What a difference 24 hours can make for the Denver Nuggets.
Just one day after suffering a beat down at the hands of the Detroit Pistons, the Denver Nuggets redeemed themselves Sunday night by blowing out an undermanned Celtics squad 123-107 in Boston.
The Nuggets did the work early, as the win was set up by an incredible 42 point first quarter, led by Emmanuel Mudiay, who single handily went off for 24 points during the first frame. His 24 points marks the most points scored by an individual player in a single quarter this season, beating out Russell Westbrook and Steph Curry, who both have scored 23 in a quarter in the early parts of the season.
Mudiay got off to the hot start by attacking the rim and posting up the much smaller Isaiah Thomas. He was able to use his superior size and strength to get into the paint and get easy baskets. As the quarter progressed, Mudiay took shots further away from the basket with little hesitation, as his jumper looked smooth and the shots were falling.
He nailed back-to-back triples coming after being left open running pick and roll then, drained a heat check from downtown on the next possession. Boston called for time as Mudiay let out a scream. The kid was cooking.
It was great to see Mudiay shooting the ball with confidence. After his much publicized struggles, it was clear he enjoyed the breakout quarter. Let’s hope this is a sign of things to come.
Perhaps it wasn’t a coincidence that, when Mudiay goes off for 24, he was joined in the backcourt by good friend Gary Harris.
Harris seemed to take a lot of pressure of off Mudiay on the defensive end and the two work in cohesion on offense as Harris doesn’t require a lot of the ball to score.
It was a solid performance from Harris who played in his second game of the season after a groin injury kept him out of the previous 4. He was able to contain Celtics star Isaiah Thomas early, and create easy baskets off of a number of steals in the first half.
Despite Mudiay’s incredible first quarter, Wilson Chandler was arguably the Nuggets best player in Boston. His 22 points off the bench were vital, as any time the Celtics looked like making a run, Chandler would come up with a steadying bucket. This was no more noticeable when, the Nuggets came out of the locker room at half-time a little flat, leading to a Boston 8-0 run. Coach Michael Malone inserted Chandler, he scored, and the Nuggets settled.
Denver shot a blistering 52% from the field overall, and at one point in the second quarter, were shooting over 70% as a team. Gallinari contributed 16, while Harris, Faried, Jokic and Nelson combined for 42 points.
Rookie Jamal Murray had a nice outing, scoring 9 points on 3-7 shooting as he continues to grow in confidence.
For Boston, Isaiah Thomas was the standout, as he went off for 30 points. The Nuggets had issues stopping him all game after Harris went to the bench midway through the first quarter. Fellow Celtic backcourt member Avery Bradley also had a nice game, posting 14 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.
Despite their best efforts however, this was Denver’s night. They got off to a terrific start through Emmanuel Mudiay and the rest of the squad remained hot as the Celtics never seriously challenged the Nuggets.
With the win, the Nuggets are now 3-3 on the season. Their record may be better than what that suggests however. Denver has played just the one home game thus far, and picking up 3 key wins on the road early is a tremendous sign from this young team.
With Will Barton set to return soon, and this road trip coming to an end in Memphis on Tuesday, the Nuggets are in a great position early.
Kyle Standfield | www.nugglove.com | November 6, 2016