Nikola Jokic logged his second triple-double of the young season as the host Denver Nuggets beat the Utah Jazz 110-102 on Monday night.
Jokic amassed 27 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, helping the reigning champion Nuggets improve to 4-0. Aaron Gordon contributed 21 points and seven rebounds, and Jamal Murray added 18 points and 14 assists.
Lauri Markkanen had 27 points and 14 rebounds, Walker Kessler scored 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, Talen Horton-Tucker put up 16 points, John Collins chipped in with 15 points and Collin Sexton had 12 for Utah. The Jazz took their third loss in four games.
Denver led 85-74 after Christian Braun hit a 3-pointer early in the fourth, but Sexton answered from deep, Murray turned the ball over and Sexton hit another 3-pointer to make it 85-80 with 9:07 left.
After a timeout, Jokic hit a shot in the lane, Markkanen had a shot blocked and Braun made a layup. After a Sexton layup, Jokic fed Gordon for a dunk and then Gordon made it 93-82 with another dunks.
The Jazz pulled within 100-93 on a three-point play by Kessler with 3:09 left, but Murray hit a 3-pointer from the wing to give the Nuggets a 10-point lead.
Utah made one last push to get within 106-100, but Denver held on.
The Nuggets led by 13 at halftime and quickly stretched the margin at the start of the third quarter. Jokic hit a 16-footer and a hook shot to make it 62-45 before Utah went on an 8-2 run to get within 11 with 7:19 left in the period.
Markkanen drained a 3-pointer that trimmed Denver’s lead to 69-61 with 5:41 remaining in the third. The Nuggets stretched the advantage back to 11 heading into the fourth.
Denver led by nine early in the game, the Jazz cut it to two points, and the lead was 10 after the first quarter. A 3-pointer by Murray early in the second gave the Nuggets a 38-24 lead, but Utah got within 40-33 on two free throws from Kelly Olynyk.
Jokic scored the last five points of the second, including a 3-pointer from the top of the circle, to give Denver a 58-45 halftime lead.
–Field Level Media
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