In the Denver Nuggets’ first game of 2020, they started the game with the Indiana Pacers with a miss before giving up a make on the other end. After a forced 3-point shot by Jamal Murray, they gave up an open mid-range jumper to Domantas Sabonis, and Nikola Jokic was able to get them on the board with a layup. On the other end, Jokic fouled Myles Turner on a drive which led to two free throws and a 6-2 deficit.
Gary Harris went to the basket for a floater attempt that rimmed out, but he made hiss two free throws. After a Turner miss, Paul Millsap nailed a deep stepback shot that tied the game at six. Jeremy Lamb made a two, and the Nuggets were unable to answer after they turned the ball over. T.J. Warren made them pay with a 3-point make, and the Pacers continued to pour it on after another turnover which led them to a 13-6 lead.
Coming out of a Denver timeout, the Pacers defense was able to stifle the Nuggets’ offense before Warren nailed his second 3-point shot to put the team up by 10. After a four-point run, Nuggets had given up 10 straight points before Millsap made a pair of free throws. After giving up a Pacers basket, Murray hit a floater to bring them within eight, but Lamb nailed a deep 3-point shot to put them up by 11. On the ensuing possession, Warren pushed the ball off of a turnover and hit Lamb for another three to go up by 14 and force a timeout.
Out of the timeout, Murray nailed a corner 3-point shot to bring them within 11, but Jokic then fouled Turner on the other end which led to an and-1 opportunity, which he was unable to convert. This quick second foul forced Jokic to the bench, and Murray responded by nailing a three that he was fouled on before converting it into a 4-point play. Up by nine, the Pacers battled to get around the rim before forcing a foul on Michael Porter Jr. Turner went 1-of-2 on the free throws to go up by 10.
On the ensuing Nuggets possession, Porter got around the basket for a nifty make which Turner answered on a long drive to the basket to keep them up by 10. After a forced shot by T.J. McConnell, Harris got a basket in transition around the lengthy center Turner. After a long miss by Turner, Warren got the rebound before putting it in after the Nuggets thought a shot-clock violation had occurred. With under three minutes to go, they were trailing by 10.
Out of the TV timeout, Jerami Grant got an easy bucket out of the dunker’s spot off of a feed from Mason Plumlee. On the next Nuggets possession, Grant banged inside for another bucket. Following a big tip-out by Plumlee, Porter gathered his own miss to get his second bucket to bring them within four before a Sabonis make. Following a Warren miss, Sabonis got a big block on Grant on the other end of the floor. To reward him for the block, they found him streaking toward the rim for a huge dunk.
With what should have been the final possession of the quarter, the Nuggets turned the ball over which led to a basket by a streaking McConnell to put the Pacers up by 10 to end the quarter. The Nuggets were honestly lucky to be down only by 10 after the first. The Pacers were getting whatever shot they wanted on offense, and, after being a top defense for two months, they were getting carved up.
After a Sabonis miss to start the second quarter, Porter nailed a 3-point shot to bring them within seven. The Nuggets forced a turnover and gave them their fourth point off of turnovers on the night. Up by five, Justin Holiday made a 3-point shot that had the team 5-of-8 on the night. After another Nuggets miss, Goga Bitadze was fouled inside by Will Barton, and he went 1-of-2 at the line. Barton then missed a layup that had him guarded by two Pacers, and Sabonis made them pay with an easy basket.
Plumlee went right at Sabonis to get himself a layup and bring the team within single digits, but Doug McDermott nailed a 3-point shot from the top and put them up 12. In somewhat of a transition opportunity, Barton drove right to the hoop and forced a foul, but he was only able to make 1-of-2 free throws. Denver was unable to convert off of a McConnell turnover, but, after a block on defense, Grant got an easy dunk in transition to put them down by nine.
After the teams traded misses, the Nuggets grabbed a Pacers turnover and got Murray a drive to the basket where he was fouled and made both free throws. Up by seven, Jokic fouled Lamb which game his third foul with just under seven minutes remaining and forced him to the bench. After the make by Lamb at the line, Plumlee got an easy bucket at the rim off of a feed by Monte Morris.
After the Plumlee make, Lamb made a pair of free throws after being fouled by Harris. Murray answered with an open mid-range jumper on the other end, but Lamb made a 3-point shot to grow the lead up to 11 as they were 7-of-11 on 3-point shots. After a pair of Nuggets misses, Harris finally got a 3-point shot to fall after a monster block by Plumlee.
Plumlee got a steal, but it was tipped out of bounds in transition, and the Nuggets couldn’t score before committing their own turnover. Following an off-ball foul, Lamb was at the line again where he put the team up by eight. With four minutes remaining, Barton corralled a Plumlee miss for an easy basket. He then got a steal, but he couldn’t make the layup in transition. Denver then gave up an easy layup on the other end.
Following a timeout, the Nuggets forced a Pacers miss, and they took that rebound down where Barton was able to draw a foul and make both free throws to bring the team within four. McConnell was able to answer with a short jumper in the paint. Harris then dribbled past Lamb and forced him to foul. With the clock running down, Plumlee got to the basket against Turner, but Warren nailed a long two to keep the lead at six.
Murray continued to cook by getting all the way to the basket for a layup, but he got caught on a screen which gave McConnell an open shot. After a scoreless first quarter, Barton tipped in a miss by Murray. With the final possession of the quarter, Plumlee got a pass from Barton which he converted for a dunk. The Nuggets went into halftime down by just two after a big second quarter, and the majority of it came with Jokic on the bench and just two points.
Coming out of halftime, the Pacers got an easy bucket on offense. After a long miss by Jokic, Murray drew the fourth foul on Aaron Holiday which gave the Nuggets an extended possession. Barton grabbed his own miss, as did Jokic, and he turned his into a 3-point play following a foul to bring them within one. Sabonis went after Jokic and got a basket to put them back up by three.
The Pacers drew a foul, and Warren got underneath the basket where he drew a foul on Barton before making both free throws. Down by five, Jokic got a running layup to fall through some contact, and he made the 3-point play which brought them within two. Following a Pacers turnover, Murray fed it to Harris who tied the game at 70. On Denver’s next possession, Harris got a wide-open 3-point shot to fall which gave Denver their first lead of the night.
After an eight-point run by the Nuggets, Warren got a bucket at the end of the shot clock to fall. After the team traded multiple misses, Lamb was able to make a 3-point shot to put them back up by two. Jokic made a pair of free throws to tie the game, but the Pacers nailed a 2-point shot to maintain their lead. Following a Jokic miss, Warren got to the basket for a basket to go up by four.
After trading baskets, the Nuggets were down four before a Porter make brought them within two. On the other end, Sabonis drew a foul on Jokic which forced him to the bench with under four minutes to go, and he made 1-of-2 free throws to go up by three. Cutting toward the basket allowed Porter to get an easy basket at the rim and bring them within one.
On the next Denver possession, Porter got a circus layup to fall and go up by one before Sabonis got a tip-in to regain the lead. Porter was cooking with a side-step 3-point shot to put the team up by two, and he got a tip on defense to stall a Pacers possession. McDermott missed a long two, but, following an offensive rebound, he was able to make a 3-point shot after he was left open. Porter then forced a blocking foul on Justin Holiday which gave him some free throw attempts where he went 1-of-2 to tie the game.
With under one minute remaining, the Nuggets turned the ball over which forced a foul out of Harris in transition. With two free throw attempts, Sabonis went just 1-for-2. On the other end, Morris nailed a contested 3-point jumper to go up by two. After forcing a miss by Justin Holiday, Denver got out in transition where Morris nailed a contested 2-point shot at the buzzer to go up by four heading into the fourth quarter.
Monte providing the finishing touches to the third quarter! pic.twitter.com/L6zqAZzJQ1— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) January 3, 2020
Coming out of the quarter break, Porter got a hook shot to fall in the pain to go up by six. After a McDermott miss, Grant got an offensive rebound and draw a shooting foul. He went to the line and nailed both of his shots. After a 9-0 run, the Pacers got a 3-point make out of Justin Holiday to bring them within five. Porter continued his scoring with a layup to give him 21 points on the night in the face of Goga.
After trading misses, Porter gathered a loose ball that he was able to put in which got the team up by nine and force a Pacer timeout. Following the timeout, Turner got an and-one layup to go and go down by six. Barton answered on the other end with 3-point shot. Lamb continued his great night by nailing a shot off of the glass to tie his season high of 25. After a Barton miss, Turner drove down to get to the basket, and he drew a foul while making the shot and forcing another Denver timeout.
Following the timeout, Jokic and Murray re-entered the game, and Jokic drew a reach-in foul on Turner which gave him his fourth on the night. At the line, Jokic was able to make both of his free throws to go up by six. On the other end, Aaron Holiday drove right past Jokic for an easy basket at the rim. With a mismatch against Aaron, Jokic got an easy basket to go, but Turner nailed a 3-point shot to bring them within three.
Jokic got another switch against the older brother Justin Holiday where he got right to the basket for the make. Down by five, the Pacers called a timeout, and Warren forced a foul on Porter. They were unable to get a basket following the foul, but Jokic got a spinning basket to fall down in the paint. Sabonis got an offensive rebound that found it’s way to Lamb who nailed a big 3-point shot to go down by four.
Millsap got a rebound off of a Murray miss, and, after a few passes, Porter took the ball to the basket with the clock running down where he got his 25th point on the night, which was a career high. On the other end, Sabonis dribbled the ball out of bounds with four minutes remaining to give Denver the ball back. Harris got an easy rebound off a Millsap miss and got the ball to Jokic, who drew another foul on Turner, which gave him five with 3:35 to go.
MPJ has a new career-high with 9+ minutes left in the fourth!— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) January 3, 2020
23 points on 10-11 shooting in just 18 minutes of action!!
Out of the foul, Murray drove to the basket and made Aaron Holiday fall which gave him an easy basket. Following a Sabonis miss, Jokic tipped in a miss by Murray to put Denver up by 10. Sabonis cut into the lead with a layup, but Millsap was able to get an easy basket to fall and re-extend the lead to 10 with 2:15 to go.
Turner then went right after Jokic to draw the fifth foul out of the Nuggets’ star center, and he converted the and-one from the line. On the other end, Murray dribbled the ball before it was tipped out of bounds by Turner. Out of the inbounds, Denver forced a foul which gave them 14 seconds on the shot clock. Jokic took a 3-point shot that missed, and the Pacers took it to the other end where Harris fouled Sabonis and sent him to the line down by eight.
Sabonis went 0-of-2 at the line which allowed Denver to continue to drain the clock. Jokic got a switch, but they were unable to convert. On the other end, the Pacers were able to convert to bring them within six to put the score at 120-114 with 50.4 remaining. Following a timeout, Jokic travelled right past mid-court which gave the Pacers another possession, but they were bailed out by an Aaron Holiday miss. Barton took that miss down where he drew a foul to go to the line.
He went 2-of-2 at the line which put Denver up by eight, and you were seeing them close out the game late while the Pacers’ offense was fading. After a Pacers timeout, Lamb got the ball heading to the rim where Plumlee committed a foul and gave Lamb two free throw attempts where he made both. Jokic was fouled in transition, and he converted both of his free throw attempts. After a miss by Aaron Holiday, the game was effectively over, and Denver emerged with a 124-116 victory after overcoming an early 14-point deficit.
Points - Michael Porter Jr. 25
Assists - Jamal Murray 7
Rebounds - Will Barton 10
Player of the Night - Michael Porter Jr.; 25 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 11-of-12 & 2-3 3-point attempts