When the news came out about 30 minutes to tip-off that Aaron Gordon was out due to right calf tightness, not only did the Denver Nuggets lose another player to injury, but they also lost the player tasked to guard Kevin Durant. It went pretty well for the Nuggets in the first half as they built a lead up to 21 points, but the second half was a completely different story as Brooklyn outscored Denver 69-48 in the games final two quarters to pull off a 125-119 road victory.
The first quarter made it feel like it was going to be a special night for the Nuggets, especially for Michael Porter Jr.. Behind five three-pointers, 17 of Porter’s 21 first half points came in the first quarter. Porter just could not miss as he was draining triples left and right to help the Nuggets jump out to a big lead:
MPJ with back-to-back-to-back threes, we love to see it pic.twitter.com/cBdiet6b7q— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) May 9, 2021
Then the second quarter rolled around in which the Nuggets deployed Markus Howard, who has appeared in just 33 games this season averaging 3.3 minutes per game. Not to worry though as Howard absolutely caught fire with his best stretch as a pro scoring 10 points in the period behind two three-pointers. Howard did all that with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant on the floor as he really helped the Nuggets maintain their big first half lead.
Denver ended up taking a 71-56 lead into the locker room at halftime behind Porter and Howard’s play as they looked to build off that to start the third quarter. Narrator: they did not. Brooklyn opened the third quarter on a 11-4 run and quickly got back into the game as the Nuggets only held a 104-97 lead through three quarters.
The Nets comeback was sparked by Blake Griffin, who scored 16 points in the third quarter to get Brooklyn back into the game. It was vintage Griffin performance in the third quarter as he was finishing at the rim, drilling threes, and the Nuggets just had no way of stopping him. Irving also had 15 points in the quarter to help give the Nets a chance going into the final 12 minutes of play.
Brooklyn controlled the game for most of the fourth quarter and really took control late n large part due to some big shots by Durant and Irving. It wasn't the best fourth quarter for the Nuggets offensively by any means as the Nets were able to pull away late with a 125-119 win.
Jokic led the way for Denver offensively with 29 points on 10-of-21 shooting from the field to go along with seven rebounds and six assists. Porter also finished with a solid stat line of 28 points behind six three-pointers. Facundo Campazzo finished in double figures with 19 points as did Howard (13) and Austin Rivers (12).
The Nuggets will be back in action on Tuesday night when they head to Charlotte to face the Hornets.