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Recap: Jokic scores 34 as the Nuggets win a tight one against the Pistons 117-111

He did not record his fifth straight triple double, but Jokic filled the stat sheet once again with 34/9/8 in another MVP performance

Detroit Pistons v Denver Nuggets Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

It wasn’t pretty but the Denver Nuggets finished their homestead on a positive note beating the Detroit Pistons 117-111. It was a competitive game throughout as momentum shifted frequently. Detroit’s budding star Cade Cunningham displayed his talents scoring 18 points, 8 assists, and 5 rebounds on 7-15 shooting. The Pistons had five players in double figures and four of them scored 18 each. Detroit played well, but Denver forced three straight turnovers to end the game as they sealed it from the free throw line.

The bench saved the day for the Nuggets tonight. They scored 32 points in their last two games combined, but they erupted for 41 as Forbes and Nnaji contributed with 12 apiece. DeMarcus Cousins made his Nugget debut and although he shot 1-7, his physicality benefited that bench as his screens moved opponents into the parking lot. The Nuggets finish their homestead 4-2 and now enter a six game road trip. They will play six games in nine days including two sets of back-to-backs. They meet this same Detroit team again on Tuesday at 5:00 PM to begin the trip.

1st Quarter

  • Isaiah Stewart began the contest with an and-one layup, but Jokic’s height advantage against Detroit revealed itself early. He scored Denver’s first 4 points in the paint with relative ease
  • Both offenses shot well early to bring the score to 15-14 Nuggets. Detroit began 6-11 shooting and Denver a very efficient 7-9. Stewart and Jokic did not miss a shot in the first five minutes. They both began 4-4 shooting, Stewart with 10 points and Jokic with 9
  • A Will Barton transition layup and a Gordon fadeaway helped Denver start a 9-2 run. The Nugget lead was 20-16 before Barton and Gordon scored two consecutive layups to stretch the lead to eight
  • Detroit reclaimed their lead 25-24 with a couple threes to obtain a brief 9-0 run. Cade Cunningham then posted up for a nice hook shot, but Bryn Forbes responded with a three to give Denver a 29-27 lead
  • DeMarcus Cousins checked in for the first time late in the quarter. He set some great screens and got to the foul line, but nerves might have been present as he air-balled his first jumper and missed two free throws

Score: 30-29 Pistons

Scoring leaders: Jokic - 10, Stewart - 10

2nd Quarter

  • Bryn Forbes hit a mid-range jumper and Nnaji followed with a three to give Denver a 34-30 lead. DeMarcus Cousins really displayed his physicality with his early minutes. He helped multiple shooters get open from his screens, could not score in his first stint, but his impact was felt
  • Layups from Stanley and Lyles plus two Diallo free throws tied the game at 36. Barton answered with a three, and Jokic found Facu for a layup to gain a three point lead 41-38
  • Two straight offensive fouls and five turnovers midway through the quarter hindered Detroit’s offense. Denver’s interior defense collapsed well and the rotations on perimeter shooters were on timely and effective
  • Davon Reed sank a three as Denver claimed their largest lead of the game 50-40. The Pistons then answered with a Stewart midrange, a smooth Cunningham jumper, and a Corey Joseph three to shift momentum and the score 52-47
  • Cunningham hit another mid-range for his 12th point as Detroit climbed within one. Jokic immediately got to the foul line for two free throws but Joseph responded with a layup
  • After a Forbes floater, Saddiq Bey hit a three to tie the game at 58. Rivers then hit two free throws to close the scoring for Denver at half, but with five seconds left Cunningham hit another mid-range jumper as the buzzer sounded

Score: 60-60

Scoring leaders: Jokic - 18, Cunningham/Stewart - 14

3rd Quarter

  • Jokic hit his 500th career three-pointer of his career to introduce the second half. Stewart then countered with a three and continued his perfect shooting. He had 16 points on 7-7 shooting to that point
  • Denver switched to a zone to force Detroit to shoot outside shots and it worked early in the quarter. Offensively, the Nuggets started to heat up with a Gordon three and a Morris floater to bring the score to 70-64
  • The three-point story was abysmal for both teams. The Nuggets shot 6-23 and the Pistons 5-14, but Denver dominated the paint for most of the game, outscoring Detroit 42-28 midway through the third
  • Forbes hit his second three of the game for his 10th point and then Reed knocked in his second three as well. At that point, Denver’s bench outscored Detroit’s 25-14 as the Nuggets grabbed a 78-73 lead
  • Facu Campazzo then hit a three for his first points of the game, and Forbes sank two free throws to give Denver an eight point lead. Defensively, they forced a couple turnovers that turned in to offense. Detroit committed 15 turnovers through three quarters and 6 alone in the third
  • Zeke Nnaji’s three and transition dunk gave Denver their largest lead of the game 90-75. Cousins again made his impact felt by taking a charge, grabbing a couple rebounds, and stealing the pass that ended in the Zeke dunk

Score: 92-76 Nuggets

Scoring leaders: Jokic - 23, Cunningham - 17

4th Quarter

  • Both teams didn't score for the first minute but Jackson broke the streak with an and-one layup. Facu responded with a wide-open layup for his 9th point on 4-5 shooting and brought the score to 94-79
  • Killian Hayes dropped a three and Trey Lyles scored an and-one layup to bring them within seven. The Nugget offense went stagnant following their 94th point. They avoided the paint and went one-on-one too much as the Pistons went on a 12-2 run
  • Detroit extended that run with another Lyles and-one layup. They cut the lead to just four on Lyles’s 18th point of the game, but Denver quickly went to Joker in the post to end an 11-0 scoring run
  • Austin Rivers gave Denver a little offensive momentum as he scored five straight points for Denver to extend the lead to 103-96. Corey Joseph then glided to the rim for two and Hayes hit another three to cut the lead to just three
  • Following a Bey three, Jokic hit a floater and Barton knocked in a three to increase the lead to five. Bey responded with another three as the Pistons made their last four threes
  • Corey Joseph tied the game at 109 with a contested floater and would hit another floater following a Jokic layup. With 40 second left, Barton stripped it from Joseph and Bey sent Jokic to the line for two free throws. Denver grabbed a 113-111 lead
  • Detroit committed their 21st turnover when Bey stepped out of bounds with 35 seconds left. Austin Rivers influenced the play by fighting over a tough screen and squeezed the open window Bey once had
  • Off that turnover, Stewart fouled Jokic. He hit both free throws with 15 seconds left to increase the score to 115-111. Joseph then committed an offensive screening foul to seal the game for Denver

Score: 117-111 Nuggets

Scoring leaders: Jokic - 34, Cunningham/Stewart/Joseph/Lyles - 18

Stat leaders

Points: Jokic - 34

Rebounds: Jokic -9

Assists: Jokic/Cunningham - 8

Silent hero of the game: Denver’s bench - 41 points and only 2 turnovers. Forbes and Nnaji led the scoring charge with 12 each. Nnaji, Reed, and Forbes hit two threes apiece