Recap: Nuggets light up Trail Blazers
The Denver Nuggets i Portland Trail Blazers started their game with plenty of offense early on as the Blazers made three of their first four shots and three of those shots went beyond the arc in the first two minutes of the game. Jamal Murray was doing a lot of heavy lifting as he scored the team’s first nine points before the rest of the crew got into the act. After looking a bit sluggish to start the game, the Nuggets really got going on the offensive end as the quarter wore on. They eventually extended their lead to 30-22 with just over three minutes left in the quarter. After going on a run, the offense took off down the stretch, and they entered the second quarter leading 34-30 after that final Portland surge.
After being on pace for a 68-point stretch, the Nuggets struggled offensively to start the second. Fortunately for them, the Blazers’ second unit didn’t fare much better. After the game was tied at 40 about five minutes into the second quarter, the Nuggets’ starters clawed their way back into the game, going on a 10-6 run over the next two minutes. Damian Lillard wasn’t going down without a fight, as he scored 22 points in the first half and tied the game at 52 with 4:45 left. 3-point shooting and Lillard kept the Blazers in the game. While Denver was shooting over 50 percent from the floor, the Blazers were just over 45 percent from 3-point range, while Lillard had 28 of his team-high 65 points with just under a minute to go. in the fourth Denver’s offense stayed hot to end the quarter, and they went into halftime up 73-67 despite Lillard’s 30 points.
The second half got off to a slow start for both teams, but things moved quickly and both teams scored 19 points in the first four minutes of the third quarter. Denver had built a small lead in the fourth as they went up by eight, and they were firing on offense to preserve that lead. Denver was getting after it on the defensive end as well, and they had steadily built their lead to 13 with 4:00 left in the quarter. Jeremy Grant and Michael Porter Jr. they were trading baskets as MPJ made it 23 points on the night with 10 in the third. The two teams traded blows down the stretch and the Nuggets headed into the final period leading 101-89.
The Blazers’ second unit was working to cut into the lead, and it was down to nine by the time almost every starter on both teams had returned to the game. The only one holding out was Murray, who was catching his breath after running the offense for the second drive. Things started to turn sour as the fourth quarter wore on, and the Blazers struggled to respond. Denver was steadily building its lead to 15, and Lillard had become visibly frustrated with just over 5:00 left in the game as his team trailed by 17. After a blocked shot by Nikola Jokic, Lillard was called for his fourth foul of the game, and added a technical foul to boot later. Jokic went to the line where he made all three free throws to make it a 20-point game with 3:50 left in the game. With 2:22 left, the Blazers had waved the white flag as they trailed by 15. Denver would win by a score of 122-113 for their 14th straight home win and 31st win of the season.
Points: Nikola Jokic – 36 years old
Assistances: Jokic – 10
Rebounds: Jokic – 12
Game Player: Nikola Jokic – 36 points, 10 assists, 12 rebounds, 13-of-14 field goals, 1-of-2 3-pointers, 9-of-10 free throws
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