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Mar 31, 2024 6:11 pm

Nikola Jokic strikes again; triple-double leads Nuggets past Cavs

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Nikola Jokic had 26 points, 18 rebounds and 16 assists, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored a season-high 22 points, and the host Denver Nuggets beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 130-101 on Sunday.

Reggie Jackson and Michael Porter Jr. scored 19 points each and Christian Braun had 10 for Denver (52-23), which snapped a two-game home losing streak.

Jokic has 23 triple-doubles this season and 128 in his career.

The Nuggets played without guard Jamal Murray for the fifth straight game with right knee and ankle soreness. Murray has missed 21 total games with various injuries.

Evan Mobley led Cleveland with 23 points, Jarrett Allen had 19, Caris LeVert 15 points and Donovan Mitchell 13 in his second game back after missing six in a row with a broken nose.

The Cavaliers, who have lost eight of their last 12 games, were without forward Dean Wade, who missed his seventh game in a row because of a sprained right knee. He missed a handful of games prior to that due to personal reasons, and he is not on the five-game road trip that continues in Utah on Tuesday night.

Cleveland (45-30) led by four midway through the second quarter before Denver got rolling. Jokic’s three-point play put the Nuggets ahead 46-45, and Braun gave them a lift with seven points in two minutes.

Denver took a 65-56 lead into the intermission.

The Nuggets increased their advantage in the third quarter behind Jokic’s play when he had 10 points, five rebounds and five assists. He got his triple-double when he fed Aaron Gordon for an alley-oop that made it 85-66 midway through the period.

The lead grew to 27 points when Jokic assisted on Justin Holiday’s 3-ponter with 1:35 left, and Denver took a 101-77 lead into the fourth.

Caldwell-Pope got a technical at the end of the third and Gordon picked up another early in the fourth. That allowed Cleveland to make a brief run to start the fourth and get within 101-81, but the Cavaliers never threatened to get back into the game.

–Field Level Media

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