triple double, finishing with a career-high-tying 27 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists. Harris set a new career high with 24 points. Mudiay turned in another sparkling shooting performance, scoring 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting. He missed just one of his five 3-pointers – one that would have given Jokic his triple double.
“I joked with him. I said, ‘The most amazing stat of the night for you was what?’ He said, ‘I don’t know.’ I said: ‘One foul,’ ” Malone said. “He had one foul, we play him 39 minutes and he goes out there and gets 27, 15 and 9. When we play though him, good things happen.”
Jokic shrugged it all off, saying, “The game was more important.”
The Nuggets rallied from 16-point deficit in the first half and took control in the third quarter. Denver’s defense tightened up. The fourth quarter was about holding the Mavs off, which they did.
“Three games in a row, we haven’t overlooked anybody,” guard Jameer Nelson said. “Nobody is worried about who is getting stats. It’s just go out there and play well, and play together.”
Source: Christopher Dempsey | Denverpost.com | December 20, 2016