The Denver Nuggets returned home after a five game road trip and were treated with a late afternoon national TV affair against the Philadelphia 76ers. Shortly before the game the Sixers announced that star Joel Embiid would not play, joining Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris on the bench. Despite the depleted roster the 76ers did not give the Nuggets an easy win as the game was close throughout. Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray both had big performances for Denver while the Sixers got huge games from a number of their role players. Philadelphia gave it everything they had but ultimately couldn’t seal the deal. Denver escapes with a 111-105 win.

The Nuggets opened a bit slow but Murray got hot and buried three three pointers in a row which provoked a Philadelphia timeout. Jokic started orchestrating the offense after that and built a lead for Denver but some sloppy play let the Sixers respond. Denver settled down and settled into a multi-possession lead with more than half the quarter gone. Paul Reed got a few baskets for Philly while the Nuggets went cold from three. Denver’s lead was trimmed to three with two minutes to go. They traded baskets down the stretch and after one quarter Denver lead 31-27.

Philadelphia picked up the pace and tied the game early in the second quarter. Murray kept Denver afloat while Jokic was out but they couldn’t get any separation. Joker checked back in with the Nuggets clinging to a one point lead with over seven minutes left in the half. Philadelphia continued to attack the basket and get layups and slowly but surely they took back the lead. Denver responded with a run of their own but Philadelphia was not going to give up easily and they continued to have answers. Reed was scoring as was Marcus Morris while Denver’s defense left something to be desired. Murray continued to be the main weapon for Denver and kept them in front with the half almost over. Patrick Beverly also had a big half, he got a layup right before the end and after two quarters Denver lead 64-62.

The second half started out with more of the same. Murray buried a three, Jokic orchestrated the offense and Philly found a random starter to provide a response. This time it was Kelly Oubre doing the damage. Jokic kept the pressure on though and eventually the Nuggets lead started to build. Unfortunately, their offense started to stagnate after that and Philadelphia once again came back, cutting the lead to four. Neither team was going to budge. Joker kept dictating whatever he wanted on offense but the Sixers were consistently up to the task of coming up with a response. With the quarter winding down it was still close. The Nuggets couldn’t hit a free throw and couldn’t grab a rebound which let the Sixers grab the lead 88-86 after three.

Denver quickly got the lead back behind a Michael Porter Jr. three as they tried to survive the non-Jokic minutes. Reed was scoring once again but the Nuggets stayed just barely in front. The offense started to stall out a bit but the Sixers were also struggling to get any shots to fall. Philadelphia was first to re-find their success on that end and got within one with just under six minutes left. The Nuggets atrocious effort at the free throw line continued and the Sixers briefly tied it before Jokic and Aaron Gordon pushed back and Denver finally got some stops. That got the Nuggets a little bit of breathing room and put the Sixers on life support. In classic fashion for the game, Jokic missed some free throws and Reed hit another three to give Philly one last gasp. They were down four with the ball and under a minute to go but couldn’t get a basket and Denver ultimately salted it away at the free throw line. Nuggets win 111-105.