The Denver Nuggets played very well at the beginning of the game. They were ahead by 14 points within the first 4 minutes, shooting 75% from the floor. The Portland Trail Blazers started doing better after their timeout, but Denver was still keeping them from catching up. Nikola Jokic had to leave the game for a while, but the Nuggets’ lead only decreased by 5 points. The other players on the team were able to increase the lead to 8 points with a good pass and shot.
In the second quarter, the lead stretched to 10 points. The Denver offense was firing away from all over the floor and they were 6-of-12 from 3-point range. Both sides were physical and there were a lot of chippiness, bumps and bruises. A little over halfway through the quarter, the two sides were on pace for more than 60 points combined. Following a Portland turnover, Jokic and Kentavious Cauldwell-Pope scored quickly to put Denver up by 13. Jokic fouls put Denver down at the end of the first half. They led by 10 when he exited the game and it was down to six at the half.
The two teams were fighting each other, but the main thing to notice was how often Damian Lillard was fouled. Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. each had three fouls, and the team had not yet found a way to stop him. Portland tied the game less than two minutes into the quarter, which finally got rid of a lead that had been as large as 13 points. Things got worse quickly. In less than six minutes, they had been outscored 24-9 and were trailing by nine points while Jokic and Porter were sitting on the bench with their fourth fouls that they got on back-to-back possessions. Anfernee Simons was taking over the game for Portland with 22 points in the third quarter on 8-of-8 shooting and 6-of-6 from 3-point range. Denver was behind by 13 points with just under 3:30 remaining in the period. Denver got some of the points back at the end of the quarter, but immediately gave the points back and trailed by 13 points going into the fourth.
Denver was losing by 15 points seven minutes into the fourth quarter. They were hoping to get back into the game, but were not doing so quickly. Over the next few minutes, the situation gradually got worse, and the opposing team was ahead by 22 points with just four minutes left. It appeared that the game was over, but the opposing team kept scoring and ended up winning by 25 points.
Elvira Olson is a news reporter for the ABC News affiliate in Los Angeles. She has more than 20 years of experience in journalism and has won numerous awards for her work, including an Emmy.