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Nuggets-Trail Blazers Grades: Learning to win ugly

Andre Simone Avatar
December 1, 2018

The Denver Nuggets blitzed the Portland Trail Blazers early on the road, only to have the Blazers comeback in a tight 113-112 Denver win.

We grade every performance from the Nuggets with our Dynamic Player Rating (DPR) grades, which take into account 12 different statistical factors. For DPR grades that seem to lack context, our beat reporters are offering their scout’s grade.

Nikola Jokic (C+) 62.16 — Jokic’s first-half performance was perfect going 6-for-6 from the field, his scoring ability in the second half wasn’t nearly as noteworthy, ending the day with a 58-percent eFG% and scoring 15 points. The Joker did his usual box-score stuffing thing with an 8-to-1 assist to turnover ratio and six boards—three of which were on the offensive glass. His 142 ORtg was his highest since back in late October and his GmSc was his best in the past six games.

Scout’s Grade (A) — Jokic went at Jusuf Nurkic in the first half and shot 7-11 from the field on the night when guarded by Nurkic. Denver could have used his offense in the fourth quarter but Jokic made the best play of the night when he passed up a contested three to find Gary Harris in the corner for Denver’s game-winner.

Gary Harris (B-) 69.43 — Harris played big in his return from injury, locking down Damian Lillard and leading all Denver scorers with 27. His 122 DRtg doesn’t do justice to his work defensively and his lack of impact in other areas of the court, beyond scoring, hurt his grade too.

But make no mistake, this was a standout performance for Harris offensively, with a 29.6 USG%—his second highest of the entire year—and a52-percent eFG%.

Scout’s Grade (A) — Harris was the best player on the floor for most of Friday’s win. He helped lock up Damian Lillard too, who finished with just 15 points on 6-16 shooting.

Jamal Murray (C-) 53.68 — Murray had his lowest GmSc since October 21st, with a rough 2-of-13 shooting performance from the floor. Though, he did post a +6 and had six assists while only turning the ball over twice. The advanced stats didn’t love his game, but he did come through late as the Nuggets leaned on him and the Blue Arrow got to the line on consecutive possessions with less than a minute left.

Paul Millsap (B) 70.21 — Millsap had a strong outing, knocking down big shots and hauling in a 22-and-10 double-double, with four steals and as many assists. His influence on defense was undoubtedly felt, though he had the worst DRtg he’s had in the Nuggets five-game win streak.

Juancho Hernangomez (C+) 64.35 — Juancho was incredibly efficient in 28 minutes, scoring nine points and pulling down 11 boards, with a +9 night. His 75-percent eFG% was impressive as he nailed both of his attempts from beyond the arc. His 123 ORtg elevated his grade as well.

Monte Morris (B-) 66.89 — Despite his -6 game, Morris was outstanding, confidently scoring 16 points in 30 minutes. His 100-percent eFG% was off the charts. as he came through with big shots and tallied an impressive 168 ORtg.

Scout’s Grade (A) — This was an outstanding game from Morris, which Denver has come to expect from its backup point guard night in and night out. Morris turned the ball over just one time in 30 minutes, he also played the entire fourth quarter. He’s gaining more and more confidence every night on the offensive end of the floor and with his three-point shot too. He played aggressive versus Portland, shooting 7-8 from the field.

Mason Plumlee (C-) 50.09 — Plumlee’s conventional stats weren’t anything special, scoring three points, with three boards, as many assists, and a -7 plus-minus. He did add two steals and a block, while also grabbing two offensive rebounds, but what really got his grade up to a C was an impressive 133 ORtg and a lack of turnovers in 14 minutes.

Trey Lyles (C) 56.05 — Lyles only made two field goals, both threes which raised his eFG% to 42 percent. His DRtg, ORtg, and GmSc were all below average, which makes his passing grade surprising in just 12 minutes as he scored eight points. However, his usage rate was the second highest it’s been all season and he did add an assist and steal.

This might be a game where DPR actually liked his performance more than the eye-test.

Malik Beasley (D+) 49.49 — Beasly, with Morris, had the worst plus-minus of the night as he struggled to impact the game beyond his long distance shooting. His one make from three was crucial in holding the Blazers at bay as they mounted a ferocious comeback in the second half. His impact was limited outside of that.

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