Good morning, folks. Whoever broke the Denver Nuggets, fix them right now. Let’s talk NBA Bubble.
The Denver Nuggets are toast
The Denver Nuggets should probably feel lucky they aren’t on the brink of a sweep following Friday night’s spectacular beatdown in Game 3. The Utah Jazz didn’t waste any time breaking this game wide open and thoroughly outplayed a sluggish Nuggets team from start to finish. Denver suffered its third-worst loss in franchise playoff history, falling by a final score of 124-87. On the day, the Nuggets shot just 37.5 percent from the field, 12-38 from three-point range, and turned the ball over 17 times. Utah led by as many as 25 in the first half and 39 in the fourth quarter.
So what’s the deal with Denver? They’ve been successfully blown out in both Games 2 and 3 and needed an overtime period to steal a win in Game 1. From an outsider’s perspective, the team just doesn’t appear to want it as badly as Utah does, and it’s even more obvious when comparing the two defensive ends of the court. Nikola Jokic, in particular, has been seemingly waltzing his way through games while Jamal Murray has yet to find a consistent groove on offense. The former Wildcat recorded just 12 points in the loss on Friday, shooting 5-16 from the field to go along with five rebounds and six assists. He scored 14 points in a 19-point loss in Game 2.
”I just think we have a target on our back,” Murray said after the loss. ”Teams are prepared for us, and they’ve been giving us all they got. They did that tonight, and sometimes we think we’re good and we’re down 12 at the end of the first. I just think we’ve got to hold ourselves to a higher standard individually, as a squad, as a third seed.”
Utah Jazz point guard Mike Conley made his return to the Bubble after leaving for the birth of his child. He sat out the first two playoff games for Utah but made a huge impact in Game 3, pouring in 27 points on a playoff career-high seven triples. His production, along with Rudy Gobert’s 24 points and 14 rebounds were more than enough to survive an “off night” from star guard Donovan Mitchell, who added 20 points on a 5-13 shooting clip.
Other notes from the Bubble
- Boston Celtics backup center Enes Kanter continues to execute his role against the Philadelphia 76ers, posting six points and six rebounds in just 14 minutes. The Celtics’ win gives them a 3-0 series lead over Philly, who could be in the early stages of a complete rebuild.
- Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic landed awkwardly on his ankle in the third quarter of Dallas’ matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers and he was later immediately with a sprain. However, he limped (literally) back into the game only a few minutes later and was in a serious amount of pain. He lasted only a few possessions on the floor before the discomfort forced him back to the locker room. He’s scheduled to receive an MRI later on Saturday to determine his status going forward. The Clippers wound up winning Game 3 against the Mavs, 130-122.
- Playoff P keeps playing like ass.
Series standings from Friday
(2) Raptors lead (7) Nets 3-0
(3) Celtics lead (6) 76ers 3-0
(2) Clippers lead (7) Mavericks 2-1
(6) Jazz lead (3) Nuggets 2-1
|Jamal Murray (DEN)||87-124 L @ UTA||12||5-16 (2-8)||5||6||1||1||1||-12||26|
|Enes Kanter (BOS)||102-94 W @ PHI||6||3-6 (0-0)||6||0||0||0||1||+1||14|
|Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (DAL)||122-130 L vs. LAC||0||0-0||0||2||0||0||0||+2||2|
|Patrick Patterson (LAC)||130-122 W @ DAL||DNP-CD||--||--||--||--||--||--||--||--|
TODAY IN THE BUBBLE
1:00 (TNT): Bucks (Bledsoe) @ Magic [Series tied 1-1]
3:30 (TNT): Pacers @ Heat (Adebayo, Herro) [MIA leads 2-0]
6:00 (ESPN): Rockets @ Thunder (Diallo, Gilgeous-Alexander, Noel) [HOU leads 2-0]
8:30 (ABC): Lakers (Davis, Rondo: questionable) @ Trail Blazers (Gabriel) [Series tied 1-1]