Jokic's triple-double lifts Nuggets over Grizzlies 113-97
DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic had 18 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists for his 25th triple-double this season to lead the Denver Nuggets over the Memphis Grizzlies 113-97 Friday night in a showdown of the top two teams in the Western Conference.
Denver won the season series 2-1 and holds a six-game lead — five in the loss column — over Memphis for the top seed in the Western Conference. Sacramento is seven games back.
Michael Porter Jr. scored 26 points and Jamal Murray scored half of his 22 points in the fourth quarter for the Nuggets, who are 25-0 this season whe Jokic has a triple-double.
Ja Morant had 27 points and 10 assists for Memphis despite wearing a face mask due to a nasal fracture suffered at Houston on Wednesday night. Desmond Bane had 19 points, Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 15 and Xavier Tillman Sr. had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
The game was tied at 80 after three quarters, but the Nuggets outscored the Grizzlies 33-17 in the fourth. Murray had two layups, made a pair of free throws and fed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for a corner 3-pointer to give the Nuggets a 96-86 lead.
Murray’s 3-pointer and Porter’s four-point play — which secured Jokic’s 101st career triple-double — made it 105-86.
Denver missed its first 11 shots from 3-point range and didn’t get its first make until late in the second quarter.
Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke left in the final seconds of the first quarter with a left leg injury. Clarke missed a free throw and started limping as he went up the court and fell at halfcourt. He was helped to the locker room without putting weight on his left leg.
Grizzlies: Have held Denver to 42 and 50 points in the first half of their last two games. ... C Steven Adams missed his 16th straight game with a right knee sprain.
Nuggets: C Thomas Bryant was helped to the bench after suffering an injury under Memphis' basket in the third quarter.
Grizzlies: At the Clippers on Sunday night.
Nuggets: Host the Toronto Raptors on Monday night.
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Michael Kelly (), The Associated Press