Few teams have been in a position to fix the Damian Lillard riddle.
Portland’s all-star shield had laid waste to all in his path before Nuggets wings Gary Harris and Torrey Craig got ahold of him. On Tuesday night at the Pepsi Centerthey swarmed and stifled Lillard into a rare off night. It was part of a defensive effort which gave the Nuggets a convincing 127-99 win over the Blazers, improving their record to 8-0 and 35-16 in the Northwest Division.
The Nuggets will examine their division record again Wednesday night when they head to Utah for another back set set.
Nikola Jokic was notable again, falling one assist shy of his 11th triple-double of the season. Jokic finished with 29 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists. Denver’consequently lead, which ballooned to as large as 34 points, let Jokic to sit out the fourth quarter, with the other competition. Jerami Grant added 17 points suffered a right ankle sprain in the fourth quarter and didn’t reunite.
Lillard has been held in the field.
The Nuggets poured it to the in third quarter. Jamal Murray, playing in his first match because rolling his fur Jan. 15, scored 13 of his 20 points in the third. He scored with efficiency, got to the foul line and buried three 3-pointers. Will Barton connected on three 3-pointers in the quarter himself part of Denver’s sizzling outside shooting night. The Nuggets drained 17-of-34 from external. Portland failed to make any ground, with each team scoring 36 points and the Nuggets entered the quarter upward 100-74.
Two days ahead of the transaction deadline, Nuggets coach Michael Malone tried to distance himself.
“If you read my business card, it states head coach,”” Malone explained. “I don’t get involved with that. I speak to Tim Connelly. I spoke with Josh (Kroenke) today. I allow those men handle those discussions. We have 16 players on our roster. If we get through Thursday’s trade deadline, with exactly the exact same group, I’d be really content. … I adore where our group is at and the possibility that we’ve got, especially when we’re. That being said, this really is a organization. ”
Nobody in the NBA was hotter than Lillard over the previous two weeks. Entering Tuesday night, Lillard had averaged 48.8 points about 57 percent shooting in the 3-point line during the previous six games. The video game numbers left Malone in awe as he scouted the matchup.
“When I’m sitting there watching film you simply sit back and say wow,”” Malone explained. “He’s averaging 49 points a game in the previous six, so shooting the ball one dribble over halfcourt … a shooter that many nights that you ’d welcome. We’re telling our men, no, shield him and you need to be out there. … It’so fun to observe. It really is. If you notice bliss being displayed on the floor you need to settle back and give him. Now I hope that we’re able to prevent it. ”
Late in the first halfof Lillard eventually broke loose for a layup. This snapped a nine-minute stretch in which the Nuggets gave up a total of four factors. They had been up 64-38 and in control.
The rotations were crispy, and the Nuggets hit the glass hard, building a massive edge over the boards. Were a season-low.
Jokic was catastrophic, both by the paint along with the line, totaling a game-high 21 points over the two quarters. He was assisted by Grant, who pumped in 14 points and two 3-pointers.
The tandem of Craig and Harris pestered Lillard, captured in his space and made him uncomfortable. He managed just 13 points in the first half about 5-of-16 shooting.
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