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Recap: Denver Nuggets blow huge lead against Brooklyn Nets

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NBA: Denver Nuggets at Brooklyn Nets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets took on the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night, and they started hot by forcing a miss and Nikola Jokic knocked down a contested shot in the paint. Bol Bol got his first start after Gary Harris (personal) was a late scratch, and he got a rebound on the defensive end following another miss. After a miss by Denver, Kevin Durant put the moves on Bol to knock down a mid-range jumper and tie the game.

Following a turnover by Bol, the Nets went down to convert an easy bucket before Bol made a 3-point shot when he was left wide open. Bruce Brown Jr. made his second consecutive shot, and these two teams were off to hot starts with Jamal Murray converting his own layup. Jokic found Paul Millsap, but the Nuggets were struggling to contain Brooklyn after giving up an easy make to Jarrett Allen.

Less than four minutes into the game, the two teams were cooking with a 12-10 score on the board before they traded empty possessions. Brooklyn turned the ball over, and made the mistake of leaving Jokic open in the mid-range for an easy bucket. Bol committed his second foul which sent him to the bench, and Brown immediately committed one of his own on Millsap.

Murray was blocked by Brown, and the block turned into a quick basket by Durant who nailed the shot through contact for an and-one opportunity following a timeout. Durant converted the free throw to bring the Nets within one prior to a Jokic 3-pointer that put the lead back to four. Joe Harris had a 3-point shot rattle out, and, after a long possession for the Nuggets, Murray was able to bail them out by drawing a foul on Durant.

Jokic missed the 3-point shot, but Allen turned the ball over which lead to a near turnover by P.J. Dozier prior to a Murray miss. Following that miss, Durant drove right to the rim for a huge slam which was their 14th point in the pain out of 15 total. Denver missed a pair of shots before Millsap was able to put away an easy second-chance layup. Murray was cold in the early going with just a 1-of-5 line through the first eight minutes. Jokic forced a miss by Caris LeVert, and he found Dozier for a nifty layup on the other end.

Murray saved a loose ball on defense that Denver quickly turned into an easy two points to extend their lead to eight prior to a Harris jumper. With the shot clock winding down, Barton drained a long jumper. The two sides traded turnovers prior to Durant drove to the basket and drew a foul on Jokic under the cup. Down 26-19, the Nets got their first 3-point shot to fall to bring them within four before Barton knocked down one of his own.

Following that make by Barton, Allen got an easy dunk to fall to bring them within five with just over 1:00 remaining. JaMychal Green drew a foul on Taurean Prince to give Denver another chance at scoring, and Barton took advantage with another mid-range jumper before LeVert hit a big 3-point shot with about 30 seconds remaining. Jokic went to the line with 15.6 remaining where he was able to make both free throws to put the lead back to six. Denver forced a miss, and Jokic got aggressive off the rebound taking it to the other end where he drew a foul and made both free throws to head into the quarter break up by eight.

Coming out of the break, Denver gave up a basket by Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot from 3-point range before they converted one of their own. Jeff Green fouled to give the ball back to Denver, and Facundo Campazzo made them pay with an easy 3-point shot. JaMychal traded baskets with LeVert before Isaiah Hartenstein nearly converted an alley-oop dunk where Hartenstein was fouled and sent to the line. He made 1-of-2 attempts, and the Denver lead had grown to 12.

Brooklyn turned the ball over again, and Monte Morris got a mid-range shot to fall. The two teams traded empty possessions before Brooklyn called a timeout with 9:05 remaining. Coming out of the break, Brooklyn got a shot to fall from the mid-range before Hartenstein threw down a massive dunk on Harris that got him sent to the line for a 3-point play attempt. He ultimately missed the free throw, and LeVert got a quick layup to fall.

JaMychal got an offensive rebound and drew a foul to head to the line where he went 1-of-2. On the other end, Dozier fouled Durant. Following the inbounds, LeVert was blocked, but he got his own rebound and drew a foul which allowed him to hit both shots at the foul line. The two sides traded misses prior to a layup by Morris pass the outstretched hands of Allen. LeVert found Durant in the corner for a 3-point shot that brought them within 10 before Green made one of his own for the Nuggets.

Durant drove to the basket and drew a foul on Hartenstein and was headed to the line where he easily knocked down both. Denver turned it over and LeVert got a euro-step layup to fall which forced Michael Malone to take a timeout up by nine. Coming out of the break, Jokic went to the basket where he drew a foul through some contact and converted both free throws.

On the other end, Bol was back in and guarding Durant. LeVert drove to the basket for a rare miss, and that miss was matched by Barton before Harris drained a triple. Bol knocked down a mid-range jumper over the head of Luwawu-Cabarrot before LeVert made one of his own. Murray was struggling on the night, and he missed of his attempts at the free-throw line.

Following another Brooklyn turnover, Murray finally got a contested shot to fall that put Denver up by 10 again. Denver forced a turnover by the Nets, but they couldn’t do anything with it. Following a Brooklyn miss, Millsap drove to the cup and forced Landry Shamet to foul him to send him to the line. He was able to make both of those shots, but Denver quickly surrendered a layup to Shamet. Jokic found Murray for a driving floater that he banked off the window before they forced a miss by Prince.

Following a miss by Murray, Brown got right to the basket for a layup before Jokic found Millsap for a 3-point shot with 1:00 remaining. Barton missed an easy layup before Shamet missed a layup of his own. With 14 seconds on the clock, Murray hit a 3-point shot to put them at 70 before the half, and they were able to stifle Brooklyn on the other end to head into the break leading 70-54.

To start the third quarter, Jokic went to work on Allen before he knocked down another mid-range jumper. Allen got those two points right back against Jokic on the other side. After a cold first half, Murray looked to be clicking early with a tough jump shot before Brown matched him. He made a contested layup, but Durant made a contested 3-point shot over Bol on the other end.

Barton took that away with one of his own to stretch the lead to 17 before Jeff Green made his own 3-point shot. Murray threw the ball out of bounds, and Durant converted an easy layup which forced Malone to call a timeout with 9:19 remaining in the third. Coming out of the timeout, Durant knocked down a 3-point shot following a miss by Bol that brought the Nets within 10. Jokic stopped the bleeding with a layup that gave him 19 on the night.

The two sides traded turnovers before Brown made an easy reverse layup. Murray converted a two-point shot, but the Nets scored another 3-point shot that brought them within nine. Following a traveling turnover by Bol, Durant drove right past him for a layup. Murray was blocked at the rim, and Harris converted a 3-point shot that brought the Nets to within four for the first time in a while.

Following a Denver timeout, they turned the ball over before Durant slammed home an easy dunk that was part of Brooklyn’s 20-4 run. Dozier got over-aggressive before turning the ball over which forced Denver to foul to stop another fastbreak. Jokic stole the ball off of a Durant pass, and Dozier took the ball to the rim where he was fouled on the floor which leads to no Denver points. Harris knocked down a 3-point shot which gave Brooklyn a one-point lead after trailing by as many as 17.

Brown missed a 3-point shot, and JaMychal was able to draw a foul inside on Harris. After a missed foul on JaMychal, he traveled and gave the ball back to Brooklyn which lead to a Durant bucket. Dozier missed a wide-open triple, and they just couldn’t stop the bleeding with a putback dunk by Prince. Barton was blocked heading to the rim, and the Denver offense was imploding.

Denver forced a turnover on the Nets, but they couldn’t score with an airball from Jokic. After a make by Brooklyn, Jokic found Dozier cutting to the rim where he converted a shot through the foul to end the run at 29-6 before he missed the and-one attempt. Campazzo entered the game, and he was immediately sent to the floor by Allen which left Denver playing 4-on-5 for an offensive possession.

With 1:34 remaining, Denver forced a turnover by Green which again turned into no points. Off of a block by Hartenstein that led to a brief scramble, Morris made a layup that rolled all the way around the rim. The two sides traded misses before a shot-clock violation by Brooklyn which turned into a 3-point shot by Morris that tied the game at 90 heading into the final period.

The fourth quarter started much like the third with a 3-point make by the Nets. Following a miss by Morris, Hartenstein got an offensive rebound which Campazzo turned into his own 3-point make. Prince made another 3-pointer which made them 8-of-11 from long range in the second half. Hartenstein turned the ball over, and Brooklyn went on the attack where they drew a foul on JaMychal and sent Luwawu-Cabarrot to the line where he made 1-of-2 to extend the Nets lead to four.

The Nuggets missed a layup, but the Nets rewarded them by promptly throwing the ball out of bounds. Dozier threw up a prayer of a layup which was tipped out by Hartenstein to JaMychal, who knocked down the 3-point shot to bring Denver within one. On the other end, LeVert got right to the bucket for a layup where he was fouled but missed the free throw. Campazzo chucked up an ill-advised 3-point attempt that missed and gave the ball back to Brooklyn.

LeVert faked out the Dozier and found a wide-open Shamet at the top of the key where he stretched the lead to six before Barton matched him. Up 102-99, the Nets converted a tip-in layup to keep the Nuggets at bay. JaMychal grabbed an offensive rebound, and hit Barton for an open 3-point shot that brought them within two and forced a Brooklyn timeout. Coming out of the timeout, Luwawu-Cabarrot knocked down another 3-point shot. Denver drew a foul on Brooklyn, but they turned it over and were bailed out when Harris missed an open 3-point shot.

Barton converted another 3-point shot that made him 6-of-7 from distance on the night. Down 105-107, Jokic found Morris underneath for a layup to tie the game. Denver forced a turnover, but Green was unable to convert the open 3-point attempt. The Nuggets forced another turnover, and Jokic missed a pair of easy looks in the paint. Following the inbounds, Murray hit an up-and-under that gave them a 109-107 lead and forced Steve Nash to call a timeout.

The teams traded buckets, and the Nuggets forced a miss before Brown got the offensive board and took it right in for a layup with 3:00 remaining. On the other end, Jokic converted a layup, but the Nets matched them when Brown got a floater to fall after it bounced high off the back of the rim. Barton was called for an offensive foul with 2:00 remaining, which was challenged by Malone but was not overturned. Tied at 113, Brown got another floater to go.

Back on offense, Jokic left a jumper a little short which gave Brooklyn the ball where Durant converted a mid-range shot that gave them a four-point lead. Murray forced up a 3-point attempt with 50 seconds remaining, and the Nuggets’ hopes were circling the drain. With 27.9 remaining, Durant drilled a 3-point dagger to extend the lead to seven, which had all come following the questionable foul on Barton. Barton attempted a long and contested heave that failed to fall, and that was effectively the ball game as Durant made a pair of free throws before Murray banked in a 3-point shot. Down by five, the Nuggets weren’t quitting as they sent Luwawu-Cabarrot to the line with 11.4 remaining where he made 1-of-2. Murray missed his final attempt, and the Nuggets lose 122-116.

Stat Leaders

Points: Nikola Jokic - 23

Assists: Jokic - 11

Rebounds: Jokic - 8

Player of the Game: Nikola Jokic 23 points, 11 assists, 8 rebounds, 7 steals, 1 block, 8-of-17 FGA, 1-of-4 3-point, 6-of-6 Free Throw