DENVER (AP) – Jamal Murray scored 30 points, Michael Porter Jr. added 27, and theraced out to a 25-point lead on their way to a 104-95 win over the slow-starting Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night. , who played in front of a home crowd for the first time since the pandemic shut down the 2019-20 season in mid-March last year. “They made all the difference in the world for us,” Murray said. “It was just good to have them back in the building.
Especially after the 76ers’ backups made a late run to turn the blowout into a contest.
“We thought it was going to be easy,” Jokic said after theafter one quarter but watched the Sixers’ second-teamers chip away in the second half.
Reserve Tyrese Maxey led the Sixers with 13 points, all in the fourth quarter.
The much-anticipated matchup between the East-leading Sixers and the rejuvenated Nuggets, whowith the additions of Aaron Gordon and JaVale McGee, quickly fizzled with Denver’s first-quarter flourish. Before the into the locker room, Jokic stepped up to the free-throw line and was met by chants of “MVP! MVP! MVP!” from the first crowd at Ball Arena shut down the 2019-20 season more than a year ago.
The crowd consisted of Kroenke Sports and Entertainment employees and healthcare professionals on the frontlines of the. Denver coach Michael Malone to the arena formerly known as the Pepsi Center, usually one of the loudest venues in the NBA. He said he was glad to have family watch them in person for the first .
“The fact that we are inviting frontline workers is a tremendous gesture,” Malone said with a shoutout to work. “These frontline workers have been doing daily to helpand all the damage it has inflicted upon us as a city, a state, a country, and all across the world.”
The 76ers’ backupson a 10-2 run and kept up the pressure in the fourth, chipping the deficit below double digits in the final minute while Philly’s starters cheered them on.
“Well, the positive is that the clock finally expired,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said. “That was one very good positive because I hoped they would make the AAU rules and keep the clock (running). We should have had a running clock from the first quarter.”
The Nuggets savored the closer-than-it-needed-to-be victory.
“It was so fun,” Porter said, hearing the crowd cheering in Denver again. “We missed that energy from the group. We had to create our power. It’s just good to have fans back in the building.
“It’s good to see things returning to a little normal.”
76ers: Dwight Howard picked up a Flagrant-1 foul when he hammered Will Barton in the first half’s closing seconds. Rivers said big man Joel Embid is close to returning from a bone bruise on histhat has sidelined him since March 12. Embed has returned to on-court activities and is . “He’s close, I can tell you that,” Rivers said. Nuggets: Paul Millsap, Porter, P.J.
Dozier and Murray sank 3s during Denver’s 12-3 run to close the first quarter. … PG Monte Morris (thigh). Malone said Morris is expected to be considered questionable for Thursday’s game against the Clippers, and “then right after that, we can probably try to work him into a game.”
76ers: Wrap up a six-game trip with a visit to Cleveland on. Nuggets: Visit the Los Angeles to Denver for a five-game homestand.
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