After a disappointing loss against the Pelicans on Monday and 51 days of holding the eighth seed, the Nuggets fell to ninth in the West as they took a 122-113 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Nuggets led Portland in the first, outscoring them 35-32, before Portland came back in the second and outscored Denver 34-29. With a lot of back in forth in the first half of the game, the Nuggets found themselves down by just 2 at the half, 66-64. The Nuggets came out firing on all cylinders in the third but their fire quickly started to die down as Portland held them to just 21 points in the third, outscoring them 29-21. The Nuggets lost control of the game when Portland went on a 10-0 run in the third–Denver was playing with a lineup that hadn’t played together all season. The Nuggets attempted to rally in the fourth but were outscored 28-27, the Nuggets ultimately fell 122-113.
Everybody was expecting big games from Mason Plumlee and Jusuf Nurkic as they met for the first time since the Nuggets and Trail Blazers swapped big men and picks. Ultimately, this was a big revenge game for Nurkic, who had 33 points, 16 rebounds, and 2 assists. Mason Plumlee went 0/4 from the field, grabbed 2 rebounds, and 3 assists in his 16 minutes.
Jameer Nelson led the Nuggets with 23 points, 3 boards, and 4 assists in his 34 minutes. All of the Nuggets starters ended the game with 13 or more points. Gary Harris ended the game with 19 points, 2 boards, and 3 assists. Nikola Jokic and Wilson Chandler had 17 a piece and combined for 17 rebounds and 9 assists. Danilo Gallinari had 13 points, shooting just 3/15 from the field.
The Nuggets were out rebounded by Portland, 48-47. Portland had 7 steals over 3 from the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets also had 12 turnovers over the 7 that the Trail Blazers had. The real trouble tonight was the rebounding. The Nuggets allowed far too many second chance points and the rebounds were not what they should have been. Denver had 13 offensive rebounds and 34 defensive rebounds. Portland, on the other hand, had 16 offensive boards and 32 defensive.
“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve got to get ready to face Charlotte on Friday.” -Coach Malone
C.J. McCollum was the leading Trail Blazer with 39 points, 5 boards, and 3 dimes in his 40 minutes. Between McCollum and Nurkic, they shot 27/39 from the field and 15/17 from the charity stripe.
The Nuggets are 1 game behind the Trail Blazers (technically two because Portland holds the tie-breaker. The Nuggets have 6 of their last 8 games on the road and need a strong push to be able to attempt to regain the eighth seed.
“We’ve got to choose who we want to be.” -Will Barton
Denver Trail Blazers
46.3% Field Goal % 49.5%
30% 3 Point % 29.6%
80% Free Throw % 72.7%
The Nuggets will face the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night.