Denver Nuggets Move to 5-1 With Win Over Pelicans

Denver Nuggets (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)
Denver Nuggets (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Denver Nuggets moved their season record to 5-1 with Monday night’s win over the visiting New Orleans Pelicans at Pepsi Center.

Of note, the Pelicans were without superstar Anthony Davis and player Elfrid Payton.  It’s unclear what impact that had or how it effected Nikola Jokic‘ preparation.

Jamal Murray notched 23 points, five rebounds, five steals and a block on 47/40/100 shooting.  Still, postgame, Murray was the subject of Nuggets bloggers questioning whether he belongs at the point for Denver.

It deserves repeating that nobody can really do a good job of defining what they expect from the point that Murray is not delivering.

One outlet claims that Murray is unable to get entry passes to Nikola Jokic in the post.  It ignores that Jokic had little interest in his post game or offense in general last night.  It was a game where the big Serb chose to facilitate, as he does, letting Murray and Gary Harris do the bulk of the scoring for the starters.

Monte Morris, who I’ve dubbed the Nuggets Chad Kelly had a quiet game versus New Orleans, netting just seven points and two assists in 20+ minutes of play. The calls for him to replace Jamal in the starting lineup should start to quiet.  Morris is great backing up Murray until Isaiah Thomas‘ return.

The 5-1 Nuggets are winning.  More importantly, they are winning games they would surely have lost last season.  There’s a determination to this team that was born of the gut-wrenching loss in Minnesota last year.  These Nuggets are well aware of the expectations and they are living up to them.  If the manner in which they win games doesn’t satisfy some fans, so be it.

The Nuggets have two should-win games on the schedule for the rest of the week, at Chicago and at Cleveland on Wednesday and Thursday.  Two more opportunities to right the offensive ship and continue the surprising defensive growth.

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Denver currently sits second in the Western Conference behind the Golden State Warriors, who are 7-1.  There’s something supremely satisfying about that one being the loss to the Denver Nuggets.