NBA regular season

Nikola Jokic, Nuggets decimate Grizzlies as Ja Morant sits out

Reuters

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Nikola Jokic, Nuggets decimate Grizzlies as Ja Morant sits out

STAR TANDEM. Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) and guard Jamal Murray (27) react on the bench during the fourth quarter against the Memphis Grizzlies at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray make light work of the Ja Morant-less Memphis Grizzlies as the Denver Nuggets roll to their sixth straight win

Nikola Jokic had 26 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists for his 11th triple-double of the season, Jamal Murray finished with 23 points and nine assists and the host Denver Nuggets beat the Memphis Grizzlies 142-105 on Thursday night (Friday, December 29, Manila time).

Peyton Watson scored a career-high 20 points, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Julian Strawther contributed 12 points each and Christian Braun added 11 for the Nuggets.

Denver earned its season-high sixth win in a row despite not having Aaron Gordon, who sustained lacerations on his face and hands due to dog bites on Christmas.

Desmond Bane scored 23 points, Marcus Smart had 17 points, David Roddy finished with 15 points and Jaren Jackson Jr. added 14 points for Memphis, which played without Ja Morant. The star guard was sidelined due to an illness.

Morant returned from a 25-game suspension to start the season and led the Grizzlies to four straight wins prior to the Thursday loss in his absence. He is averaging 28.8 points since his debut on Dec. 19.

Memphis led by eight early in the game but the Nuggets went on a 17-5 run to go ahead 24-20 late in the first quarter. Smart’s 10-foot jumper gave the Grizzlies a 27-26 lead, but Denver scored the last seven points to go ahead 33-27 at the end of the period.

The Nuggets built on that momentum and scored the first nine points of the second to complete a 16-0 run and lead 42-27 with 9:10 left in the half. The Grizzlies answered with 10 straight points and crept within 45-41 midway through, but Denver ended the quarter strong.

Murray and Caldwell-Pope each hit a 3-pointer and a layup, Watson sank two free throws, Michael Porter Jr. drained one from deep, Murray hit another 3-pointer and Jokic’s layup helped give the Nuggets a 65-48 lead at the half.

Murray opened the third quarter with a floater, Watson and Caldwell-Pope sank 3-pointers and Murray dunked to give Denver a 75-51 lead. The lead margin to 29 after Murray made a technical free throw and Watson made two from the line.

Memphis never got closer than 22 the rest of the way. – Rappler.com

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