Nikola Jokic recorded his eighth career triple-double and hit the tiebreaking jumper with 1:12 remaining as the host Denver Nuggets held on for a 91-89 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night.
Jokic finished with 11 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists. He sealed his second triple-double of the season when he hit a 19-foot jumper above the right elbow after getting a pass from Jamal Murray to give Denver the final margin.
After Jokic’s big shot, Harrison Barnes missed a 3-pointer with 56.5 seconds left, giving the Nuggets a chance to extend the lead. Jokic, however, missed a 3-pointer with 35.8 seconds left and was called for a charge with 12.7 seconds left, giving Dallas an opportunity.
The Mavericks actually had two chances. First, they went for the tie by giving the ball to rookie guard Dennis Smith.
Smith’s layup attempt was blocked out of bounds by Will Barton with 4.8 seconds to go. After Dallas called its final timeout, Wesley Matthews’ 3-pointer off an inbounds pass was short just before time expired.
Denver guard Gary Harris led all scorers with 24 points, including seven straight for the Nuggets before Jokic’s tiebreaking shot.
Murray added 15 points after not starting because of a violation of team rules. Reserve Trey Lyles contributed 13 while Barton chipped in 11 as Denver won its third straight and improved to 5-0 at home in games decided by two points or fewer.
Barnes led Dallas with 22 points while Smith added 13. Barnes shot 9 of 19 but Smith was 5 of 18.
Yogi Ferrell added 12 and Dirk Nowitzki contributed 11 for the Mavericks, who shot 40 percent and missed nine of 19 free throws.
Denver cooled off after taking a 15-4 lead and a 50-42 edge by halftime. The Mavericks held a 74-68 lead going into the fourth after closing the third with a 16-1 run.
The Mavericks went nearly 5 1/2 minutes without a basket after Matthews gave them an 82-77 lead with 7:13 left. Barnes ended the drought, and Matthews forged an 89-89 deadlock with a 3-pointer with 1:33 remaining.
--Field Level Media