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Recap: Denver’s second-half defense tightens as they defeat Brooklyn 124-104

Today was a story of two halves. Denver could not guard a parked car in the first, but their second half defense dominated.

Brooklyn Nets v Denver Nuggets Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

The Denver Nuggets broke their three-game losing streak today by defeating Brooklyn Nets 124-104. They hand the Nets their 8th straight loss and move to 13-0 when they score 120+ points. Nikola Jokic secured another triple double by dropping 27 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists. Seven Nuggets entered double figures in the contest. Denver shot 52% from the field along with ten threes. After a disappointing paint performance on Friday, the Nuggets responded by outscoring the Nets 64-32 in the paint.

The Denver defense struggled in the first half allowing 75 points, but they dominated the second half as Brooklyn only scored 29 points. They also prevailed on the glass tonight as well. They outrebounded Brooklyn 55-36 along with 11 offensive rebounds. The ball movement was at a premium tonight with the typical catalyst Nikola Jokic but as a team, the Nuggets registered 37 assists. The Nuggets will look to continue their momentum as they face the Knicks on Tuesday at 7:00 PM.

1st Quarter

  • The Nuggets started the game with six paint points including an emphatic Aaron Gordon one-handed jam. Jeff Green then added a three for an early 9-2 Denver advantage
  • Patty Mills and Blake Griffin responded with two consecutive threes to get within one at 9-8. Four free throws from Barton and Gordon along with a Jokic hook shot increased Denver’s lead to five
  • Kyrie Irving sank a three following a Jokic turnover to decrease their deficit 18-15. Monte Morris answered with a layup, but Blake Griffin followed his second three of the game
  • Nikola Jokic found Morris for a layup for his 3rd assist of the quarter. Brooklyn fell asleep on the weak side as Morris cut to the rim. That play helped condense Brooklyn’s defense because the next possession they crowded Jokic so he found Forbes for a corner three
  • Bryn Forbes increased the lead to 32-28 with two free throws, but the Nuggets turned it over the following possession for an easy Brooklyn layup. Bruce Brown tied it up at 32 with two free throws
  • DeMarcus Cousins knocked in a three for his first shot of the game. Then Cam Thomas gave the Nets their first lead with a three on the wing

Score: 40-39 Nuggets

Scoring leaders: Griffin - 10, Barton - 7

2nd Quarter

  • Patty Mills initiated the quarter with a three. Boogie Cousins and Zeke Nnaji responded with four straight points, but another Denver turnover helped the Nets stretch their lead to five at 48-43
  • Cousins found Nnaji for a cutting dunk following a Denver timeout, and the next possession Nnaji knocked in his first three of the game
  • Kyrie Irving made the Nuggets pay as Brooklyn cleaned the offense glass for an Irving corner three. Off Brooklyn’s 4th blocked shot of the game, the Nets capitalized with two free throws for the 54-50 advantage
  • Bryn Forbes scored four consecutive points along with a Jokic layup, but the Nuggets defense continued to offer the Nets easy baskets. Griffin sank two consecutive threes for his fourth three of the game to increase their lead 62-56
  • The Nuggets made 7 of their last 8 shots but the defense could not stop a nosebleed. Blake Griffin continued his hot shooting with another three. At the four-minute mark in the quarter, the Nets hit 11 threes on 51% shooting from the field
  • The Nuggets went on a mini 7-0 scoring run to tie the game at 65. It was facilitated by a Jokic hook shot and a Green transition dunk. Another Jeff Green dunk gave the Nuggets the lead 67-66
  • Two Jokic layups and a blocked shot helped foster some momentum for Denver. Jokic then converted on a floater for his 14th point of the quarter, but Kyrie answered with a three to help the Nets get within one

Score: 76-75 Nuggets

Scoring leaders: Irving/Griffin - 19, Jokic - 18

3rd Quarter

  • Both teams went scoreless through the first couple of minutes in the quarter. Barton broke the streak by going 1-2 from the free-throw line and Morris added a layup
  • Irving initiated the scoring for Brooklyn with a layup, but Jokic continued to attack the paint by scoring four in a row. The Nuggets grabbed their largest lead of the game 85-77 with a Jeff Green floater and Jokic extended it with a hook shot
  • James Johnson knocked in an open three to end a 9-0 scoring run for Denver, but it was quickly followed by a Gordon corner three. The Denver defense also tightened by forcing multiple Brooklyn turnovers, and after an Irving turnover, Barton hit a three from the wing
  • A Jokic assist for a Gordon dunk gave the Nuggets a 96-80 lead. The Nuggets held the Nets to 2-14 shooting as they only scored five points in nine minutes
  • Cam Thomas finally broke a scoreless streak for Brooklyn as he scored four in a row. Zeke Nnaji then countered with a corner three and Gordon followed with a step-back triple
  • Patty Mills hit a three along with an Irving transition and-one layup following a Denver turnover, but Bones ended the quarter with a mid-range jumper

Score: 107-91 Nuggets

Scoring leaders: Jokic - 27, Irving - 25

4th Quarter

  • The quarter began with two Barton free-throws and an Irving layup, but the next two minutes were filled with scoreless basketball
  • Cam Thomas knocked in a three to diminish Denver’s lead 109-96. Denver’s bench struggled offensively as they could only muster two points in four minutes
  • Patty Mills brought the Nets within 10 with a three-pointer. Will Barton followed with a layup and Aaron Gordon hit a fadeaway mid-range jumper
  • Barton gave the Nuggets a 115-99 advantage with a strong driving layup. The Nuggets then forced Brooklyn’s 8th turnover which resulted in a Morris transition layup
  • Gordon assisted a Barton reverse layup to increase the lead to 18. Then Jokic assisted a Barton floater to secure his triple double

Score: 124-104 Nuggets

Scoring leaders: Jokic/Irving - 27

Stat leaders

Points: Jokic/Irving - 27

Rebounds: Jokic - 12

Assists: Irving - 11

Silent hero of the game: Aaron Gordon - 17 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists on 2-4 shooting from deep. He also grabbed four offensive rebounds and finished with a plus/minus of +29