Nikola Jokic has 42 points and 12 rebounds, Nuggets beat Wizards 113-104


WASHINGTON — Nikola Jokic had 42 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists and the defending champion Denver Nuggets beat the Washington Wizards 113-104 on Sunday night.

Jokic was 15 of 20 from the field and made 12 of 14 free throws. He also blocked three shots.

“Nikola was phenomenal tonight from beginning to end,” Nuggets coach Mike Malone said. “He continues to illustrate why he’s the player that he is.”

Jamal Murray added 19 points, seven assists and five rebounds, and Michael Porter Jr. had 19 points and six rebounds. Aaron Gordon had 11 points and 10 rebounds.

”It’s tough. They do a great job playing off of him. They’ve got shooting, they’ve got great athletes,” Wizards guard Tyus Jones said about Jokic. “Him and Jamal are a great one-two tandem, so it provides a great challenge. It’s super unique and he’s just extremely unselfish and I think that that’s what really makes it so hard to stop.”

Daniel Gafford returned to Washington’s starting lineup after sitting out the last two games because of a concussion. He scored 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting to go along with seven rebounds.

“It was good having Gaff back,” Jones said. “Obviously, his presence in the paint is huge for us. Just his fight, his grit, is big for us.”

Marvin Bagley III had 14 points and seven rebounds and Landry Shamet also had 14 points.

Washington has lost four in a row. But the seven-win Wizards proved to be a pesky opponent all night.

“That’s what happens when you’re the reigning world champs,” Malone said. “You have to be up for those games because you know you’re going to be getting everybody’s best.”

While Washington was able to make it a one-point game on a couple of occasions, Denver led by 13 before taking a 62-52 lead into the break. Denver stretched the lead early in the third quarter and took an 89-78 advantage into the fourth.

When Jokic was at the line to hit his final free throws to close out the game, the fans left in the road arena began to chant “M-V-P! M-V-P!”

“That’s unique,” Malone said. “It doesn’t happen very often, so I think it’s just recognizing greatness. Here’s a guy who was a two-time MVP as a second round draft pick that brought a franchise its first world championship in history, and he’s a Finals MVP as well.”

UP NEXT

Nuggets: At Indiana on Tuesday night.

Wizards: Host Minnesota on Wednesday night.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba



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