The Denver Nuggets were not interested in any notion of a trap game against the lowly Washington Wizards tonight. Nikola Jokic made sure the Nuggets got out ahead early and never looked back on his way to a huge game. The rest of Denver’s starters chipped in as well with everyone getting into double digits scoring. Washington never gave up on it and did all they could but it was too much Joker and too much defending champions. Jokic ends up with forty-two points and the Nuggets win 113-104 in a game that was never really in doubt.

Denver opened the game sluggish and the Wizards took advantage to grab an early lead. They attacked the basket and got layups while the Nuggets settled for jumpers. Eventually though things regressed back to the mean and Jokic led a Nuggets run to close the gap and take the lead. He led an extended 16-4 Nuggets run as they started to take control of the game with the quarter past the halfway point. Jokic checked out with the Nuggets up six and Zeke Nnaji got a rare appearance. Jamal Murray got a couple points and the bench didn’t give up the lead with the quarter winding down. Murray closed it out with a buzzer beater three and after one the Nuggets were up 33-24.

The bench unit started to sputter to open the second quarter and the Wizards got some good play from Landry Shamet which let them trim the lead down to two. After that Jokic had to come back in the game early because Nnaji picked up three fouls in about two minutes. That settled things down and Murray and Joker went to work. Washington took a timeout to collect themselves and then knocked down a pair of threes for a response. Denver kept in front but they were struggling to grow the lead. Washington had absolutely no answer for Jokic but outside of him there wasn’t much scoring from Denver’s starters. Aaron Gordon finally started to get some success in the lane as well though Daniel Gafford was making his presence as a rim protector felt. Joker led a late run to close the half to finally put some distance between the Nuggets and the Wizards. Bilal Coulibily hit a three right at the buzzer but after one half the Nuggets held a 62-52 lead.

Denver came out firing to open the third quarter. Murray and Michael Porter Jr. hit back to back threes and forced an early Washington timeout. The Nuggets kept the lead above double digits but poor free throw shooting was an issue. The Wizards went on a run of their own to get it back within nine and force Michael Malone to take a timeout in kind. Jokic hit Gordon with a ridiculous no look pass and continued his dominance in general on his way to a huge performance. The Wizards refused to send double teams at him and so he continued to eat in the lane. When he checked out in the third quarter he had tallied thirty-eight points, ten rebounds and eight assists and the Nuggets were up by thirteen. The Wizards got some free throws right at the end and after three quarters Denver led 89-78.

Peyton Watson had a great open to the fourth, grabbing a pair of blocks and getting the Nuggets on the board with a tough layup. DeAndre Jordan also replaced Nnaji in the rotation after Zeke’s forgettable stint in the first half. Some sloppy play kept the Nuggets lead right around a dozen and drew a rage timeout from Malone. The play remained sloppy though with offensive fouls, poor rebounding and some ugly turnovers. With seven minutes to go the Wizards got it back under double-digits and Jokic checked in shortly thereafter. He once again proved to be the steadying force along with the rest of the starters as they pushed the lead back up. To the Wizards credit they never gave up but the talent difference was clear when Denver’s starting five was out there. Kyle Kuzma knocked down back to back threes to give Washington one last gasp with a few minutes to go. They ultimately ran out of time though and Denver wins 113-104.