AP

Nikola Jokic scores 27, Nuggets hold off Heat 112-108

Feb 13, 2023, 5:33 AM | Updated: 7:39 pm

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, center, loses control of the ball as Miami Heat forward Caleb M...

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, center, loses control of the ball as Miami Heat forward Caleb Martin (16) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 13, 2023, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

MIAMI (AP) — No team came into Monday night having allowed fewer points in the paint per game this season than Miami.

Nikola Jokic wasn’t bothered.

The two-time reigning MVP made the most of every opportunity, finishing with 27 points on 12-of-14 shooting and leading the Denver Nuggets past the Heat 112-108 — snapping Miami’s eight-game home winning streak.

“Nikola did what he does,” Denver coach Michael Malone said.

Jokic also had 12 rebounds and eight assists for Denver, which shot 58%. The Nuggets moved five games ahead of idle Memphis atop the Western Conference standings and joined Boston as the only teams to reach the 40-win mark this season.

“He’s a great player. He makes everybody around him better,” Miami’s Max Strus said. “They stepped up and made shots. Tough team to beat. Obviously, they’re No. 1 in the West for a reason.”

The Nuggets were 29 of 40 inside the paint, good for 58 points. Miami came into the night allowing an average of 44.9 paint points.

Michael Porter Jr. scored 17, Bruce Brown added 16, Jeff Green scored 12 and three Nuggets — Vlatko Cancar, Christian Braun and Thomas Bryant — each finished with 10 points.

“It speaks to the quality of our depth,” Malone said.

Jimmy Butler had 24 points, nine assists and eight rebounds for the Heat. Strus scored 23, Bam Adebayo had 19, Gabe Vincent 15 and Jamaree Bouyea added 10 for Miami.

Denver was without its second- and third-leading scorers — Jamal Murray (right knee inflammation) and Aaron Gordon (left rib contusion). It was the fifth consecutive game missed for Murray, and the third in a span of five games for Gordon.

Malone said “hopefully, maybe” they could return in Denver’s game against Dallas on Wednesday, the team’s finale before the All-Star break.

Brown, who played his college ball at Miami, made a 3-pointer with 9:07 left in the third to put Denver up 70-69 — and the Nuggets held the lead the rest of the way. Denver eventually led by as many as 10. Miami got within one point on three occasions from there.

“People don’t win here a lot, especially because there’s a lot of festivities, obviously,” Brown said. “But they’re also a great team … glad we got the win.”

It was the 40th double-double of the season for Jokic. Only Sacramento’s Domantas Sabonis, with 44, has more.

TIP-INS

Nuggets: Denver’s 40-18 record matches the best 58-game start in franchise history. The Nuggets also were 40-18 in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons. … Jokic got a technical with 16.7 seconds left in the half, arguing that he was fouled as he scored. It was his third technical of the season.

Heat: It was another close game for Miami. The Heat fell to 20-12 in games decided by five points or fewer. … Miami Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel was at the game. … The Heat do not play at home again until March 1. That’ll start a stretch where 12 of the final 20 Heat games are at home. … Kyle Lowry (left knee soreness) and Victor Oladipo (ankle) remained out. Tyler Herro also missed the game with a left knee bruise, suffered in Saturday’s win at Orlando.

BAM’S MOM

Marilyn Blount, Adebayo’s mother, presented her two-time All-Star son with a ball commemorating the accomplishment in a brief pregame ceremony.

JOKIC VS. JOVIC

Barring an NBA Finals meeting, the world will have to wait until next season for a Jokic vs. Jovic matchup. Heat rookie Nikola Jovic did not play in either Miami-Denver game this season. He’s currently out with a stress reaction in his lower back.

UP NEXT

Nuggets: Host Dallas on Wednesday.

Heat: Visit Brooklyn on Wednesday.

___

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.

AP

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

Nikola Jokic scores 27, Nuggets hold off Heat 112-108