Nikola Jokic guides Nuggets to rout of Grizzlies

League: NBA

Posted on: 26 Mar, 2024 at 04:47 AM

Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Nikola Jokic produced 29 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in his return from a one-game absence and the host Denver Nuggets beat the struggling Memphis Grizzlies 128-103 on Monday night.

Christian Braun scored 17 points, Reggie Jackson had 15 points, Julian Strawther scored 14 points and Michael Porter Jr. and Justin Holiday finished with 11 each for Denver (51-21), which is 15-2 since the All-Star break.

Peyton Watson finished with 10 points and nine rebounds for the Nuggets, who lead the Western Conference by one game over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Lamar Stevens scored 19 points off the bench, Scotty Pippen Jr. scored 17, Desmond Bane and GG Jackson finished with 15 points each, and Jaren Jackson Jr. posted 11 for the Grizzlies (24-48). Memphis lost for the fifth time in six games.

Both teams were without key pieces. Memphis didn't have Luke Kennard and Yuta Watanabe for personal reasons. Denver played without Jamal Murray (ankle) for the second straight game and Aaron Gordon sat due to plantar fasciitis.

The Nuggets led 39-24 after the first quarter and expanded the gap in the second. The Grizzlies scored the first two buckets of the period before Denver hit four straight free throws and Strawther and Jackson soon added consecutive 3-pointers to push the lead to 49-29.

It was still a 20-point game after Pippen drained a 3-pointer, but Porter hit a pair from deep, Braun dunked and hit a layup and Jokic made a 3-pointer to give the Nuggets a 67-38 lead late in the second quarter.

Denver led 69-44 at halftime, and the advantage grew to 28 early in the third quarter before Memphis made a run.

Pippen and Jaren Jackson Jr. sank treys, GG Jackson scored seven quick points and Bane dunked off a steal to cut the lead to 81-66 midway through the third quarter.

The Nuggets settled down and outscored the Grizzlies 18-10 the rest of the quarter and coasted to the win in the fourth quarter with Jokic sitting on the bench.

--Field Level Media