Jokic, Murray help Nuggets top Mitchell-less Cavs 121-108

Jan 6, 2023, 6:46 AM | Updated: 9:32 pm

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, front left, is caught with the ball by Cleveland Cavaliers cent...

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, front left, is caught with the ball by Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen, back left, and forward Kevin Love in the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic had 28 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists, Jamal Murray scored 18 points in his first back-to-back games since knee surgery, and the Denver Nuggets took advantage of Donovan Mitchell’s absence to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 121-108 on Friday night.

Jokic hit 10 of 17 shots, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range in his NBA-leading 10th triple-double of the season.

“He sees things before they happen,” said Bruce Brown, who added 13 points.

Added Cleveland’s Kevin Love: “Jokic looks like he’s on the way to potentially a third (straight) MVP.”

Michael Porter Jr. scored 16 points for Denver, which shot 51.5% from the floor and hit 17 of 33 3-pointers in its 12th win in 15 games.

Caris LeVert scored 22 points and Darius Garland returned from a three-game absence to score 21 points for the Cavaliers, who had their three-game win streak snapped.

Mitchell sat out to rest four days after scoring 71 points in an overtime win over Chicago. Garland, who had a right thumb sprain, hit 8 of 20 shots while adding eight assists despite getting chopped on his thumb again.

But the Cavs were undone by Denver’s hot shooting and their own 18-for-32 performance from the foul line in the opener of a five-game trip.

“I don’t think we gave them our best shot,” Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “You don’t miss that many free throws if you’re locked in. … I don’t think we had the right approach to beat a team like that.”

The Nuggets overcame a second delay for a crooked rim at Ball Arena this week. The stoppage occurred with 11:22 left when Cavs players noticed the same rim that caused a 35-minute delay Sunday against Boston on Sunday was off again.

“Not again,” Jokic said when asked what he was thinking.

A crew returned with the same two orange ladders from Sunday and leveled the rim in just shy of 10 minutes.

“At least they fixed it fast this time,” Brown said.

Murray missed all of last season with a torn left ACL, and Nuggets coach Michael Malone called Murray playing on consecutive days “uncharted territory.” Murray only played 21 minutes Thursday as the starters rested much of the second half in a home rout of the Los Angeles Clippers.

“I’m just so proud of him,” Malone said. “It’s got to be close to 600 days since he’s played a back-to-back. This is a big, big step.”

Murray was key in a 13-4 run to start the third quarter that put Denver ahead to stay. After Jokic hit 3-pointers on the first two possessions, Murray had an acrobatic, one-handed rebound and put-back and his own 3.


Mitchell acknowledged “I didn’t have my legs” after shooting 6 of 20 from the field Wednesday. He played 50 minutes and took 34 shots in his 71-point game two days earlier.

“We’ve put a heavy toll on him. With Darius being out, he’s had to have the ball in his hands. His usage has been crazy. His minutes have been crazy,” Bickerstaff said on the reason to rest him. “Our goals is always to do what’s best for our guys and running him into the ground is not what’s best for him.”


Cavaliers: Bickerstaff said F Dean Wade, out since Dec. 2 with a left shoulder sprain, is close to returning. … G Ricky Rubio, recovering from a torn left ACL, has progressed to 5-on-5 play. … The Cavs had a season-high 11 offensive rebounds in the first half.

Nuggets: They’ve won 10 straight home games and are 16-3 at Ball Arena.


Cavaliers: At Phoenix on Sunday night.

Nuggets: Host the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night.


AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

Jokic, Murray help Nuggets top Mitchell-less Cavs 121-108