NBA regular season

MVP form: Jokic drops huge 27-22-12 triple-double as Nuggets blast Blazers


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MVP form: Jokic drops huge 27-22-12 triple-double as Nuggets blast Blazers

MVP. Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) reacts after a play in the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Nikola Jokic flashes vintage MVP as the Denver Nuggets rally past the Portland Trail Blazers

Nikola Jokic had 27 points, a season-high 22 rebounds and 12 assists as the host Denver Nuggets beat the Portland Trail Blazers 120-108 on Friday night (Saturday, February 3, Manila time).

Jokic, who sat out the Nuggets’ loss at Oklahoma City on Wednesday due to lower back pain, notched his 15th triple-double of the season by the end of the third quarter. It was his 120th career triple-double in the regular season.

Aaron Gordon added 18 points for Denver, and Jamal Murray just missed out on a triple-double, finishing with 13 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 16 points, Peyton Watson added 14 and Michael Porter Jr. and Reggie Jackson contributed 13 points apiece as the Nuggets won for the third time in four games.

Rookie Scoot Henderson led Portland with 30 points. Anfernee Simons scored 29, Malcolm Brogdon had 11 points, eight rebounds and six assists and Toumani Camara and Duop Reath scored 10 apiece. The Blazers had their two-game winning streak snapped.

Portland trailed by eight entering the fourth but quickly made it 92-88 before the Nuggets stretched the lead. Murray assisted Watson for a corner 3-pointer that gave Denver a 103-93 lead.

The Blazers kept it close, cutting the deficit to 106-99 on two free throws from Henderson, but Watson hit another from deep and Jokic scored on a short bank shot to put the Nuggets ahead by 12 with 4:34 left, and the hosts closed it out.

Portland missed 12 of its first 13 shots and 17 of 20 but trailed just 22-14 late in the first quarter. Denver’s lead was 33-20 entering the second, but the Blazers rallied to take their first lead at 41-40.

The lead changed hands several times before the Nuggets took a 59-55 edge into halftime.

Denver built up the lead in the third quarter, going ahead 78-65 on Gordon’s dunk, but Portland chipped away behind Simons. He made a pair of step-back 3-pointers and two midrange jumpers to get Portland within 86-77 late in the third.

The Nuggets extended the lead to 12 late in the period and took a 92-84 edge into the fourth. –

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