The Denver Nuggets improve their home record to 26-4 this season, behind strong performances from Paul Millsap and Nikola Jokic in their 123-96 win over the Los Angeles Clippers at Pepsi Center.
Jokic poured in 22 points, 16 rebounds, three assists and three steals, while Millsap added 21 points, 16 rebounds, two assists and three steals as Denver closed the gap on the #1 seed Golden State Warriors to just one game
It was a rough night shooting the ball for the Clippers, who connected on just 3-of-21 three-point attempts, missing their first 12 threes of the game. They failed to capitalise on the Nuggets' 23 turnovers and 12 missed free throws, with their ice-cold shooting giving the Nuggets plenty of breathing room.
Denver raced out of the gates on a 12-2 run to open the game, taking a 34-27 advantage after the first quarter, with Jokic, Millsap and Jamal Murray on fire early in the contest.
Nikola Jokic (7 PTS, 4 REB, 3 AST), Paul Millsap (6 PTS) and Jamal Murray (6 PTS) led the way for the @nuggets in the opening quarter!- NBA TV (@NBATV) February 24, 2019
They lead 34-27 after 1Q on NBA TV! #MileHighBasketball pic.twitter.com/3csT7G34Bc
After taking a 64-56 lead into half-time, both teams opened the quarter with some sloppy posessions before a Millsap triple kicked off a 10-0 run to blow the game open, with Murray and Mason Plumlee getting in on the action.
Jokic picked up two quick fouls, getting Plumlee into the game and he wasted no time making his presence felt, banking in this triple.
The bank's open on Sunday for Mason Plumlee! 🏦#MileHighBasketball pic.twitter.com/SGwGAPbTFM- NBA TV (@NBATV) February 24, 2019
"I thought in that third quarter, we didn't foul. We talked about defending without fouling, coming out of the break," coach Michael Malone said via Nuggets.com. "And now we got stops and we're rebounding, gang rebounding. We got out ran. We're one of the better rebounding teams in the NBA and the last two games have really shown that. And I think that's a big reason our offense has taken off."
With Denver's big men firing, they controlled the game on the glass, with Millsap and Jokic creating plenty of extra possessions as they terrorised the offensive glass, outrebounding the Clippers 56-38.
Four other Nuggets finished the game in double-figure scoring, with Jamal Murray (16), Gary Harris (14), Monte Morris (12) and Isaiah Thomas (10) helping the Nuggets cruise to their fourth-straight win.
With the win, the Nuggets clinched the season series 3-1 and now turn their focus to a tough stretch of upcoming games, with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans visiting the Pepsi Center this week.
For the Clippers, Lou Williams scored 24 points, while Danilo Gallinari added 19. They stay in the eighth seed in the Western Conference, with the Sacramento Kings just 1.5 games back and the Los Angeles Lakers 2.5 games behind.