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Recap: Denver Nuggets roll over Memphis Grizzlies

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NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets started their game with the Memphis Grizzlies by giving up a quick bucket, but they got the points right back and went on a 5-2 run before Dillon Brooks scored a pair of points at the line. P.J. Dozier and Nikola Jokic scored a pair of buckets before Ja Morant hit a shot in the line to bring Memphis within two. Dozier missed a layup attempt a moment later, but Michael Porter Jr. got the putback to fall through some contact to send him to the line where he missed the freebie.

A bucket from Valanciunas was wiped out by Aaron Gordon from mid-range. The two sides traded bad and empty possessions before a Jaren Jackson Jr. triple brought Memphis within one. Jokic hit a pair of shots at the line, and Morant matched them a minute later. Morant tied the game with just under 4:20 remaining with two more free throws. Denver turned in a pair of empty possessions before Morant retook the lead with 3:28 remaining and forced a Michael Malone timeout. Austin Rivers tied the game up with a bank shot high off the glass.

Jokic hit a pair of free throws to get a two-point lead. Jackson went 1-of-2 at the line, and Paul Millsap skied for a block of De’Anthony Melton after a miss by Dozier. Empty possessions abounded before Rivers finally hit a flip-in layup with just over 30 seconds remaining in the quarter. Dozier forced a miss out of the Grizzlies, and Denver leads 21-18 after the first quarter.

Memphis got the first points of the quarter with a layup from Justise Winslow, and Porter cashed a triple from the corner immediately as an answer. Jonas Valanciunas and Porter traded buckets before the two sides went on a bit of a cold spell. Brooks hit a pair of free throws to bring Memphis within two before a 3-pointer from Facundo Campazzo stretched the lead out again. Valanciunas scored through Millsap, but Millsap’s triple wiped out that layup right away.

Winslow got to the line out of a Memphis timeout where he went 2-of-2. A missed layup from Denver turned into a dunk at the other end. A Porter bucket was wiped out by a triple from Brooks to bring the Grizzlies’ within one. Brooks got out in transition for an easy dunk off a Denver miss, and Malone called for a quick timeout. Out of the timeout, Porter was blocked at the rim, but he rose up for a 15-foot jumper off the miss. Kyle Anderson hit a reverse layup, and the two sides were trading the lead back and forth with a Gordon triple taking it back for Denver.

Jackson tied things up at 39, but Jokic hit his first 3-pointer of the night which was followed up by one from Gordon to give Denver a six-point lead. A bucket from Memphis was matched by Gordon in the paint through some contact, but he couldn’t complete the 3-point play at the line. Anderson hit a pair of shots at the line, and Jokic wiped them right away with a spin-cycle layup on Jackson before Grayson Allen hit a triple at the top.

Jokic drew a rare shooting foul from near 3-point range on Jackson, and he went 2-of-2 at the line. The two sides traded empty possessions before Morant got a bucket to fall. Jokic was fouled going for an offensive rebound to give Denver an extra possession which turned into a mid-range jumper for Porter with just over 1:00 remaining in the quarter. Morant got a shot to fall while jumping into Jokic, and it turned into a 3-point play at the line. Jokic didn’t think about it for too long with a quick triple of his own. Morant hit a pair of free throws, but Campazzo wiped them out with a last-second layup before Morant nearly nailed a long-range heave with the clock expiring. Denver ultimately lead 58-53 heading into the half.

The two sides traded misses coming out of the break before a Morant floater broke the seal. Jokic hit a pair of free throws on the other end, but Allen hit a corner 3-pointer that Gordon matched with a quick transition layup. The teams traded none-scoring minutes before a reverse layup by Allen brought Memphis within two and forced a Denver timeout out of Malone. Jokic hit a pair of free throws before fouling Valanciunas on the other end. Valanciunas went 1-of-2 at the line before Memphis forced a miss out of the Nuggets and Anderson hit a layup in the paint.

Porter hit a contested layup that was followed up by one from Campazzo on the next possession. Denver got a steal off of the Grizzlies, and Gordon hit a tip-in layup off of a Dozier miss to give the Nuggets a seven-point lead. Coming out of the Memphis timeout, Anderson hit Morant for a dunk off of an offensive rebound. Off an offensive rebound, Campazzo found Porter for the team’s first triple after seven straight misses from long range.

The team had three more offensive rebounds on their next possession which ended with a tip-in by Jokic before Jackson got his first bucket of the second half. Memphis got another two shots to fall, and they were within four with just over 2:30 remaining. Porter hit a pair of free throws, but bad transition defense gave the Grizzlies an easy dunk. JaMychal Green hit a corner triple, but Morant hit a layup before the cameraman could even get switched to that end of the floor. Shaquille Harrison hit a scoop layup through some contact, and he converted the 3-point play at the line. Dozier hit a layup with 11.1 remaining before he blocked a 3-point at the other end with the clock expiring.

Desmond Bane got a shot to fall out of the quarter break, but Millsap quickly matched it to stretch the lead to 10. Denver had the lead up to 13 before Dozier stretched it to 15 from mid-range. A triple from Millsap stretched the lead to 18, and the Grizzlies were calling a timeout to try and stop the bleeding. It didn’t work as Denver forced a miss before stretching the lead to 20 out of the break before a Valanciunas make got Memphis involved again.

Green got an offensive rebound and turned it into two points, and Morant went just 1-of-2 at the line at the other end. The Grizzlies got an easy two points after a defensive breakdown from Denver before Millsap hit a tough contested layup that Morant matched with one of his own. Green and Melton traded blocked layups before Porter hit a pair of free throws. Jackson went 1-of-2 at the line, and Porter answered with a huge dunk that got Denver back to a 20-point lead with 6:15 remaining in the game.

Denver was called for a technical foul during the timeout which Memphis turned into a free point, but Porter hit a tough shot at the rim at the other end. Jackson went 1-of-2 at the line, and Jokic made them pay by finding Rivers off of the miss to make the lead 22 with fewer than 4:30 remaining. With 4:07 remaining, Jokic checked out of the game for the final time. Porter got a block on one end, and he followed it up with a contested 3-pointer on the other end with a lead now up to 25 before a Grizzlies’ bucket made it 23.

The two sides had emptied their benches with neither side playing any rotation players outside of Harrison for Denver. Vlatko Čancar threw down a huge dunk, and the two teams were trading possessions in a track meet that Denver would ultimately go on to win by a score of 120-96 which was a lot easier of a win than the team had a week ago against the same squad.

Stat Leaders

Points: Michael Porter Jr. - 31

Assists: Facundo Campazzo - 8

Rebounds: Nikola Jokic - 15

Player of the Game: Michael Porter Jr. 31 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 12-of-19 field goal, 3-of-6 3-point, 4-of-5 free throw