Nikola Jokic double-double helps Denver Nuggets cruise past Oklahoma City Thunder, while Donovan Mitchell leads Utah Jazz to victory over New Orleans Pelicans for sixth straight win – live coverage continues with Miami Heat @ Toronto Raptors on Sky Sports Main Event & Arena from 12.30am
Nikola Jokic led the way yet again for the Denver Nuggets as they continued their back-and-forth run of results by beating the Oklahoma City Thunder, while Donovan Mitchell saw to the Utah Jazz extending their win streak to a league-best six games with victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.
Oklahoma City Thunder 101-119 Denver Nuggets
Jokic had 27 points and 12 rebounds alongside Paul Millsap’s 13 points and a season-high 12 rebounds as the Nuggets beat the Thunder 119-101.
Monte Morris scored 15 points off the Denver bench while Will Barton scored 13 points, Gary Harris and PJ Dozier added 11 apiece and JaMychal Green had 10 points and eight rebounds.
The Nuggets outscored the Thunder 66-43 in the second and third quarters, then rested their starters in the fourth.
Luguentz Dort led Oklahoma City with 20 points followed by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander with 14, Darius Bazley 12 and Isaiah Roby 10 to go with nine rebounds for the Thunder, who lost for the third time in four games.
Denver led by 13 early in the third quarter before pulling away. Millsap sank a three-pointer, and after the teams exchanged hoops, Harris made his triple from the wing to put the Nuggets up 75-56. Two turnovers and a trio of buckets by Oklahoma City cut the deficit to 13 again, but Denver started to put the game away.
Morris, Barton and Millsap (twice) made short shots, Morris answered a three-pointer by Roby with one of his own and Harris’ dunk put the Nuggets ahead 88-67. Gilgeous-Alexander and Jokic traded two baskets each, Harris hit a long three-pointer and Morris scored on a layup to help the Nuggets carry a 97-74 lead into the fourth quarter.
Green opened the final period with five consecutive Denver points before Dozier hit a three-pointer and Green landed a 26-foot jumper to put the Nuggets ahead 113-84 with 6:38 left. Denver then coasted from there.
New Orleans Pelicans 102-118 Utah Jazz
Mitchell scored 28 points and the Jazz blew open a close game in the third quarter to cruise to their sixth win in a row, beating the Pelicans 118-102 in Salt Lake City.
Mitchell was one of six Jazz players with multiple three-pointers, hitting four of Utah’s 21 treys. Joe Ingles (five), Jordan Clarkson (four), Bojan Bogdanovic (three), Royce O’Neale (two) and Georges Niang (two) also had more than one triple for Utah, who shot 50.6 per cent overall and 44.7 percent from beyond the arc.
The Pelicans, who lost for the sixth time in seven games, only made six of 26 three-point attempts (23.1 per cent) and 45.3 per cent from the floor overall.
New Orleans star Zion Williamson had another strong showing but didn’t get enough help. Williamson finished with 32 points and five rebounds. Brandon Ingram was the only other New Orleans player in double figures, contributing 17 points.
Clarkson scored 18 off the bench for the Jazz, Ingles added 15 in his return from a three-game absence caused by an Achilles injury, and Rudy Gobert amassed 13 points, 18 rebounds and three blocked shots.
The Jazz led for most of the first half, but the Pelicans took a 47-46 lead as Ingram capped an 11-0 run. Clarkson hit a three-pointer to snap Utah’s scoreless skid as the Jazz finished the half on a 9-2 run for a 55-49 lead.
Utah busted the game open in the third quarter, outscoring the Pelicans 36-20. After missing three games with a knee injury, New Orleans guard Lonzo Ball scored seven points on three-of-10 shooting in 23 minutes. He missed all six of his three-point attempts, however, was the only Pelicans starter with a positive plus-minus rating (plus-6).
Gobert got things going for Utah in the decisive third quarter with a dunk before the Jazz kept the pressure on New Orleans on the defensive end to finish the period on a 9-0 run.