Matching a developing youthful center of Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Gary Harris with top pick control forward Paul Millsap should give a spine to a group that could score with anybody however didn’t have much enthusiasm for playing barrier. What’s more, even in the Western Conference, this gathering hoped to have enough ability to make the postseason without precedent for a long time.
That was previously Saturday in Memphis, when the Nuggets had the single-most noticeably awful loss of the NBA season. Denver never drove and fell, 101-94, to a Grizzlies group that is currently partaking in the Great Tank Race of 2018 — and had lost its past 19 amusements, a streak going the distance back to a prevail upon the Phoenix Suns on Jan. 29. With the misfortune, Denver tumbled to tenth in the swarmed Western Conference playoff standings.
Denver’s 11-22 record in road games this season is easily the worst of any playoff hopeful in either conference. The Nuggets are being outscored by 4.9 points per 100 possessions away from home (20th best in the NBA) and have the league’s 26th ranked defense.
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It’s hard to see any of those numbers improving as Denver moves into a closing stretch that has eight of its final 12 games coming on the road — with seven of those coming against teams with winning records. The home games won’t be gimmes either, as all four are with opponents — the Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Portland Trail Blazers — that will be where Denver hopes to be: in the playoffs.
So how did Denver end up here? Some will point to the loss of Millsap for three months with a torn ligament in his wrist that required surgery. But the Nuggets have actually taken a step back in the 10 games since Millsap returned to the lineup, going 5-5 – including catastrophic road losses to the Grizzlies, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers, games in which Millsap combined to shoot 8 for 24 and missed all six of his three-point attempts.