VINNY BENEDETTO, THE GAZETTE
The Gazette, Colorado Springs
What happened: Denver dropped to 2-4 away from Ball Arena on Sunday in Cleveland. Cleveland led by as many as seven in the first quarter but led by only two to start the second. Denver’s second unit got the second off to a slow start. It continued with the starters, and the Cavaliers extended the lead to 13. Denver trailed 66-58 at halftime. Nikola Jokic got into foul trouble early in the third, and Cleveland led by 17 to start the fourth quarter. Cleveland maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way. What went right: So little went right for the Nuggets that the starters didn’t have to play extensive minutes. Aaron Gordon played the most minutes of the starters with 31 minutes and 37 seconds. Kentavious Caldwell-pope, at 30:39, was the only other starter to play more than 30. That should allow Denver to feel comfortable playing the starters a bit more against the Pistons on hopes of preventing a three-game losing streak. What went wrong: The Nuggets let the Cavs’ Craig Porter Jr., a two-way player, take over the game in stretches. He finished with 21 points off Cleveland’s bench and needed just 10 shot attempts to do it. Couple that with 26 points from Darius Garland, Cleveland’s starting point guard, and that makes for a poor defensive performance from Denver’s guards. The bigs weren’t absolved, either. Cleveland grabbed 11 offensive rebounds and turned those into a 19-4 advantage in second-chance points. Up next: The Nuggets are off to Detroit for the second half of a back-to-back set Monday.