After an extremely tough loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night, the Denver Nuggets looked to rebound against one of the Western Conferences best teams, the Los Angeles Clippers. The Nuggets did just that as they beat the Clippers 114-104 to move their record to 27-12 on the season.
Even though they won, the game did not get off to a great start for Denver. The Clippers began the night on a 9-3 run, but the Nuggets quickly rebounded. Courtesy of a couple baskets from Nikola Jokic — who had a big night with 20 points, 15 rebounds, and six assists — the Nuggets responded and were able to keep pace for most of the first quarter.
Los Angeles led 30-29 after the opening quarter, which is when the Nuggets finally started to assert their dominance. The Nuggets outscored the Clippers 37-22 in the second quarter to take a 66-52 lead into halftime.
In the second quarter, the Nuggets got a massive spark from Michael Porter Jr., who scored nine points behind some tough shot making and a big time dunk.
Porter finished the night with 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field to go along with four rebounds. While we are on the topic of big first halves, it would be impossible not to mention Gary Harris or Jerami Grant.
Harris and Grant both had big games and monster first halves, but for different reasons. Grant was on fire defending Kawhi Leonard, which was highlighted when he rejected Leonard’s shot at the rim to close the opening half.
Harris on the other hand was scoring at will as he led the Nuggets at the break with 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field, 2-of-3 from beyond the arc to go along with three steals. Harris finished the night with a similar stat line — 15 points, three rebounds, and three steals — but truly put together a really solid performance.
The second half consisted with more of the same for Denver as they controlled the pace of play. Los Angeles was able to keep it close at times, but the Nuggets were almost always leading by double-digits.
Denver outscored the Clippers in the third quarter 23-22, which gave them a 15-point lead (89-74) going into the final 12 minutes of play. The Clippers were able to cut the lead to 105-94 with 4:56 to play, but it still seemed as if the Nuggets had the game well in hand.
That was not the case though as Leonard made a three-pointer just a few possessions later that dwindled the Nuggets lead to 8-points with just over three minutes remaining. Denver was able to hold off the Clippers late push though as the Nuggets walked away with a 114-104 victory.
It should also be noted how big a night Jamal Murray had as the Nuggets point guard scored 19 points on 4-of-12 shooting from the field. A lot of Murray’s points came from the free-throw line (10-of-11), but he also hauled in four rebounds and dished out two assists in the win.
Monte Morris also had a nice night for the Nuggets and actually closed the game instead of Harris. Morris scored 12 points and dished out six assists in the victory. The Nuggets will look to stay in the win column on Wednesday night when they welcome the Charlotte Hornets to town. Tip-off for that game is set for 7 pm MDT.