Nuggets Notes: Nikola Jokic, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Jamal Murray

The Nuggets had to find a way to get it done without Nikola Jokic or coach Michael Malone for much of the game, but they will take their scrappy road win over the Pistons on Monday night.Nikola Jokic is defended by Jarrett Allen

“We were desperate tonight, because we were 0-2 on this road trip and we really needed a win,” guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope told reporters. “We knew they were going to come out hard, because they hadn’t won a game in a while, but we got it did done.”

  • Both Jokic and Malone were ejected for arguing calls. “I think Nikola was worried about my welfare,” Malone joked. “It is tough to watch a game on TV — we were hugging on good plays and I was cursing in Serbian on the bad ones.”
  • Denver kept Detroit from scoring in the game’s final 1:41 to pull off the 107-103 win. “Our guys know that, if you want to win a one-possession game on the road, you are going to have to get timely stops,” Malone said. “KCP probably made the defensive play of the game when (Reggie Jackson) got beaten off the bounce and he came over and got the stop without fouling.”
  • Star guard Jamal Murray (hamstring) is getting closer to a return, it seems — though Malone said he’s unlikely to return this week, per Bennett Durando of the Denver Post. Murray has been traveling with the team while sidelined. “I think Jamal is a guy that is, whether he’s playing or he’s not playing, he cares about his teammates,” Malone said.
  • Jokic is 10th in the NBA in scoring at 27.4 points per game. He also leads the league in rebounding (13.1 rpg) and is fourth in assists (8.7 apg). He’s the only non-guard in the top nine in the assist category.

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