On Dec. 30, the Denver Nuggets fell at home to the Joel Embiid-less Philadelphia 76ers 107-102. It was an uncharacteristic offensive night for the Nuggets, who shot just 40.2 percent from the field and 7-32 (21.9 percent) from three. It was also an off night for Denver’s star center Nikola Jokic, who shot an inefficient 5-14 from the field on the way to 19 points. At that time, the 76ers were 1-6 without their All-Star center.

The defeat plunged the Nuggets into their worst funk of the season — a three-week stretch that could go a long way toward keeping Denver out of the playoffs for a fifth straight year. The Nuggets went on to lose six of their next 10 games. Losses to the Kings, Hawks and Suns over those next few weeks still burn inside Denver’s locker room.

“We just kind of self-imploded,” Mason Plumlee said after the loss.

Denver struggled to shoot the ball for 48 minutes that night, but it wasn’t because of Philadelphia’ defense, Jamal Murray said. Ironically, with Embiid playing at an All-NBA level this season, the 76ers defense is precisely what should concern Denver this time around.

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Harrison Wind is the Denver Nuggets beat reporter for DNVR Nuggets. The University of Colorado alum grew up in Boulder and has covered the Nuggets for the last three seasons. You can hear him every weekday on the DNVR Nuggets podcast. Follow Harrison on Twitter - @HarrisonWind