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Nuggets-Suns Grades: Murray hits a new high

Andre Simone Avatar
December 30, 2018

The Denver Nuggets were scorching hot in the desert and while things got a bit too close towards the end of the fourth quarter, Denver still persevered on their way to a 122-118 victory over the Phoneix Suns.

We grade every performance from the Nuggets with our Dynamic Player Rating (DPR), which take into account 12 different statistical factors.

Note: for DPRs that are lacking context, our beat reporters are offering their scout’s grade.

Nikola Jokic (B) 73.82 — Jokic came oh so close to a triple-double in a wildly efficient night where he scored 23 points on 79 percent TS%. His eight boards and nine assists, with four turnovers, were huge as he threaded the needle to Murray, playing a big part in the guards high-scoring night. That well-rounded production gave the Joker a 25.7 GmSc, his highest since December 10th against the Memphis Grizzlies. Jokic was aggressive too, getting to the line eight times and making 87 percent of his freebies.

The advanced stats loved his offensive performance, though he did have a less than stellar 115 DRtg as DeAndre Ayton posted a career-high 33 points and 10 offensive rebounds as the two phenomenal centers went back and forth in the final quarter.

Jamal Murray (A+) 94.45 — Murray had easily his best game of the season on an amazingly efficient scoring outing, with an insane 84 percent eFG% on his way to 46 points in 40 minutes. That efficiency wasn’t just a product of hot shooting either, as Murray distributed, got to the rim and nailed open jumpers regularly. He was simply unguardable in this one, showing the type of elite traits that make him so intriguing as a lead guard who can be a lethal scorer from anywhere on the court.

As if that wasn’t enough, Murray added eight dimes facilitating the offense as the Suns were forced to guard him out on the perimeter, finding open teammates for easy perimeter shots. He added another six boards and a block at the rim on Ayton early on.

This marks the second-highest DPR of any Nugget this season, behind only Jokic’s 105.64 always against Phoneix in the second game of the year on a 35 point triple-double where he didn’t miss a shot.

Torrey Craig (C) 57.19 — Craig’s big calling card in this one was a  game-high +22 plus-minus in only 26 minutes, as his DRtg was an incredibly impressive 101 in a high-scoring game while guarding Devin Booker in stretches. His offensive numbers where nothing special in an eight-point performance but he did plenty on the defensive end of the floor in a solid showing.

Juancho Hernangomez (B-) 68.87 — Hernangomez played a heavy 35 minutes and was perfect from the floor falling one rebound short of a double-double while scoring 10 points. His 133 percent eFG% was that much more impressive as he hit a buzzer-beating three to end the half. He also recorded a 146 ORtg. His defense wasn’t superb with a 118 DRtg.

Mason Plumlee (C) 56.38 — Plumlee earned a passing grade, finishing with ease at the rim on easy buckets that came off of nice assists from Murray and Jokic. In the end, Jokic’s twin-tower scored seven points, added eight boards, with four coming on the offensive glass, in a +9 night. Neither his DRtg or ORtg where all that impressive but he had a worthwhile outing in 22 minutes.

Monte Morris (D+) 45.78 — With a -15 plus-minus, Morris had his third-worst DPR of the season, as the typically solid backup point guard scored only five points off of an ugly 25 percent eFG%. In 30 minutes of playing time, you’ve grown to expect a bit more from the former Cyclone.

Malik Beasley (C) 57.08 — With Morris struggling, Beasly’s 15 points on 62 percent eFG% were essential for Denver despite a -12 night. Beasley was especially hot from three-point land shooting 55 percent as he benefited from open looks thanks to the extra attention Murray commanded.

Scout’s Grade (B+) — I liked Beasley’s night. He sunk five triples and even though he was on the floor for a few rough stretches, he gave Denver really good energy.

Paul Millsap (D+) 48.63 — What mattered for the Nugs veteran PF was that he returned to the court and was able to play 14 minutes with Denver going +7 while he was on the floor. Aside from a fast break block, he didn’t do much on a less than spectacular shooting night while his 127 DRtg was his worst of the season.

Scout’s Grade (B-) — Millsap was rusty in his return, as expected but felt his way through 14 minutes off the bench. He got three field goals to drop and was moving pretty well for not being able to run up and down much over the last couple of weeks. Millsap should move back into the starting lineup in short order.

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