|7:30 PM PT8:30 PM MT9:30 PM CT10:30 PM ET3:30 GMT11:30 8:30 PM MST10:30 PM EST7:30 UAE (+1)04:3022:30 ET9:30 PM CT1:30 , November 14, 2019
Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado Attendance: 18,394
Nuggets aim to get defense on track versus Nets
Brooklyn Nets at Denver Nuggets
- The Nets swept the two-game series from the Nuggets last season and have won eight of the last 11 meetings after Denver won 10 of the previous 13.
- The Nets are second in the league in scoring (119.2 points per game), third in rebounding (48.6 per game) and fifth in 3-point percentage (37.8). They are the league's only team to rank in the top five in all three categories.
- The Nuggets, who are fourth in the league in scoring defense at 102.8 per game, allowed a season-high 125 points in Tuesday's four-point loss to the Hawks. Denver is 7-0 when holding the opposition to 108 points or less and 0-3 when teams score at least 109.
- The Nets attempted 90 shots in Tuesday's 119-114 loss at Utah, the fifth consecutive game they had at least 90 field-goal attempts. In the last 20 years, the only other time Brooklyn has had five consecutive games with at least 90 shots in a single season was a six-game stretch from this past March 16-28.
- In four games against the Nets since 2017-18, Nikola Jokic is averaging 31.0 points and 15.3 rebounds -- both his highest against any team in that span.
- Spencer Dinwiddie had 21 points off the bench Tuesday, and is averaging 24.3 points in his last three games -- all on the road -- after averaging 9.3 points in the previous three overall. On the season, Dinwiddie is averaging 21.0 points on the road and 13.2 at home, and that difference of plus-7.8 is the sixth-largest difference (road better, played min. 70 percent of team games).
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The Brooklyn Nets and host Denver Nuggets meet in a nationally televised game on Thursday night, but neither team enters the matchup feeling great about their last game.
A win for one of them might temporarily relieve the sting of tough losses. The Nets blew a 15-point halftime lead in a 119-114 setback at Utah on Tuesday night while Denver watched Atlanta win 125-121 in the Mile High City.
The 125 points were the most the Nuggets have allowed this season, barely eclipsing the 122 they gave up at New Orleans in a loss to the Pelicans. The Hawks outscored Denver by 18 in the second and third quarters, when the game turned, and Atlanta shot 68.2 percent over those 24 minutes.
The defense has been a concern, especially after Hawks guard Trae Young scored a season-high 42 points in the win.
"In our three losses this year we've defended no one," coach Michael Malone said after the loss. "Trae Young came in here and did exactly what we knew he was going to do."
Malone emphasized defense last year, particularly from 3-point range, and the Nuggets went from the bottom of the league to one of the best in defending the arc. That wasn't the case against the Hawks, who shot 44.1 percent from long range.
Denver will have to figure out how to stop another talented guard in Brooklyn's Kyrie Irving. Irving leads the Nets in scoring at 29.7 points a game, and he's also handing out 7.0 assists. Irving attacks the basket more than someone like Young, and Malone will have to be ready to adapt on the fly.
"I've got to do a better job of making in-game adjustments," Malone said Tuesday. "Young dominated the game and I didn't make adjustments to help our guys."
The Nuggets have an advantage in that their roster is mostly the same from the last couple of years. Brooklyn is 4-6 after two straight losses and is still adjusting to new faces, particularly Irving, who signed as a free agent over the summer.
Those growing pains have shown through in the start of this road trip.
"I do think we're building something with the new group," Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. "I don't feel, 'Oh, you know we're not together.' I feel good about our group, I feel good about our process, I feel good about our system, I feel good about our players. These are tough games. The Utahs, the Denvers on the road. I like the way we competed."
Brooklyn has dealt with injuries to Caris LeVert, a suspension of forward Wilson Chandler for violating the league's anti-drug policy and the off-court issue of CEO David Levy parting ways with the organization just 55 days after being brought on due to philosophical reasons.
LeVert's sprained thumb kept him out of Tuesday's game and Atkinson chose to start Garrett Temple at shooting guard and keep Spencer Dinwiddie coming off the bench.
If LeVert is unable to play against Denver, it's likely Atkinson will use the same lineup.
--Field Level Media
Updated November 13, 2019