For the second game in a row, the Denver Nuggets waited until the 4th quarter to pull out the victory with a 98-91 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Nuggets first and only lead until the 4th quarter was in the first quarter when they were up 14-13. They trailed the entire game until Kosta Koufos hit a layup to score his career high 19th point of the game.
Denver struggled in the first half, turning the ball over thirteen times. Cleveland capitalized, scoring 16 points off turnovers in the half. Before the game, coach George Karl said he was embarrassed by only having seven fouls against the Magic on Wednesday. In the first half, they were fouling too much and not capitalizing off of any of the few mistakes that Cleveland made.
The Cavs controlled the entire first three quarters. Every time Denver seemed to get on track with a good run, Cleveland would go on a small run of their own to keep them at bay. In the middle of the 3rd quarter, Denver went on a 10-2 run to get within 1. Kyrie Irving negated that with 5 straight points of his own. Irving finished with a game high 28 points and 7 assists. Dion Waiters added 18 points while Tristan Thompson added 16 points and 7 rebounds.
The bright spot for the Nuggets was in the post. Koufos beat his career high of 17 points by scoring 21, seemingly being able to score at will in the post. Kenneth Faried recorded his 17th double-double of the season, racking up 17 points and 11 rebounds. The Nuggets were able to get into the paint pretty easily against Cleveland’s young front court. The only problem was the team as a whole missing layups. The team shot 43.9% as a whole.
Danillo Gallinari added 23 points. Andre Iguodala finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Ty Lawson put up 13 points and 8 assists.
The Nuggets will take on the Golden State Warriors on Sunday at the Pepsi Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:00 pm MST (8:00 ET).