Nuggets Pull Out Win Over Perth

The Denver Nuggets finally got a look at their full starting five in a 96-88 win over the Perth Wildcats from the National Basketball League of Australia. The Nuggets had been missing Gary Harris in the first two preseason games, as he had injured his hamstring at the end of training camp. Jamal Murray sat out the second preseason game as a precaution with a sore ankle.

Harris played 18 minutes while scoring 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting in his first action of the 2018-19 preseason. Harris struggled from deep, shooting just 1-of-5 from three. Murray saw 19 minutes of court time, attempting just four shots and scoring five points.

The Nuggets would get off to a strong start in the game, holding an 11 point advantage after the first quarter. Perth guard Bryce Cotton, who has spent some time in the NBA and G League, had 14 of his team’s 16 points in the first. The Nuggets were led by 11 points from Will Barton and nine from Gary Harris.

The Nuggets would continue to hold a lead through the second quarter as the second unit set the tone. The bench gave the Nuggets a burst for the third straight game.

“Well, its three games in a row now that has been the same script. Our starting lineup is not really playing the way they need to play and we rely on our bench unit of Monte, Malik, Juancho and Torrey, Trey and Mason. Those guys, all three games, have played terrific basketball so give them a lot of credit,” Coach Michael Malone said.

Things got interesting in the third quarter after Paul Millsap received two technical fouls, resulting in his ejection from the game. Millsap had played 18 minutes to that point, scoring five points and recording nine rebounds. Millsap’s ejection came as Perth began a run, getting within two points late in the third quarter.

The Nuggets bench helped them pull away in the fourth but the game was much closer than Malone would like.

“We need to start playing. Our starting group, collectively, is not performing at the level they need to. That’s not to say making every shot or not making mistakes. The regular season starts in 12 days and I don’t know what we are waiting for.”

The Nuggets will play the Los Angeles Clippers on the road on Tuesday before heading to Chicago to take on the Bulls.

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