Five Things We Learned About The Denver Nuggets

It was the tough week for the Denver Nuggets as they dropped three home games, before finally ending their losing streak in Indiana on Saturday.

  • ARRON AFFLALO IS BREAKING OUT OF HIS SLUMP: If there had been one player who has been in a funk for the Nuggets it is Afflalo. The usually reliable shooting guard has struggled with his shooting touch, at least up until Thursday. Afflalo’s struggles had many people wondering if it was worth giving the 26-year-old a $43 million/5-year-deal, but the hard-working captain broke himself out of the slump this week. Going into the contest with the Warriors, Afflalo had missed 17 of his last 24 shots. His season average is a JR Smith-like .432 from the field, which is far less than what he shot last season (.498). But on Thursday, Afflalo scored 26 points and hit 8 of 16 from the field and 5 of 8 from behind the arc. He followed that game up by shooting 8 of 11 from the field and scored 23 points. He has also hit his last 23 free throws. 
  • TY LAWSON IS THE KEY TO THE NUGGETS SUCCESS: If the Nuggets want to be successful and make the playoffs Lawson has to be the best player on the floor for Denver. In wins this season, Lawson is averaging 16.4 points and is shooting .48 from the field and .80 from the free throw line. He also is shooting nearly twice as many free throws in wins as well. In losses, Lawson is shooting only .446 from the field, .70 percent from the charity stripe and is averaging 14.9 points. His 24 points and nine assists led the Nuggets past the Heat earlier this season and Saturday night he scored 27 points to help the Nuggets end their streak.
  • COREY BREWER’S PROVIDING THE NUGGETS WITH ENERGY AND LEADERSHIP: As tough as a week the Nuggets had, Brewer’s week was far worst. His father passed away on Tuesday, forcing Brewer to miss three games for the Nuggets. With a heavy heart, Brewer returned to Denver and provided the Nuggets with the energy to top the Pacers and end the Nuggets slide. Not exactly what was expected out of a player that wasn’t much more than a throw-in in the Rudy Fernandez trade. In fact, Brewer didn’t play in four games this season due to a coach’s decision and played sporadically in numerous other games. The question is will Brewer’s performance on Saturday give him a spot in the rotation?
  • NUGGETS DEFENSE NEEDS HELP: During the Nuggets recent struggles, Denver has given up an average of 105.8 points a game. Over the previous six games, the Nuggets have also allowed three opponents to shoot over .50 percent from the field and three teams to shoot over .40 from behind the arc. Nine different players scored more than 20 points and two had more than 30 over the past six games. Probably Denver’s biggest flaw on defense has been its perimeter defense. Danny Granger, Paul George, Stephen Curry, Dorell Wright, Vince Carter, Chase Budinger, Kyle Lowry and Nicolas Batum have seen open looks against the Nuggets and made them pay. In fact, the Nuggets are the second worst team in the NBA at defending the 3-point line, behind only the New Jersey Nets. This is a major concern for Denver and something they need to work to fix in the near future. Another issue has been the Nuggets defense in the post. Denver blocks less than 5 shots a game and teams are taking advantage of Nuggets struggles in the post. David West had 22 points on 10 of 11 shots, Luis Scola scored 25 against the Nuggets, LaMarcus Aldridge went for 29 and Andrew Bynum had 22 against the Nuggets. It might be due to the absence of Timofey Mozgov, but the Nuggets should have the size and right personal to be good defenders.
  • NUGGETS ARE HURTING: Within the last two weeks the Nuggets have lost three starters to injuries. Mozgov went down against the Lakers and has missed the previous five games. Nene has been in and out of the linup with a heel injury, he missed a game last week and may miss the next week due to a left calf strain. But arguably the biggest lost was Danilo Gallinari, who went down with a left ankle sprain against the Houston Rockets and is expected to miss the next month.

Tags: Andrew Bynum Arron Afflalo Chase Budinger Corey Brewer Dallas Mavericks Danilo Gallinari Danny Granger Denver Nuggets Dorell Wright George Karl Golden State Warriors Indiana Pacers J.R. Smith JR Smith Kyle Lowry LaMarcus Aldridge Los Angeles Lakers Luis Scola Miami Heat New Jersey Nets Nicolas Batum Paul George Rudy Fernandez Stephen Curry Timofey Mozgov Ty Lawson Vince Carter

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