Nuggets Notes: Hyland, Defense, Braun, Green

Everything was back to normal for Nuggets guard Bones Hyland Tuesday night after he was benched over the weekend for a lack of effort, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Hyland returned to his usual role, sparking Denver’s second unit with 20 points, including five three-pointers, and handing out five assists in 30 minutes of action.

Hyland played just five minutes Sunday in New Orleans, being pulled from the game as Jose Alvarado was lighting up Denver’s reserves on the way to a career-high 38 points. Nuggets coach Michael Malone talked to Hyland about the benching at Tuesday’s shootaround, according to Singer, and came away encouraged that his young guard understands what’s expected of him.

“As I told him this morning, ‘Offensively, we need your scoring, but it’s required to give forth the same effort on both ends of the floor,’” Malone said after Tuesday’s game. “… I felt he competed, I felt he fought, he contested, he tried to be physical with guys. That’s all I’m ever asking for, from Bones or for anybody.”

There’s more from Denver:

  • Team defense continues to be a concern for the Nuggets, who rank 26th in the league on that end of the court, per Harrison Wind of DNVR. Denver allowed the Mavericks to shoot 50% from the floor and 47.2% from beyond the arc Tuesday night in a one-point loss. “We’re losing games that we’re supposed to be winning,” Hyland said. “We know we’re not giving a sense of urgency to defend and go out there and compete every night. The locker room’s definitely frustrated.”
  • Malone is hoping to carve out a greater role for first-round pick Christian Braun, Singer tweets. “I gotta get him minutes,” Malone told reporters Tuesday. “… He’s a part of our future.” Braun has played in 22 of the team’s first 24 games, but is averaging just 12.9 minutes per night.
  • Jeff Green returned Tuesday after missing seven games with a knee contusion, but he’s been able to make a contribution even when he’s not playing, according to Vinny Benedetto of The Denver Gazette. “His voice, he has the respect of the entire locker room. I think when he uses his voice and he steps up, I think it’s critical to our success, and it’s critical to our young players,” Malone said. “If it’s me all the time, that’s cool. We’re only going to be a good team. When our players and our veterans take ownership and leadership, I think that allows you the potential to go much further, much farther and much deeper.”
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