Jokic has 100th triple-double; Nuggets down Rockets 133-112
HOUSTON (AP) — Nikola Jokic recorded his 100th career triple-double and Jamal Murray had 32 points as the Denver Nuggets coasted to a 133-112 victory over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.
Jokic had 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his NBA-leading 24th triple-double this season and his 15th in the last 20 games. The Nuggets have won each game in which he’s had a triple-double this season and 28 straight dating back to last season.
Jokic needed just three quarters to become the sixth player in league history with 100 triple-doubles, with the big man sitting out the entire fourth with the game out of hand.
The hapless Rockets were done in by a balanced scoring attack by the Nuggets, a game after allowing Damian Lillard to score a career-high 71 points in a loss to the Trail Blazers on Sunday.
Michael Porter Jr. added 17 points and Bruce Brown had 15 off the bench to help the Nuggets to their second consecutive victory and sixth in the last seven games.
Jalen Green had 17 points in his return after missing two games with a strained left groin and rookie Tari Eason also scored 17 as the Rockets dropped their 10th in a row.
Denver, which leads the Western Conference, never trailed and dominated Houston for most of the night. The Nuggets led by as many as 26 and were up 106-84 entering the fourth quarter.
Denver was up by 20 with about nine minutes left when coach Michael Malone took the rest of his starters out and cleared the bench.
The Nuggets were up by 20 at halftime and had stretched the lead to 86-60 with about 8 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter after a 6-0 run, with the last four points from Porter. The Rockets then went on an 11-5 run, powered by seven points from Green, to get within 91-71 midway through the quarter.
Denver got going again after that, using an 8-2 spurt to make it 99-73 a couple of minutes later.
Nuggets: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 14 points and six assists. ...Aaron Gordon scored 11 with five assists and seven rebounds. ...Denver made 16 3-pointers.
Rockets: Coach Stephen Silas said Kevin Porter Jr. is expected to return Wednesday night after missing 20 games with a bruised toe. … Boban Marjanovic delighted the home crowd when he came in late in the fourth quarter and scored eight points. ...Eason led the team with 12 rebounds.
Nuggets: Host Memphis Friday night.
Rockets: Host Memphis Wednesday night. ___
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Kristie Rieken, The Associated Press