In his first game back against the team (Lakers) and player (Julius Randle) who injured him for over half of the season, Paul Millsap let loose in a very well-rounded fashion to help Denver win 125-116. Millsap had 21 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks while Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic contributed 22 and 21 each.
The game started out as a back and forth affair. Brook Lopez immediately went to work down low for the Lakers with six points, while Gary Harris, Will Barton and Jamal Murray each hit a three of their for the Nuggets. Paul Millsap and Julius Randle jawed at each other early, which seemed to light a fire for Millsap who certainly hasn’t forgotten that it was Randle who injured him in November. Millsap went on a scoring tear, scoring nine first quarter points for Denver including this massive dunk:
Lopez kept LA in it for a little, but some nice three point shooting for Denver gave them a 37-28 edge after one.
The first part of the second quarter was rather sluggish. The Nuggets kept their lead for a time, but the bench allowed LA went on a 13-1 run to cut the Denver lead to just one point. Fortunately, the starters checked in and immediately went on a 10 point run of their own, led by back-to-back Harris (Gary) threes. Despite shooting nearly 50% from three in the first half, the Nuggets still couldn’t pull away as Lopez and Randle both went in double figures, and Denver led 65-62 at the break.
The third quarter for Denver was some good but mostly bad. The starters came out and for a second it looked like they would keep things under control - but this is the Nuggets, and nothing can ever be guaranteed. The Nuggets offense really bogged down, and unfortunately for a few minutes it was Julius Randle who forced with inside and sparked a 13-3 run for the Lakers. Los Angeles took the lead heading into the fourth.
The battle continued into the final frame as the teams traded buckets back fourth and swapped the lead a couple times as well. BroLo continued his dominant performance and it honestly looked like Denver might be dead in the water. But once again, the starters came in and took over. Millsap and Murray ignited a much needed 9-0 run to put Denver up six.
But of course, Lopez scored four quick points to put pressure on the Nuggets. When they needed a buck most, Millsap, the man of the night, drained huge three, then had a HUGE block on the other end of the floor. Jamal Murray sealed the deal with free throws, a steal, and some good ol’ trash talk against the Lakers.
It wasn’t pretty, a win is a win, and for a team trying to make the playoffs for the first time in five years, it’ll do.