Week 1 In Review

The NBA season finally began for the Denver Nuggets this week. After nearly eight months, the Nuggets were back on the court and proving why they are a popular sleeper pick in the Western Conference.

Denver kicked things off by going on the road to take on the defending champs, the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks were fresh off a Christmas day beat down from their 2011 NBA Finals opponents, the Miami Heat.

Unfortunately for the Mavericks, things didn't get much better as the Nuggets had their way with the champs en route to a 115-93 victory to start the season. Like the Miami game, the score suggested a closer game than it actually was as the Nuggets led 97-68 at the end of the third quarter.

Five Denver Nuggets were in double figures with Ty Lawson leading all scorers with 27 points. Danilo Gallinari and Arron Afflalo were the other starters in double figures as Gallinari put up 15 points to go with eight rebounds and Afflalo added 11 points.

Andre Miller and Al Harrington both scored 18 points and five rebounds off the bench. Miller also had a game-high five assists and three steals.


Denver's home opener was equally as impressive as the Nuggets took care of Utah Jazz 117-100.

Nene led the charge for the Nuggets with 25 points and seven rebounds. Five other Denver Nugget players scored in double figures. Lawson, Gallinari and Afflalo were the other starters who scored in double digits.

Harrington and Rudy Fernandez scored 18 and 11 off the bench respectively, and Miller added 12 assists.


The Nuggets suffered their first loss of the season against the Portland Trail Blazers by a score of 111-102. The Blazers welcomed back Miller and Fernandez who played for Portland for the previous two years.

Lawson again led Denver in scoring with 25 points and also added eight steals. Afflalo added 19, Gallinari had 16 and Miller added 13 points and eight assists in his return to the Rose Garden. Denver missed Timofey Mozgov's presence inside as the second year center only played 11 minuted due to foul trouble.

Despite going 4-20 from behind the arc, the Nuggets were able to stay very competitive. For a team that shoots as many three pointers as anyone, it is nice to know that despite having a poor shooting night, Denver can still effectively score.


Three Thoughts from Week 1

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1. Denver's ability to win the turnover battle is going to be crucial.

While the turnover battle isn't as crucial in the NBA as it is in the NFL. (just ask the Denver Broncos) the Nuggets have done a great job of getting steals and forcing mistakes. This has led the Nuggets to get out in transition and generate easy points. This is one of the biggest reasons why the Nuggets are the highest scoring team in the NBA so far. On the other side, Denver has also done a great job taking care of the ball. In the first three games, the Nuggets have a turnover differential of +26. If the Nuggets keep this up, it's going to be tough to stop them.

2. Timofey Mozgov cannot make a habit of getting into foul trouble.

While Mozgov's stats are not going to blow you way, there is a reason why he is in the starting lineup. Mozgov's presence on defense and on the boards is very important and it allows Nene to play power forward and Gallinari to play small forward. With Gallinari at the three and Nene at the four, their height can create a mismatch for opposing defenders. However, when Mozgov picks up three fouls in the first 3 minutes an 22 seconds, it forces Nuggets to go small. This is fine for small bursts, but it is certainly not an ideal full game strategy especially when the Blazers starting power forward and center are both 6-foot-11 which results in Denver getting out rebounded 50-30.

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3. What an interesting week for Rudy Fernandez.

If you told Fernandez in early June that in his next three games he would play in three different arenas that belonged to teams in which he was a part of or is currently a part of, he would have thought you were crazy.

Before draft day, Fernandez had only played three years in the NBA, and all of them were for the Trail Blazers. But on draft day, Fernandez was a part of a three team trade that consisted of the Blazers, Nuggets, and Mavericks. The Blazers sent him to the Mavericks and Andre Miller to the Nuggets. The Nuggets sent Raymond Felton to Portland and the Mavs sent the rights of Jordan Hamilton to Denver.

Fernandez didn't spend much time with Dallas as before the season started, Fernandez and Corey Brewer were shipped to Denver for a 2016 second round pick. On Monday, Fernandez visited the American Airlines center in Dallas and played against the team that he never actually played with due to the lockout. Then on Wednesday, Fernandez played his first game in the Pepsi Center in Denver. Finally, on Thurday Fernandez went back to Portland to play against the team he was a part of for three years. What a week.

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