The Denver Nuggets suffered their most lopsided loss of the season Saturday night, falling at San Antonio in a game in which they shot a season-low 34.9 percent from the floor and recorded their second-lowest point total.

Here are five takeaways from the defeat:

1. Slow start — again. Before Saturday’s game, I asked Nuggets coach Michael Malone if there were any common threads contributing to his team’s bad starts. Vic Lombardi did the same after Denver was outscored (again) in the opening period 31-16. Malone pointed to shooting both times, as Denver’s first-quarter field-goal percentage over its last nine games (43.7) ranks 28th in the NBA.

“Overall, the execution and the shot selection has been pretty good,” Malone said. “We just haven’t been able to find the basket.”

When asked how that can be fixed, Malone said “I wish I had a black-and-white answer. I really don’t.” The coach hoped Sunday’s off day would provide some needed rest. He also will urge his players to keeping stepping into their shots confidently. Much has been made about Nikola Jokic’s slow start in January (though he was good Saturday, with 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting). Gary Harris went 6-of-16 but spent most of the day traveling from the Midwest to San Antonio after tending to family matters. But Jamal Murray, Will Barton and Trey Lyles — three key contributors — shot a combined 5-of-24 Saturday.

“We need everybody,” Malone said. “We are not that team that can rely on one person every night. We are a collective team, and we need every person to step up and play well.”

2. Bad timing? Malone essentially admitted that his team was not exactly in the best-case scenario entering Saturday. The Nuggets were on a second night of a home-road back-to-back set — and playing in a gym where they …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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