By Daniel Paiz
Denver— No luck was needed as Jamal Murray scored a career-high 48 points to lead the Denver Nuggets to a 115-107 victory over the Boston Celtics Monday night in the Mile High City.
Denver (9-1) is off to it’s best start since 1976 (when the Nuggets merged from the ABA to the NBA) and it’s due to a number of reasons. It’s not only because of Murray’s impressive night.
It’s not the fast start Nikola Jokic and Gary Harris have had, either. It’s not even the bench’s impact or the coaching decisions head coach Michael Malone has made.
It’s the sum of all these things put together.
Nuggets are Rocky Mountain High right now for a reason
This team is clicking 10 games into the season.
Yes, there are 72 more games to go, but that doesn’t mean a foundation for success hasn’t been built for when those slumps appear later in the season (which every team deals with at some point).
Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic and Gary Harris have all found their rhythm so far. Bench guys like Mason Plumlee and Monte Morris are consistent contributors.
But what’s more impressive than who’s scoring and dishing out assists has to be the defense.
The Nuggets allow opponents to score 102.4 points per game.
That might not seem so great at first glance, but Denver is the fourth-best defense in the NBA. Pair with that the third-best defensive ranking, and the Nuggets are performing quite well.
There’s also what the numbers don’t show that should have the Mile High City excited so far.
It feels like this season is different
Even if you’ve only followed the Nuggets since you moved here last year, you might remember game 82 against Minnesota.
The drama and heartbreak of that game gave fans a taste of what this team can do.
It feels like the Nuggets have a chip on their shoulder from that game, and it’s been a driving force ten games into the season. Close games have gone Denver’s way, and that determination looks to be there for the long haul.
There’s also the intangibles that aren’t even related to last season: the jerseys themselves.
Something as simple as bringing back the signature rainbow skyline jerseys could instill even more confidence and unity into this squad.
Remember, the Nuggets went to the postseason nine times with those jerseys, from 1981 until 1990. It’s like the Denver Broncos wearing white jerseys in the Super Bowl, it’s bound to only help. Plus, the spirit of those teams could return to the Pepsi Center to get this team back to the postseason.
10 games in makes it hard to tell if this Denver Nuggets team can make a postseason run; however, nothing is telling us otherwise that it can likely happen.