Nikola Jokic made his preseason debut tonight and looked pretty darn good, but ultimately the Nuggets were edged out by the Warriors by a score of 118-114. Jokic finished with a 17 point, 10 rebound double-double and was joined in double scoring figures by Aaron Gordon, PJ Dozier and the J. Greens. Jordan Poole led the scoring for Golden State with 17 points of his own.
Both Michael Porter Jr and Will Barton sat out to nurse their respective injuries, so Denver went with a three guard starting lineup of Monte Morris, PJ Dozier and Austin Rivers plus Aaron Gordon and Nikola Jokic. Lowkey this lineup slapped!
The MVP picked up right where he left off with nine points and five rebounds in his first stint, but it was the defensive versatility of Dozier and Gordon really helped contain the Warriors’ guards. The Nuggets built an early double-digit lead by aggressively attacking the paint - they outscored Golden State xx to xx there on the night - and led 39-26 after the first quarter.
Denver’s bench continued the strong play to start the second. JaMychal Green had a quick 10 points to help weather Otto Porter’s three point barrage. The Nuggets kept Golden State at bay until Draymond Green high kneed Austin Rivers on a three point attempt which really messed with the flow as the refs took their sweet time reviewing the play. Draymond was given a flagrant, but the Nuggets didn’t make another field goal in the half and actually conceded a 13-0 run to fall beind 63-62 at the break.
Aaron Gordon looked very confident in his shot tonight and finished with 16 points, four rebounds and three assists. He came out strong in the third quarter, hitting his second three of the night then aggressively getting to the rim and to the line. Jeff Green picked up where AG left off to close the quarter by hitting a pair of threes himself and a driving layup. The Nuggets recaptured the lead by outscoring the Warriors 27-21 and led 89-84 heading into the fourth.
The benches emptied in the fourth which meant Bones Hyland got some good run, but in the end the Warriors pulled away to a 118-116 victory.