The Denver Nuggets.

After a week off from their last game, the Nuggets returned to action and wasted no time sending a message to the rest of the league courtesy of a 109-80 beatdown of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Thanks to a big second half, the Nuggets were in firm control of game one and set the tone for what hopes to be a quick series as Denver pushes for their first title in franchise history.

It truly was a team effort for the Nuggets as everyone got in on the action and every player had a role in the victory. Denver had six players finish in double-figures and were led by Jamal Murray, who scored 24 points even after starting 0-of-5 from the field. Murray found his rhythm in the second half and was in triple-double territory as he dished out eight assists and hauled in eight rebounds. Murray shot 4-of-10 from distance and really put his stamp on this series from the jump with his play in the second half.

Nikola Jokic also had a solid night as he recorded a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds to go along with six assists. Jokic did foul out in the fourth quarter, but the game was well out of reach at that point. Michael Porter Jr. also had a big night scoring 18 points behind four three-pointers to go along with 11 rebounds. The Nuggets big three really set the tone and can hopefully build on their performance not just in this series, but throughout the playoffs.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (15), Bruce Brown (14), and Aaron Gordon (13) also finished in double-figures as every player got in on the action as the Nuggets controlled the game from start to finish. What even made the Nuggets performance more impressive was their play on the defensive end of the floor as they allowed just 80 points and played with tremendous effort on that end of the floor.

That effort on defense will have to continue if the Nuggets want to make a long playoff run and tonight’s performance was definitely a step in the right direction. Denver now has two days off before they are back in action for game two on Wednesday night. Tip-off for that game is also at 8PM MST and will be televised on TNT.