Even though they finished with the best record in the Western Conference during the regular season, the Denver Nuggets still don’t have a whole lot of believers when it comes to their chances of winning the NBA championship this year.
They have taken a 2-0 series lead over the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round of the playoffs, and in Game 2 on Wednesday, they displayed their potency on offense.
On one play, star center Nikola Jokic took a pass from point guard Jamal Murray while going back door, and he immediately made a touch pass to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who nailed the jump shot.
Also, laughed at this play in real time but looking back at it … what exactly do you do with this as a defense? pic.twitter.com/TwczrWAF3X
— Nekias (Nuh-KY-us) Duncan (@NekiasNBA) April 20, 2023
Denver won the game, 122-113, and at times their offense looked scintillating, both in the half-court and in transition.
They had a stretch of ineptness where they got outscored 40-23 by Minnesota in the third quarter and gave up a sizable lead they had built up, but they reasserted their superiority in the fourth quarter to claim the victory.
Jokic, who is a candidate to win his third-straight MVP award, had 27 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists, but Murray shined the brightest with 40 points and six 3-pointers.
In the regular season, the Nuggets were fifth in offensive rating, but it was the other end of the floor, where they ranked just 15th in defensive rating, that gave some reason for pause when it came to their chances of going all the way.
Their real challenge will come in the next round (assuming they make it there), where they will either face Kevin Durant’s Phoenix Suns or a deep and talented Los Angeles Clippers squad.NEXT: Nikola Jokic's Playoff Dominance Highlighted With New Record