Nuggets squander 21-point lead in home loss to Brooklyn Nets
The Nuggets led by as many as 21 points in the first half Saturday night against the Brooklyn Nets.
Turns out they needed an even bigger cushion in a 125-119 loss at Ball Arena. Nikola Jokic missed two layups through contact at the game’s conclusion and was visibly upset at the officiating for no calls.
Michael Porter Jr. matched up against Kevin Durant for the first time and starred with 28 points. But it wasn’t enough to outshine Brooklyn’s star power, especially in the fourth quarter, as the Nets snapped their four-game skid.
The Nuggets (44-24) now embark on a four-game road trip to conclude the regular season beginning Tuesday night against the Charlotte Hornets.
On Saturday, the Nuggets were without starting power forward Aaron Gordon (right calf tightness) while shooting guard Austin Rivers made his first career start since joining the team. It did not initially impact their onslaught at Ball Arena.
Porter scored the Nuggets’ first 11 points — shooting 5-of-6 from deep in the first quarter — to establish an early double-digit advantage. Denver reached deep into its bench with significant minutes for big men Bol Bol, Vlatko Cancar and JaVale McGee in the first half. Reserve guard Markus Howard finished the game with a career-high 13 points. Forward Paul Millsap did not play.
The Nuggets went up 71-56 at halftime. But they didn’t coast to victory.
The Nets opened the second half on a 13-4 run and cut Denver’s lead to single digits. Jokic, after a relatively quiet first half, dropped 10 points in the third quarter as the Nuggets led 104-97 entering the fourth.
Nets shooting guard Joe Harris sank a 3-pointer with 6 minutes left to go ahead 111-110. And Brooklyn’s lead grew to 3 points with 21 seconds after a pair of Durant free throws. The Nuggets were unable to make clutch baskets to end the game.
This story will be updated.