NBA: Jamal Murray’s first triple-double helps Nuggets pound Pacers
Aaron Gordon scored 28 points, Jamal Murray had 17 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds for his first career triple-double and the host Denver Nuggets beat the Indiana Pacers 134-111 on Friday night.
Denver, with star Nikola Jokic sitting out due to left hamstring tightness, earned its ninth consecutive victory overall and its 16th straight at home.
Michael Porter Jr. scored 19 points, Bruce Brown had 17 and Christian Braun and DeAndre Jordan had 10 each for the Nuggets.
Jeff Green returned to the Denver lineup after missing a month with a hand injury and scored six points in 18 minutes. Bones Hyland didn’t play in the second half due to a sprained finger.
Nuggets head coach Michael Malone was out due to health and safety protocol for the third straight game. Assistant David Adelman served as acting head coach.
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Bennedict Mathurin scored 19 points, Chris Duarte had 18, Myles Turner added 15 and Aaron Nesmith put up 13 for Indiana, which lost its sixth straight game.
The Pacers rallied from 16 down in the first half to trail by eight at halftime, and it was 65-59 early in the third before Denver pulled away. Gordon split a pair of free throws and made a layup to start the run. Porter hit a 3-pointer and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made a 14-footer that gave the Nuggets a 74-61 lead.
Denver increased the gap to 20 on a 3-pointer by Zeke Nnaji with 5:41 left in the quarter, but Indiana rallied again. Turner had a put-back dunk, Mathurin converted a three-point play and Duarte had a 3-pointer and two free throws to spark a 12-2 run that made it 86-76.
Denver responded with a strong finish to the quarter. Murray assisted on alley-oops to Braun and Caldwell-Pope, Brown had two steals that led to a dunk and a layup and Jordan dunked to help the Nuggets take a 99-82 lead into the fourth.
It was a 17-point game after Duarte hit a 3-pointer early in the final period, and Denver continued to build its lead, going up by as many as 30 late in the fourth while cruising to the win.