The Denver Nuggets were looking to make amends after a poor showing in Utah and they did just that against the New Orleans Pelicans tonight. The Nuggets big three of Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. came to play as did the rest of the starters and that helped them build a big lead early and never look back. Zion Williamson did all he could to try and keep the game respectable but ultimately it was never very close. Nuggets win easily 125-113.

It took the Nuggets a minute to get their offense going but the defense was top notch. Williamson pushed back, he was pretty much responsible for the entirety of the Pelicans offense early. Denver got a pair of dunks from Porter and Jokic to combat Zion’s production and early on the game was very back and forth. New Orleans stayed in front but Porter wouldn’t let them grow any sort of lead. An Aaron Gordon reverse dunk finish on a Jokic pass got Denver back the lead with about four minutes to go in the first. Denver started to build a lead that could have been larger but much like the antagonists in Con Air, they refused to put the bunny in the box and missed several easy layups. Peyton Watson checked in and knocked down back to back threes with the quarter almost over. Christian Braun knocked down a three to close it out and after one the Nuggets lead 37-25.

The Nuggets went with Murray staggering with the bench to open the second quarter. They got a quick couple baskets but started to sputter. New Orleans started to get hot from three and got within ten with just over eight minutes to go but Murray led the response and pushed it back to fourteen with an alley-oop to DeAndre Jordan. Watson had a great run  of play after that with a block, steal and dunk all in about a minute. The starters checked back in with the Nuggets firmly in control of the game and the lead hovering around fifteen. That’s where it stayed with the quarter winding down as New Orleans refused to give up entirely but couldn’t stop Jokic. He made a patented Joker over the head pass to Gordon and then blocked Zion in the final minute and the Nuggets were up 66-51 at half.

Porter opened the second half with a pair of baskets to pick right back up where Denver left off in the first half. New Orleans started to string together some baskets after that to get the lead back down to that fifteen point area. Denver’s starting unit was having too good of a game though. They wouldn’t let the Pelicans close the gap, this time it was Gordon asserting himself on offense. Jokic was also diming up his teammates left and right. He had a dozen assists with just under half the quarter remaining. He stayed in while the rest of the Nuggets starters got a break and the offense stalled a bit but the Pelicans likewise weren’t getting a ton of offense. Denver’s bench kept the lead right where it was at and Reggie Jackson made a pair of baskets to close out the third to put Denver up 100-80 after three.

Zion led a 7-0 run early in the fourth to get the game back down to that fifteen point threshold. The Pelicans continued to stay juuuust within striking distance which was a bit troublesome. That meant it wouldn’t be an early rest night for Nikola. He checked back in after a Zion and-1 trimmed the lead to thirteen. He continued to attack at will but Denver did just enough to keep the lead right above double digits. Fifteen was just the magic number of the night for the lead though. Jokic buried mid-range jumpers, Porter had a huge putback dunk and for every Williamson bucket the Nuggets had a response. Murray also was putting the finishing touches on a big night. Joker snagged his tenth rebound to secure his twelfth triple double of the season and Pelicans ran out of time. Denver’s deep bench closed out the final two minutes, poorly, but there was little the Pelicans could do. Nuggets win 125-113.