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Recap: Denver Nuggets outlast Dallas Mavericks on the road

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NBA: Denver Nuggets at Dallas Mavericks Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets started with a little bit of sloppy play, but they bailed themselves out with a Gary Harris 3-point make prior to a Jalen Brunson jumper that tied it up. A block by Kristaps Porzingis led to a transition basket for Luka Donćič which turned into a 3-point play at the free-throw line. On the other end, Nikola Jokic got an easy layup to fall with 9:32 to go in the first.

Jokic found Gary for his second triple of the night. The two sides traded misses prior to a foul by Paul Millsap on Willie Cauley-Stein which sent him to the line where he knocked down both shots. Jamal Murray got to the rim for an easy layup around Tim Hardaway Jr., as they were looking to get rolling in this track meet. Off a miss by Hardaway, Murray hit a floater before blocking Cauley-Stein which Millsap took right to the rack for a layup and forced a Dallas Mavericks’ timeout after Denver had jumped out to a 14-8 lead.

Out of the timeout, Donćič missed a triple, and Murray made them pay with one of his own before Porzingis finished an alley-oop to halt a 14-5 run. Luka got into a tough spot on the wing, but Harris fouled him on a 3-point attempt that sent him to the line where he would make all three attempts. Jokic knocked down an easy mid-range jumper over Boban Marjanovic, but Denver couldn’t stop fouling as Harris fouled Luka again to send him to the line.

Luka hit both shots, and Will Barton saved an easy basket in transition following a turnover with a tipped ball. That didn’t stop Hardaway from converting a layup off the inbounds, and Michael Malone called a timeout up 19-17. Out of the timeout, Jokic put a nice spin move on Boban to stem the 9-2 Dallas run. The only problem was Luka immediately drew another foul to go to the line which was giving him his seventh and eighth free throws of the night.

P.J. Dozier made up for his foul on Luka by converting a 3-point shot, but Boban almost instantly converted a floater on the other end. Murray drew a foul, and they found Jokic for his 10th dunk of the season off the inbounds past. After a miss by Dallas, JaMychal Green got big in the paint to convert a bucket which drew another Mavericks’ timeout. Out of the timeout, James Johnson drove right to the basket for a layup. After a miss by Michael Porter Jr., Luka was given the easiest layup of his life in transition before Murray got another shot to fall.

Off a miss by Porzingis, Murray got a step-back jumper to fall, and he looked hot early in the game. Porzingis answered with a bucket of his own, and the Nuggets drew another foul, though it wasn’t a shooting foul. Out of the inbounds, they found Dozier for his second triple of the night. Luka caught Porter jumping for an easy layup. Dozier converted a pair of free throws following a Brunson foul. Luka put up a 3-point attempt, and Porter grabbed the board and went right to the basket and drawing a foul on Porzingis which allowed him to convert 1-of-2 at the line.

Down 29-38, Porzingis got an easy layup to go over Monte Morris as the two sides traded turnovers before Denver missed a shot with the clock expiring to send them to the second quarter leading 38-31. Coming out of the break, Green converted a wide-open 3-point shot from the top of the key to take a 10-point lead. They traded misses before Johnson converted a layup. After a miss by Hardaway, Porter rose up for a heat-check 3-point shot and knocked it home before Porzingis canceled it out with one of his own.

Porter attempted another one that didn’t go before committing goaltending on the other end. The two sides traded turnovers and sloppy play before it was all stopped by a Green foul. Dozier got a block on Hardaway before Morris went up for a layup where he was fouled. Dozier left the game with what appeared to be a hamstring injury while Morris knocked down a pair of free throws.

Brunson got another basket to fall to bring Dallas within six, and Denver quickly called a timeout. Out of the timeout, Porter knocked down another 3-point shot. Porzingis missed an attempt of his own, and Porter got a layup to go through a foul by Kristaps which sent him to the line where he converted the 3-point play. Down 40-52, the Mavs got a dunk from Wes Iwundu to fall. Following three different offensive rebounds, Green was fouled and sent to the line where he knocked down both attempts.

Johnson got another easy dunk to fall before Facundo Campazzo found Green for an easy 3-point shot. Cauley-Stein was fouled again, and he made 1-of-2 free throws. Porter found Murray who turned it over which led to an easy basket by Brunson. Trey Burke missed an open 3-point shot, and Jokic found Porter for a big dunk to take a 13-point lead and force the Mavericks to take another timeout with 4:23 remaining.

Out of the timeout, Murray defended Luka well and forced him to throw the ball away. On the other end, Denver committed a turnover of their own, and Luka drew another foul in transition which sent him to the line for two more points on his ninth and 10th free throws. Jokic got double-teamed in the paint, and score a pair of free throws. Denver and Dallas traded buckets with 3:00 remaining.

Brunson drew a foul on Jokic, and converted a pair of free throws. A near air-ball by Barton sent Dallas the other way, and Brunson made him look silly while putting away an easy 3-point shot. Harris sent Cauley-Stein to the bench with his third foul, and he made a pair of free throws to take the lead back to 10. The two sides traded misses before Jokic converted a shot over Johnson. With 33.6 remaining, Luka converted a long triple. Not to be outdone, Murray answered back with one of his own from 3-point land. Luka missed a 3-point shot with less than 10 seconds remaining, and Denver was unable to get another shot off before heading to halftime leading 70-58.

Coming out of halftime, Jokic found Millsap who drew a hard foul out of Porzingis, and he went 0-of-2 at the line. Following those misses, Kristaps knocked down a mid-range jumper before Murray turned the ball over and committed a frustration foul on Hardaway. Cauley-Stein missed an out of control layup before Jokic got a second-chance layup to fall to get Denver’s scoring going.

Hardaway got an easy mid-range shot to fall before Harris was left wide open for a layup, but Luka got another contested triple to fall. Barton missed another 3-point attempt which led to a Porzingis layup and a Denver timeout up 74-67. Out of the timeout, Jokic got a hook shot to fall over Cauley-Stein. A miss by Dallas led to no points for Denver with a shot-clock violation off of an offensive rebound. Dallas did not make the same mistake when they got their own offensive rebound as they fouled Kristaps to send him to the line where he converted both shots.

Denver had their second straight shot-clock violation when the refs let some physical play go between Jokic and Cauley-Stein. Porzingis missed an easy shot over the top of Murray, but Denver turned the ball over again before Hardaway dunked home an alley-oop with the lead down to five. Murray and Luka traded wild misses before Barton got his scoring started with a layup.

Luka missed a heat-check triple before Barton got to the cup with a nifty drive to stretch the lead back to nine and cause a Mavericks’ timeout. Out of the timeout, the two sides traded misses before Hardaway tipped in his own miss with 5:07 remaining. Following what Murray thought should have been a foul on Hardaway, he gave him a shot below the belt that caused him to be ejected with a flagrant two foul. Hardaway converted both free throws, and he added a 3-point shot off of the extra possession. A miss by Barton led to a leak out by Hardaway who converted the dunk and tied the game at 80. Murray’s ejection was effectively a seven-point swing in less than 20 seconds.

Jokic had the ball stolen out of the timeout which Trey Burke scored on, but Porter was able to stop the bleeding with an up-and-under passed Luka before Hardaway made a 3-point shot around the outstretched arm of Morris. Morris went 1-of-2 at the line before Luka found Burke for a 3-point make. Porter missed an open 3-point shot, and Denver was slowly unraveling on the road.

Luka worked into the paint for a bucket before Monte was able to match him. Porter got a steal off of an inbounds pass, and he was fouled on the other end. Jokic converted a pair of free throws, but Johnson got a layup to fall before Porter got a 3-point shot to fall and bring them within two prior to a Burke jumper. Green missed a triple, but Porter was able to snag the rebound where he was fouled and converted both free throws. Campazzo got a long look at a 3-point shot with the clock winding down, but it didn’t fall as Denver went into the fourth trailing 92-94.

Coming out of the break, Green got a 3-point shot to fall off of an offensive rebound to give Denver the lead back. After Porzingis’ second straight miss, Morris got a layup to fall over the outstretched arm of Kristaps. Green forced a jump ball on Burke, but Denver quickly turned it over. Green committed his fourth foul, and the refs were starting to call any bit of contact as a foul with Porter drawing one of his own. After Dallas failed to score, Denver found Green underneath where he drew a foul and converted both free throws before Johnson knocked home another triple.

Following a wild scramble for the ball, Denver drew a foul to gain an extra possession, but it ended as an empty possession with a missed triple by Porter. A miss by Porzingis was not two straight for Porter as he knocked down a 3-point shot to give Denver a five-point lead. Coming out of the Dallas timeout, both sides traded empty possessions before Morris forced a jump ball on Cauley-Stein. Out of the jump ball, Johnson put away a 3-point shot, but Green put away a layup through some contact where he missed the free throw.

Jokic fouled Burke off of a turnover, and Luka got to the rim past Porter for another easy basket. Following a turnover by Barton, Hardaway found Johnson for a layup which tied the game at 104 with just under 5:00 remaining. Coming out of a Denver timeout, Denver tipped the ball out of bounds, but Dallas failed to convert. After a missed 3-point shot by Jokic, Luka got another easy mid-range shot to fall before a triple by MPJ put them back in front.

With 3:09 remaining, Denver grabbed a defensive rebound, and Porter threw down a big dunk to stretch the lead to three which lead to a Dallas timeout. Out of the timeout, Denver caused a steal, and Jokic got a layup to go on the other end. A screen foul by Porzingis led to no points for Denver, and Kristaps drew a foul on Porter which sent him to the line where he went 1-of-2.

The two sides traded misses before Porter knocked in another 3-point shot to give him 30 points on the night. Down 107-114, Hardaway worked his way to the line for a pair of free throws, and he went 1-of-2 to bring them within six with 32.9 left on the clock. Barton was fouled following the inbounds from Jokic, and he knocked down both shots at the line to make it an eight-point game prior to a make by Luka.

With less than 15 seconds on the clock, Denver got the ball into the frontcourt where Morris was fouled and went 1-of-2 at the line. Luka got a 3-point shot to fall, and, following the inbounds pass, Jokic had the ball knocked away while being fouled by three different players which gave Dallas the ball down four with 3.6 remaining. Luka missed a shot at the buzzer, and Denver had survived a disastrous third quarter that saw Murray get ejected and them outscored by 14.

Stat Leaders

Points: Michael Porter Jr. - 30

Assists: Monte Morris - 6

Rebounds: Nikola Jokic - 10

Player of the Game: Michael Porter Jr. 30 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, 10-18 field goals, 6-10 3-point, 4-5 free throws