After a disappointing loss to the Utah Jazz on opening night, the Denver Nuggets head to the Chase Center to take on the reigning champion Golden State Warriors. Jamal Murray was listed as out earlier in the day due to left knee injury management. The newly acquired Nugget, Bruce Brown Jr. took the starting point guard spot in place of Jamal Murray.
The Nuggets started the game off really well, scoring the ball at an elite level and containing Steph Curry to 13 points in the first half. The Nuggets bench also played better than anyone could’ve expected, scoring 38 points. Bones Hyland and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope both bounce back from a rough outing in Utah. Despite how close the game got at the end, the Nuggets beating the reigning champion Warriors at Chase Center in the fashion they did is a great sign for the rest of the season. Bruce Brown scored 20 points including the dunk at the end of the game that put it out of reach for the Warriors. Brown also shot 8-10 with 3 three-pointers and 5 assists. The reigning MVP ended with 26 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists, his first triple-double of the season and the 77th of his career placing him only 1 behind Wilt Chamberlain. Winning a game where Steph Curry had 34 points with 5 threes is an incredible feat. We can all put the Utah game behind us now.
Michael Porter Jr. opens up the game for the Nuggets with a tough three-pointer and Nikola Jokić follows it up by going right at Kevon Looney for a bucket under the basket. Andrew Wiggins gets the Warriors first 5 points off of some lackluster defense from MPJ, Porter Jr. follows it up by hitting a pull-up transition three and then fouling Steph Curry for a 4 point play. Wiggins shined early as the Nuggets could not keep up with the Warriors ball movement on offense. Michael Porter Jr. put up 6 points in his first 5 minutes but the Warriors targeted him on defense almost every play, he checks out for rookie Christian Braun at the 7:22 mark of the 1st quarter.
Christian Braun grabs 2 rebounds early and gets a steal, he certainly has earned his minutes so far despite a lack of offensive production. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope starts the game off by shooting a perfect 4-4 after a disappointing outing versus the Jazz. Coach Malone uses his challenge early for a Bruce Brown foul on a Steph Curry three, it was not successful. The bench comes on to end the first and DeAndre Jordan immediately gets a tough dunk in the paint. Bones Hyland scores 4 straight for the Nuggets and then finds Jeff Green for 2 three-pointers, a 10-3 run for the Nuggets. There were 14 lead changes in the first quarter but the Nuggets prevail 40-34. Both teams shot above 65% in the first and the Nuggets shot 71% from three with 11 assists.
DeAndre Jordan opens the second off by throwing down a one-handed lob from Davon Reed. Jeff Green knocks down 2 free throws to make the Nuggets lead 10. The bench unit looks a lot more composed and less frantic both on offense and defense. Jordan opens up with 7 points without missing a shot and 36-year-old Jeff Green draws a charge following a turnover on a fast break.
Jeff Green dimes up DeAndre Jordan and gets the reverse slam pic.twitter.com/PJ6hLQEx3J— Nuggets Nation (@NuggetsNationCP) October 22, 2022
Bones Hyland continues to make his mark on the game with 11 points and 3 assists in only 10 minutes. Both teams offenses cooled down from the 1st quarter, only scoring 12 and 7 points respectively through the first 5 minutes of the second quarter. The starters come back into the game and extended the lead to as much as 14. The second half of the quarter got a little ugly with 3 Nuggets turnovers in less than a minute. Luckily only 3 shots from both teams combined were made in just over 2 minutes of game time. The Nuggets starters came back firing and bolstered the lead to 20 behind 8 points in 6 possessions from the Joker. Score at halftime, 70-52 Nuggets up. Holding the Warriors offense to 18 points in the quarter is no easy task. All while scoring another 30 points in the quarter, both the Nuggets offense and defense were rolling.
After Curry is fouled on a three-pointer, MPJ hits another well-contested three on the perimeter. While he still has room to grow as he gets back into NBA-level play, his shooting doesn’t look like it has skipped a beat. Warriors go on a 7-0 run and Coach Malone calls a timeout with the Nuggets only making 3 shots in the first 4 minutes of the quarter. The Nuggets could not get a basket to fall and the Warriors bring the lead down to 7 while Jokić and the starters are still on the court. Draymond Green showed his elite-level playmaking, defense, and offense to which the Nuggets had no answer. Draymond scored 7 points in the quarter. Aaron Gordon had 8 points in the 3rd and broke a 2-minute-long scoring drought for the Nuggets. Malone calls another timeout and most of the bench comes on after the break.
Bones Hyland comes on and gets 2 assists, one of which was to Christian Braun for the first-ever basket of his NBA career.
Bones Hyland breaks out the moves and finds Christian Braun pic.twitter.com/pz6nAEFu9e— Nuggets Nation (@NuggetsNationCP) October 22, 2022
Braun gets a steal from Jordan Poole and takes it coast to coast for a layup. After he broke the seal of the basket, looks like Braun will be a staple in the rotation for his defense and tenacity in rebounding the basketball. Despite the Nuggets offense and defense falling off from the first half, they are still up by 10 to end the quarter. 98-88 Nuggets are up to start the 4th quarter.
Michael Porter Jr. opens up the quarter again with another three-pointer, his 5th of the game. MPJ is the lone starter with the bench unit, but he commits 2 fouls early and has to be taken out in favor of KCP. The Nuggets allow the Warriors to score 3 times off of second-chance points within the first 3 minutes of the quarter which causes Malone to call another timeout. Jokić throws a fantastic pass to the corner for KCP to hit a three, breaking a nearly 3-minute long scoring drought.
The Nuggets starters come on with 6 minutes left to play, up by 7. KCP hits another huge three-pointer but the momentum is all in favor of the Warriors. Jokić hits a tough and-1 over Draymond Green in the post, giving Green his 5th foul. Curry hits a three, which was the Warriors first of the 4th quarter.
Jokić responds with his first dunk of the season. But, Curry responds again with another three-pointer, back-to-back for him. It’s a 5 point game with 2 minutes to go. Bruce Brown gets a floater to go and buries a three-pointer on the next possession. Curry responds yet again with a deep three and the Warriors immediately force a turnover on Jokić. Bruce Brown takes it coast to coast for a tough layup with no hesitation. Klay Thompson gets in on the Warriors late-game three-point barrage and puts the game within 4 for the Warriors. Bones Hyland gets fouled with 23 seconds left and he hits one of two. Draymond Green gets sent to the line and makes both of his free throws, the ball is inbounded to Bones to which he turns the ball over and Poole makes the layup. Jokić immediately inbounds the ball crosscourt to Bruce Brown for a wide-open dunk, notching his 10th assist of the game and securing a triple-double.
Warriors fans punching the air after this Nikola Jokic dime pic.twitter.com/O3MSkbNBzy— NBA Memes (@NBAMemes) October 22, 2022
Warriors had a chance to tie the game with a 3 with only 13 seconds left. Klay Thompson takes the shot from deep and misses everything. Jokić takes a scary fall but appears to be alright and knocks down his free throws. The Nuggets win 128-123.
First off, what a game. Jokić has his first triple-double of the season, Bruce Brown shows out on his first start as a Nugget. Christian Braun showed immense potential as a role player and will absolutely compete for a rotation spot off the jump. Michael Porter Jr. showed he’s just as dominant of an offensive force as he ever has been, tying Curry for the most made threes in the game with 5. A fantastic showing by the whole roster, even DeAndre Jordan who I was skeptical of as a signing played great off the bench. The only negative I saw in this game was Aaron Gordon shooting 0-6 from three, even then he hit some clutch baskets and played his role perfectly.