The Denver Nuggets’ first possession was one to forget with a lost ball and a turnover before giving up a quick triple to C.J. McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers. The two sides traded two-point buckets before Denver took their first lead of the game with a big dunk from Michael Porter Jr. Austin Rivers got a steal away from McCollum before being rewarded with a 3-point bucket of his own which he followed up with another one off of a pass from Aaron Gordon which gave them 10 straight points.
Facundo Campazzo got a steal off of Damian Lillard, but Denver got no points out of the extra possession. Norman Powell got to the bucket around Nikola Jokic to stop the Nuggets’ run at 10. Jokic went right at Jusuf Nurkic for a layup under the basket before grabbing a scramble in transition that turned into a 3-pointer from Campazzo to give Denver a lead 17-7. Coming out of a timeout, Portland turned the ball over with a foul from Robert Covington. Campazzo missed a shot from downtown, but he forced a travel out of Lillard on the other end of the floor before a magical hook shot from Jokic found the bottom of the net.
McCollum got a shot to fall, but Aaron Gordon got a shot to foul while being fouled by Powell underneath the basket. Lillard poured in a big triple on the offensive end, but Jokic was fouled by Carmelo Anthony from behind which ended up being called a Flagrant 1 after review and turned into two points. Anthony was fouled and converted both freebies at the line, but Monte Morris blew right past Nurkic for an easy layup.
Jokic knocked down a mid-range jumper after nearly being fouled by Nurkic. Portland followed up a turnover by Denver with a triple from the logo out of Lillard. Nurkic hit a 3-pointer of his own which brought Portland within single digits for the first time in a long while. The two sides traded misses before Jokic put Enes Kanter in the spin cycle for an easy layup. Lillard found Anfernee Simons in the corner for a 3-pointer to bring the Blazers within six, but Jokic got two more right back. The two sides traded empty possessions with Denver leading by six, and Denver would end the first quarter leading 31-25.
Denver started the second quarter with a big 3-point bomb from Porter before he was fouled driving to the basket off of Portland turnover. Porter went 2-of-2 at the line, and Denver’s lead was up to 11. Powell went 2-of-2 during his own trip to the charity stripe, but Paul Millsap got those two points right back with a grown man basket in the chest of Kanter before Morris forced a turnover on McCollum. Morris then hit a mid-range jumper over McCollum on the offensive end. Powell hit two more shots at the free-throw line before Millsap got to the cup for an easy layup, and the bench was keeping Denver’s lead with Jokic on the bench with a big triple from MPJ and a timeout from Portland.
Coming out of the timeout, Anthony hit a 3-pointer with the shot clock expiring which gave them their first basket of the quarter with just under 9:00 remaining. MPJ was fouled by Powell on a 3-point attempt, and he knocked down all three of his freebies. McCollum got a shot to fall in the paint over the outstretched hand of Markus Howard, but Millsap got them right back going right through Lillard to the cup. Down by 16, McCollum was sent to the line where he went 1-of-2.
Millsap grabbed a loose ball under the basket with the shot clock winding down, and he turned it into a 3-point play at the line to stretch the lead to 18 with 7:27 remaining in the half. Lillard found Derrick Jones Jr. for an easy layup after the two teams traded turnovers. Millsap went to the line for two more free throws after Nurkic was called for another foul. Lillard quieted the crowd with a triple from the right wing, but Howard got to the cup for a nifty scoop layup.
Lillard hit another 3-point bucket before forcing a turnover out of Campazzo on the defensive end. He knocked down another long-range bucket to bring them within 11 which forced a Denver timeout with 5:15 remaining in the half. Jokic got two points out of the timeout, and he got to the line after being fouled by Jones near the elbow. Perfect at the line, Denver was leading by 15 when Nurkic got to the cup for two points.
Lillard drilled his sixth 3-point shot of the night which had Portland within 10 points before he got to the line after being fouled by Gordon off of a turnover from Campazzo. Portland was within eight before Jokic stretched the lead back to 10 from 17 feet. Lillard hit two more, and he had 26 of the team’s 55 points. Lillard knocked down a deep triple, and the Blazers were within five before Morris finally got a layup to fall. Lillard hit a fadeaway 3-pointer from the right side, and they were within four with under two minutes remaining. Jokic found Gordon in transition for a layup while being fouled which he turned into a 3-point play at the line. Denver forced a couple of misses out of the Blazers before Jokic drilled a 3-pointer to take a 12-point lead with 1.2 seconds remaining in the half, and they went into the locker room leading 73-61.
Coming out of the break, McCollum got the first two points of the half after 50 seconds had ticked off following misses from each squad. Jokic and Nurkic traded missed triples before Rivers got to the rim while being fouled and going 1-of-2 at the line. He made up for the miss with a beautiful drive and finger-roll layup at the cup. Empty possessions and quiet minutes continued before Powell finally got to the rim for a two-point bucket to bring them within 10. Gordon drilled a corner 3-pointer before Facu turned a transition opportunity into two points and a Portland timeout.
Lillard hit Kanter for a layup at the rim, and Rivers gave the ball back with a turnover in the corner. Denver was called for a pair of ticky-tack fouls, and McCollum got to the rim for two on a nice back cut. Jokic halted that brief run with a deep triple to put the lead to 14 with his 28th point of the night. Lillard was sent to the line where he went 2-of-3 before Gordon had the ball stripped away on a drive. They traded empty possessions before McCollum hit a floater off of the glass to bring Portland within 10.
Gordon was fouled and went 1-of-2 at the line, but Porter grabbed an offensive rebound and turned it into two points. Campazzo was shoved to the floor by McCollum on an inbounds play which turned into a Flagrant 1 foul and two free throws along with a Green make on the extra possession. Lillard hit his first triple of the half to bring Portland within 14. Morris got to the rim for two more off of a Simons’ miss. Jokic was called for his third foul coming out of a timeout. After Portland lost the ball on offense, Jokic hit Morris on a deep pass, and Gordon was fouled on the rebound attempt where he went 1-of-2 at the line.
Jokic was at the line leading by 17 following a foul by Anthony, and his trip stretched the lead to 19. Jokic was called for his fourth foul of the night, and he was assessed a technical foul after some jawing with the ref, and he was on thin ice in a game that the refs were losing control of very quickly. Off of the Lillard free throw, Gordon hit his second 3-point shot of the night to make a 20-point game before Lillard hit a wild layup.
Morris drew a foul on Anthony, and he went a perfect 2-of-2 at the line. Covington hit a big 3-pointer with just over 25 seconds remaining before McCollum hit another to make it a 14-point game heading into the final quarter with Denver leading 101-87. Nurkic got to the line for two points. Denver finished their second straight possession with no points to start the quarter, and Powell was at the line again where he went 1-of-2. Morris drilled a jumper when he stopped in his tracks and sent his defender sliding to the floor, but Powell got right to the rim to get the two points back.
Millsap was fouled hard on a 3-point attempt by Nurkic which gave him his fifth foul of the night, and Millsap went 2-of-3 at the line. On the next possession, Nurkic blew through Morris on the block, and he was called for his sixth foul of the night which sent him to the bench until Game 3. Green found Millsap for a layup out of the timeout, but the Blazers matched it to keep themselves within 13 before Porter poured in a triple from the top of the key. A steal by Porter turned into a dunk for Shaquille Harrison while being fouled, and Denver was leading by 18 with 8:00 remaining. Green snagged an offensive rebound, and his putback turned it into a 20-point lead for Denver with the Blazers calling another timeout.
McCollum got to the rim for two more points, and Powell threw down a big slam on their next possession. Denver’s starters re-entered the game leading by 16 in an effort to salt the game away. Jokic grabbed an offensive rebound with one hand and got the extra chance to fall with just under 6:00 remaining. Campazzo nutmegged his defender to find Jokic four a layup, but they quickly gave up two points to Powell in transition. Denver grabbed an offensive rebound, and Campazzo buried a 3-point shot to stretch the lead to 21 before Morris stuffed Lillard at the rim which appeared to be the final nail in the coffin.
Lillard dropped in two more points at the line, but Jokic’s mid-range jumper wiped those out with 3:36 remaining and Denver leading by 21. Coming out of a Portland timeout, Portland had emptied the bench, but Denver’s starters were still pouring in points with two more from Jokic. One more dead ball and the Denver reserves had entered the game with 2:43 remaining. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was fouled on a jumper that he made, but Howard hit a 3-point shot to wipe those two points away. Nassir Little dropped in a 3-point shot to make it a 19-point game, and the final score was a resounding 128-109 win for the Nuggets.
Points: Nikola Jokic – 38
Assists: Monte Morris – 7
Rebounds: Jokic – 8
Player of the Game: Nikola Jokic 38 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 15-of-20 field goal, 2-of-4 3-point, 6-of-6 free throw