December was truly the best of times and the worst of times for the Denver Nuggets. The month started with the Nuggets winning five of their first seven games, including completing a three-game season sweep of the Houston Rockets. However, Denver dropped seven of its final eight games of the month and enters 2016 with a four-game losing streak.
In all, Denver went 6-9 in the month of December, including a 110-103 loss on Wednesday night. It wasn’t a spectacular month overall, but there were plenty of solid individual performances during the final month of the calendar year. Here are five of the best posted by a Nugget in December.
Will Barton vs. New Orleans, December 20
Barton has been a sparkplug for the Nuggets coming off the bench all season, but his effort against the Pelicans may have been his best overall performance of the year. He logged a career-high 32 points, including hitting seven of 11 attempts from 3-point range, while grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out a career-high six assists.
Randy Foye at Phoenix, December 23
When the Nuggets needed a win the most, Foye stepped up with a career-high 31 points to go along with six assists in 40 minutes in the 104-96 road win. The effort was even more impressive considering Foye is averaging just 6.7 points per outing this season. The win over Phoenix was the only one for the Nuggets in their final eight games of 2015.
Kenneth Faried at Oklahoma City, December 27
Faried lived up to his nickname of “The Manimal” in the road loss to the Thunder, posting 25 points, 11 rebounds, including eight on the offensive glass, and two blocked shots. He hit 12-of-20 shots in 29 minutes as the Nuggets dropped the second of a tough back-to-back road series against San Antonio and Oklahoma City.
Danilo Gallinari vs. Minnesota, December 11
Gallinari posted 23 points, including a huge 3-pointer in overtime, seven rebounds, and four assists in the win over the Timberwolves. It was his sixth career game with those numbers and his 10th 20-point game of the season. Denver has gone 8-2 in those contests. After suffering an ankle sprain in the December 20 loss to New Orleans, Gallinari is expected back for the first time since the injury when the Nuggets travel to Golden State on Saturday.
Jameer Nelson vs. Minnesota, December 11
When Emmanuel Mudiay went down with an ankle sprain against the Timberwolves, Nelson responded with a 20-point, seven-assist, six-rebound, and two-steal effort to help the Nuggets capture the overtime win. It marked the seventh time in his career that Nelson had 20+ points, 6+ rebounds, and 7+ assists in the same contest.