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Nuggets' Miller suspended as tensions boil


Posted Jan 2, 2014 5:29 PM - Updated Jan 2, 2014 7:35 PM

DENVER (AP) -- Facing his first predicament as a head coach, Brian Shaw suspended one of his players and sat down the rest of the Denver Nuggets for a lengthy chat Thursday.

He hopes his message got through and possibly serves as a turning point in the season. The Nuggets are trying to snap out of an eight-game slump, their longest in nearly a decade.

"Didn't anticipate for (the meeting) to last as long as it did, but however long it needs to take to flush everything out and figure out what's going on with our team, we decided to take that time today," Shaw said. "It's been a long morning after a long night of watching the game over and just playing everything back in your mind and trying to find a solution for where we are."

One of the biggest moves of the day was Denver suspending veteran point guard Andre Miller for two games for "conduct detrimental to the team."

Miller was upset after not playing in a 114-102 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night. It was the first "Did not play - coach's decision" of Miller's 15-year career.

Asked how his meeting with Miller went, Shaw said he hasn't talked to him yet. Shaw didn't elaborate on why Miller was suspended but there were reports that Miller voiced his displeasure with Shaw over his lack of playing time.

"It just came to a boiling point. We made a decision and we're moving forward," Shaw said.

Miller's suspension begins Friday against the Memphis Grizzlies. He also will not travel for a game Sunday in Los Angeles against the Lakers.

"We will have a conversation before he comes back with the team," Shaw said. "That'll happen when it happens."

In the meantime, Shaw met for several hours with the rest of his squad as the Nuggets try to get back on track.

"Everybody got their feelings out. Everybody said what needed to be said," point guard Ty Lawson said. "Hopefully everybody can take that to heart and change so we can start getting wins. It's always healthy to get things out and get everything in the open. Hopefully, this will be a turning point for the rest of the season."

Shaw is hoping for the same thing.

"I've been on championship teams that while you were winning you had these kinds of meetings to air everything out," Shaw explained. "It happens and it's a part of what goes on in our business and a family. These things happen.

"There was a lot of things people wanted to get off their chest."

Miller was a favorite of former coach George Karl, who was ousted after winning a franchise-best 57 games last season only to be bounced from the first round of the playoffs for a fourth straight time.

The transition from Karl's up-tempo style to the system Shaw wants to run hasn't been all that smooth. This season could be filled with growing pains, which has been hard for the fans to digest.

The Nuggets drew some boos after losing their fifth straight game at Pepsi Center on Wednesday. They were a franchise-best 38-3 at home last season.

Shaw said the takeaway from the meeting was the importance of "hard work and effort."

"If we bring that every night and we ended up losing every game, we can still live with ourselves because we know we gave it everything we had," Shaw said. "To this point, at different stages in the games, we haven't been doing that, so that's why we are where we are."

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