EditorsNote: Corrects Barton’s previous high in graf 3; slight tweaks in graf 2; corrects to first quarter (not half) in 8th graf; minor change in penultimate graf
Nikola Jokic scored a career-high 47 points, and Will Barton added a season-high 28 to help the visiting Denver Nuggets outlast the Atlanta Hawks 123-115 on Monday night.
Jokic was 16-for-25 from the field, with four of the made baskets 3-pointers, and surpassed his career previous high of 41 set against the Brooklyn Nets in 2017. His best previous output this season was 31 points against Memphis on Dec. 28. Jokic also had eight rebounds and five assists.
Barton went 12-for-20 from the field, including three 3-pointers, to eclipse his season-best 26 against Philadelphia on Dec. 10. He also added nine rebounds and five assists. Jokic and Barton combined to go 7 of 14 from 3-point range.
The victory broke Atlanta’s two-game winning streak against the Nuggets as the teams split their season series. The Nuggets are 2-2 on their current five-game road trip.
Atlanta got as close as 108-106 in the fourth quarter when Trae Young hit a 3-pointer with 4:25 left, but never again got any closer than three points.
Young paced Atlanta with 29 points, going 4 of 5 from 3-point range, and added 12 assists for his 11th double-double. Kevin Huerter added 22 points, going 6 of 8 from 3-point range, and added eight rebounds. John Collins scored 17 points.
Denver’s Jamal Murray scored 16, and Monte Morris came off the bench to add 14.
Jokic scored 18 points in the first quarter, but Atlanta led 31-29 on the strength of 11 points from Young. Jokic had 27 points by halftime, and the Nuggets, thanks to a 10-0 run, twice led by as many as 10 points before Atlanta cut the margin to 64-56 at intermission.
The Hawks got as close as 71-69 with 6:08 left in the third quarter when Huerter made a 3-pointer, but Jokic responded with a bucket and blocked Alex Len’s shot at the other end of the court. Jokic had 13 in the quarter, and the Nuggets led 91-86 entering the final quarter.
Denver will complete its road trip on Wednesday at Dallas. Atlanta finishes its three-game homestand on Wednesday against Houston.
—Field Level Media