In the first game of the Denver Nuggets home stand, the Memphis Grizzlies were not able to stop the Joker and the teams are now split with a win each.
While the Denver Nuggets have lost three of their five starters to injury and had a five game road trip that looked like they were really in Middle Earth trying to return a ring, they managed to top the Memphis Grizzlies. The Memphis team is solid competition by their own rights but having a hobbled, physically exhausted Nuggets team to face was just what the doctor ordered for Memphis.
At least that’s how it appeared at first. Nikola Jokic was unstoppable in the first half and Monte Morris really rose to the occasion. The Joker scored 27 with 12 rebounds and Morris tied his career high of 20. Jamal Murray has had his own injury issues making him the fourth of five starters to contend with losing play minutes. He still scored 16 points in the game.
The Nuggets were coming from two straight losses to teams they should have beat. It was a difficult and long road trip that took it’s toll on the team with injury. Losing Gary Harris and Paul Millsap would have been heavy enough to deal with if the team wasn’t already waiting for Will Barton to return, and Isaiah Thomas to be introduced for the first time, from injury.
By the time the team got to games four and five of the series they were visibly fatigued as well. I can’t think of any teams that could overcome the injuries and the extenuating circumstances, it proved too much for the Denver crew.
The Grizzlies played well, that’s the good news for Nuggets fans. After a bit of rest, they looked like their old selves again. This is a deep team with a lot of talent. The Nugs did sign Nick Young to the team to be able to fill some of the gap left by injury. This has proven exciting if nothing else. Next Nuggets game will be in Denver, Friday, December 14 against the Oklahoma City Thunder.