The Denver Nuggets dropped their third-straight game – matching their season-worst mark – in a 122-120 loss to the visiting Brooklyn Nets, after a last-second, three-pointer attempt by Nikola Jokic that would’ve been the game-winner didn’t find its target.

It’s important not to overstate the loss itself. The Nuggets still lead the Western Conference by five games with 14 to play; they’re still in good shape despite their recent stumbles, even if they do clearly need to tighten up their focus as they prepare to make what could become their first-ever run to the NBA Finals in franchise history. Jokic’s miss – after dragging his team back into the game by way of a 35-point, 20-rebound, 11-assist triple-double – gave Denver a veneer of respectability in a loss that otherwise put the Nuggets’ relative disinterest in what remains of the regular-season front and center.

The Nets blitzed the Nuggets in the third quarter 37-18 to flip an eight-point halftime deficit into a 11-point lead entering the final frame. Jamal Murray missed that fourth quarter due to soreness in his surgically repaired left knee that head coach Michael Malone said would be evaluated after the game. The Denver Post’s Mike Singer reported that a source close to the Nuggets said that Murray would be “fine.”

“Losing sucks,” Malone added.

Michael Porter Jr. added 23 points for the Nuggets, and his growing on-court synchronicity with Jokic was on display throughout out the evening as he had efficient, 9-for-12 night from the field, including 3-for-5 from three-point range. Though Jokic’s 39 on-court minutes stood out, along with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s 37, after it was evident that Murray would not return, Malone limited the remainder of his starters’ minutes. Porter Jr. finished with 23, and Aaron Gordon finished with 29.

The Nuggets’ bench, freshly assembled at the league’s recent trade deadline, still appears as a work in progress. Reggie Jackson (-20 in 17 minutes), Jeff Green (-15 in 19) and Vlatko Cancar (-12 in six) couldn’t provide a spark on a night in which backup center Thomas Bryant didn’t play due to Malone’s decision. Only rookie Christian Braun, who scored seven points and logged three rebounds in 12 minutes, looked particularly effective off the bench.

After losing two of their last three games at home, dropping their home record to 30-6, the Nuggets head on the road for a five-game trip that starts in Toronto Tuesday. That trip will be the Nuggets’ last out East, unless the make it to the NBA Finals; they’ll finish their regular-season slate with five of their last nine games at home, and with the other four road games taking them no further east than Houston.