NBA: Nikola Jokic, Nuggets beat Kyrie Irving-less Mavericks
Nikola Jokic had 14 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for his NBA-leading 21st triple-double, Jeff Green scored a season-high 24 points, and the host Denver Nuggets beat the Dallas Mavericks 118-109 on Wednesday night.
Michael Porter Jr. finished with 22 points, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 14, Vlatko Cancar added 12 and Bruce Brown 10 for the Nuggets.
Luka Doncic scored 37 points, Christian Wood netted 17, McKinley Wright IV finished with 11 and A.J. Lawson had 10 for Dallas, which played without Kyrie Irving.
Irving was out with lower back tightness, while Tim Hardaway Jr. missed his second straight game with right hamstring tightness. Before the game, Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said Irving should be able to participate in the All-Star Game on Sunday.
Denver was without Jamal Murray (right knee inflammation) for the sixth straight game and Aaron Gordon (left rib contusion) for the third consecutive game.
Peep some of the BEST footwork and finishes from Nikola Jokic's career so far 🎬 pic.twitter.com/ZnaYmOLjgX
— NBA (@NBA) February 16, 2023
The Nuggets led by one after the first quarter but dominated the second quarter. They opened the period on a 13-2 run, shot 69.6 percent for the period and held Dallas to 34.8 percent. Denver took a 61-44 into the locker room after Jokic’s layup with less than a second left.
Doncic’s 3-pointer cut the Mavericks’ deficit to 65-52 early in the third quarter, but Caldwell-Pope answered with a jumper behind the arc. The teams traded 3-pointers shortly thereafter, but Cancar’s layup and a steal and basket by Green made it 81-62.
Doncic and Lawson hit short jumpers and the Nuggets turned it over, but Dallas couldn’t convert on the other end.
A dunk by Green, a layup by Christian Braun and a 3-pointer from Green made it a 20-point game. Denver took a 92-74 lead into the fourth.
The Nuggets led 97-76 on a jumper by Ish Smith early in the fourth, but Wood’s 3-pointer capped a 12-1 run that made it a 10-point game. It stayed that way for three minutes when Jokic fed Green for a dunk and Porter hit his fifth 3-pointer to make it 110-95 with 4:44 left.
The Mavericks never threatened down the stretch.