Jokic, Murray Lead Nuggets’ 112-103 Comeback Win Over Blazers

Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA News
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets overcame a 14-point first-half deficit to defeat the determined yet undermanned Portland Trail Blazers 112-103 during Sunday’s NBA action.

Jamal Murray emphasized the Denver Nuggets’ need for stronger starts in games, expressing frustration over their habit of shifting into higher gear to secure wins.

“I think we should just be a little bit more on point to start the game, not to have to kick it into another gear,” Murray said.

Despite trailing for much of the game, Denver did not lead until a pivotal moment in the third quarter, sparked by a Nikola Jokic layup that edged them ahead. Murray praised the team’s resilience but advocated for a more consistent effort from the outset.

“I think we just got to be a little more conscious, a little more aware of the task at hand each and every night that we’re gonna get their best shot,” Murray said. “I think we can give our best shot, as well, from the start.”

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers Updates

Nikola Jokic was the leading force for Denver, scoring 29 points, with Murray contributing 21 points and an impressive assist-to-turnover ratio. The energy and performance of young players Christian Braun and Peyton Watson were crucial in the final quarter, propelling the Nuggets to victory and enhancing their impressive home record to 21-4.

The game marked the second win against Portland in as many nights, with the previous victory being less contested. However, Jokic’s late basket in the third shifted the momentum in Denver’s favor this time.

Portland, powered by Deandre Ayton‘s 27 points and Anfernee Simons‘ 26, led most of the game, quieting the Denver crowd. However, their momentum faltered in the final stages, especially during a Denver 16-0 run facilitated by the Blazers’ missed shots and turnovers.

“I thought we played well for the majority of the game, all the game, to be honest with you,” Simons said. “They’re a good team. They made runs. They’re a championship team. They’re a veteran team. We rolled out with a lot of young guys, and sometimes that’s just what happens.”

Scoot Henderson, coming off a notable 30-point game against the Nuggets in their previous meeting, contributed 14 points in the rematch, with coach Chauncey Billups highlighting Henderson’s potential and achievements at a young age.

“I said, ‘Scoot, there aren’t many guys in the entire world that can say they scored 30 points on the world champions as a teenager,” Billups said. “But you’re not a teenager anymore. Let’s see what you’re going to do in your 20s.”

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers Updates

Nuggets coach Michael Malone acknowledged the incremental improvement in Denver’s defense throughout the game, which was pivotal in overcoming the Blazers’ challenge.

“Our defense got better as the game went along,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “We had zero defense. We had a little bit of defense. We have a lot more defense. And we had a great defense.”

Despite the late game shift, Portland remained optimistic about their performance, recognizing the difficulty in overcoming a team of Denver’s caliber, especially with a younger lineup. The Blazers struggled from beyond the arc in the second half, a stark contrast to their first-half performance, with roster adjustments made due to injuries to Jerami Grant and Malcolm Brogdon.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers Updates

Looking ahead, the Blazers are set to host the Detroit Pistons, while the Nuggets will face the Los Angeles Lakers, both games scheduled for Thursday night.

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