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Emmanuel Mudiay's 16 points, 9 assists lead Nuggets to 114-103 rout vs Warriors

An Nguyen Avatar
October 14, 2015


At just 19-years-old, Emmanuel Mudiay is proving to be every bit the floor general as NBA veteran Ty Lawson — and more. Making plays time and time again, the rookie was setting up teammates and eliciting “oohs” and “ahhs” from the road crowd. A star was being born on national television and those that were fortunate enough to watch this game will look back and remember this as the night Mudiay showed to the NBA world: I am for real.


First Quarter

Nuggets came out of the gate with a starting lineup of Mudiay, Gary Harris, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried. My colleague Harrison Wind asked Malone about playing Chandler and Gallinari together for small ball lineups and Malone stayed true to his word when he said the Nuggets would do so in abundance. First play of the game was a Harris stop, appropriate for how well he’s been defending. Mudiay started his work as he patiently ran a pick-and-roll for a simple mid-range jumper like an NBA veteran.

The patience and composure displayed above was a common theme against the Warriors as Mudiay conducted the offense to the tune of 9 assists versus just 2 turnovers. Forget the towering size, imposing frame and shifty explosion — this is what makes the kid special.

The Nuggets then ran a play they’ve fallen in love with (and for good reason): a Gallinari post up near the elbow. The Warriors immediately sent a double team and Gallo swung the ball around, resulting in a Mudiay open 3-pointer. Bucket.

Mudiay continued his cool, calm and collected onslaught as he wove through the defense for an easy lay-up and then found Harris wide open under the basket on the next possession.

This kid was opening eyes in one of the most hostile environments in the league.

Malone rotated the starters out from 4:44 left in the first to 2:26, with Chandler and Gallinari playing a bit longer. Jameer Nelson drained back to back threes to give the Nuggets some momentum heading into the second quarter. Warriors led 35-31.

Second Quarter

Nuggets start the second quarter with a lineup of Nelson, Nick Johnson, Will Barton, J.J. Hickson, and Joffrey Lauvergne. Looks like the Nuggets are giving Johnson a long, hard look for the final roster spot — potential bad news for Erick Green since Johnson is the better playmaker, defender and athlete.

Hickson continued to show why he absolutely does not deserve playing time… luckily Malone recognized this and he’s been limiting his minutes. Hickson was pulled quickly as Malone replaced him with Chandler at the 10 minute mark; Hickson wouldn’t return after just under five minutes of action. The starters all returned by 7:10 in the second with the Warriors lead at five. Mudiay then pulled out another rewind-button-scrambling play:


The Nuggets managed to seize the lead and push it to four by the end of the half, 63-59, behind Mudiay and Faried’s excellent play. This kid is seemingly has chemistry with the entire roster.

Third Quarter

This was the quarter where all the magic happened. Highlight, after highlight, after highlight as the Nuggets completely took over. Manimal looked like he’s back to being Manimal as he played his best game in over a year. I don’t know if it was Malone, assistant coach Ed Pinckney or whoever got through to him, but he was truly a different beast. Gone was the Faried who demanded post touches and actively looked for his shot, in was the Manimal we all know and love scoring with his off-ball movement, hustle and heart. Faried moved the ball extremely well tonight and was rewarded by Mudiay for it. This is the reason guys will love to play alongside Emmanuel.

We can already see Malone’s defensive principles paying dividends as the Nuggets held the defending champions to a mere 17 points in the third quarter. Denver ends the third up 92-76.

Fourth Quarter

Most of this quarter was garbage time with the game already out of hand. Interestingly enough this was Nikola Jokic’s first action of the night – perhaps the plan was to give Hickson backup big minutes, but, again, his night ended quickly. The rookie immediately made an impact by deflecting a pass and draining a mid-range jumper on the other end. Denver’s future is bright.

At the 6:16 mark Erick Green replaced Nelson for what seemed to be an audition for the team’s final roster spot. Green didn’t make any memorable impact and should be looking over his shoulder — Johnson is a threat.

Nuggets close out garbage time and defeat the defending champs handily 114-103.


Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA / Oct. 13, 2015 / Preseason Game No. 4


“When I was at Golden State (as an assistant) and we played Denver, it seemed like every time we played them Kenneth Faried just really dominated us,” Malone said back on Media Day. “And he dominated us with his tenacity, his energy, his motor, his running, his rebounding.

“I don’t want him to forget who he is, the core of Kenneth Faried. That’s a guy that just plays harder than anybody else on the floor.”

Emmanuel blazed a path for the Nuggets victory with 16 points and 9 assists while Faried slammed it home with 22 points and 12 rebounds – on an efficient 10-12 shooting.

The rookie called Faried’s number a lot as the two displayed a nice one-two punch. Maybe Mudiay will help Faried forget about “losing his best friend” sooner rather than later:


Kenneth displayed a perfect combination of classic Manimal and the new-look Faried sporting a surprisingly effective mid-range sbot:



Steph Curry gets switched onto Gallo, Danilo goes to work and hits a mean step-back:


Mudiay fake pass fools the entire defense:


Will Barton no look pass:




The third quarter was the defining quarter of the game as the entire Nuggets team made play after play against a stunned Warriors team to win the quarter 29-17.



The stat that sticks out right away is Faried’s dominance on the floor with 10-12 shooting. Hopefully the Manimal is back and here to stay, long road ahead.

Next is Mudiay shooting 2-3 from three with just 2 turnovers. Extremely encouraging signs from the rookie as those are two big areas of concern and he has shown improvement, even through the four preseason games.

Nelson will prove to be instrumental to the bench as he leads the unit not only by running the offense, but with scoring as well. He shot an extremely productive 4-6 from three and I genuinely expect his shot to go in every time. He’s money.


“Coming in here playing against the defending champs, we just wanted to come out here and do what we’re supposed to do: control the defensive end and play offense the way we wanted to play. We didn’t want to get too focused on who we were playing, that’s just our identity and that’s what we try to do every night.” -Emmanuel Mudiay

This is exactly what the Nuggets did as they forced their will and identity onto the reigning champs. This is Malone’s vision put into motion and I gotta say, it looks pretty damn beautiful.

(You can listen to Jason Kosmicki’s entire post-game interview with Mudiay by clicking here.)


The Nuggets continue dominating preseason with a record of 3-1. The team continues to build towards a clear and concrete idea, with noticeable improvements each time they step on the floor. Finally for the first time in over a year Nuggets fans feel like they have a direction and I cannot wait to get to the destination. Malone’s brand of basketball is one that should be embraced in Denver and fans should be grateful this match made in heaven came to fruition. The Nuggets continue to defend hard (seventh in DefRtg per NBA.com) and turn those stops into baskets, running the Warriors out of their own gym. This is the new “Denver Nuggets basketball.”


The Nuggets will be back in Denver to face off against the Phoenix Suns for their first game in the Pepsi Center this preseason. Game tip-off is 7:00 PM MT on Friday, Oct. 16th.

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