Nikola Jokic, Nuggets hang on for impressive win over Clippers

So much for a Sunday hangover.

The Nuggets flushed their disappointing loss Saturday night and bounced back with an astonishing 114-104 victory in the Pepsi Center against the Los Angeles Clippers, one of the presumed name favorites heading into this season. Buoyed by Nikola Jokic’s creature match, Denver enhanced to 27-12.

On the night of a back-to-back set, it counted as a remarkable victory although the Clippers were without star wing Paul George.

“Even though the defense overall wasn’t great, I believed it was a huge improvement from where it’s been of late,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “That staff presents a great deal of issues. ”

Jokic completed the Nuggets with 20 points and 15 rebounds, but the 34 points out of Denver’s backcourt tandem have been also a welcome addition. Jamal Murray ended with 19 points, including 10 free throws, while Gary Harris chipped in 15 after a solid first half.

“I devote Gary and Jamal a lot of charge,” Malone said. “I didn’t think they were going to perform tonight, both fighting their own diverse mishaps, and so they can venture out there and also try to play with — Jamal managed to make it through the game, Gary wasn’t — is a testament to how important this staff is and how much they’re willing to sacrifice. ”

Harris later said he was feeling helpless in his butt.

Kawhi Leonard handled a game-high 30 points but was slowed once the Nuggets made Jerami Grant his primary defender. Grant blocked Leonard shots and disrupted him. Grant also remained in the game after a vicious fourth-quarter display from Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell delivered him hurtling to the ground.

The Clippers closed the deficit to six points on multiple events in the fourth quarter, however Denver’s defense didn’t even yield. They held the Clippers to just 8-of-33 out of 3-point selection, while switching 11-of-25 of their.

Unlike in some games this season, the Nuggets truly asserted their poise after they had built a double-digit lead. While their crime found a balanced assault that is inside-out their defense was sound at the next quarter, devoting only 22 points. Murray continued to tread a course to the free throw line, also super-sub Michael Porter Jr. energized the next unit with several rebounds along with a transition bucket. The Nuggets, that had been up by as much as 20 points, took an lead.

Porter was particularly striking in the first half, if his off-ball cutting along with also his jump shooting proved a challenging cover to the Clippers. He ended with four rebounds and 13 points and had nine of the points in the second quarter.

Following Saturday’s disappointing loss to the Cavs, Malone revived the call for his staff to approach each game with the perfect mentality, irrespective of their competitions ’ album.

“Whether it’therefore Clippers, if it’s , finding a way to bring a mind-set nightly that you have to bring your finest,” Malone said. “And I return to a few years ago when we’re just dying for a playoff team. The amount of matches that we lost which came back to bite us. It’s not necessarily Game 82 rsquo matches in the midst of January, December, whatever it may be. It’therefore a challenge (to stay focused) for everyone. ”

Rarely will any coach admit that any game is significant, however Clippers coach Doc Rivers did pretend that it was essential to acquire a read on Denver contemplating what might lie ahead this spring.

“This really is a group that will be at the playoffs you’ll encounter them Rivers said. “I think both teams want to win the game. Both groups will learn from the game, for sure. ”

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Whatever inefficient offense took the court Saturday night from Cleveland wasn’t even a problem during a sterling first half Sunday. Harris played a renewed confidence and also set the tone because the Nuggets took a 66-52 lead into halftime.

He buried two of Denver’s seven 3-pointers, attacked in transition and ended a floater which had him mimicking the movement on the way back.

Jokic and Murray played with their potential. Jokic almost secured a first-half double-double with two rebounds and nine points, along with Murray hunted for his shooter, ending with 11 first-half points.

Though he was slowed a bit by Grant, Leonard completed the Clippers with 15 points in the first half to an array of demanding jumpers.

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