NBA: Nikola Jokic’s 25th triple-double sends Nuggets past Grizzlies
Nikola Jokic had 18 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists for his 25th triple-double of the season as the host Denver Nuggets beat the Memphis Grizzlies 113-97 on Friday night.
Jamal Murray had 22 points and nine assists and sparked a big fourth quarter for the first-place Nuggets, who increased their lead in the Western Conference to six games over the second-place Grizzlies.
Michael Porter Jr. amassed 26 points and eight rebounds, Bruce Brown had 15 points and Aaron Gordon scored 13 as Denver won for the seventh time in eight games.
The No. 1-seeded @nuggets win a battle against No. 2 Memphis behind big nights from Joker, Jamal and MPJ!
Porter Jr.: 26 PTS
Murray: 22 PTS, 9 AST
Jokic: 18 PTS, 18 REB, 10 AST pic.twitter.com/OBJubEaIHw
— NBA (@NBA) March 4, 2023
Ja Morant produced 27 points and 10 assists, Desmond Bane scored 19 points, Jaren Jackson Jr. added 15 points and Xavier Tillman finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Grizzlies. Memphis saw its three-game winning streak end.
Morant wore a mask to protect his nose, which sustained a nasal fracture at Houston on Wednesday night.
Memphis built an 11-point lead late in the second quarter. The Nuggets missed their first 11 3-point shots before Brown hit one with 3:24 left in the half.
Denver was able to get within five, but the Grizzlies took a 58-50 lead into the locker room.
The Nuggets trailed by nine in the third but rallied to tie it at 74 and went ahead 80-79 on Brown’s layup in the final minute, their first lead since early in the second quarter.
Morant split a pair of free throws to tie it 80-80 heading into the fourth.
Gordon converted a three-point play to open the fourth and Murray hit a 20-footer to give Denver a five-point lead.
Murray stayed hot, scoring on a finger roll, making two free throws and adding a driving layup. After Gordon made a pair of foul shots, Murray drove to the basket and passed out to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who drained a 3-pointer to make it 96-86 with 7:08 left.
Morant missed a floater out of a Memphis timeout, Jokic tipped in his own miss, Murray drained a 3-pointer and then Jokic completed his triple-double when he fed Porter for another shot from behind the arc.
Porter was fouled on the trey and made the free throw to put the Nuggets ahead by 19, and they closed it out.