Nuggets point guard Emmanuel Mudiay admits he plays better when he’s paired with Gary Harris, Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post relays. In six games they’ve started together, Mudiay is averaging 19.0 points on 50% shooting overall. Without Harris, he averages 11.4 points on 32.5% shooting. “Me and him have a great feel for each other,” Mudiay told Dempsey. “That’s the person I’ve been playing with since Day 1. … That’s one of my best friends in the NBA. So, it is a comfort level there.”
In other news around the Northwest Division:
- Thunder swingman Alex Abrines has made a strong impression on franchise player Russell Westbrook, Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman reports. The Euro import scored 18 points, including five 3-pointers, against the Pelicans on Wednesday. Westbrook has taken note of Abrines’ shooting ability and work ethic, Dawson relays. “He works out every day, works on his game, and that’s the best part about him,” Westbrook told Dawson. “And it’s his first year, man. He’s gonna learn the ups and downs. There’s gonna be ups and downs throughout the whole season.”
- Gorgui Dieng has become the defensive stopper for the Timberwolves, according to Kent Youngblood of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Coach Tom Thibodeau assigns Dieng to the opponent’s top frontcourt scoring threat. “I think he’s getting better with his team and individual defense. And he has the right mentality for it. He’s a defense-first guy,” Thibodeau told Youngblood. “And, a lot of times, he’s giving up size. He’s small for a center, and he ends up banging with those guys quite a bit. But he’s good fronting the post. He’s a multiple-effort guy. Very good at pick-and-rolls. So he sort of anchors our defense right now.”
- Jazz center Rudy Gobert‘s four-year, $102MM extension kicks in next season and he’s playing like an All-Star, as Jody Genessy of the Deseret News notes. Although head coach Quin Snyder has been reserved in his praise for Gobert, the fourth-year center has recorded nine straight double-doubles.