The Denver Nuggets improved their winning streak to three games since the trade deadline, dominating Philadelphia for much of the night before cruising to a 104-95 win at home.
Marquee trade acquisition Aaron Gordon finished with just six points but it mattered little, as Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr. and Nikola Jokic combined for 78 points and 28 rebounds.
Leading by 22 points after one period, the Nuggets never looked back and they now close to within 1.0 game of the Los Angeles Lakers in the four seed.
Let's jump to some of the takeaways.
AIR GORDON has landed in the Mile High City 😤 pic.twitter.com/TRcsA5Oqiy- Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) March 31, 2021
Murray puts on a show for the fans
For the first time this season, Nuggets fans were allowed inside Ball Arena in Denver.
"We missed you guys so much, you guys bring a different type of energy," Murray said in an on-court interview postgame.
Safe to say that Jamal was happy to see fans back in the building tonight! #MileHighBasketball pic.twitter.com/73KfYAvWb0- Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) March 31, 2021
"Everytime the fans are in the building it gets to me, I get a little excited," Murray continued.
🏹 30 PTS | 50% FG | 5 3PM 🏹- Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) March 31, 2021
When this man has it going... #MileHighBasketball pic.twitter.com/GC5ik334lw
Pouring in 30 points, six rebounds and four assists, Murray finished 12-for-24 from the field and 5-for-11 from three.
Sixers slip in the standings
Without Joel Embiid for the ninth straight game, the Sixers have done an impressive job of staying afloat without their MVP candidate. The loss to the Nuggets drops Philadelphia to 6-3 in that stretch in what was the fifth game of a gruelling six-game road trip.
32-15 on the season, Philadelphia are tied record wise with the Brooklyn Nets, who are playing without a superstar of their own in Kevin Durant.
Losing 29.9 points of production per game, Philadelphia have at times struggled to pick up the slack without Embiid.
Over the previous eight games entering tonight the Sixers ranked 15th for offensive efficiency. Against Denver, Tyrese Maxey would top score with 13 points, while Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons would combine for just 23. Philadelphia would shoot just 31.4 percent from three overall.
Porter Jr. delivers
When the Nuggets traded for Gordon at the deadline, it was reasonable to consider how the addition would impact Porter's role in Denver.
The early returns suggest the offensive impact will be minimal, as the 22-year-old produced his 20th consecutive double-digit scoring outing against the Sixers. Finishing with 27 points, 12 rebounds and four assists, Porter consistently found open looks in a system overflowing with powerful scoring avenues.
Drilling five of his seven attempts from beyond the arc, the addition of Gordon may simply increase the airspace the talented offensive weapon will find himself in.
Questions remain on the defensive end in Denver, but with Jokic as the fulcrum they certainly shouldn't have any issues putting the ball in the bucket.
Jamal and MPJ combined for 38 POINTS in the first half! pic.twitter.com/3rYRP5NKLv- Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) March 31, 2021
Each team will have one night off. Philadelphia will end their road trip in Cleveland, while Denver head to LA to face the Clippers.
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