The first quarter between the Denver Nuggets and New Orleans Pelicans started with a ton of fireworks as both teams were shooting hot right out of the gate. Jamal Murray and Aaron Gordon had 16 of the team’s 31 points to start the quarter while shooting 6-of-8 combined. Later in the quarter, Nikola Jokic and Murray, along with the rest of the starters, had gone to the bench, and the second unit struggled to score while also struggling to get stops. They were trailing 35-31 heading into the second quarter.

The Nuggets started the second quarter where they left off in the first quarter. The Pelicans had built a lead, and they weren’t slowing down. Withe Denver’s starters on the bench, they couldn’t score, and New Orleans was scoring at will. Around nine minutes into the quarter, the team got hot, and they went on an 8-0 run that had brought them to within five. They got to within one following a nifty basket from Jokic, but a late basket from CJ McCollum gave New Orleans the 60-57 lead heading into the half.

In the third quarter, the Nuggets really got things rolling. Jokic finished off his triple double, and Murray was up to 27 points on the night with a 9-of-15 shooting performance from the floor, including 6-of-10 from 3-point range. The Nuggets outscored the Pelicans 36-24 in the quarter, and their lead at one point had stretched to 10 after trailing by as many as 12 earlier in the game. The main difference was Denver’s ability to take care of the ball. After struggling with turnovers in the first half, Denver had flipped that script in the third quarter.

Denver’s lead had grown to as many as 13 early in the fourth quarter, but the Pelicans had gone on a 8-0 run over a couple of minutes to get within five with the Nuggets struggling to score. The two sides were trading baskets, but, after being largely passive on offense throughout the game, Jokic was starting to get a bit more active on the offensive end. He was essentially getting whatever he wanted on offense, but the Pelicans weren’t going away. They were largely matching the Nuggets, but Denver wasn’t giving up. They got a big 3-pointer from Murray on the right wing to give them a nine point lead with around two minutes remaining. Denver was leading by seven with 55.4 remaining following a basket from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The Nuggets got a couple of late stops with some free throws mixed in, and they would go on to win the game 122-113.

Stat Leaders

Points: Jamal Murray – 32

Assists: Nikola Jokic – 15

Rebounds: Jokic – 18

Player of the Game: Nikola Jokic – 26 points, 15 assists, 18 rebounds, 10-of-14 field goal, 1-of-3 3-point, 5-of-5 free throw