Aaron Gordon scored 24 points, Nikola Jokic had 13 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists, and the host Denver Nuggets beat the Memphis Grizzlies 105-91 on Tuesday night.
Bruce Brown scored 16 points, Christian Braun had 13 points and Bones Hyland and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 12 apiece for Denver, which won for the fifth time in six games.
The Nuggets played without guard Jamal Murray, who was dealing with soreness in his surgically repaired left knee. Murray shot 2-for-11 in a win over the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday while dealing with the knee ailment.
Ja Morant had a game-high 35 points to go with 10 assists, Dillon Brooks scored 11, Brandon Clarke had 10 and Steven Adams grabbed 10 rebounds for Memphis, which has lost two straight since a seven-game winning streak.
Denver raced out to a 17-4 lead in the first 5:33 of the game and increased it to 23-8 on a free throw by Gordon. It was 28-14 before Hyland made a layup and a 3-pointer and Zeke Nnaji made two free throws to put the Nuggets up 35-14 after the first quarter.
Watch every dime from a night of RIDICULOUS Nikola Jokic assists ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/DSwUU0kJDX
— NBA (@NBA) December 21, 2022
Jeff Green opened the second with a flying dunk to give Denver a 23-point lead and prompt Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins to call a timeout 22 seconds into the quarter.
The Grizzlies responded and got the deficit down to 14 points twice, but Denver increased its lead to 18 before Morant hit a 3-pointer with 32 seconds left to make it 55-40 at halftime.
Morant came out strong in the third quarter, scoring six points and assisting on another basket to get Memphis within 62-53. Jokic hit a 3-pointer and fed Braun for a dunk before Caldwell-Pope dunked off a block to make it 69-53.
Vlatko Cancar and Braun hit 3-pointers to get the lead back to 20 with 3:34 left in the third quarter. The Grizzlies went on a 12-2 run to climb within 10, and they trailed 84-71 entering the fourth.
Memphis got within 10 in the first minute of the fourth and then made it 92-84 with 6:22 left. Gordon answered with a dunk and a corner 3-pointer to put the Nuggets ahead by 13.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.