Cavaliers dominate World Champion Nuggets 121-109
BY TIM SHIRER
CAVALIERS BEAT WRITER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - Sunday night the Cleveland Cavaliers (6-6) welcomed the world champion Denver Nuggets to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The Cavs were once again without Donovan Mitchell, Isaac Okoro, Caris LeVert, and Ty Jerome. The Cavs came out and played 48 minutes of impressive basketball easily defeating the World Champs 121-109 as the final score didn’t really tell the story of how Cleveland was in control the whole game.
The game was close early even though the Cavs were shorthanded. With 6:23 left in the first quarter the game was tied 16-16 when Michael Porter, Jr. The Cavs then went on a 7-3 run over the next 1:35 took take a 23-19 lead on a Darius Garland layup. The Nuggets pulled to within one at 36-25 with 3:11 left in the first 12 minutes. When the first quarter buzzer the Cavs had a 29-27 lead. The Cavs Max Strus and the Nuggets Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led all scorers with scorers with seven points apiece. The Cavs outrebounded the Nuggets 10-7.
The Cavs got off to a hot start in the second period extending their lead to twelve at 43-31 with 8:55 left in the period when Craig Porter, Jr. drained a driving layup. The Nuggets then went on a 15-3 run to pull to within one point at 47-46 with 5:06 left in the half when Julian Strawther drove the lane and laid the ball in the hoop. Just 1:03 later Strawther tied the game up 51-51 when he hit a three pointer. The Cavs however went on a run of their own outscoring the Nuggets 8-0 over the next 2:33 to take a 60-53 lead with 1:30 left in the first half. The Nuggets came right back with a three to pull to within five at 61-56 when Reggi Jackson hit from long distance with 1:04 left on the clock. When time ran out in the first half the Cavs lead 66-58 courtesy of a Garland three pointer with just :01.2 remaining in the half. As the half ended Nuggets strong man and MVP of virtually everything in the last year Nikola Jokic picked up his third foul. Garland led all scorers with 16 points. Michael Porter, Jr paced the Nuggets with 13 points. Cleveland continued to lead on the glass with 26 rebounds while the Nuggets pulled down 20.
As the third quarter began the Cavs pushed their lead back to double digits 68-58 with just :12 off the game clock when Jarrett Allen hit a floater. Then took their biggest lead at 74-59 with 9:04 left on the third quarter clock when Allen slammed home a dunk on an assist from Strus. With 7:54 left in the quarter Jokic picked up his fourth personal foul when he was called for an offensive foul. Just :22 later Jokic was called for his fifth foul when he elbowed Allen in the face. He was called for a flagrant foul and Allen shot two free throws converting them both to give the Cavs an 80-61 lead. The Cavs extended it to 82-61 with 7:07 left when Dean Wade hit Evan Mobley under the basket. With 1:25 left in the quarter the Nuggets cut the lead to 13 at 86-73. As the third quarter closed the Cavs’ lead increased to 17 at 92-75. Garland led all scorers with 22. Michael Porter, Jr. led Denver with 19. Through three quarters the Cavs were dominating the boards 40-26.
The Cavs did not let up as the fourth quarter began as they increased their lead once again to 20 points at 103-8 with 7:15 left in the game when Craig Porter, Jr. tossed in a layup his 18th and 19th points of the game. The lead ballooned 110-85 with 4:58 left on the clock when Strus hit a free throw. As the clock ran down and the Cavs were putting the icing on the cake of this shorthanded impressive win over the Nuggets Craig Porter, Jr, drained his 21st point of the game, a career high in the 121-109 domination of the world champions.
Garland led all scorers in the win with 26 points. Six Cavs were in double figures along with Garland and Porter, Jr, Mobley put in 16, Allen had 15, Georges Niang had 12 and Strus finished with 11. Mobley finished with a double double as he pulled down 10 rebounds along with Wade who also had 10 to lead the Cavs on the boards as they dominated the Nuggets on the glass 47-33. The Cavs bench even with all of the missing pieces outscored the Denver bench 47-43 and in the paint 56-46.
The Cavs will be in action next on Tuesday night at 7:30 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The contest will be the first between the two teams this season. Last season Philadelphia took the season series 2-1 with the Cavs winning the first game 113-85 in Cleveland on November 30, 2022. Philadelphia also leads the all-time series 116-107 with the 76ers having a big edge in Philly 67-45.
POSTED 11/19/2023 20:47