The Nuggets played the Wizards last night, the second game for Denver in as many nights, but they weren’t the same team I saw play the Nets the day before.

Against Brooklyn, Denver trailed by as much as 29 points, to the NETS! Head coach Michael Malone did what good coaches do and got his team fired up by getting himself ejected from the game, but it was too little too late.

There were Nuggets fans calling for changes to the starting lineup after the lackluster performance on Wednesday night, and they got it, but not because of the poor play. Instead, Emmanuel Mudiay was sidelined by an ankle injury, pushing Jameer Nelson into the starting lineup.

Against the Wizards, Denver led 29-18 after the first quarter, a quarter they have struggled with during this road trip. The Nuggets let the Wizards make it a game in the third quarter and lost the game in DC by a final of 92-85.

Ups and downs were expected coming into this Nuggets season. Takeaway guys like Jameer Nelson and Mike Miller, who are NBA old timers at 34 and 36, and this team would be the second or third youngest in the entire league.

Getting Gallo and Wilson Chandler back were perks for a team that needs veterans to step up and guide the young fellas when needed. Gallo led the team in scoring last season at 19.5 points per game and was looked at as the team’s most important offensive piece coming into the season. He remains the best option on the first unit but has to change a few things to get back to the Gallo the Nuggets need.

He’s great at attacking the basket and getting to the rim; the problem is that he looks to draw the foul and get to the free throw line more than he tries to actually make the bucket. If he can change that and look to score first and get fouled second, rather than vice versa, he would get defenders to give him a little more space to protect the drive and give him more of an opportunity to knock down his jumper when there is too much space between him and the defender.

Chandler, though, has been everything the team could have hoped for after missing all of last season with injury. If he continues to put up the numbers he is currently putting up, he will be well in the running for Sixth Man of the Year. The Nuggets’ record will play into those conversations as well.

Chandler comes off the bench and gets looks at the basket thanks to the play of rookie Jamal Murray. Murray has been outstanding to this point for Denver. He started slow, but that seems like an eternity ago at this point. He is showing that he can be the scorer that every team in the NBA needs. Murray, Jokic and Nurk have looked like a really bright future for Denver.

I left Emmanuel Mudiay out of that trio, not because I don’t think he’s a part of the future, because he is, but because his struggles this year have been well documented; missing the Wizards game dealing with an ankle injury, Mudiay is averaging 13.1 points per game and just 3.8 assist per game.

I am confident Mudiay will come around, and then we can see how he and Murray work together, because it’s only a matter of time until Murray cracks the starting lineup, and I think it happens sooner than later. Meaning before Gary Harris returns to claim that No. 2 spot.

The pieces, for the most part, are in place for the Nuggets. Now, we just have to let them develop. When that happens, this team will be a playoff contender.