The Denver Nuggets convincingly beat the Dallas Mavericks 130-104 on Monday night, cementing their place in the Western Conference standings. Despite MVP Nikola Jokic's limited performance, Michael Malone's side showed impressive depth and dominance.
Jokic, the reigning two-time MVP, surprisingly only saw 28 minutes of play, recording a modest eight points. However, the Serbian center's reduced role was a calculated move by Malone, prioritizing rest for the upcoming three games against Toronto, Brooklyn and Charlotte.
Jamal Murray scored 25 points, Aaron Gordon added 22, and Monte Morris provided a steady 18 points, precisely orchestrating Denver's attack. The Nuggets' defense was equally impressive, limiting the Mavericks' Luka Doncic to 22 points on ineffective shooting.
Michael Malone had nothing but compliments for Jokic and his team
"Nikola shot eight times this evening and nothing worried him at all. They doubled him in the post, doubled him in the pocket, but he didn't go to battle, he tried to play the right move.
I think that's contagious for everyone else in the team . I think that's the right way to play and I really like our style of basketball," enthused Malone. In general, he gave a chance to the players from the bench and they performed very well.
"I think our bench players were pretty good. The group played the right way, they developed good habits. That's who we are, we add to each other, that's our identity for a long time. Unlike other teams, we don't just play with each other others, but for a certain guy.
I think we've had countless opportunities where a player misses a good shot position to pass to a teammate for a great shot. I know it's a cliché in this business - good to great, but it's something we're trying to revive ", the Denver coach admitted.
Jamal Murray took the responsibility and was the most effective in the Denver team with 22 points. "We're just trying to win, to keep everything to a high standard. We have a lot of young players and the veterans are there to lead by example.
We had that feeling that we could go strong, especially when we play at home, at our altitude. We did a great job the job is to keep them off balance," Murray said. The upcoming road trip will be a crucial test, but with the depth and determination they displayed against Dallas, the Nuggets are well-equipped to handle any challenge.