Utah loss offers another lesson for Denver Nuggets

Coach Brian Shaw reminding players to take nothing for granted
by Aaron Lopez

When the Denver Nuggets’ recent winning streak reached five games, Nuggets coach Brian Shaw was asked about taking advantage of facing teams with sub-.500 records.

He made it clear that no game is a gimme.

“We have a chance to win every game if we play hard and play the right way,” Shaw said. “But we’re not head and shoulders above anybody else that we should really feel like going into it that ‘This is a game we should win.’ ”

The message was clear. Shaw trusts and believes in his players but he doesn’t want them to take success for granted and let it affect their energy and approach to each game.

Shaw had another real-world example for his players following Monday night’s loss to the Utah Jazz. Utah shot .557 from the field – a season-high for a Nuggets opponent – and led by as many as 24 points in a 118-103 victory over Denver.

The Jazz also went 8-of-18 from 3-point range and converted seven offensive rebounds into 15 second-chance points.

“It’s a teaching tool,” Shaw said. “We have to have a short memory in terms of putting this game behind us and getting on to the next game. We have to learn from the mistakes that we made.”

The Jazz (13-26) got a career-high 34 points from former University of Colorado standout Alec Burks, who started in place of leading scorer Gordon Hayward (hip flexor). Two of Utah wins this season have come against Denver.

“Games like this against teams that don’t have a great record, we’ve got to get these wins or they’ll come back to haunt you at the end of the season,” Nuggets forward J.J. Hickson said.

The Nuggets will conclude their two-game trip Wednesday night against the Golden State Warriors.