What a fucking statement.
That’s how a #1 seed should come out and play.
A couple weeks ago I wrote about why I was concerned about the Nuggets heading into the playoffs.
I am worried no more.
Last night Denver showed the rest of the Western Conference why the Nuggets aren’t a team to be slept on. Jamal Murray, while struggling to find a rhythm early on, looked like bubble Murray, Porter looked like a dude that deserved every cent of that max contract, and KCP showed everyone exactly why the Nuggets were so aggressive in acquiring him this offseason.
Oh yeah, and the Joker was just doing normal Joker things.
Just another day in the office for the big fella.
But the most encouraging thing we saw last night?
We’ve known all year the Nuggets could turn their defense on anytime they felt like it. It wasn’t a coincidence Denver had the best clutch time defense in the league. But to see them play with such tenacity on that end for 48 minutes was a sight for sore eyes for Nuggets fans. We’ve talked about this over and over again, but replacing Monte Morris, Will Barton, Bones Hyland, and a host of other mediocre backups for KCP, Jamal Murray, Bruce Brown, and Christian Braun is making a world of difference. Teams are not getting into the paint easily with this team, and that makes for an exciting realization of what this team could truly accomplish.
Oh and Jamal Murray?
Yeah, I’m not worried one bit. He was throwing dimes all game, hunting the open shot, and proving why he’s not just another star that the Nuggets can rely on, but a true superstar that’ll be a tough matchup for any guard trying to defend him.
Jokic said it best in his post game interview on TNT.
Yes, Nikola Jokic is the Nuggets best player. And yes, we’re going to need him to continue to put up numbers for us to accomplish anything this year.
But Jamal Murray is also that dude.
He is him, as the youths would say. Jamal Murray is capable of carrying this team on his back on any given night, and that simply can’t be understated when talking about why this team has such lofty expectations.
Denver had 6 guys score 13 or more points last night. That’s some 2013 Spurs shit. And that’s exactly what the Nuggets need if they want to win a championship this year.
What’s so exciting about this team is that everyone knows their role. That’s a rare thing that can’t be understated. And not only does every guy know their role, they excel in that role.
Look at Christian Braun. The maturity of this rookie at only 21 years old is light years ahead of other dudes his age. He knows that what this team needs from him is defense and hustle plays. And he plays that role to a T.
Look at how he handled Kyle Anderson being a dick for no reason:
Shit, I thought Gobert was going to go after Anderson more than I thought Braun was on this play. He remained cool, resulting in a flagrant on Anderson, while Braun was deemed a “peacemaker”, therefore not drawing a penalty. That’s a winning play, and one of the many reasons why Christian Braun is gonna be a great piece to this team for many years to come.
So no, I’m not worried about the Denver Nuggets anymore.
But the rest of the league damn well should be.