The Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers got their game started with a lot of offense early on as the Blazers made three of their first four shots with all three of those shots being out beyond the arc in the first two minutes of the game. Jamal Murray was doing a lot of the heavy lifting as he scored the team’s first nine points before the rest of the crew got into the action. After looking a little sluggish to start the game, the Nuggets really got rolling on the offensive end as the quarter was wearing on. They eventually extended their lead to 30-22 with just over three minutes left in the quarter. After going on a run, the offense sputtered down the stretch, and they went into the second quarter leading 34-30 following that late Portland surge.

After being on pace for a 68-point half, the Nuggets were struggling on offense to start the second. Luckily for them, the Blazers’ second unit wasn’t doing much better. After the game was tied at 40 about five minutes into the second quarter, the Nuggets’ starters were coming back into the game, and they went on a 10-6 run over the next couple of minutes. Damian Lillard wasn’t going down without a fight as he was up to 22 points in the first half and had tied the game up at 52 with 4:45 remaining. 3-point shooting and Lillard were keeping the Blazers in the game. While Denver was shooting greater than 50 percent from the floor, the Blazers were just over 45 percent from 3-point range while Lillard had 28 of the team’s 65 points with just under a minute remaining in the quarter. Denver’s offense stayed hot to end the quarter, and they went into the half leading 73-67 despite 30 points from Lillard.

The second half started a little slow for both teams, but things very quickly got rolling with the two sides combining for 19 points in the first four minutes of the third quarter. Denver had built a small lead in the quarter as they were up by eight, and they were firing away on offense to preserve that lead. Denver was getting after it on the defensive end as well, and they had steadily grown their lead to 13 with 4:00 remaining in the quarter. Jerami Grant and Michael Porter Jr. were trading baskets as MPJ was up to 23 points on the night with 10 in the third. The two sides traded blows down the stretch, and the Nuggets were heading into the final period leading 101-89.

The Blazers’ second unit was working to cut into the lead, and they had gotten to within nine when nearly every starter for both teams had returned to the game. The only holdout was Murray, who was catching his breath after running the offense for the second unit. Things were beginning to get chippy as the fourth quarter was wearing on, and the Blazers were struggling to respond. Denver was steadily increasing their lead back up to 15, and Lillard had grown visibly frustrated with just over 5:00 remaining in the game while his team was down 17. Following a blocked shot by Nikola Jokic, Lillard was called for his fourth foul of the game, and he added a technical foul to boot afterward. Jokic went to the line where he made all three free throws to make it a 20-point game with 3:50 to go in the game. With 2:22 remaining, the Blazers had waved the white flag as they pulled their starters down by 15. Denver would go on to win by a score of 122-113 for their 14th straight home win and their 31st win on the season.

Stat Leaders

Points: Nikola Jokic – 36

Assists: Jokic – 10

Rebounds: Jokic – 12

Player of the Game: Nikola Jokic – 36 points, 10 assists, 12 rebounds, 13-of-14 field goal, 1-of-2 3-point, 9-of-10 free throw