Juan Hernangomez came off the bench to score 23 points and Paul Millsap had 16 points and six rebounds as the Denver Nuggets overcame a slugging first quarter to beat the host Cleveland Cavaliers 110-91 on Thursday night.
Gary Harris scored 14 as the Nuggets won their third in a row and second in as many nights. Denver’s star center, Nikola Jokic, had only four points on 2-of-5 shooting, but his production wasn’t needed.
Jordan Clarkson scored 17 points and Cedi Osman had 13 points for Cleveland. After winning Tuesday in the first game since Tyronn Lue was fired, the Cavaliers couldn’t make it two straight with acting head coach Larry Drew on the bench.
Denver was coming of a thrilling overtime win in Chicago on Wednesday. Millsap put back Jokic’s jumper with 0.1 seconds left for a 108-107 victory, and the hangover of that game was evident early.
The Nuggets trailed by 12 at the end of the first quarter but took control with a big second period. Larry Nance Jr. hit two free throws early in the quarter to make it 29-17, but Denver came storming back.
Hernangomez hit two 3-pointers and Malik Beasley had another during a 15-4 run in a span of 3:23 to pull the Nuggets within 33-32.
Later in the period Hernangomez hit a free throw and another from long range to start 13-0 run that gave Denver a 47-38 lead. The Nuggets outscored the Cavaliers 35-15 in the second to take a 50-42 halftime lead.
Hernangomez hit a season-high five 3-pointers, and his 23 points were also his best for the season.
Denver started to pull away in the third quarter. The Nuggets opened a 66-52 lead on Harris’ 14-foot jumper, and after Rodney Hood hit two free throws, Monte Morris, Torrey Craig and Harris hit 3-pointers to push the lead to 83-66 heading into the fourth.
Cleveland hit the first basket of the final 12 minutes but Denver put it away with a 14-4 —run.
—Field Level Media