If you would have told Nuggets fans before the game that Denver would only score 20 and 16 points in the third and fourth quarter respectively there’s no way they win that game, right? Wrong! the Nuggets somehow found a way to escape out of New Orleans with a narrow 99-98 victory as they stoped CJ McCollum on the last play of the game to get back into the win column and start their three game road trip with a victory.
At halftime, the Nuggets held a commanding 63-47 lead and seemed to be in firm control of the game, until the second half that is. New Orleans outscored the Nuggets by 15 points in the games final 24 minutes, but thanks to a big time shot by Nikola Jokic — who returned following a two game absence with a hamstring injury — the Nuggets found a way to win.
Jokic finished the night with 25 points on 11-of-15 shooting from the field to go along with 11 rebounds and 10 assists finishing the night with his 15th triple-double of the season. The Nuggets superstar big man wasn't the only player who finished with 25 points as Jamal Murray also had a really solid night offensively, while dishing out seven assists and hauling in three steals as well.
Bruce Brown and Aaron Gordon also finished in double-figures with 11 points a piece, but it was the Nuggets defense that really carried them to victory. The Nuggets holding a solid offensive team like the Pelicans to just 98 points at home is a testament to the effort they put in on the defensive end of the floor tonight. McCollum — who missed the final shot of the game to win — shot 9-of-22 from the field and 0-of-8 from three as the Nuggets did a phenomenal job slowing down New Orleans best player with Zion Williamson out.
With the win, Denver’s record moves to 34-14 on the year and moves them 2.5 games clear of the Memphis Grizzlies for first place in the Western Conference. The Nuggets will be back in action tomorrow night when they head to Milwaukee to face the Bucks.