The Denver Nuggets came into Tuesday night’s game against the Washington Wizards on a five-game winning streak and they were looking to make it six victories in a row, but first they had to get past one of the fasted teams in the entire league.
Washington is likely not a team that will make the playoffs, but that does not mean they should be taken lightly.
Their offense is so potent that it catches teams off guard. Washington showed that in the first quarter, but they were not able to hang around much longer as the Nuggets opened things up in the second frame and did not look back from there.
In a classic defense vs. offense battle, the Nuggets overwhelmed Washington with their swarming defense that forced the Wizards into their lowest scoring game in 14 games and tied the Nuggets best start in franchise history at 13-3.
Denver will continue to ride their winning streak a bit longer as they blew out the Wizards 117-104 and with that, I give you the good, great, and awesome.
Good – First half defense
With the win, the Nuggets not only continue riding their win streak, but now move to 8-2 at the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets are one of the best home teams in the entire league and it was their stifling defense that got them through Tuesday night’s game.
After a slow start from Denver offensively in the opening frame, it looked as if the Wizards were going to hang around and make it a game. Denver responded by getting out of that that slump and putting up one of their best quarters of the season.
Denver went into the half with a 64-47 lead courtesy of a 39-24 second quarter.
Denver’s offense was clicking as the second unit provided some lift. They got out and ran, attacked the paint, and played in rhythm, but it was their defense that got the Nuggets going.
The Wizards offense came into the game with the second-best offense in the league, but Denver slowed them to a halt and put the Wizards in a hole early on. Denver limited the Washington to only 38% from the field and a whopping 1-16 from beyond the arc over the first two quarters of the game.
The Nuggets dominated a Wizards team they are better than from the opening tip. They did not give Washington hope or let them stick around and their first half defense led to their longest winning streak of the season.
Great – Jerami Grant’s best game as a Nugget
While the Nuggets depth continues to be an issue for opposing teams, it is interesting to see new ways that Denver progresses throughout the season.
Malone has tinkered with the rotations a bit as he attempts to build chemistry and a rhythm; specifically with the second unit.
In each of the Nuggets past three games, it has been a different X-factor that has stepped up to provide the Nuggets with contagious effort and energy.
Juancho Hernangomez and Malik Beasley were both inserted into the Nuggets rotation and instantly made winning plays as they helped provide relief for the Nuggets starters, but on Tuesday it was Jerami Grant’s game as he finished with his best game in a Nuggets uniform. Grant put up a season-high 20 points and also had finished with four rebounds as well.
He was attacking all night, but it was a big second quarter from their backup forward that got the Nuggets offense going. Grant was aggressive early on as he had 15 of his 20 points for the game in the second frame alone. He defended at a high level, ran the baseline for open dunks and also showed off his versatility as he knocked down a 3-pointer as well.
Tuesday was Grant’s night as he showed that he could be relied on when the offense needs a spark.
Awesome – Nuggets were locked in
Grant having a stellar game and the defense slowing down one of the best offenses in the entire league will surely be the storyline and the two main reasons for the Nuggets sixth-straight win, but this was an all-around team effort as the Nuggets looked locked in.
Grant had a season-high 20 points on the night, but Nikola Jokic also had a had a season high night as well. Jokic finished with only eight points on the night, but had a season-high 20 rebounds to lead the way in addition to his five assists.
While Denver’s offense has been up-and-down to start the season, it has started to show signs of life. Denver showcased its depth in Tuesday’s victory as six players finished in double-figures.
Grant, Will Barton III, Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Monte Morris and Mason Plumlee all got themselves rolling offensively while focusing on defense as well.
Denver has been having a strong season, but they have struggled with inferior opponents. They have consistently played down to their competition, but on Tuesday, the Nuggets made it a point to get out to a hot start and keep it up for the entire night. Denver’s offense came alive early and the defense showed up for most of the night as the Nuggets held the Wizards to their lowest scoring output for the month of November.
Denver might not be winning games in the way that many have become accustomed to — with high scoring games — but they are winning and that is all that matters.