The Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers started out their matchup somewhat slow with both sides putting up inconsistent offense on both ends. The two sides began to find their grooves a bit more over the next few minutes, and the Nuggets held a 14-12 lead at the midway point of the first quarter. Denver went on a 10-0 run over a two-minute span, and they were leading 20-12 when Marcus Morris got the Clippers back on the board. The two sides briefly traded baskets, but Denver was closing the period strong with a 22-10 run over the course of about six minutes of play. A late bucket from Bones Hyland had Ball Arena rocking as the Nuggets were leading 37-27.
With their second unit on the floor, Denver continued their strong play to start the quarter and quickly forced the Clippers to call a timeout. They were holding the lead right around 10 points, and LA was struggling to cut into that deficit. The Clippers got a couple of shots to go, and they turned what was once a large deficit into three-point game with around six minutes left in the half. After giving up that run, the Nuggets’ starters got aggressive to end the quarter, and they were looking to build that lead back heading into the half. With the ball whizzing around the court, Denver was pouring in points, and they went into the half leading 72-61 while shooting an incredible 61 percent from the floor, including 57.1 percent from 3-point range.
Denver got a quick bucket to start the second half before going cold and letting the Clippers claw their way back over the next few months. Following a run by the Clippers, Denver went on a run of their own, as they scored seven straight points to regain a double-digit lead. Denver’s starters were able to maintain that lead over the next few minutes before the second unit came into the game to close the quarter and hoping to keep the lead at double digits. DeMarcus Cousins and Hyland were taking that challenge personally with a couple of big shots in the final 90 seconds of the quarter. A miss by Morris in the final seconds made it a 99-88 game heading into the fourth quarter.
Following a quick bucket by the Clippers to start the quarter, the two sides were ice cold for the next couple of minutes before another Clipper bucket brought them within six. The two sides traded buckets for a few minutes before the team’s starters re-entered the game to take things down to the final buzzer. After leading by as many as 14, the Nuggets’ lead dwindled to three and then two with 4:30 remaining in the game. Aaron Gordon had a dunk blocked, but he was able to save it and hit Monte Morris for a huge 3-pointer that gave Denver a five-point lead with under four minutes to go. Gordon’s strong play continued down the stretch as he grabbed multiple loose balls to give his team extra possessions. Denver was leading by eight with 1:30 on the clock, and they were looking for the final nail in the coffin. With the shot clock low, Morris found Will Barton in the corner for a huge 3-pointer to give Denver an 11-point lead. A Jeff Green 3-pointer following a make by Reggie Jackson made it a 12-point game, and that would be all she wrote, as the Nuggets got a much-needed win by a score of 127-115.
Points: Nikola Jokic - 30
Assists: Jokic & Aaron Gordon - 6
Rebounds: Jokic - 14
Player of the Game: Nikola Jokic - 30 points, 14 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 blocks, 2 steals, 9-of-15 field goal, 12-of-13 free throw