Porter scores 31 points, Nuggets knock off Grizzlies 120-96

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·3 min read
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DENVER — Michael Porter Jr. erupted for 31 points courtesy of a torrid shooting night, Paul Millsap added nine of his 12 points in the fourth quarter and the short-handed Denver Nuggets beat the Memphis Grizzlies 120-96 on Monday.

Nikola Jokic finished with 24 points and 15 rebounds for his league-leading 53rd double-double to help the Nuggets knock off Memphis for a sixth straight time at home. The Grizzlies’ last win in the Mile High City was Feb. 26, 2017.

Porter was 12 of 19 from the floor, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range.

Denver pulled away early in the fourth quarter on the strength of a 12-0 run in which PJ Dozier (five points) and Millsap (seven) accounted for all the scoring.

From there, the Nuggets coasted to their sixth win in seven games.

Ja Morant added 27 points to lead the Grizzlies, who finished a seven-game trip with a 4-3 mark.

The Nuggets were without Monte Morris and Will Barton due to right hamstring ailments. They were already missing Jamal Murray, who’s sidelined for the season with a torn ACL. Gone with the trio was 44.2 points a game and 11.2 assists.

Aaron Gordon helped pick up the slack with 15 points.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone didn’t mince words when asked about the difference between the teams from a week ago, when the Nuggets beat the Grizzlies 139-137 in double overtime.

“They are a lot healthier,” Malone said. “We are not.”

In that game, Memphis was missing Jonas Valanciunas, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Dillon Brooks. On Monday night, Valanciunas finished with 13 points, Jackson 10 and Brooks nine despite foul trouble.

TIP-INS

Grizzlies: Jackson and Kyle Anderson each had seven rebounds. ... Morant had six assists and six boards.

Nuggets: F JaMychal Green picked up a technical in the fourth quarter.

RAH-RAH MCGEE

Nuggets centre JaVale McGee has found a way to chip in even when he’s not playing — as a cheerleader on the bench. It resonates with Malone.

“His energy, his positivity, supporting guys whether he’s playing or not, his voice in the locker room, has just been really fun to watch,” Malone said. "I appreciate it so much and I’ve told him that.”

ROAD SCHOLARS, PART I

Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins has seen his team’s cohesion blossom even more on this long trip.

“We talk about these great growth opportunities, and our guys are relishing this opportunity,” Jenkins said. “The biggest takeaway? The togetherness of this team is getting more entrenched.”

UP NEXT

Grizzlies: Kick off a brief two-game homestand Wednesday against Portland. Memphis beat the Trail Blazers in successive games last weekend.

Nuggets: Host Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday. Denver is 1-1 against the Pelicans this season, including a 113-108 win on March 26 at New Orleans.

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Pat Graham, The Associated Press