The Denver Nuggets’ win over the lowly Detroit Pistons on Thursday evening didn’t, because it turned out, resolve all their issues. The prime staff within the Western Conference returned to its shedding methods on Saturday afternoon with a 116-110 defeat by the hands of the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
Nikola Jokic, the staff’s greatest participant and MVP candidate, was direct and to the purpose throughout his postgame interview: “We have to be involved.”
With this newest defeat, the Nuggets have misplaced 5 of their final six video games, and their lead for the highest spot within the West is right down to 4 video games over the Sacramento Kings and Memphis Grizzlies. While they need to be capable of maintain on over the ultimate three weeks of the season and safe homecourt benefit by means of the convention finals, they’re unraveling at a time once you need to begin fine-tuning issues for an anticipated deep playoff run.
Part of that’s nearly definitely because of the large lead they constructed up within the race for the No. 1 seed. It’s not shocking that this skid began instantly after their essential win over the Grizzlies on March 3, which gave them the tiebreaker between the 2 groups and a six-game cushion atop convention standings. That they’ve dropped video games to the lowly San Antonio Spurs and the sub-par Chicago Bulls throughout this stretch is additional proof that they’ve taken their foot off the fuel.
A scarcity of focus and depth doesn’t clarify every part, nonetheless. Jokic is right that they need to be involved, particularly about their play on the defensive facet of the ball. While by no means their sturdy go well with, they have been woeful as of late. Over this six-game stretch they’ve the worst defensive score within the league (121.9 factors allowed per 100 possessions) regardless of enjoying only one staff with a top-10 offense.
Earlier this month, head coach Michael Malone benched Michael Porter Jr. for the fourth quarter in the course of the staff’s loss to the Brooklyn Nets over his poor effort on the defensive finish. Following the loss to the Knicks, Jokic mentioned “we can not defend very well proper now.” Everyone is conscious of the issue, however fixing it’s a large problem when the Nuggets’ greatest gamers — Jokic, Jamal Murray and Porter — usually are not identified for his or her protection.
The Nuggets are nonetheless an amazing staff. They have been 46-19 just some weeks in the past, have among the best gamers within the league in Jokic and an electrical offense. However, there have lengthy been considerations about their skill to win within the playoffs, and this swoon is barely reinforcing them. It’s not time to panic in Denver, however because the face of the franchise mentioned, it’s time to be involved.
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