It’s no secret that the Denver Nuggets live in the paint and die on the perimeter. They sport the third-worst three point percentage (.329) in the NBA while dominating down low and on the fast break. Making and defending the deep ball have both been major liabilities this season.
So it was surprising to see the Nuggets win from distance versus the Trailblazers, and even more surprising that the erstwhile Wilson Chandler keyed the victory. Denver hit 36% from beyond the arc on Tuesday night after going an NBA-record 0-22 the last time these teams met. The 115-111 OT win made it six straight for the Nuggets as they plow through a hard-earned homestand.
Chandler played 19 minutes versus Portland, burying an OT three that buried the Blazers with 0:14 to play. And while Wilson only played 19 minutes, he produced across a lot of stat categories. Chandler’s fantasy prospectus reads 13 points, two steals, two assists and six rebounds with a pair of threes. His length and defensive aggression will even earn him some blocks as he gets more comfortable.
The Nuggets are crowded at wing and Chandler will be limited, especially in his first couple weeks back. His 13 shots in 19 minutes are proof that George Karl has him on the floor to score, though. Wilson can become a go-to guy in the second half if he keeps up his high shooting percentage and solid defense.
Meanwhile, starters Kenneth Faried, Ty Lawson and Gallinari had big games against Portland. Starting center Kosta Koufos was +15. Only Andre Iguodala struggled. The Nuggets (24-16) are finally getting going after a road-heavy first half, and their conference-best winning streak has them at 6th in the West.
A quick trip to Oklahoma City on Wednesday night will be a nice litmus test for Denver. The Thunder reside at the top of the standings, and it will take a complete effort by the Nuggets to land a win. Chandler’s return gives George Karl some more options, though, and barring a salary dump trade scenario Wilson will be a key asset going forward.