The Denver Nuggets playoff chances took a major hit Monday night as the team lost 123-104 in the City of Brotherly Love.
Everything seemed to be going right for the Nuggets as they started hot in Philadelphia. Will Barton had the games first nine points and finished the first half with a game high 20 points. The Nuggets went into the locker room with a 59-51 lead and seemed poised to come away with a much needed road victory.
Everything changed after the break though as the Nuggets imploded in the third quarter giving up a 20-5 run to allow the Sixers to take an 11 point lead into the final frame. The Nuggets would finish the third quarter with just 15 points and were outscored in the quarter 34-15. Even with Joel Embiid having to exit the quarter early with four fouls, the Nuggets still had no answer for the Sixers high flying offense.
The Nuggets record now sits at 40-34 and moves them two games behind the Jazz and Timberwolves for the seventh and eighth spots in the playoffs. With just eight games remaining, the Nuggets desperately needed to win in Philadelphia as the team now heads to play Toronto on the second night of a back to back. The Raptors are currently the best team in the Eastern Conference and seem primed to make a run to the NBA Finals. The loss moves the Nuggets to 2-3 on the road trip and it’s hard to see the team winning either of their final two games starting in Toronto and ending in Oklahoma City on Friday.
Rebounding was one of the biggest areas where the Nuggets were battle tested on Monday night as they were out rebounded 54-37. Embiid led the way for the Sixers with a game high 13 rebounds to go along with his 20 points. Embiid had some fun battles down low with Nikola Jokic, but it was his dunk over Paul Millsap that really set the tone for the Sixers in the second half.
“The Process” pic.twitter.com/Y6kIpw4fbx
— Brandon Ewing (@B_Skip17) March 27, 2018
Ben Simmons also had a strong game for the Sixers with a near triple-double scoring seven points to go along with his 13 rebounds and 11 assists. Simmons did a phenomenal job bringing the ball up the court with authority all night long and was a big reason as to how the Sixers had so much success on the offensive end of the court.
The Nuggets were led on offense by Will Barton who scored 25 points on 8-15 from the field. Barton made five of the Nuggets 10 three-pointers and was a big reason as to how the Nuggets built such a large lead going into halftime. Jamal Murray also had a strong night for the Nuggets scoring 17 points on 7-18 from the field. The highlight of Murray’s night was this coast to coast dunk that set the tone for the Nuggets first half.
Jamal Murray caught a body😱 pic.twitter.com/HN8lQzdULL
— Brandon Ewing (@B_Skip17) March 26, 2018
The Nuggets now have just a 13 percent chance to make it to the playoffs and seem primed to miss the postseason for the fifth straight season. Stay tuned to Dig In Denver as we’ll have a recap of the Nuggets game in Toronto on Tuesday night.