Random notes on the Nuggets’ road win over Wolves

I wasn’t able to watch this game live because of work, but I went on media blackout and avoided seeing the score until I could watch the replay. These are just some thoughts and observations I jotted down while I watched.

1st Quarter

7:30 Murray gets the fast break off the Gallo block. He must REALLY want to score his first basket, but still unselfishly makes the smart play and gives it up to Faried. Shows maturity & awareness for a rookie.

6:40 One of the best Nuggets ball movement plays of the season. Faried hands it off to Gallo at the perimeter, Gallo passes it back to Faried at the elbow, then it swings around to Arthur, Mudiay, and back to Gallo for a make on the open 3. They’re capable of this – why don’t they do it more?

6:05 Arthur defending Towns now. Doesn’t matter.

2:47 Nuggets getting some good looks but it’s brick after brick. Same old story. Then Towns makes them pay for doubling him by kicking out to an open Wiggins for the 3.

0:56 JUANCHO!

 

2nd Quarter

11:03 Damn, Murray misses the 3, still can’t get that no-field-goals-yet monkey off his back.

10:07 Nice spin move by Nurkic on Dieng in the low post for the layup.

9:00 Towns sinks a 3 like it’s nothing. Man, his talent level is off the charts.

8:52 Jameer putting on a clinic in something Mudiay badly needs to improve: Feeding the bigs, in this case Nurkic down low for the easy layup.

8:35 After great defensive play by Nurk, Chandler takes it coast to coast for the fast break layup to close what had been a 15-point Minny lead to 2.

6:50 Murray looks a bit flummoxed. Tried to feed a bounce pass but just threw the ball right into Towns’ feet.

5:55 After reversed out of bounds call, Nuggets defense caught totally off guard as Minny runs a quick inbound play to get LaVine the open 3.

 

3rd Quarter

9:25 I knocked the Nurkic-Jokic lineup in the latest roundtable, but the Nuggets have it working in the 3rd quarter. Seems to be more effective, especially for freeing up Jokic, when they’re pushing the pace with it instead of sticking the ball in the low post.

8:07 Jokic with the ball at the perimeter feeds a cutting Mudiay for the lead-taking layup. More of this, please, Coach Malone.

5:01 The best thing for the Nuggets about that flagrant review is it got Nurkic, who looks to be headed for another big minutes game, a nice long break.

2:37 This game is by far the most successful deployment of the Jurkic lineup(s). Which given that this one has Jameer-Mudiay-Gallo, and the starters were Mudiay-Murray-Gallo, might point to one key to unlocking the effective 2-center units being running them with two guards who can play the point. Thing to check for later: If there’s a positive correlation between faster pace and higher net ratings among the different Jurkic lineups that have been tried.

2:37 Minnesota announcers breaking down in great detail how Dunn jumped to ICE the P&R too soon before KAT could get to the post. I love the Minny announcers, probably the best in the league.

0:21 Jameer Nelson is by far the Nuggets player who has most exceeded my expectations this season. He’s just been really damn good.

0:00 I successfully avoided getting the score of this game spoiled, but if the young history of this Nuggets season has taught me anything, it’s that the question I should be asking right now is, “How are they going to blow the 13-point lead they’re taking into the 4th quarter and lose this game?” Hopefully, this is where they make that the wrong question.

 

4th Quarter

9:41 Murray misses his second 3 attempt in a row. It’s almost as if the longer he goes on without scoring his first field goal, the exponentially harder it’s becoming for him to make it.

8:14 Surprisingly, the Jameer-Jamal-Wilson-Juancho-Faried lineup mostly held the line defensively for the first ~3:45 of the 4th quarter. Not surprisingly, that’s in part because they were up against Minny’s bench.

2:51 Mudiay is so aimless out there, dribbling into traffic in the lane, dribbling back out, dribble dribble dribble with no clear intent or purpose.

1:47 Mudiay with more patience before making his move that time, gets the layup and draws the foul.

0:04 Nuggets shot clock violation on presumably their final possession. Malone is rightfully furious.

0:00 Bjelica’s 3 attempt goes in and out, and the Nuggets escape with a must-needed win. Late game collapse remains a concern, but they were scrappy enough to power through. 4 a.m., time to sleep.

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