The Denver Nuggets finished their final game of the first half of the 2023-24 NBA Season with a 117-109 win over the Indiana Pacers.

Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Michael Porter Jr. each had 25 points apiece, scoring efficiently in the process. The Nuggets as a team shot an absurd 64.8% from the field, 50% from three, and 65% from the free throw line (the first two are good).

“I guess we’re a good team, man,” Jamal Murray shared of Denver’s offensive success. “We’re a good team. Everyone scored 20 in the starting lineup except for Pope, who still had a great game. Yeah, everybody played well.”

“I just think we all had our times and knocked down our shots,” Michael Porter Jr. shared. “Pretty good night overall. I think everybody just took advantage of their opportunities.”

 Jokic shot 12-of-13 from the field, Murray shot 11-of-18 from the field, and Porter shot 9-of-15 from the field, all above 60% and all firing on all cylinders. Aaron Gordon also shot 7-of-10, creating shot opportunities for himself and benefitting from the gravity created by Jokic and Murray. It was a near flawless offensive game for the Nuggets outside of one category: turnovers.

The Nuggets as a team committed 22 turnovers. The Pacers scored only 20 points off of those turnovers, and Denver’s transition defense certainly played a part in keeping that number down. Still, the Nuggets have to find more ways to be efficient passing the pass. If Denver found a way to get up 10 more shots instead of 10 turnovers

“We have to be a lot cleaner, sharper with the basketball,” Michael Malone reiterated. “Even in that fourth quarter when you’re up by eight, ten points, and you get a turnover here or there, that keeps teams around, and those can be momentum changing plays.”

For the most part, Denver did a nice job of managing their shot selection, but if the team hopes to be successful on their upcoming road trip, they will find a way to cut down on the giveaways.

The other aspect of the night that got a bit weird was foul trouble. Nikola Jokic collected three fouls midway through the second quarter and the Nuggets had to survive without him until halftime. DeAndre Jordan was also called for multiple fouls that he disagreed with and was ultimately ejected from the game after a technical foul in both the second and fourth quarter.

“It reminded me of the playoff game in the NBA Finals when Nikola got in foul trouble in Miami, and you find a way to win the non-Nikola minutes,” Malone shared of Denver’s effort sans their superstar to end the first half. “I thought we did a pretty good job of that tonight.”

The other four starters stepped up in Jokic’s absence, especially during that stretch. Aaron Gordon was the pivot man at the center spot in a small ball look and directed things well. Murray entered late and hit some shots, setting the table. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope drew Myles Turner’s third foul on an And-1 opportunity. Michael Porter splashed threes, rebounded, made plays for others, and guarded well.

 Malone was very complimentary of Porter’s night, saying he shouted Porter out in the locker room postgame.

“I thought that Michael just had a complete basketball game tonight. Scored, rebounded, playmaked, had two blocks and a steal. So, there really wasn’t one area where Michael wasn’t really efficient tonight.”

Malone expanded on his praise for Porter, showcasing an appreciation for what he’s accomplished in staying on the floor despite going through as many medical procedures as he has.

“I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves in regards to: what he is doing has never been done before. From a medical standpoint, if you really understand and look at what he’s doing from a medical standpoint, the brace he wears every night.”

“For him to go out there and do what he’s doing…if you just take a step back, it’s really incredible. You have to give him so much credit, not just for the game he played tonight and the player that he is, but everything he’s been through. I’ve got to remind myself of that because no one else has done what he’s doing, and I really admire that in him.”

The Nuggets know how impressive it is that Porter has played every night, and it’s a point of pride for the 25-year-old forward, who once thought he would never play basketball again.

“I think that’s the biggest goal for me, considering all that I’ve been through,” Porter shared on playing every game this season. “More than good games, bad games, it’s being able to play in the games…I think health and just availability is the thing I can be most proud of.”

The Nuggets welcomed back Bruce Brown to Denver on Sunday afternoon, presenting him his championship ring pregame much like they did for Jeff Green and Ish Smith upon their returns to Denver.

The energy in the building tonight was exceptional, and the Nuggets fans were vocal in their love for Bruce with several cheers going up during the game whenever the former Nuggets sixth man made a play. Brown finished the game with 18 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, and three steals in his 33 minutes, putting on a show for Nuggets fans in the process.

“It was great. He got the ring, we got the win,” Malone joked postgame. “Sign me up, doc. I will take that all day, every day.”

The Nuggets will now embark on a five-game road, their toughest of the season, to the East Cost.

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