Sports

Jokic, Nuggets rout Blazers for fifth straight win


Nikola Jokic

Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets runs down the court during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Ball Arena on November 14, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. Justin Tafoya/Getty Images/AFP

Nikola Jokic had 28 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, Bones Hyland scored 18 points, and the host Denver Nuggets beat the shorthanded Portland Trail Blazers 124-95 on Sunday night.

Monte Morris finished with 15 points, Facundo Campazzo 13, and P.J. Dozier and JaMychal Green 12 each for Denver, which has won five straight and spoiled the homecoming of Blazers coach Chauncey Billups, a former Nuggets player.

Portland guard Damian Lillard was out with what the team called an abdominal injury that he has dealt with in the past and that he aggravated Tuesday at the Los Angeles Clippers.

CJ McCollum scored 21, Anfernee Simons had 16 points and Nassir Little and Norman Powell finished with 13 apiece for the Blazers.

Denver was without guard Will Barton because of lower-back tightness. He dressed for the game but went to the locker room before the contest started and was officially ruled out at halftime.

The Nuggets grabbed a 21-6 lead with 3:30 left in the first quarter. Portland got within 24-13 later in the period, but Denver closed the period on a 9-4 run to take a 33-18 lead into the second.

It was a 14-point lead late in the second when the Blazers made a run to get within 58-49, but Denver stretched its lead again. Jokic’s 3-pointer from the top of the arc with 0.2 seconds left gave the Nuggets a 67-53 lead at halftime.

Jokic hit a 3-pointer and a jumper out of halftime to increase Denver’s lead to 72-56. Simons made a finger roll, but Gordon hit a jumper and Morris scored on a layup to put the Nuggets ahead 76-58.

Portland was down by 17 but got within 88-79 late in the third on a tip-in by Cody Zeller. Dozier drained a 3-pointer to put Denver back in front by 12 entering the fourth.

The Nuggets scored the first eight points of the final period to take a 98-79 lead with 9:45 left. Portland hit two straight, but a trio of 3-pointers made it 109-83, and Denver closed it out.

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