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OKLAHOMA CITY — Paul Millsap could only stand and watch as the play that determined the outcome of the Nuggets’ wild overtime game against the Thunder unfolded. As Mason Plumlee met Jerami Grant in the air with less than 10 seconds remaining in the extra period, Millsap remained ground bound. If Grant finished, Denver would need a miracle to avoid...

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For the fourth season in a row, the Denver Nuggets are on pace to finish as a bottom-six defense in the NBA. The Nuggets have never finished better than 24th in defensive efficiency in the Michael Malone era. On Tuesday, with only 11 regular-season games remaining, they woke up as the fourth-worst defensive team in basketball. Barring something miraculous, Denver will once again fail to qualify for the postseason. Right now, the Nuggets sit in 10th place — two games behind the eight-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves, whose final stretch of games is considerably cushier than Denver’s. If the Nuggets do come up short again, it will be because they couldn’t stop anybody. Opponents are shooting 65.3 percent at the rim, 42.5…

DENVER — Tempers flared at the conclusion of the Denver Nuggets’ 125-116 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, which led to Lakers coach Luke Walton having to be restrained by referee Ron Garretson as both teams retreated back to their respective huddles for a timeout following two Jamal Murray free-throws. Garretson pushed Walton back to his bench as the Lakers coach yelled in Murray’s direction. “I felt like for the second time we played here, Murray was a little disrespectful at the end of the game,” Walton said. Asked specifically about what Murray did that he deemed disrespectful, Walton said, “some trash talking towards our guys.” Murray finished with a team-high 22 points on 5-12 shooting and added eight assists. Denver’s…

Richard Jefferson had it all planned out. On Monday evening in Dallas, the 37-year-old was set to sit down with Mavericks forward Harrison Barnes. He plugged in his podcast equipment. He whipped out a bottle of wine. They were ready to record when Barnes and Altitude TV sideline reporter Ally Sturm arrived at his hotel room inside the Crescent Court. Then technical difficulty arose. “We had a problem with the instrument yesterday,” Jefferson said. “We were calling people, trying to get it figured out, trying to get it formatted. We were about two minutes away from not getting Harrison Barnes yesterday. It worked out. We figured it out.” Jefferson placed a call to Cleveland Cavaliers sideline reporter Allie Clifton on…

This past July, Chauncey Billups took his name out of consideration for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ President of Basketball Operations, telling ESPN’s The Undefeated that “it just wasn’t time.” Billups resumed his role at ESPN as an NBA analyst and will be in the broadcast booth for the first time Wednesday when the Denver Nuggets host the Cleveland Cavaliers (8:30 p.m....

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Denver Nuggets president and governor Josh Kroenke has a proposal to end the NBA’s one-and-done rule. In an appearance on The Woj Pod with Adrian Wojnarowski, Kroenke laid out his concept for a one-round high school draft where selected players would spend a mandatory year in the G League. The NBA’s Rookie Transition Program would also be replaced by a mandatory “NBA U” — a 12-month course where players would learn how to prepare for life as professionals and the financial responsibilities that come with it. Here’s Kroenke’s proposal in full. “The conversation has come up a couple different times by people who have either seen our proposal or heard about it. It was an idea that I had actually sitting…

In many ways, a Gary Harris drive and finish at the rim resembles the way a carpenter strikes a nail. First, there’s speed — the initial motion that serves as a setup. Then comes power. Finally, blunt force is applied. There’s no wasted motion in either process. That powerful style is what makes Harris one of the best finishers in the game. The Nuggets’ 23-year-old shooting guard has converted 69 percent of his attempts around the rim this season, which Cleaning the Glass defines as any shot within 4 feet of the basket. That puts him in the 91st percentile of all NBA players. But what makes Harris so effective around the basket also gets him roasted by one of…

DENVER — Behind a red-hot offense that’s clicking on all cylinders, the Nuggets are playing their best basketball of the Michael Malone era. Denver is 10-3 over its past 13 games and has quietly climbed to sixth place in a crowded Western Conference playoff picture — just 1 1/2 games behind the third-seeded San Antonio Spurs. The Nuggets have surged back from a brutal three-week stretch in late December and January, where Denver went 4-8, due to an offense that’s rediscovered its identity from last season. Behind Nikola Jokic, who’s averaging 20.1 points, 11.2 rebounds and 9.0 assists in his last 13 games, the Nuggets are the league’s third-best offense since Jan. 22. Denver’s offensive boom — which has coincided with a…

Denver Nuggets forward Darrell Arthur played with Grizzlies’ center Marc Gasol, who will one day be enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall-of-Fame, for four seasons. He saw the work Gasol put in day in and day out on the practice court firsthand and the success Gasol had in the playoffs taking Memphis to the Western Conference semifinals in 2011 (Arthur’s rookie year) and the conference finals in 2013. Arthur thinks Nikola Jokic can be better than Gasol. He also believes Jokic will join Gasol one day in Springfield. In an appearance on the BSN Nuggets Podcast, Arthur recalled a flashbulb moment three years ago when he first watched Jokic play and saw the potential he had. “I saw it years ago…

The Denver Nuggets are back to incinerating opponents on the offensive end. In the dozen games since Nuggets coach Michael Malone announced he’d call fewer plays to try and recapture the free-flowing identity that defined his team a year ago, the Nuggets are averaging 114.6 points per 100 possessions, the third-best mark in basketball. Thursday’s win over the Milwaukee Bucks was perhaps the best example yet of what Denver is capable when it cedes control to Nikola Jokic and follows his lead. The Nuggets shot 55.3 percent from the field and knocked down 24 threes — tying the franchise record set nearly a year ago against Golden State — in the 134-123 win. Jokic recorded what was believed to be…

Jimmy Conca started designing shoes in 2012. His toolbox contains masking tape, an X-Acto knife and paint. His first client was former Denver Broncos safety Rahim Moore. Conca, who also paints portraits of athletes, designed Jamal Murray’s custom Adidas CrazyExplosive shoes that Murray wore for the Nuggets’ 70’s, 80’s and 90’s themed nights earlier this season. Conca spoke with BSN Denver about his career and what else he has in store for Murray this season. BSN Denver: When did you first get into designing and customizing shoes? Jimmy Conca: A few years back. I had painted three portraits for Rahim Moore. He asked if I could do his cleats, and the rest is history. BSN: Why’d you go the shoe route? JC:…

The 2018 All-Star game got off to a rocky start but ended with a bang. The overproduced pregame show that featured 45 minutes of Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle was stale. Fergie’s national anthem was an abomination and the first quarter saw some defense but also poor offense as Team Steph and Team LeBron both shot under 50 percent from the field. Players from both teams looked winded at the first timeout. Down 13, with 6:57 remaining in the fourth quarter, LeBron James and his squad could have coasted into Sunday night’s hottest after-party and readied their bodies for the final two months of the regular season. But James, who took home Most Valuable Player honors, Rusell Westbrook, Kevin Durant,…

DENVER — NBA senior vice president of referee training and development Monty McCutchen, head of referee operations Michelle Johnson and their staffs met with Nuggets players and coaches Tuesday morning at Pepsi Center to discuss rules interpretations, on-court conduct and the expectations of NBA referees. The meeting laid the groundwork for the planned summit at All-Star weekend where unions representing both sides will meet to address the mounting tensions between players and referees that has resulted in a high volume of both technical fouls and ejections this season. McCutchen and Johnson are meeting with all 30 teams as part one of the league’s five-pronged initiative designed to address the on-court working relationship between NBA players and referees. At All-Star weekend,…

Will Barton wiggled into skinny jeans, laced up shimmering shoes, slipped on a denim jacket then unfolded aviator sunglasses and placed them on as he prepared to take questions following his team’s 115-108 win over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday. “It’s night time, Thrill,” Jamal Murray yelled from across the room. Barton smiled.  “It’s always sunny from here,” he yelled back. Teammates often try to needle Barton about his penchant for rocking sunglasses indoors after games. Every time, Barton takes it in stride. The Nuggets’ 27-year-old swingman is not short on confidence. It’s what’s helped propel him from second-round pick and bench warmer to where he is now: a 14.4 points-per-game scorer on a team in line to make the playoffs. That self-belief was also what allowed him to shrug…

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