Jokic and Murray lead Nuggets to 129-113 win over Rockets

DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic had 32 points and 12 rebounds, Jamal Murray scored a season-high 31, and the Denver Nuggets beat the Houston Rockets 129-113 on Monday night.

The win was the Nuggets’ third straight after a home loss last Tuesday to lowly Detroit.

“I also know that this team has another level, another equipment that we can access,” Denver coach Michael Malone said. “Knowing we had eight new guys coming in, knowing we were bringing back a Jamal Murray and a Michael Porter, that wasn’t going to happen in the first 20 games, especially with all the injuries and COVID illnesses we had early on. When you take into account the lack of continuity, the calendar, the injuries and the different formations, I’m incredibly proud of our group for being where we are.

Jokic and Murray combined to shoot 64.7% from the field. It was the third time in the last four games that Jokic scored more than 30 points. He finished two assists short of his fourth triple-double this season.

Murray, one of the best outside shooters in the NBA, was 11 of 17 from the floor and emptied four of his eight 3-pointers after knocking down just 12 of 33 field goal attempts in two games since returning from protocols. health and safety last Tuesday.

“I just missed the open shots,” Murray said. “Even the ones I tried to create, I just felt like I let us down because I didn’t create them. When I take them, I expect to do them. It was frustrating when I was shooting and missing shots that everyone used to do.”

Malone thinks Murray has a chance to be “an NBA-type player.”

“To do that, the scoring, the rebounds, the play and, above all, the defense have to be there every night. But I think he’s really finding his attacking rhythm and his confidence. I’m happy for him. I care about Jamal. It’s been a long journey for this kid,” Malone said.

The Nuggets outshot Houston 62-42 in the paint. Zeke Nnaji tied a season high with 15 points off the bench.

Alperen Sengun led five Rockets in double figures with 18 points.

Houston (5-15) has the worst record in the Western Conference, but had won three of its previous five games.

Murray’s 3 with 4:33 left in the third quarter extended the Nuggets’ lead to 96-84 and capped a 15-4 run. After the Rockets moved seven points closer, Denver scored the final eight points of the period, which ended with Nnaji’s 3 at the buzzer.

The Nuggets’ lead grew to 20 in the fourth quarter.

“I feel like we put a lot of energy into that third,” Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. said. feel like we just ran out of gas this third quarter.

TIPS

Nuggets: G Bones Hyland missed his third straight game with a non-COVID-19 illness. Hyland, a first-round pick in his second year with the team, is averaging 15 points per game this season. … F Michael Porter Jr. didn’t play as he continues to deal with a bruised left heel. It was the third game in a row that he missed. Malone said Porter “will come back when he’s ready.” Porter is averaging 16.4 points, tied for third on the team.

Rockets: G Jalen Green had 17 points and seven assists. … With his father, former Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin, present, F Kenyon Martin Jr. had 15 points.

NEXT

The teams play in Denver again on Wednesday night.

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




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