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Nuggets-Trail Blazers Game 3 Grades: Unwrapping a historic night

Andre Simone Avatar
May 4, 2019

After four overtimes the Denver Nuggets fell to the Portland Trail Blazers in a magical and ultimately gut-wrenching 140-137 Game 3 loss.

When you’re in this type of rarified air it’s hard to properly evaluate everyone’s game, so it’s a good thing we have our trusted metrics to help us out. Just like we’ve done every step of the way, we grade every performance from the Nuggets with our Dynamic Player Rating (DPR), which takes into account 12 different statistical factors.

Note: for DPRs that are lacking context, our beat reporters are offering their scout’s grade.

Nikola Jokic (A+) 93.37 — Jokic played an absurd 65 minutes without getting any rest from the fourth quarter on in a heroic and almost gladiator-like effort. Despite being utterly exhausted by the end and struggling to make routine plays at times, Jokic was masterful as he produced a triple-double for the ages; scoring 33 points, grabbing 18 rebounds and dishing out 14 assists. Going 4 of 7 from 3, Jokic registered a 60 eFG% and was plus-5 on the night. What Jokic did as a scorer to keep Denver in the game in the second half was something to behold, as was his ability to still run the offense throughout the four overtimes. Eight turnovers hurt his final grade as he was truly running on fumes by the end and didn’t quite have his scoring touch in overtime but make no mistake, this was one of the most special games we’ve ever seen from a Nugget and might’ve deserved an even higher grade than an A+.

Jamal Murray (B+) 74.85 — Murray was lights out in stretches, first in the second quarter where he scored at will with a beautiful array of long jumpers and creative drives to the hoop. Then, in the final quarter and first overtime, Jokic came through with some clutch buckets. Murray ended the night as Denver’s leading scorer with 34 points on a 50 eFG%, with nine rebounds and five assists, all in an absurd 55 minutes. Four turnovers, a lack of impact in the final three overtimes, and a negative Net Rating hurt his grade in what was still a pretty special outing for Denver’s young point guard. With an ORtg of 112, this marked the first game this postseason where the Nuggets lost despite Murray going over 100 ORtg. 

Paul Millsap (B-) 67.41 — Despite playing 49 minutes, Millsap was quiet in stretches, not scoring a single point in the second half and then contributing one bucket in each of the four overtimes. He ended the game with 17 points, 13 rebounds, five coming on the offensive glass, while adding three steals, an assist, and two blocks. Millsap also shot an efficient 65 eFG% and scored a positive Net Rating despite a minus-8 plus-minus. It was an at times quiet performance but certainly an impactful one from Denver’s veteran leader. 

Gary Harris (C) 56.66 — This was another monumental effort as Harris played a full 50 minutes, ending the game with a plus-3 and a positive plus-12 net rating. In stretches, he couldn’t buy a bucket but still posted a solid 54 eFG% on his way to 13 points. More importantly, Harris’ defensive presence was key as he produced three steals and a block despite a 117 DRtg. His grade was hurt a bit by fouling out in the third overtime.  

Torrey Craig (D) 41.53 — Despite being on the floor for 36 minutes, Craig was incredibly quiet and struggled offensively in his first full game wearing a protective mask. His 71 ORtg and 25 eFG% were straight up ugly, though he did manage to pull down six rebounds and added one steal. 

Will Barton (B) 72.98 — Barton played an admirable game in 39 minutes where he really put the offense on his shoulders in overtime and was fearlessness in the big moments of the game. Barton ended up with 22 points on a 52 eFG% and scored a 123 ORtg. Defensively, his effort and impact were off the charts, as he garnered a 112 DRtg with two steals and three clutch blocks. His impact on the boards was also felt with nine rebounds in a minus-4 night. His grade should’ve been much higher had he just been more effective in the first three quarters and a bit more assertive in the first and third overtimes where he didn’t take a single shot attempt. 

Malik Beasley (C+) 61.24 — Beasley played his part in 23 minutes, nailing a few key shots on his way to 11 points on a 66 eFG% and a game-high 164 ORtg. Thrust into the lineup in overtime, after Harris fouled out, he wasn’t able to take advantage of his fresh legs in a minus-3 night. 

Monte Morris (D-) 35.28 — Morris hasn’t been good in the three games against the Blazers, averaging a 40 DPR which is a low D-grade level effort. Game 3 marked his worst outing yet and in just 12 minutes he went scoreless and only contributed two assists and a rebound with a woeful 39 ORtg, his second worst of the entire season. 

Mason Plumlee (D-) 37.52 — Plumlee was absent in this one, playing just 12 minutes and finished as a minus-10, only scoring three points with just one rebound. With Portland’s bigs greatly undermanned, Plumlee has to have a greater impact when thrown into the fire against his former team.  


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