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First, the Denver Nuggets ran. Then they stumbled. Now they’re sprinting once again — though there were one or two missteps Friday.
No NBA team came out of the gates hotter than the Nuggets, who won nine of their first 10 games, but that was followed by a stretch where they dropped six of seven. They won their fifth consecutive game Friday by holding off the Portland Trail Blazers 113-112, continuing another upwards trend.
The Nuggets led by as many as 17 and by six going into the fourth quarter, but Portland evened things up at 110 with 55.8 seconds remaining. Gary Harris’ clutch corner 3 with 16.5 seconds broke the tie. Jamal Murray fumbled the ball out of bounds with 5.7 seconds, but C.J. McCollum’s 3 at the buzzer rattled out, and Denver hung on.
Harris scored 27 points in his return from a left ankle injury, which sidelined him for two games. Paul Millsap scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Nikola Jokic had 15 points, six rebounds and eight assists. He made his first seven shots but faded as the game went on.
Backup point guard Monte Morris played the entire fourth quarter and finished with 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting and four rebounds. Jusuf Nurkic played well against his former team with a 17-point, 11-rebounds double-double. Nurkic grabbed six of those rebounds on the offensive end. McCollum’s potential game-winner lipped out, but he was fantastic otherwise, scoring a game-high 33 on 14-of-21 shooting.
The Nuggets, 15-7, are second in the uber competitive West. They’re tied with the Los Angeles Clippers for the most wins in their conference. Their five-game road trip rolls on Monday against the Toronto Raptors.