Daily Nugget: Numbers behind Denver’s surging offense

by Eric Spyropoulos
Staff Writer
@EricSpyrosNBA

Although their record over the past five games is not that of a dominant team, the Denver Nuggets have certainly found a rhythm on the offensive end since the All-Star break.

Since the Nuggets took the court for the unofficial “second half” of the season, they have posted an offensive rating of 116.9, which ranks fifth in the league during this stretch (there have been some unstoppable offenses over the past week or so). For reference, Denver owned a 112 offensive rating throughout the first four months of the season.

A large portion of this recent surge can be traced to improved 3-point shooting and a slight uptick in ball movement. From Oct. 23 to the All-Star break, Denver ranked 16th in the league in 3-point percentage at 35.7 percent. Over the past five games, that number has jumped up to 38.7 percent, which included an 18-of-36 shooting performance against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday.

In fact, Sunday’s 133-118 victory over Toronto (the second-ranked defense in the league heading into the matchup) was a great example of just how dominant Denver’s offense can be when the ball is moving and shots are falling.

With Toronto’s love of mixing up defensive schemes throughout a game, the Nuggets just continued to move the ball and pick apart the various zone or box-and-one schemes they faced. The result was 56.6 percent shooting from the field, the aforementioned 18 3-pointers and 38 assists, which tied a season-high previously set against the New York Knicks in December.

“My favorite stat was 38 assists on 47 made field goals,” Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said, following the victory. “The ball was just flying; guys were playing for each other.”

Given their struggles on the defensive end during this recent stretch (ranking 26th in defensive rating since the break), the Nuggets need all the offense they can get moving forward. Luckily there seems to be more crisp execution and a focus on getting back to Nuggets basketball on offense, which should carry well throughout the remainder of the regular season.

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