The Denver Nuggets opened the 2017-18 season on Wednesday night with a contest against nemesis Boban Marjanovic and the LA Clippers.
On the day that Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone’s contract was extended by two years, his young Nuggets celebrated with a 107-98 victory in Los Angeles.
Denver was bolstered by strong defense throughout the game which was a welcome sight considering the struggles they had on the offensive end. Denver shot just 37.9% from the floor for the game including 33.3% from the three point line.
The story in this one, however was Denver’s defense. the Nuggets had six steals and eight blocks, three by Mason Plumlee.
Paul Millsap made his presence known from a playmaking standpoint even though he wasn’t scoring. His defense made a huge difference for Denver, twice Millsap was able to stall Clippers breaks. Jamal Murray and Monte Morris combined for solid play from the point guard position, again with the focus on defense. Murray was instrumental defensively down the stretch while Harris carried the load on the offensive end.
We got our first taste of new broadcasters LaPhonso Ellis and Katy Winge. Both were solid and knowledgeable, the shakeup at Altitude continues, let’s hope the professional and entertaining presentation remains.
This is a game that Denver loses in seasons past, down eight with five minutes to play in a game in which the Nuggets were not playing well. The ability to gut out a win like Wednesday night’s game is new. It’s going to take some time to not feel that familiar dismay at a Nuggets implosion. It’s particularly traumatic to watch Marjanovic wreck Denver’s plans, he was the catalyst to one of last season’s worst Denver losses.
So, one game in and the Nuggets look like they’ll need to reconnect and shake off some rust on the offensive end but the defensive effort was encouraging, rotations seemed to work and it seems like newly extended coach Malone has grown alongside his young team.
Our excitement is off-the-charts and this game didn’t do anything to temper that excitement despite the struggles the Nuggets had on the offensive end. Stay tuned for player grades and a look forward to Saturday and the Phoenix Suns at Pepsi Center.