NBA

Murray warns Nuggets against slow starts after comeback win

By Sports Desk February 05, 2024

The Denver Nuggets must be at their best from the first minute as they aim to defend their NBA title, so says Jamal Murray.

Denver, led by the imperious Nikola Jokic (29 points, eight rebounds, seven assists) overturned a double-digit deficit to beat the Portland Trail Blazers 112-103 on Sunday.

The reigning NBA champions are fourth in a competitive Western Conference, in which three of the top four teams are all on 35 wins.

However, Murray, who chipped in with 21 points and 10 assists, wants to see the Nuggets sharpen up from the off, and not have to work their way back into games as often.

"I think we should just be a little bit more on point to start the game, not to have to kick it into another gear," Murray said.

"I think we've just got to be a little more conscious, a little more aware of the task at hand each and every night that we're going to get their best shot.

"We can give our best shot, as well, from the start."

It was a sentiment echoed by coach Michael Malone, who pointed out his team's defensive improvement throughout the game.

"Our defense got better as the game went along," Malone said.

"We had zero defense. We had a little bit of defense. We got a lot more defense. And we had great defense."

While the Trail Blazers sit next to last in the West, with a 15-35 record, Anfernee Simons - who contributed 26 points to their total - took plenty of positives.

"I thought we played well for the majority of the game, all the game, to be honest with you," Simons said.

"They're a good team. They made runs. They’re a championship team. They're a veteran team.

"We rolled out with a lot of young guys and sometimes that's just what happens.

"So, I'm just glad that we stuck with it and continued to play hard. Overall, I'm pretty happy about how we played today."

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