The Denver Nuggets showed up to Philadelphia unsure if they would even be playing today, but came away with a 115 to 103 victory after the NBA deemed that the Sixers would have enough eligible players.
Nikola Jokic was one rebound shy of another triple-double (sound familiar?), but it was Gary Harris who led the way for Denver with 21 points. Harris came into this game shooting 13.8% on just three makes from deep on the season, but exploded for a 5-for-8 night from downtown to help the Nuggets put Philadelphia away. It was easily Harris’s best game in recent memory, and one can only hope that this is the return of a confident Gary who can help space the perimeter.
Jamal Murray and Will Barton also put up double figures for the starters while JaMychal Green and Monte Morris had strong 12-point outings off the bench.
The final score was a blowout but it was touch-and-go in the first half for the Nuggets. Jokic and Murray’s two man game blew open the doors early in the first quarter before lackadaisical play let the Sixers stay in it and only be down seven at halftime. Denver’s starters finally stepped on the gas to open the third quarter, extending the lead to 21 and putting the game out of reach.
Rookie Tyrese Maxey, drafted one spot ahead of Zeke Nnaji (happy birthday), had a career outing as the starting point guard for Philadelphia. Maxey attacked Denver throughout the game and finished with an impressive 39 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Every Sixer minus Paul Reed finished in double figures, and Dwight Howard even hit a three-pointer.
In the end, it was a pretty meaningless win for Denver. It’s great to get another W in the win column but we’ve still yet to see the Nuggets beat an actual good team in the right circumstances. Playing against Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid would have been a better test, but the Sixers did the right thing in holding them out of a game that probably shouldn’t have been played anyways. The Nuggets still took care of business, Gary Harris found his shot, and the starters all played under 30 minutes on the front end of a back-to-back.
Denver heads up to New York to take on the Knicks tomorrow. Let’s hope they don’t bring coronavirus with them.