Preview: Denver Nuggets continue Preseason against Warriors

by Eric Spyropoulos
Staff Writer
@EricSpyroNBA

Preseason action continues for the Denver Nuggets in San Francisco Wednesday, as Denver takes on the Golden State Warriors.

The Nuggets kicked off their 2021 preseason with a 103-102 loss to the LA Clippers Monday night in a game that had several bright spots on the individual level. Most notably, Michael Porter Jr. picked up right where he left off to end the 2020-21 regular season, dropping 23 points in 22 minutes of action (9-of-15 shooting from the field).

Meanwhile, Bones Hyland (19 points, 8-of-13 shooting) and Bol Bol (11 points, five blocks) continued to impress as they hope to secure playing time in the regular season. Despite holding a lead for the majority of the second half, Denver saw a last-second 3-point attempt from Markus Howard rim out.

The next step in the road to the regular season takes place in San Francisco, where Denver should receive a boost from the reigning MVP, Nikola Jokić. Jokić rejoined the team in Los Angeles following the birth of his daughter last week and is expected to play against Golden State.

INJURY REPORT:

WILL BARTON – LEFT ANKLE SPRAIN. DOUBTFUL.

MICHAEL PORTER JR. – LEFT KNEE SORENESS. PROBABLE.

JAMAL MURRAY – LEFT ACL SURGERY. OUT.

TUNE-IN: 8 p.m. MT, Altitude Radio 92.5FM

Preseason debut for the MVP

Nuggets head coach Michael Malone wasn’t too pleased with the team’s ball movement against the Clippers, an area Jokić can and certainly will help in when he takes the court. Given the importance of the Serbian big man in Denver’s offense, it will be helpful to have the 26-year-old back in the lineup as the team irons out any kinks heading into the regular season.

Similar to Monday’s contest, look for Jokić to play throughout the first half before resting down the stretch of the game to provide opportunities for Denver’s young big men.

Welcome to Hyland Island

The second half of Monday’s game was full of mesmerizing buckets from Hyland, who used his tight handle and craftiness to get inside the paint for a variety of finishes. Similar to his Summer League performance, the 21-year-old rookie was able to score in one-on-one settings with the ball in his hands, often creating his own looks inside the arc.

It remains to be seen if Hyland can crack Denver’s backcourt rotation in the regular season but putting together performances similar to the one he had Monday in LA will go a long way in increasing his opportunities.

Gordon’s versatile game

Monday’s contest against the Clippers was a good showcase for the variety that is in Aaron Gordon’s offensive skill set. The 26-year-old forward hit a 3-pointer, threw down an alley-oop lob, and initiated some offense through his playmaking.

Gordon finished with eight points and three assists in his 21 minutes of action, and Wednesday’s game presents him with another opportunity to gain comfort in the offense as he prepares to shoulder a larger role to begin the season with Jamal Murray out.

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