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Nikola Jokic had 35 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists, rookie Julian Strawther scored a career-best 21 points, and the Denver Nuggets rallied from down 20 to rout the New Orleans Pelicans 134-116 on Monday night (Tuesday, November 7, Manila time).
It was Jokic’s 108th career triple-double, fourth on the all-time list.
Michael Porter Jr. had 22 points and nine rebounds, Aaron Gordon finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 15 for Denver.
Rookie Jordan Hawkins scored a career-high 31 points, Brandon Ingram added 22 points, Zion Williamson had 20 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists and Matt Ryan chipped in 17 off the bench for the Pelicans.
Both teams were missing a key player. New Orleans guard CJ McCollum was out after an MRI on Sunday revealed he had a collapsed lung and would likely miss multiple games.
The Nuggets were without Jamal Murray, who suffered a right hamstring injury in Saturday night’s win over Chicago.
Murray was hurt in the second quarter and didn’t return. Head coach Michael Malone said the hamstring was not “a one- or two-game injury, this is something that will be longer than we would like.”
Denver led by seven after three quarters and extended the lead to 13 on a 3-pointer by Strawther. The Pelicans cut it to 113-106 but Jokic hit a layup, Porter drained four free throws and then threw down an alley-oop from Jokic to seal it.
The Nuggets surged at the start of the third quarter and got within 76-71 on a couple of 3-pointers and two free throws by Reggie Jackson.
Denver went ahead 82-80 when Jokic converted a three-point play and Caldwell-Pope made a technical free throw. They stretched the lead to 90-82 on Collin Gillespie’s 3-pointer that gave Jokic a triple-double and took a 99-92 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Pelicans were hot in the first half, hitting 59.6 percent from the field and making 10 of 17 shots from behind the arc to go ahead 61-41 on a four-point play from Ryan.
Denver trimmed the deficit to 71-59 at halftime. – Rappler.com