Denver Nuggets: Matchup to watch vs. Bucks

Denver Nuggets Gary Harris (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Denver Nuggets Gary Harris (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

The Denver Nuggets desperately need to get a win at home against the Milwaukee Bucks.

After 2 straight losses to the Grizzlies and Nets by a combined 4 points, the Denver Nuggets aren’t quite spiraling out of control, but they are on the verge of losing the momentum they started the year with. A win against the 2nd best team in the Eastern Conference would be huge for the team’s morale and energy going forward.

After their best start to a season since their first year in the NBA, they have fallen to their 4th-best start to a season in the team’s history. The main problem in the past two games has been the Nuggets offense and their offensive strategy.

Against the Grizzlies, the Nuggets had a problem because Nikola Jokic did not show up to the game, not attempting a field goal until the 47th minute and 57th second of the game. Against the Nets, the Nuggets had a problem with being too reliant on Jokic, with no one else on the team registering a USG% above 23%.

If the Nuggets want to stop this losing streak before it really becomes a losing streak, they will need players other than Jokic to step up to the plate. That has become very apparent in the last two games.

They will likely also need to improve their shooting. The Nuggets have gotten along fine without a 3-point shot, as they have the 5th best record in the league despite the fact that they are the second worst long-range shooting team in the league. If players like Gary Harris and Trey Lyles can start consistently hitting their 3-pointers, the Nuggets will be even more dangerous.

With all of that said, here is the matchup to watch against the Bulls.

(Note: All stats via Basketball-Reference unless otherwise noted.)

Matchup to Watch: Gary Harris vs. Khris Middleton

Khris Middleton and Gary Harris are very similar players, or at least they have been in the past. Both are unappreciated on a national scale, both shoot the 3-ball very well(usually), and both play very solid defense.

Middleton has so far been the better player between the two, but Harris has gone a while without a solid outing. He should bounce back pretty soon, and bouncing back against the Bucks and Khris Middleton could prove huge for Harris and the Nuggets.

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Middleton has been very efficient from the floor this season, knocking down 43.8% of his field goal attempts and an eye-opening 45.7% of his field goal attempts from deep. According to, Harris has allowed his opponents to shoot just 22.5% from 3-point range. Giannis Antetokounmpo doesn’t play as well when he doesn’t have guys knocking down 3-pointers around him, so the key to stopping Giannis may be stopping Middleton from deep. If Harris can do that, the Nuggets chances of winning this game will skyrocket.

Middleton has also allowed a fairly generous 36.4% of field goal attempts against him, so if Harris wants to rebound from his 26.8% shooting from deep on the season and a 0-5 outing against the Brooklyn Nets, at home against the Bucks could be a perfect time to do it.

It will be very interesting to watch these two guys square off, no matter the result of the game. However, it would be very nice for Harris to drop 30+ against Middleton on efficient shooting, play knockdown defense, take pressure off Jokic to perform, and win the game for the Nuggets.

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We will see what he can do Sunday night.