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Nuggets record new season-high in turnovers, falter in second half against Wizards

Harrison Wind Avatar
December 9, 2016

 

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After much being made about the Nuggets getting off to poor starts in first quarters, accumulating in the second-worst first-quarter efficiency in the league this season, Michael Malone made a change to his starting lineup and inserted Darrell Arthur for Kenneth Faried. Jameer Nelson also started for Emmanuel Mudiay who sat out tonight’s matchup with a right ankle injury.

The results were positive, at first. Denver’s starters outscored Washington’s 17-5 to start the game and powered Denver to a 29-18 lead at the end of the first quarter, but ultimately tired legs and turnovers led to a 92-85 Wizards victory.

Washington was able to cut Denver’s first quarter lead to 52-47 by halftime and close to within three points midway through the third quarter. Denver was paced by Nikola Jokic in the first half who strung together his fourth double-double in as many games, scoring 17 points to go with 11 rebounds. The Wizards eventually took their first lead a few minutes later at 67-66 in what proved to be a game-changing quarter for the Nuggets.

Turnovers, as they have all season, continued to plague the Nuggets. Denver finished with a season-high 29 turnovers resulting in 22 Washington points.

Overall, the Nuggets were outscored 28-21 in the third and lacked the energy and aggressiveness on both ends of the floor that they played with in the first quarter. Bradley Beal, who paced Washington with 26 points on 8-15 shooting came on in the third, scoring 10 points as the Wizards entered the fourth leading 75-73.

Denver’s legs looked like they were going after nearly overcoming a 29-point second-half deficit in Brooklyn Wednesday night. The Nuggets started turning the ball over again, inexplicably leaving their feet on passes, and settling for contested jumpers on offense. Denver shot just 7-32 from three on the night and was 1-18 from distance in the second half.

Trailing 83-81 with 5:35 left in the fourth quarter, Malone inserted Jokic at center but the big man could not repeat his first-half magic. Denver’s legs went in the second half resulting in unforced turnovers and the Nuggets could not string together enough quality offensive or defensive possessions as Denver dropped to 8-15 on the year.

Elsewhere for Denver, Danilo Gallinari scored 14 points on just 3-11 shooting but did convert on seven of his nine free-throw attempts. Jusuf Nurkic had an efficient offensive game scoring 13 points on 6-6 shooting in 21 minutes. Jameer Nelson effectively ran the first-team offense to the tune of ten points, four rebounds, and eight assists, while Wilson Chandler suffered through his worst game of the season scoring just five points on 2-16 shooting in 32 minutes.

Footnotes

Faried recorded zero minutes tonight versus Washington. He was a healthy scratch.

Mudiay tweaked his right ankle in Denver’s loss to the Nets Wednesday night and was ruled out prior to tipoff.

WHERE/WHEN

Verizon Center, Washington, D.C. | December 8, 2016

NUGGETS STAR OF THE GAME

Jokic had his fourth double-double, 17 points and 11 rebounds, in as many games. The big man is coming on at the right time for the Nuggets.

BY THE NUMBERS

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PLAYS OF THE GAME

Chandler from the corner

Jokic heating up

Not in Arthur’s house

Jokic from his sweet-spot

WHAT’S NEXT

The Nuggets continue their six-game road trip in Orlando Saturday and Dallas Monday before returning home for a two-game set against the Trailblazers and Knicks.

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