The Denver Nuggets came into their matchup with the Dallas Mavericks in uncertain territory. Apparently, the Nuggets’ starting point guard Jamal Murray was benched for a violation of team rules.

That did not stop the Nuggets from coming out firing as they hit their first seven shots — with at least one made shot for every starter — and found themselves up 17-4 in the first three minutes of the game. From there, things just continued to roll. When Denver finally missed their first shot, it was rebounded by Mason Plumlee who promptly put it back with a powerful dunk.

The Nuggets’ bench unit and their defense did allow the Mavericks back into the game to finish out the first quarter. Timely turnovers, missed shots and bad defense plagued the bench unit — that included Murray — as they allowed the Mavericks to close the quarter on a 22-13 run to close within four points. As the second quarter began, the Nuggets lead the Mavericks 30-26.

The second quarter started very similarly to how the first ended. Turnovers, missed shots — especially Mason Plumlee who missed a wide-open alley-oop from Murray — and a lackluster defensive performance. The Mavericks — at the eight-minute mark of the 2nd quarter — managed to tie up the game after being down as many as 13 points.

The Nuggets went back to their starting lineup — Torrey Craig and not Murray —  and proceeded to go on an 8-0 run to take back the lead and give the team a much-needed jolt of energy. That energy finally culminated into one amazing moment in the second quarter where Jokic dropped this obscene redirection tip pass to Lyles for the one-handed poster dunk.

Denver carried that energy through the rest of the quarter and managed to hold onto the lead and went into halftime with a lead of eight points over Dallas by a score of 50-42.

Just to make things difficult for themselves, the Nuggets allowed the Mavericks to come out of halftime and go on a 12-2 run to retake the lead. The Nuggets offense was abysmal and poorly spaced which led to turnovers and bad shots.

Thankfully, Denver got some energy back into the game thanks to a better defensive effort and Harris’ timely scoring. As usual, Harris hit an incredibly tough reverse layup, got fouled and proceeded to hit the free throw. He followed up the old fashion three-point play with a three-pointer to get the Denver the lead back which revived the rest of the Nuggets roster.

That positive momentum was short-lived as the turnovers continued to pile up and the offense remained awful. Denver’s lead dissipated rapidly and, eventually, the Mavericks carried an eight-point lead into the fourth quarter.

Somehow, the Nuggets — who have looked devoid of effort for stretches — came out in the fourth quarter battling. Dallas and Denver traded blows and buckets for nearly the entire final quarter but Denver could not get over the hump. They closed within two points on multiple occasions, but it was not until Murray hit a jump shot from the top of the key with just over four minutes left in the game that things really got interesting.

The Murray jumper brought Denver within one point which was followed up by Harris’ baseline jumper to reclaim the lead. From there, chaos reigned. There was terrible officiating, huge shots, big-time blocks, and all sorts of tomfoolery. Harris and Wesley Matthews traded threes with under two minutes remaining in the game which left the score tied at 89 with 1:15 left in the contest.

Jokic then took the ball into his own hands, took a long jumper from the top of the key and swished it home to secure his second triple-double of the season. Jokic finished with 11 points, 16 rebounds, and _11assists as he helped secure a direly-needed victory over the Mavericks after two terrific defensive stands to finish the game. Denver wins 91-89.