Monday , July 26 2021

Jokic's latest triple-double extends Cavs' problems

Denver Center Nuggets Nikola Jokic (15) saves Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton (2) in the first quarter in the center of Pepsi. Isaiah J. Downing, USA TODAY Sports / Reuters

Nikola Jokic scored 19 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds, Jamal Murray scored 26 points, and host Denver Nuggets defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers by 124 to 102 on Saturday night.

Jokic recorded his sixth triple-double of the season and the fourth in January in just 28 minutes before being out of the fourth period.

Trey Lyles scored 16 points, Monte Morris 15 and Paul Millsap scored 14 points for the Nuggets, who closed their home four games to 3-1 with defeats of the two teams in the Eastern Conference, Chicago and Cleveland, after falling to the Golden State on Tuesday.

Ante Zizic had 23 points, Rodney Hood made 18 and Cedi Osman 17, for the Cavaliers, who lost three straight in a row and 15 of the last 16.

The Cavaliers, who also earned 13 points at Jordan Clarkson and 10 at Collin Sexton, host the Chicago Bulls on Monday afternoon.

Cleveland's only victory last month came against the Lakers in Los Angeles in the midst of their six-game trip.

The Cavaliers led in the middle of the first half, but Jokic hit three consecutive points to tie the game at 20 with 5:01 remaining. That caused a 23 to 7 run to end the period that gave the Denver a 37-25 lead over the second.

Denver opened a 20-point lead over Morris's 3-pointer in the middle of the second half, and Murray and Malik Beasley also scored from far to make the 60-36 with 4:17 remaining before the break.

Jokic hit a layup and Murray two free throws, and Denver had a 70-46 lead in the break.

Murray hit an 11-foot jumper that gave Jokic his 10th assist of the night, and he got the triple-double when he picked up Osman's failed 3-pointer with 3:29 in the third.

Jokic and most of Denver's regulars took the fourth quarter. Guard Gary Harris and striker Will Barton, who are suffering long periods of injury, were on the court during the clean-up to help recover them.

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