The Denver Nuggets started their game against the Washington Wizards hot by giving up nine points in the first 100 seconds of the game which prompted a quick Michael Malone timeout. Coming out of that timeout, Denver got to work to get within one within a minute, and both sides were firing away at over 80 percent from the floor and a combined 36 points less than five minutes into the game. Denver’s defense was falling asleep at the wheel too often and giving up far too many open opportunities. Aaron Gordon was feasting early on as he was 4-of-5 with eight of the team’s first 24 points. Following a Washington timeout, the Nuggets had mostly their second unit on the floor with some starters mixed in and continued to build their lead. However, some late defensive lapses let the Wizards claw their way back before Bones Hyland drew a foul with the clock running down and made three free throws to head into the second quarter leading 38-31.
The Nuggets scored a quick two points to start the quarter, and they promptly gave up an 8-0 run right after that got the Wizards within one. The two sides were trading buckets over the next few minutes before the Wizards took a 50-49 lead four minutes into the quarter. Nikola Jokic entered the game around the seven-minute mark, and they promptly tied the game at 53. They continued to tie the game, but the Wizards were thriving from outside as they were 10-of-17 from 3-point range compared to 0-of-4 for the Nuggets. Down the stretch of the first half, the two sides were trading buckets back and forth, and they were trading the league along with it. The Nuggets led 72-67 at the half as they were able to withstand the onslaught of Washington triples.
After starting the quarter with traded buckets, the Nuggets went on a long run to force a Washington timeout up by nine, but Washington wasn’t going away as Monte Morris hit another triple for his 15th point of the night. Following that Morris triple, Denver went on a run, and their lead ballooned as large as 14 before a triple from Jonathan Goodwin made it 11. Kyle Kuzma promptly followed it up with a triple of his own, and the Wizards were within single digits. The Wizards continued to cut into that deficit, and they got to 100-95 before Bruce Brown sprinted the length of the floor with under 10 seconds for a layup to give the Nuggets a seven-point lead heading into the final quarter.
CB wanted to get in on the dunking action pic.twitter.com/2Lmd6AsWLy— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) December 15, 2022
Denver started the fourth slow, and the Wizards were right back in the game early on. The Nuggets got a couple of buckets, which were punctuated by a big dunk from Christian Braun that prompted a Washington timeout to stop the run. The Nuggets started to trickle in their starters over the next few minutes, and they were up by seven with just over seven minutes remaining. Jokic and Gordon were doing their best to put away the game, and they had the team’s lead back up to 10 with five minutes to go in the game. Jokic was looking to add start playing baseball with the way he was trying to close out this game. With 1:33 remaining, the two teams were emptying the benches, and this one was effectively over. The Nuggets win their third straight game by a score of 141-128.
Points: Nikola Jokic - 43
Assists: Jokic - 8
Rebounds: Jokic - 14
Player of the Game: Nikola Jokic - 43 points, 8 assists, 14 rebounds, 17-of-20 field goal, 0-of-2 3-point, 9-of-10 free throw