Nel­son has team­mates over for lob­ster and club bond­ing

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Christo­pher Dempsey

philadel­phia» On the menu was ex­actly what you would ex­pect a bunch of hoop stars to have: lob­ster, shrimp, steak, sal­mon. And an­other suc­cess­ful night for Nuggets play­ers at guard Jameer Nel­son’s house­hold.

But the feast wasn’t the main course.

Nel­son’s yearly team gath­er­ing at his Philadel­phia-area house Sun­day night was a chance to make cer­tain the Nuggets, who have hit a rough patch early this sea­son, were still glued to­gether as team­mates.

“It was good,” Nel­son said. “It was fun just to have guys around each other laugh­ing and jok­ing. There are times over the course of a sea­son that things like that, those times, those mo­ments get lost, es­pe­cially when you’re los­ing. It’s also help­ful when you’re los­ing to get guys to­gether, es­pe­cially out on the road.”

It lasted a few hours, but Nel­son is hop­ing the rip­ple ef­fects last the bal­ance of the sea­son.

“Guys get to come and en­joy my friends and fam­ily and we wel­come them as fam­ily,” Nel­son said. “You def­i­nitely want to stick to­gether. It’s easy to sep­a­rate when you have ad­ver­sity. We lost a cou­ple of games, we just need to stick to­gether and get through it.”

Nuggets coaches were not there, but coach Michael Malone was ap­pre­cia­tive of the ges­ture.

“The fact that Jameer has the team over to break bread, to spend time to­gether, to be a team, I think that helps to get through tough times. I re­ally do,” Malone said. “At some point, we’re go­ing to get into a rhythm, at some point we’re go­ing get in a groove and play well.

“Any­time you can strengthen team and build team … We know we’re strug­gling to win games. But we’re not strug­gling to stay to­gether. We’re not strug­gling to keep a pos­i­tive mind-set. That gives me hope.”

Foot­notes.

Nuggets lead­ing scorer Wil­son Chan­dler did not have a point un­til the fourth quar­ter — and then he scored 10 points in the pe­riod. … Malone played 11 play­ers in the first quar­ter. … Will Bar­ton scored 22 points, his sec­ond con­sec­u­tive game of 20 or more.

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