RECAP: Paul Millsap’s birthday surge lifts Nuggets over Cavs

By Field Level Media
Feb 10, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Paul Millsap (4) shoots over Cleveland Cavaliers guard Isaac Okoro (35) in the second quarter at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Millsap scored a season-high 22 points on his 36th birthday, Michael Porter Jr. added 19 points and the host Denver Nuggets demolished the Cleveland Cavaliers 133-95 on Wednesday night.

Nikola Jokic had 12 points and 12 assists, Will Barton scored 16 points, Zeke Nnaji added 14 and Monte Morris had 12 for Denver, which snapped a three-game skid.

Jarrett Allen had 18 points and 10 rebounds while Taurean Prince scored 12 points, Dylan Windler had 11 and Isaac Okoro 10 for Cleveland, which has dropped five straight.

The Cavaliers’ leading scorer, Collin Sexton, managed just four points on 1-for-9 shooting. It was the first time he failed to score in double figures this season.

The Nuggets took the lead for good in the first quarter. Barton hit a pull-up jumper and a 3-pointer, Jamal Murray and Jokic sank shots, Millsap drained a pair of free throws and Murray scored in a 13-2 run that made it 21-10.

Porter scored five straight points to help Denver take a 34-17 lead after the first quarter. The Nuggets shot 57.1 percent in the period and held Cleveland to 30 percent from the field.

Damyean Dotson and Okoro hit shots to keep the Cavaliers relatively close, but Morris connected on consecutive 3-pointers to put Denver ahead 51-29 midway through the second quarter.

Allen converted a three-point play to slice the deficit to 18, but Barton’s layup in the final minute of the period gave the Nuggets a 64-43 lead at halftime.

Denver quickly put the game away in the third quarter.

Porter hit a pair of 3-pointers in a 12-4 run to open the second half, and the lead grew to 29. Denver continued to add on, and JaMychal Green’s dunk in the final seconds of the third period made it 100-66.

The Nuggets built a 42-point lead in the fourth and coasted to the victory.

–Field Level Media