NBA regular season

Nuggets blast Mavericks despite quiet night from Nikola Jokic


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Nuggets blast Mavericks despite quiet night from Nikola Jokic

Dec 18, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon (50) reacts with center Nikola Jokic (15) in the third quarter against the Dallas Mavericks at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Jamal Murray and Aaron Gordon pick up the slack amid an 8-point Nikola Jokic effort as the Denver Nuggets hand a 26-point beatdown to the Dallas Mavericks

Jamal Murray scored 22 points, Aaron Gordon tied his season high with 21 points and the host Denver Nuggets beat the Dallas Mavericks 130-104 on Monday night (Tuesday, December 19, Manila time).

Reggie Jackson had 20 points, Zeke Nnaji scored 14 and Julian Strawther contributed 12 for Denver.

Nikola Jokic finished with eight points on 3-for-8 shooting to go along with nine rebounds and seven assists. It is the third time this season he has failed to score in double figures, but he was ejected before halftime in each of the other two games where he didn’t score at least 10 points.

Luka Doncic scored 28 of his 38 points in the first half and added 11 rebounds and eight assists in the game for Dallas. Doncic continued his torrid December and is averaging 36.6 points, 11.6 assists and 9.3 rebounds this month.

Dante Exum added 11 points for the Mavericks.

Doncic had only six points in the first quarter but seemingly couldn’t miss in the second. He went 8-for-9 from the field in the period, going 6-for-7 from beyond the arc en route to 22 points.

The Nuggets were able to win the quarter despite Dallas opening the frame with a 9-2 run to get within 30-29. Nine of the 10 Nuggets who played in the quarter scored, and the only one who didn’t was Jokic, who did not attempt a shot or free throw. Still, Denver led 68-59 at halftime.

Murray scored Denver’s first seven points of the third quarter to push the advantage to 75-63. Two free throws by Doncic and a layup by Grant Williams cut the Mavericks’ deficit to 77-70, but Murray drained a trey to spark a run that got the Nuggets’ lead back to 12 with 5:34 remaining until the fourth.

Later, the Mavericks didn’t score for nearly four minutes, and the Nuggets took advantage. Michael Porter Jr. scored off an offensive rebound, Christian Braun hit a layup and Gordon and Peyton Watson hit 3-pointers to give Denver a 94-74 lead late in the third.

Jackson’s fadeaway jumper gave the Nuggets a 98-80 lead heading into the fourth.

Jackson began the final 12 minutes with a layup, Strawther hit a pullup 3-pointer and Watson drained another triple during a 13-4 run to open the fourth and put the game out of reach. –

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