Nearly halfway through the season, the “coronary artery Nuggets” is more than an proper nickname.
Despite a ferocious fourth-quarter rally, which saw the Nuggets struggle back from 14 points down to temporarily take the lead, ” the Cleveland Cavaliers got the better of them Saturday night at the Pepsi Center and hung on to win 111-103. The loss dropped the Nuggets to 26-12.
Jamal Murray scored 14 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, adding a racy 3-pointer from the wing that tied it in 93 with 6:26 left. Moments after, Nikola Jokic drilled a second 3-pointer off a Murray help to give the Nuggets a 96-95 lead.
The Nuggets temporarily employed a zone defense to attempt to slow the Cavs’ attack.
But, Cleveland’s backcourt stored coming. Collin Sexton completed with a team-high 25 points, including nine in the fourth quarter. Veterans Kevin Love (19 points, 15 rebounds) and Tristan Thompson (18, 13) every logged double-doubles despite drawing attention about the scouting report.
Jokic had 19 points and 12 rebounds, although Denver’s no collective effort was undermined by hitting only. Will Barton (18 points) and Monte Morris (11) were two of the few Nuggets to play with adequate energy during. As a whole, the team couldn’t vie on Cleveland’s 15 turnovers.
Despite trailing by nine points the Nuggets played with little urgency and poise following the fracture. Their transition defense was abysmal, and their defense was worse. Thompson continued to collect deflating rebounds, and the Cavs suspended 34 points about the Nuggets at the third quarter.
It didn’t support, naturally, this Denver was overlooking Paul Millsap, that was nursing his injured left knee.
But making matters worse, the Nuggets’ offense devolved into leap shooting. By the conclusion of the quarter, Denver was from the line. After Placing on a single 3-pointer from the corner, Jerami Grant might just look in relief. The Nuggets entered the fourth .
Despite going 3-2 in their latest road trip, their loss at beleaguered Washington stuck together with Nuggets trainer Michael Malone. Their mind-set, equally in that match and contrary to other sub .500 teams, which is the reason he was worried heading into Saturday night.
“The biggest thing that concerns me is that our approach,” he also said on Friday. “It’s about Kevin Love or Tristan Thompson’s offensive rebounds or even the scoring of Collin Sexton or Darius Garland. ”
Malone added: “After the (loss to the Wizards), talking to the guys, actually hearing a participant state, ” & lsquo;It amazed me just how hard they played. ’ That, to me, was surprising and really eye-opening and disappointing. Everybody plays tough. You don’t play with a team’s record. And when we would like to continue to become a team that may get home-court benefit, you have to have the ideal approach, regardless of who you’re enjoying and what their record is. ”
Ahead of the match, Malone noted that the Nuggets had five losses heading into Saturday night against teams with 15 wins or fewer: Atlanta, Sacramento, Washington and New Orleans (twice).
“Great teams possess a standard of excellence they hold themselves every night, and now I think too often this season, we have not had the ideal approach going into particular games,”” Malone said.
Any residual increase from Wednesday’s marquee win in Dallas wasn’t apparent. The Nuggets linked on just 3-of-17 from 3-point range and trailed the Cavs 51-42 in halftime.
Enjoy finished having a first-half double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds. He spearheaded Cleveland’s no attempt inside in which the Cavs finished with 30 points from the paint.
Meanwhile, the Denver’s crime struggled with shape and its rhythm. Only Jokic (nine points) and Barton (13) found any consistency.
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