On Wednesday, the No. 4 Denver Nuggets took on the No. 11 New Orleans Pelicans at Ball Arena.
The New Orleans Pelicans needed a win to qualify for the play-in tournament, while the Denver Nuggets needed another victory.
DENVER’S NIKOLA JOKIC SEALED A 114-112 WIN OVER THE PELICANS WITH A CLUTCH BLOCK AGAINST ZION WILLIAMSON’S SHOT.
The Nuggets got off to a good start against the Pelicans, taking a 10-point lead early in the game and winning thanks to Jokic’s strong finish.
Nuggets Led Early Against The Pelicans
Denver went on a 12-2 run to start the game after Gordan dunked on Jokic’s pass. On the next possession, Jokic made a layup. The Pelicans’ only score came from Ingram, who cut the gap to two points. However, the Nuggets quickly responded with 8 points, taking a 10-point lead less than two minutes into the game.
The Pelicans trailed the Nuggets for the remainder of the quarter, finishing with a 10-point deficit heading into the second.
In the first quarter, New Orleans shot 10 of 21 from the floor. Denver, on the other hand, shot 13 of 22 from the goal. The Pelicans began the second quarter with a 2-pointer from Zion.
But, in response to Zion’s shot, Javale went on a 6-0 streak. With 10:23 left in the period, the lead had grown to 14 points. With 5:45 left in the period, Ingram’s pass to Steven Adams sparked a 7-0 run for the Pelicans, cutting the deficit to five points. After Michael Porter Jr. intercepted Ingram’s pass and lays it in on the other end, the Nuggets took a 10-point lead.
The Nuggets were up 9 points going into the second half.
Denver’s Continuous Dominance
The Nuggets managed to dominate the Pelicans in the third quarter, despite the Pelicans cutting the lead to under five points on several occasions.
With 55.1 seconds remaining in the third quarter, the Nuggets were up 12 points. The third quarter ended with a Naji Marshall alley-oop to Jaxon Hayes, cutting the deficit to nine points at 78-87.
Zion Williamson Came Back In The Fourth Quarter
The Pelicans went off in the fourth quarter, scoring 34 points while the Nuggets only managed to score 27 points.
At the start of the third quarter, they had cut a nine-point deficit to two points.
With 5:27 left in the quarter, the Nuggets had a 13-point advantage, and with 3:16 left in the quarter, they had a 14-point lead.
With 25.3 seconds left in the game, the Pelicans cut the lead to three points again.
With 9.9 seconds remaining, Ingram made a three-pointer to cut the deficit to 112-114.
THE PELICANS WENT ON A 13-4 RUN IN THE LAST MINUTE TO WIN BY TWO POINTS.
With 4.2 seconds remaining, Zion Williamson was on his way to tying the game, but Nikola Jokic made a clutch block to seal the victory for the Nuggets. Despite the fact that the block helped the Nuggets win, it raised questions about whether Jokic committed a foul while blocking the shot.
Giving a chance for the Pelicans to tie the game by going to the free-throw line. However, the call was not taken, and the Pelicans lost the game.
Nikola Jokic’s Clutch Block To Deny Zion And Seal The Win
Nikola Jokic performed admirably during the game, but his performance at the end of the game stood out the most, both positively and negatively. He was not called for a foul on the final block he made against Zion, which sparked debate.
HE KEPT THE DENVER NUGGETS WINNING despite the controversy.
The block appeared to be clean at first glance, but other angles of the play showed a strong foul under the rim. At the end of the session, the Nuggets were on the verge of losing the game to the Pelicans. But they are saved by Jokic’s massive block in the final seconds of the game.
For three quarters, the Denver Nuggets had complete control over the Pelicans, but they blew a 10-point advantage in the fourth quarter and were just two points ahead. Jokic made a big block at the rim to keep Zion Williamson from scoring for the Pelicans.
After the block, Nuggets’ PJ Dozier scooped up the ball and drew a foul with less than a second left on the clock. The Pelicans didn’t have enough time to get a decent look at his free throws, so he missed both of them. The Nuggets escaped with a two-point victory.