Nuggets Look to Rebound During Home Stand
The Denver Nuggets continue to sit in the second spot in the Western Conference, but they have certainly faced their fair share of adversity since the All-Star break.
Denver is just 4-4 since the break and 1-4 in its last five games, highlighting the need for a rebound performance during the team’s upcoming three-game home stand.
What may surprise many is the fact that it has been Denver’s defense that has thrived since the break, as the Nuggets own the league’s second-ranked defense during that stretch. However, there have been some kinks to work out offensively, as Denver ranks just 19th on that end of the floor since returning from the break.
Nuggets head coach Michael Malone is aware of the team’s struggles on offense.
“Get back to playing Nuggets basketball,” he said listing what the team needs to do to finish the regular season strong. “We've done it in stretches, but it can't just be every other quarter. It has to be for 48 minutes."
During practice on Monday, Malone and the team focused on ball movement and generating quality shots each possession. With the regular season nearing an end and the playoffs on the horizon, coach Malone stressed the urgency to his team. “When we win, we play a certain brand of basketball. With 17 games to go, and 11 of those 17 against teams that are .500 or better, we can't afford to deviate from that."
Ball movement has been a staple of Denver’s offense throughout the season, making it a high priority for the team as the home stand begins. Paul Millsap certainly understands the importance of having the ball move offensively.
“When the ball is not moving, the ball has no energy,” Millsap said. “When the ball has no energy, the team has no energy. Our team hasn't had energy for the past few weeks. Offense has been our staple for years, so we just have to get back to doing what we do."
The Nuggets are 30-11 this season when they record at least 27 assists in a game. Denver has recorded 25 assists or less in three of the four losses it has suffered in recent weeks, making ball movement a clear priority down the stretch of the regular season.
The Nuggets will look to bounce back at home this week when they welcome the Minnesota Timberwolves, Dallas Mavericks and Indiana Pacers to town. With two of the three matchups coming against teams on the outside of the playoff picture, Denver has a great opportunity to turn things around offensively and get back to the previous heights from earlier in the season.