Nuggets Notes: Winning Streak, KCP, Key, Top Seed, Lakers

The Nuggets have won six straight, reminding the league that the championship still runs through Denver, The Athletic’s Tony Jones writes.

The development of Peyton Watson and Christian Braun has supplemented Denver’s starting five after the Nuggets lost some key reserves during the offseason.

Denver put away the Lakers 124-114 on Saturday night with Nikola Jokic recording 35 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.

“It doesn’t matter who we’re playing,” coach Michael Malone said. “We know that we have to play well, especially at this time of the year. We lost three in a row going into the break, and I’m just impressed at our mindset coming into the second half of the season. We got up for Washington. We got up for Portland and Golden State and so on. We’re playing the right way this time of year, and our guys are locked in, regardless of the opponent.”

We have more on the Nuggets:

  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and two-way player Braxton Key were both away from the team Saturday due to personal reasons, according to Bennett Durando of the Denver Post.  Both players are expected to return before the team’s next game on Tuesday against the Suns.
  • Caldwell-Pope told Durando that Nuggets want to be the No. 1 seed, but as Durando writes, that may not be a great spot come playoff time. Jokic notes they could draw a traditional powerhouse in the first round. “Nobody wants the Lakers in the first round or Golden State in the first round,” Jokic said.
  • The Nuggets have faced the Lakers during some special nights this season, Durando tweets. They beat the Lakers on opening night in a rematch of the Western Conference finals. They also matched up the night Kobe Bryant‘s statue was unveiled and, on Saturday, when LeBron James scored his 40,000th career point. “It’s weird,” Jamal Murray said. “Every time there’s some night in L.A., we’ve gotta play them, you know? Like, first game of the season, revenge game? We play them. Mamba Night? We play them. LeBron night? We play them. It’s like, man, give them somebody else.”
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