“The locker room is definitely frustrated” –
Bones Hyland had a solid night for the Denver Nuggets. Unfortunately, it was not enough as Denver dropped their third straight game succumbing to the Dallas Mavericks 116-115. Just like the rest of the team, Hyland had some key turnovers and missed defensive assignments which led to the heartbreaking loss. It was a “one step forward, two steps back,” night for the Nuggets. Whenever something went their way, it was followed by a few soul-crushing possessions. Hyland expressed the team’s frustration afterwards with the following quote.
“The locker room is definitely frustrated. We’re just giving up games. Literally. It’s stuff that we can control. It’s not out of our control.”
Many have faulted head coach, Michael Malone, and his rotations for Denver’s current slump while others have pointed to how the defense has faltered.
Bones Hyland Well Aware of Denver’s Recent Struggles
Denver’s Last Three Games
The defense for the Nuggets during clutch-time and regular time has been night and day. Over the past three games, the Nuggets have a defensive rating of 122.4. They are also allowing opponents to shoot 52.3 percent from the field over this stretch to go along with letting them hit 42.2 percent of their three-point shots.
This is a stark contrast from the start of the year or even when the game is coming down to the wire. Denver’s clutch defensive rating is 83.9 which ranks first in the league and allow opponents to shoot 15.6 percent from three-point territory. On top of that, the Nuggets also hold opposing teams to 35.1 percent from the field during the clutch.
This very well could be an effort issue if these numbers are any indication. However, Malone could also be somewhat responsible for not making the necessary adjustments, especially against players like Luka Doncic. Guys like Jamal Murray and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope have also struggled leaving Nikola Jokic to shoulder a heavy burden. Thankfully, Michael Porter Jr. should be returning soon which will add to Denver’s offensive arsenal.
Bones Hyland This Season
Bones has had an up and down stretch during the Nuggets’ losing streak. He is an offensive juggernaut who can get hot anytime, that much is certain. He hit multiple deep three-point shots again and provided some crucial momentum shifting moments. However, he still gets bullied, especially when he is down in the post. This happened all too often in the loss to the Mavericks against players such as Tim Hardaway Jr. and Dorian Finney-Smith.
Bones Hyland is still young and trying to build his frame, but he still must change something defensively. So far this season, Hyland is averaging a defensive rating of 116.4. Not to mention, he is only averaging 0.7 steals per game and has allowed only eight players to shoot below 50.0 percent when matched up on him so far this year.
Bones Hyland is certainly not the main issue for Denver’s recent woes, but he has been a weak link on the defensive end and will be the first to tell you. Expect the whole team and especially Bones to come out with a vengeance in the Nuggets’ next matchup where they will battle their division rival, the Portland Trail Blazers.