The Denver Nuggets (34-16) lose to the Philadelphia 76ers (32-16) 126-119 on the road. Embiid put up a masterful display with 47 points, 18 rebounds, 5 assists, on 18-31 shooting (58%) from the field, 4-7 (57%) from three, with 3 steals and 2 blocks. Jokić finished with 24 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists, 8-12 shooting (66%) from the field, 2-2 (100%) from three, 2 blocks, and 7 turnovers. The Nuggets had 5 players finish with double digit points, 24 from the Joker, 22 from Murray, 20 from MPJ in his return, Aaron Gordon with 18, and Bruce Brown with 11. The Sixers had 6 players finish with 10 or more, Embiid, Harden, Niang, Harris, Maxey, and Melton.

The Nuggets played a phenomenmal first half, making 10 three-pointers in the half. They only made 4 more in the rest of the game and really slowed down offensively at the end of the 3rd quarter and end of the 4th. Jokić only scored once in the 4th quarter and finished with 7 turnovers, his 3rd highest total of the season.

First Quarter:

The Nuggets win the tip off but unfortunately, Joel Embiid makes the first basket of the game on a missed and-1 opportunity. The Nuggets open things off for themselves with a three from Michael Porter Jr., a welcome sight. Embiid challenges Jokić again in back-to-back possessions, he has the 76ers first 6 points. The Nuggets starters all came to play, Murray, Gordon, Jokić KCP, and MPJ all scored within the first 4 minutes of the game. Embiid drew some early fouls on the Nuggets, but he started shooting 0-3 from the free throw stripe. Porter Jr. knocks down another three before Gordon is fouled on a layup attempt. Timeout Sixers, Nuggets up 18-13. Bruce Brown is the first sub off the bench, he immediately comes into the game and grabs his own miss on a three-pointer and gets an assist to Aaron Gordon on a dunk. Jokić knocks down his first three of the game and MPJ follows it up with his 3rd made three-pointer of the game.

Bones Hyland enters the game and puts up a nice scoop layup to put the Nuggets lead at 10. Jokić finds Brown for a perfect backdoor cut, then Bones Hyland blocks Embiid leading to Jokić drawing an offensive foul on Joel. Embiid knocks down back-to-back in transition three-pointers but the 76ers remain down by 9. Jokić ends the quarter with 9 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, and one three-pointer made. Nuggets up 38-29.

Second Quarter:

The 76ers open the second quarter off with Tyrese Maxey making a three, followed by a Nuggets timeout 17 seconds into the quarter. The Sixers start off by playing a 2-3 zone on defense, despite the coverage, Murray knocks down a tough contested mid-range. Zeke Nnaji is tasked with covering Joel Embiid while Jokić is out, he gets an offensive rebound putback and then picks up a good contest on a Joel Embiid miss. Niang makes a corner three to cut the Nuggets lead down to 4. Murray knocks down 2 more mid-range shots, but the Nuggets cannot contain the 76ers on the offensive glass. The 76ers scored on 3 offensive put-backs in less than 2 minutes of game time. But, the Nuggets bounced back, Bones and Zeke Nnaji nailed back-to-back three-pointers. Murray then picks up a steal on Embiid in the post before turning it over again leading to a Nnaji block and a 76ers timeout.

During the timeout, tensions flared on the Sixers bench. Niang and Milton had to be separated on the bench after the Nnaji block. Maxey connects on a corner three and he is fouled on the shot, Bruce Brown is called for a flagrant foul and Maxey missed both flagrant attempts. Jokić scores for the first time in the quarter on a give-and-go layup, and he scores his second three-pointer on the next possession. Jokić scores another layup, giving the Nuggets 7 straight points. MPJ nails another three, his 4th of the game. Aaron Gordon picks up a rebound and runs the break to find a cutting Jamal Murray for a half-court lob. Jamal Murray scores his 9th and 11th points of the quarter, behind a three-pointer and a mid-range on the next possession. The Nuggets ended the quarter off on a phenomenal play call, Murray takes it at the top and connects with Jokić on a slip pass only for Jokić to find Gordon for an alley-oop. The Nuggets score 73 points in the first quarter and go into halftime up 73-58.

Halftime Stats:

DEN: 66% FG (29-44), 59% 3P (10-17), 24 rebounds, 18 assists, 4 steals, 4 blocks, 6 TO’s

Jokić: 16 points (6-7), 100% 3P (2-2), 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 0 steals, 2 blocks, 1 TO’s, in 18:28 minutes played

PHI: 44% FG (22-50), 50% 3P (10-20), 26 rebounds, 15 assists, 4 steals, 0 blocks, 6 TO’s

Embiid: 19 points, 47% FG (8-17), 66% 3P (2-3), 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 0 blocks, 3 TO’s, in 17:55 minutes played

Third Quarter:

The Sixers open the third quarter on a 4-0 run, Murray scores for the Nuggets first on some free throws. Embiid knocks down back-to-back short mid-ranges, however, Murray scores 4 straight for Denver. The Sixers go on a 12-4 run and close the Nuggets lead to 4. Murray is the only Nugget to score in the second half so far and he has taken a few tough hits early in the quarter. The Sixers started off shooting a perfect 6-6 to start the quarter. Jokić scores after the timeout ending Philly’s 8-0 run, also notching Denver’s first field goal made in the quarter. Jamal Murray finds MPJ on a great pass from under the rim for MPJ’s 5th three-pointer.

MPJ then knocks down a floater, his first non-three basket of the game, MPJ picks up an and-1 on the next possession. He scored 8 straight for Denver. Coach Malone picks up a Technical Foul while Denver is up by 7. Embiid picks up a nice reverse dunk, and PJ Tucker is called for a Technical Foul of his own for arguing a foul on Jokić. The Sixers called a timeout and Doc Rivers was called for another Technical Foul during the timeout. Bruce Brown knocks down a three and propels the Nuggets to a 9-0 run. Philly is called for yet ANOTHER technical foul, this time for the Sixers only having 4 players on the court. Niang nailed back-to-back threes and ends the Nuggets run. Joel Embiid ends the quarter scoring 6 straight points, 3 of those coming on a foul on a full-court heave. The Nuggets hang onto the lead, but not the momentum. Denver ends the quarter allowing a 12-0 run, Denver 99 – Philly 96.

Fourth Quarter:

Tyrese Maxey opens the 4th with a tough transition layup, Murray ends the Sixers run with a three. Jeff Green makes his second shot of the game, and Jamal takes another weird landing but stays in the game. The Nuggets defense really stepped up, only allowing one made basket in just about 3 minutes of game time. Since allowing a Niang three, the Nuggets gave up an easy layup to Tobias Harris and Malone calls timeout. The Nuggets lead by 3 with 8 minutes to go. Following the timeout, Jokić and KCP both sub in. Tobias Harris hits a three and ties the game up, Philly was on an 8-0 run before Bones made a dunk to stop it. Gordon and MPJ check-in and Gordon almost immediately gets a dunk over Embiid.

Joel responds by scoring 3 straight mid-range shots, scoring his 40th point of the game and giving the 76ers their first lead since the first seconds of the game. Embiid knocks down a three as well, scoring his 9th straight point and the Nuggets call timeout being down by 5. The Nuggets force an Embiid miss from three, but unfortunately, MPJ misses a fantastic look from three and the Sixers call timeout.

Tobias Harris comes out and hits a three to make the lead 8, Murray responds with an offensive rebound putback layup. Jokić has the ball stolen from him while posting up and it leads to Maxey making two free throws. Jokić pushes Tucker under the rim and flips up an easy shot for his first made shot of the 4th. The Nuggets force another Embiid miss and KCP hits a three. PJ Tucker gets a tip-in off of a Harden miss and Jokić turns the ball over. Embiid then knocks down a three with 30 seconds left and makes the Nuggets deficit 8. The Nuggets put up a fight till the last second but lose the game 126-119.

What’s Next?

The Denver Nuggets will take on the New Orleans Pelicans back at Ball Arena on Tuesday, January 31st. That game will set up a mini 3-game home stand.