The Denver Nuggets had a tough start to the season this year with the majority of their first 21 games being on the road, experts knew January, with a beneficial home-heavy schedule, would be crucial to fully analyze the Nuggets.
The result? In the past 10 games, Denver has went 8-2, the last 15 games 11-4, and the last 20 games 14-6. That’s a huge upgrade when over their first 10 games, they were 4-6, and 10-10 over their first 20.
Mediocre, to say the least, but the team is appearing to resemble a team that fans thought they should look like in the off-season.
Denver is looking fantastic and a perfect example of this was the way they executed 4 full quarters against the Sacramento Kings on Saturday; annihilating them 121-93.
Sacramento. Point blank.
I could nitpick about Corey Brewer’s and Wilson Chandler’s lack of offensive or Andre Miller looking tired in garbage time, but Denver played aggressive against a sub-par team; for once they didn’t play to the competition’s level.
Gallinari may not have had a statline to write home about, but he used other parts of his game, boards and passing, and was effective this way. Andre Iguodala was aggressive and finding his offensive stride early; 9 of his 20 points came in the first quarter along with his superior playmaking ability. Andre Iguodala may not be a 20-piece a night guy, but he’s a wizard on the defense, playmaker and is present on both ends.
Holy. Hell. Ty Lawson had a stellar game; he was hitting jumpers, driving, and hitting from long-range. He also had 4 steals and 15 of his points came in the first quarter. It was good to see Lawson come off of that milk carton. Kenneth Faried was Kenneth Faried; energy, hustle, rebounds and defensive awareness were all there.
Much of the rest of the team had garbage time minutes, so no true takeaway is 100% accurate.
Denver blew out a poor team; Kings have a lackluster transition defense and against a team like Denver, that’s means the Sacramento Kings will typically fail.
Denver was passing the ball with ease and racking up the assists; 23 of their 34 assists came in the first half alone. Then there was their effective shooting by quarter; 73% in the first, 50% in the second, 58% in the third, and the garbage time FG% of 32%.
Even more telling was the Nuggets ability to outscore the Kings 10-2 the final 2 minutes of the 2nd quarter, which furthered their lead.
While the win was fantastic, a truer test will come when the Nuggets face one of the best defensive teams, Indiana Pavers this week.
While, their easy buckets may be limited, Denver goes in with a huge confidence boost.