Nikola Jokic, Nuggets beat travel-weary Pacers


DENVER – Nikola Jokic notched his 35th double-double with 32 points and 14 rebounds, leading the Denver Nuggets over the travel-weary Indiana Pacers 121-106 on Monday night.

Michael Porter Jr. and Will Barton each scored 20 points for the Nuggets, who used a big fourth quarter to get the win.

Malcom Brogdon led Indiana with 24 and Justin Holiday had 19. Domantas Sabonis finished a rebound shy of a triple-double with 10 points and 10 assists.

The start of the game was moved back an hour because the Pacers were unable to fly from Phoenix into Denver until Monday afternoon. A snowstorm that officially dropped 27 inches at Denver International Airport closed the runways from late Sunday morning. Four runways were reopened mid-afternoon Monday.

“I knew they got in late so I just wanted to put my foot on the gas early to figure out if they was or wasn’t (tired), but I knew I was going to figure it out,” said Barton, who scored the first eight points of the game for Denver. “I was going to try to put them on their heels. I was going to find out one way or another if they were tired.”

Indiana rallied from 20 down in the first half to take a 79-74 lead midway through the third quarter. The Pacers led 91-87 after three, but the Nuggets opened the fourth with 14 straight points to take a 101-91 lead.

“Our defense in the third quarter was a joke and if we had any chance of coming back and winning we had to play defense,” Denver coach Michael Malone said. “That quarter they had 35 points and shot 61.9% from the field.”

The Pacers didn’t score their first points until nearly five minutes into the fourth and were outscored 34-15. Caris LeVert didn’t want to blame the travel issues for the loss.

“Going down 20 points to a good team is tough to overcome,” he said. “We’re competitors, we don’t want to make excuses. Stuff happens in life. For us to get to where we want to go, we can’t go down 20 points to a good team like that.”

TIP-INSPacers: G Jeremy Lamb missed his second straight game with a sore left knee. … LeVert had 17 points in his second game back from having a cancerous mass removed from his kidney on Jan. 26.

Nuggets: G Monte Morris was out of the lineup for the second straight game with a quad strain. G Gary Harris missed his 12th straight game with a left adductor strain, while R.J. Hampton continues to be out due to health and safety protocols.

SNOW BUSINESSPacers coach Nate Bjorkgren drew on his experience in the D-League when dealing with the delayed travel.

“There’s a few guys on our team that have gone through things like this before,” he said. “Fifteen years ago, when I was in the minor leagues, this stuff happened, a little bit, not a lot, but it happened. We did a lot of travel on the day of the game.”

Indiana wasn’t the only one affected by the weather. Referees Bill Kennedy, Michael Smith and Jonathan Sterling, the officiating crew from Saturday night’s game in Denver, were stuck in town and worked Monday’s game.

The Los Angeles Kings, who played the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday afternoon, had to stay overnight Sunday and the NHL postponed the Kings’ Monday night home game against St. Louis.

UP NEXTPacers: Host Brooklyn on Wednesday night.

Nuggets: Host Charlotte on Wednesday night.



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Jokic, Nuggets beat travel-weary Pacers 121-106


DENVER — Nikola Jokic notched his 35th double-double with 32 points and 14 rebounds, leading the Denver Nuggets over the travel-weary Indiana Pacers 121-106 on Monday night.

Michael Porter Jr. and Will Barton each scored 20 points for the Nuggets, who used a big fourth quarter to get the win.

Malcom Brogdon led Indiana with 24 and Justin Holiday had 19. Domantas Sabonis finished a rebound shy of a triple-double with 10 points and 10 assists.

The start of the game was moved back an hour because the Pacers were unable to fly from Phoenix into Denver until Monday afternoon. A snowstorm that officially dropped 27 inches at Denver International Airport closed the runways from late Sunday morning. Four runways were reopened mid-afternoon Monday.

“I knew they got in late so I just wanted to put my foot on the gas early to figure out if they was or wasn’t (tired), but I knew I was going to figure it out,” said Barton, who scored the first eight points of the game for Denver. “I was going to try to put them on their heels. I was going to find out one way or another if they were tired.”

Indiana rallied from 20 down in the first half to take a 79-74 lead midway through the third quarter. The Pacers led 91-87 after three, but the Nuggets opened the fourth with 14 straight points to take a 101-91 lead.

“Our defense in the third quarter was a joke and if we had any chance of coming back and winning we had to play defense,” Denver coach Michael Malone said. “That quarter they had 35 points and shot 61.9% from the field.”

The Pacers didn’t score their first points until nearly five minutes into the fourth and were outscored 34-15. Caris LeVert didn’t want to blame the travel issues for the loss.

“Going down 20 points to a good team is tough to overcome,” he said. “We’re competitors, we don’t want to make excuses. Stuff happens in life. For us to get to where we want to go, we can’t go down 20 points to a good team like that.”

TIP-INS

Pacers: G Jeremy Lamb missed his second straight game with a sore left knee. … LeVert had 17 points in his second game back from having a cancerous mass removed from his kidney on Jan. 26.

Nuggets: G Monte Morris was out of the lineup for the second straight game with a quad strain. G Gary Harris missed his 12th straight game with a left adductor strain, while R.J. Hampton continues to be out due to health and safety protocols.

SNOW BUSINESS

Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren drew on his experience in the D-League when dealing with the delayed travel.

“There’s a few guys on our team that have gone through things like this before,” he said. “Fifteen years ago, when I was in the minor leagues, this stuff happened, a little bit, not a lot, but it happened. We did a lot of travel on the day of the game.”

Indiana wasn’t the only one affected by the weather. Referees Bill Kennedy, Michael Smith and Jonathan Sterling, the officiating crew from Saturday night’s game in Denver, were stuck in town and worked Monday’s game.

The Los Angeles Kings, who played the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday afternoon, had to stay overnight Sunday and the NHL postponed the Kings’ Monday night home game against St. Louis.

UP NEXT

Pacers: Host Brooklyn on Wednesday night.

Nuggets: Host Charlotte on Wednesday night.

___

https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Jokic, Nuggets beat travel-weary Pacers 121-106


DENVER (AP) Nikola Jokic notched his 35th double-double with 32 points and 14 rebounds, leading the Denver Nuggets over the travel-weary Indiana Pacers 121-106 on Monday night.

Michael Porter Jr. and Will Barton each scored 20 points for the Nuggets, who used a big fourth quarter to get the win.

Malcom Brogdon led Indiana with 24 and Justin Holiday had 19. Domantas Sabonis finished a rebound shy of a triple-double with 10 points and 10 assists.

The start of the game was moved back an hour because the Pacers were unable to fly from Phoenix into Denver until Monday afternoon. A snowstorm that officially dropped 27 inches at Denver International Airport closed the runways from late Sunday morning. Four runways were reopened mid-afternoon Monday.

”I knew they got in late so I just wanted to put my foot on the gas early to figure out if they was or wasn’t (tired), but I knew I was going to figure it out,” said Barton, who scored the first eight points of the game for Denver. ”I was going to try to put them on their heels. I was going to find out one way or another if they were tired.”

Indiana rallied from 20 down in the first half to take a 79-74 lead midway through the third quarter. The Pacers led 91-87 after three, but the Nuggets opened the fourth with 14 straight points to take a 101-91 lead.

”Our defense in the third quarter was a joke and if we had any chance of coming back and winning we had to play defense,” Denver coach Michael Malone said. ”That quarter they had 35 points and shot 61.9% from the field.”

The Pacers didn’t score their first points until nearly five minutes into the fourth and were outscored 34-15. Caris LeVert didn’t want to blame the travel issues for the loss.

”Going down 20 points to a good team is tough to overcome,” he said. ”We’re competitors, we don’t want to make excuses. Stuff happens in life. For us to get to where we want to go, we can’t go down 20 points to a good team like that.”

TIP-INS

Pacers: G Jeremy Lamb missed his second straight game with a sore left knee. … LeVert had 17 points in his second game back from having a cancerous mass removed from his kidney on Jan. 26.

Nuggets: G Monte Morris was out of the lineup for the second straight game with a quad strain. G Gary Harris missed his 12th straight game with a left adductor strain, while R.J. Hampton continues to be out due to health and safety protocols.

SNOW BUSINESS

Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren drew on his experience in the D-League when dealing with the delayed travel.

”There’s a few guys on our team that have gone through things like this before,” he said. ”Fifteen years ago, when I was in the minor leagues, this stuff happened, a little bit, not a lot, but it happened. We did a lot of travel on the day of the game.”

Indiana wasn’t the only one affected by the weather. Referees Bill Kennedy, Michael Smith and Jonathan Sterling, the officiating crew from Saturday night’s game in Denver, were stuck in town and worked Monday’s game.

The Los Angeles Kings, who played the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday afternoon, had to stay overnight Sunday and the NHL postponed the Kings’ Monday night home game against St. Louis.

UP NEXT

Pacers: Host Brooklyn on Wednesday night.

Nuggets: Host Charlotte on Wednesday night.

https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Copyright 2021 STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.





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Jokic, Nuggets beat travel-weary Pacers 121-106 |


DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic notched his 35th double-double with 32 points and 14 rebounds, leading the Denver Nuggets over the travel-weary Indiana Pacers 121-106 on Monday night.

Michael Porter Jr. and Will Barton each scored 20 points for the Nuggets, who used a big fourth quarter to get the win.

Malcom Brogdon led Indiana with 24 and Justin Holiday had 19. Domantas Sabonis finished a rebound shy of a triple-double with 10 points and 10 assists.

The start of the game was moved back an hour because the Pacers were unable to fly from Phoenix into Denver until Monday afternoon. A snowstorm that officially dropped 27 inches at Denver International Airport closed the runways from late Sunday morning. Four runways were reopened mid-afternoon Monday.

Indiana rallied from 20 down in the first half to take a 79-74 lead midway through the third quarter. The Pacers led 91-87 after three, but the Nuggets opened the fourth with 14 straight points to take a 101-91 lead.

The Pacers didn’t score their first points until nearly five minutes into the fourth and were outscored 34-15.

Pacers: G Jeremy Lamb missed his second straight game with a sore left knee. … Caris LeVert had 17 points in his second game back from having a cancerous mass removed from his kidney on Jan. 26.

Nuggets: G Monte Morris was out of the lineup for the second straight game with a quad strain. G Gary Harris missed his 12th straight game with a left adductor strain, while R.J. Hampton continues to be out due to health and safety protocols.

Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren drew on his experience in the D-League when dealing with the delayed travel.

“There’s a few guys on our team that have gone through things like this before,” he said. “Fifteen years ago, when I was in the minor leagues, this stuff happened, a little bit, not a lot, but it happened. We did a lot of travel on the day of the game.”

Indiana wasn’t the only one affected by the weather. Referees Bill Kennedy, Michael Smith and Jonathan Sterling, the officiating crew from Saturday night’s game in Denver, were stuck in town and worked Monday’s game.

The Los Angeles Kings, who played the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday afternoon, had to stay overnight Sunday and the NHL postponed the Kings’ Monday night home game against St. Louis.

Pacers: Host Brooklyn on Wednesday night.

Nuggets: Host Charlotte on Wednesday night.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.



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Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets beat travel-weary Indiana Pacers


DENVER — Nikola Jokic notched his 35th double-double with 32 points and 14 rebounds, leading the Denver Nuggets over the travel-weary Indiana Pacers 121-106 on Monday night.

Michael Porter Jr. and Will Barton each scored 20 points for the Nuggets, who used a big fourth quarter to get the win.

Malcom Brogdon led Indiana with 24 and Justin Holiday had 19. Domantas Sabonis finished a rebound shy of a triple-double with 10 points and 10 assists.

The start of the game was moved back an hour because the Pacers were unable to fly from Phoenix into Denver until Monday afternoon. A snowstorm that officially dropped 27 inches at Denver International Airport closed the runways from late Sunday morning. Four runways were reopened mid-afternoon Monday.

“I knew they got in late so I just wanted to put my foot on the gas early to figure out if they was or wasn’t (tired), but I knew I was going to figure it out,” said Barton, who scored the first eight points of the game for Denver. “I was going to try to put them on their heels. I was going to find out one way or another if they were tired.”

Indiana rallied from 20 down in the first half to take a 79-74 lead midway through the third quarter. The Pacers led 91-87 after three, but the Nuggets opened the fourth with 14 straight points to take a 101-91 lead.

“Our defence in the third quarter was a joke and if we had any chance of coming back and winning we had to play defence,” Denver coach Michael Malone said. “That quarter they had 35 points and shot 61.9% from the field.”

The Pacers didn’t score their first points until nearly five minutes into the fourth and were outscored 34-15. Caris LeVert didn’t want to blame the travel issues for the loss.

“Going down 20 points to a good team is tough to overcome,” he said. “We’re competitors, we don’t want to make excuses. Stuff happens in life. For us to get to where we want to go, we can’t go down 20 points to a good team like that.”

TIP-INS

Pacers: G Jeremy Lamb missed his second straight game with a sore left knee. … LeVert had 17 points in his second game back from having a cancerous mass removed from his kidney on Jan. 26.

Nuggets: G Monte Morris was out of the lineup for the second straight game with a quad strain. G Gary Harris missed his 12th straight game with a left adductor strain, while R.J. Hampton continues to be out due to health and safety protocols.

SNOW BUSINESS

Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren drew on his experience in the D-League when dealing with the delayed travel.

“There’s a few guys on our team that have gone through things like this before,” he said. “Fifteen years ago, when I was in the minor leagues, this stuff happened, a little bit, not a lot, but it happened. We did a lot of travel on the day of the game.”

Indiana wasn’t the only one affected by the weather. Referees Bill Kennedy, Michael Smith and Jonathan Sterling, the officiating crew from Saturday night’s game in Denver, were stuck in town and worked Monday’s game.

The Los Angeles Kings, who played the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday afternoon, had to stay overnight Sunday and the NHL postponed the Kings’ Monday night home game against St. Louis.

UP NEXT

Pacers: Host Brooklyn on Wednesday night.

Nuggets: Host Charlotte on Wednesday night.

___

https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports





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Pacers vs. Nuggets – Game Recap – March 15, 2021


DENVER — — Nikola Jokic notched his 35th double-double with 32 points and 14 rebounds, leading the Denver Nuggets over the travel-weary Indiana Pacers 121-106 on Monday night.

Michael Porter Jr. and Will Barton each scored 20 points for the Nuggets, who used a big fourth quarter to get the win.

Malcom Brogdon led Indiana with 24 and Justin Holiday had 19. Domantas Sabonis finished a rebound shy of a triple-double with 10 points and 10 assists.

The start of the game was moved back an hour because the Pacers were unable to fly from Phoenix into Denver until Monday afternoon. A snowstorm that officially dropped 27 inches at Denver International Airport closed the runways from late Sunday morning. Four runways were reopened mid-afternoon Monday.

Indiana rallied from 20 down in the first half to take a 79-74 lead midway through the third quarter. The Pacers led 91-87 after three, but the Nuggets opened the fourth with 14 straight points to take a 101-91 lead.

The Pacers didn’t score their first points until nearly five minutes into the fourth and were outscored 34-15.

TIP-INS

Pacers: G Jeremy Lamb missed his second straight game with a sore left knee. … Caris LeVert had 17 points in his second game back from having a cancerous mass removed from his kidney on Jan. 26.

Nuggets: G Monte Morris was out of the lineup for the second straight game with a quad strain. G Gary Harris missed his 12th straight game with a left adductor strain, while R.J. Hampton continues to be out due to health and safety protocols.

SNOW BUSINESS

Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren drew on his experience in the D-League when dealing with the delayed travel.

“There’s a few guys on our team that have gone through things like this before,” he said. “Fifteen years ago, when I was in the minor leagues, this stuff happened, a little bit, not a lot, but it happened. We did a lot of travel on the day of the game.”

Indiana wasn’t the only one affected by the weather. Referees Bill Kennedy, Michael Smith and Jonathan Sterling, the officiating crew from Saturday night’s game in Denver, were stuck in town and worked Monday’s game.

The Los Angeles Kings, who played the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday afternoon, had to stay overnight Sunday and the NHL postponed the Kings’ Monday night home game against St. Louis.

UP NEXT

Pacers: Host Brooklyn on Wednesday night.

Nuggets: Host Charlotte on Wednesday night.

——

https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP–Sports





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Recap: Denver Nuggets blow out the Milwaukee Bucks


The Denver Nuggets started the game in a hole by giving up a quick bucket to Milwaukee Bucks’ forward Khris Middleton from 3-point range before Jamal Murray hit a floater. Giannis Antetokounmpo was fouled before making both free throws. Following a last-second miss by Denver, Monte Morris blocked Middleton’s shot out of bounds. He immediately got revenge with a make along the baseline.

Another Denver miss turned into a transition opportunity for Giannis, and Porter was forced to foul Giannis down on the block which gave him two through the first 110 seconds of the game. Giannis missed a pair before a make by Morris got the scoring going again. Giannis threw down a big dunk before a triple from Will Barton, but Giannis was having his way by trading buckets with the Nuggets before Nikola Jokic got his scoring going inside the paint with a little hook shot through a foul that turned into a 3-point play.

Murray got fouled following a miss by Milwaukee. Off the inbounds play, he flipped a shot backward over his head as the shot clock was expiring. After a miss by Barton, Porter and Jokic went to the boards where Jokic got the tip to go to take a 16-13 lead and force a Bucks’ timeout. Out of the timeout, Giannis missed a 3-point shot, but the Nuggets turned it right over for an easy dunk by the two-time MVP.

Barton went right to the hoop for an easy layup. Following a miss by Patt Connaughton, Jokic was called for a travel. The two sides were trading empty possessions before Jokic tipped in his own miss. Off of an inbounds pass, Bryn Forbes knocked down a 3-point shot before Barton got another jumper to fall. A miss by Giannis didn’t turn into any points due to a turnover by Morris.

The two sides traded misses before Connaughton got a triple to fall to bring the Bucks within one. Morris hit a layup under the cup. Denver got a steal, but former Nuggets Torrey Craig shut down P.J. Dozier’s fast break with a big block at the rim which led to a Denver timeout. Out of the timeout, Morris hit a layup off a feed from Jokic to stretch the lead to five.

Off a miss by Craig, Jokic hit a floater in the paint. The two sides traded misses before P.J. Dozier got a make-to-fall through a foul before converting the 3-point play at the line. Donte DiVincenzo turned the ball over which ended up as a layup by Zeke Nnaji before Middleton ended a long Denver run with a mid-range jumper. Dozier went right back at him with a jumper of his own. A miss by Milwaukee gave Denver the final possession of the quarter which Murray cashed for a 20-foot jumper to give them a 14-point lead to end the first.

Out of the quarter break, Middleton knocked down a triple following a Denver miss before Murray hit a 3-point shot of his own. Giannis was fouled by Isaiah Hartenstein driving to the rim. He hit 1-of-2 free throws before Vlatko Čančar missed a bad 3-point shot. Empty possessions and turnovers abounded before Nnaji tipped in a miss by Murray which resulted in a Milwaukee timeout down by 15 with 9:28 to go in the second quarter.

The two sides traded empty possessions out of the timeout before Murray got a shot to fall through some contact from Connaughton which sent him to the line where he converted the 3-point play. Following a pair of offensive rebounds, Brook Lopez got an easy layup to go, but Barton quickly matched it with a fadeaway jumper from the baseline. Empty possessions were abounding before Porter finally got a triple to fall that gave Denver a 50-29 lead with 5:41 remaining in the quarter.

Out of a Bucks’ timeout, Jrue Holiday got his first points on the night with an elbow jumper. Somehow, Jokic wasn’t fouled despite being pummeled, and Giannis got an easy dunk on the other end after some poor rebounding by Denver. Out of the timeout, Milwaukee scored following a Denver miss before Morris got a floater to fall. Connaughton knocked in a triple from the corner, and the Nuggets’ lead had dwindled to 14 before Murray hit a fadeaway jumper from the left wing. Giannis threw down an easy dunk before Jokic was blatantly shoved.

Denver scored off the inbounds pass. After a miss by Milwaukee, Murray attempted a huge dunk on Brook Lopez, but he was fouled on the drive before hitting both free throws. Lopez put down a dunk, and, following a Denver miss, D.J. Augustin was fouled while making a 3-point shot that turned into a 4-point play at the line. Up by just 12, Jokic hit a shot from the right wing to get their lead back up again.

Giannis hit a pair of free throws. Off a miss by Morris, Giannis walked in for an easy layup to bring them within 10. Vlatko snagged an offensive rebound while being fouled, and he knocked down both free throws in the process. Following a miss by Lopez, Barton found Jokic for a bucket with 4.6 remaining, and the Nuggets went into the halftime break leading 64-50 on the road.

Denver hit a triple out of the break before the Bucks got a two-point make. Following a miss by Porter, Middleton was fouled when he went to put up a shot off an offensive rebound, and he made 1-of-2 free throws. Jokic got a bucket before Denver drew an offensive foul from Milwaukee. Jokic followed that up with a big 3-point shot before he was called for a foul on DiVincenzo. Donte knocked down both free throws before the two sides traded turnovers.

Porter hammered home a big dunk after Barton was fouled, but Lopez was fouled underneath the basket by Porter, which gave him four on the night with 21:09 minutes still remaining in the game. Lopez hit both free throws before Jokic missed a 3-point shot. A scramble for a loose ball ended up in the hands of Lopez for an easy layup. Out of a Denver timeout, Morris missed a 3-point shot before Giannis hit a mid-range shot that brought Milwaukee within 13 before Barton hit a triple to give them more breathing room.

Coming the other way, Giannis put down a dunk. Donte bailed out the Nuggets following a bad turnover with a wide-open miss before Jokic hit a contested layup. Vlatko fouled DiVincenzo on a layup, and he put away both shots at the charity stripe. Murray hit Lopez with a hesitation dribble that gave him an easy run before Antetokounmpo got one of his own on the other end. Vlatko snagged an offensive rebound that he put away for an easy two points.

Denver missed a shot with a long rebound, and it turned into a long 3-point make from Augustin. After trading misses, Jokic cashed a triple with 3:57 remaining to stretch the lead back to 17. Coming out of a timeout, Bobby Portis bowled over Vlatko to draw the foul and get to the line. He nailed both of them, and Dozier hit a triple right away to get the points back and then some. Holiday turned the ball over which lead to a Barton assist to Dozier who was fouled on the layup, but he was unable to convert the 3-point play.

Vlatko got a steal on the next possession, but Denver was unable to convert it into points. Middleton hit a pair of free throws. Despite Jokic drawing a foul, Denver turned the ball over, and Forbes cashed a 3-point shot on the other end. Murray hit a mid-range jumper prior to a steal by Nnaji. Jokic was fouled by Holiday late in the shot clock, and he went to the line where he went a perfect 2-of-2.

Middleton hit a triple on the other end with just under 1:00 remaining. With 38.7 remaining, Jokic threw down a big dunk, but Middleton was fouled almost immediately which led to two free points at the line. Jokic tipped out an offensive rebound off his own miss, and it turned up aces when Nnaji got a late tip to go at the buzzer to give Denver a 99-80 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Giannis started the fourth quarter in a hurry with a trip to the free-throw line where he hit both shots. A miss by Murray went the other way for a quick make from Pat, and the Bucks were off and running. The two sides traded misses before Murray was forced into a triple late in the clock that missed. Following that miss, Dozier was called for goaltending which led to a Denver timeout up by just 13.

Out of the timeout, Murray nailed a tough shot over the outstretched hand of Giannis before Dozier was called for a foul while guarding Middleton. Middleton went 1-of-2 at the line before Nnaji was called for a travel while lifting his pivot foot. With Milwaukee within 14, Porter hit a rainbow of a triple, but he was quickly called for a foul on the other end that gave him five on the night.

Milwaukee was bailed out due to some no-calls, but they were unable to score despite extra possessions. Jokic was fouled by Giannis while bringing the ball up. Off the inbounds, he hit a spinning shot at the free-throw line before scoring off a steal to stretch the lead to 21 and forcing the Bucks to call a timeout. Portis knocked down a jumper out of the timeout. Murray was called for a foul on Lopez when he got too aggressive on a rebound attempt which put the Bucks in the bonus with 7:08 remaining.

Lopez hit both shots, but Jokic got them back right away with a shot of his own. Porter put up a contested 3-point shot that missed, but he bailed himself out with a block on Portis that ended up in the hands of Murray. Murray hit Dozier under the cup, and Denver led by 21 with 5:39 remaining. Misses from both sides were followed up by a foul from dozier prior to the Bucks emptying their bench to officially waive the white flag.

Holiday missed a pair of free throws before Jokic was fouled under the cup. Jokic hit a pair of free throws, and was forced to get aggressive following a miscue by Porter when snagging a rebound. Jokic grabbed a rebound to give him his ninth triple-double on the night, and the two sides were just running out the clock when Jokic threw down another dunk to give him 37. A triple by Forbes brought the Bucks within 19, but Denver was preparing to empty their bench when Morris hit another layup. With 2:16 remaining, it was officially over with all reserves on the floor.

Dozier got a couple of jumpers to fall in garbage time to hopefully build on now that he’s healthy. Bol Bol hit a triple from the wing to give him some points. Another 3-point make from Dozier stretched the final tally to 128-97 which gave the Bucks’ their biggest home loss ever while giving Denver a huge confidence boost with just one game remaining before the All-Star Break.

Stat Leaders

Points: Nikola Jokic – 37

Assists: Jokic – 11

Rebounds: Jokic – 10

Player of the Game: Nikola Jokic – 37 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds, 2 steals, 15-of-23 field goal, 2-of-3 3-point, 5-of-5 free throw



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Murray scores historic 50 as Nuggets down crumbling Cavaliers


CLEVELAND — Not himself of late, Jamal Murray got a lecture from Nuggets coach Michael Malone about being more aggressive and not passing up open shots.

He listened — and launched.

Murray scored a career-high 50 points and became the first player in NBA history to get that many without trying a free throw as Denver adjusted to a schedule change by handing the Cleveland Cavaliers their ninth straight loss, 120-103 on Friday night.

Following the game, Murray was unaware that he had done something unique.

“I was just making my shots,” he said nonchalantly between sips of a postgame smoothie. “It’s kind of cool to make history. It’s a cool stat.”

Murray was cooler than cool. While All-Star starter Nikola Jokic added a triple-double on his birthday, it was Murray’s night.

The smooth guard made 21 of 25 shots, including 8 of 10 3-pointers and scored 30 in the second half. He added six rebounds and two steals during 38 electrifying minutes.

“To do it as efficiently as he did it is really remarkable,” said Malone. “That’s an incredible stat line.”

With the Cavs still hanging around in the fourth, Murray made three 3-pointers in a 65-second span to push Denver’s lead to 21. He celebrated his third straight long-range make — an off-balance number from 33 feet — to open the fourth by pounding his chest and screaming toward fans in Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

“That’s what we live for as players,” Murray said, “that atmosphere.”

Murray scored Denver’s first 13 in the last quarter, and then passed his previous career best of 46 points by draining another 3 — on Jokic’s 10th assist — with 4 minutes left. Murray capped his incredible performance with a resounding dunk before being replaced with 2:23 left.

Collin Sexton scored 23 and Jarrett Allen 20 for Cleveland, which had a couple days to prepare for the Nuggets but still couldn’t stop them.

Not the way Murray was shooting.

The Cavs tried several different defenders on Murray, who was hardly bothered.

“It never matters,” he said.

After a strong start, the Cavs have fallen near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.

“With the exception of Murray, we took some steps in the right direction,” Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff said.

Michael Porter Jr. added 22 points for the Nuggets. Jokic celebrated turning 26 with 16 points and 12 rebounds in getting his seventh triple-double this season.

A stopover in Cleveland was not originally part of Denver’s travel itinerary for a four-game trip. However, when the league postponed three San Antonio games — including one against the Cavs on Wednesday — earlier this week because of virus cases on the Spurs, the Nuggets were re-routed.

They made their first 12 shots, opened a 22-point lead in the second half and then let Murray close out the Cavs.

The Nuggets thrashed the Cavaliers on Feb. 10, beating them by 38 points and prompting Bickerstaff to criticize his players for being “embarrassed.” He expected a better effort in the rematch between the teams.

“I hope our guys respond,” he said 90 minutes before tip.

Cleveland played better, but didn’t have enough firepower to stay with the Nuggets.

Or Murray.

TIP-INS

Nuggets: F JaMychal Green injured his left shoulder running through a pick in the first minute. … Green was starting for Paul Millsap, who sat out his third game in a row with a sprained left knee. … Jokic is the Nuggets’ first All-Star starter since Carmelo Anthony in 2011 and the third Denver player since 1976-77 to be selected to three consecutive games, joining Alex English and David Thompson. Jokic learned of his All-Star nod while the team was having dinner Thursday night. Coach Michael Malone was moved by the “genuine excitement” everyone felt for Jokic, who is posting career highs across the board.

Cavaliers: F Taurean Prince missed his second straight game with a sprained left ankle. … F Kevin Love (strained calf) took part in practices the past few days and is nearing a return after missing most of the season. He’s been out since Dec. 27. … Cleveland’s starters did not record a rebound in the first quarter.

MORE MURRAY

Murray’s 84% shooting is the second-highest percentage for a player scoring 50 points. Only Wilt Chamberlain’s 87% in 1967 was better.

UP NEXT

Nuggets: Continue what became a five-game trip Sunday at Charlotte.

Cavaliers: Host Oklahoma City on Sunday.

The Denver Nuggets’ Jamal Murray (27) drives to the basket against the Cavaliers’ Cedi Osman during Friday night’s game in Cleveland. (AP Photo)





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