December 21, 2019 / 4:53 AM / a month ago

Jokic racks up triple-double as Nuggets fend off Wolves

Nikola Jokic had 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, Jamal Murray scored 28 points, and the host Denver Nuggets beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 109-100 on Friday night.

Dec 20, 2019; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. (1) warms up before the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Will Barton added 13 and Paul Millsap and Gary Harris scored 11 each for Denver, which won all five games on its current homestand.

Minnesota played its second straight game without center Karl-Anthony Towns and lost its ninth in a row. Towns, who leads the Timberwolves in scoring (26.5) and rebounds (11.7) per game, is nursing a sprained left knee.

Andrew Wiggins scored 19 points, Gorgui Dieng had 18, Jeff Teague finished with 13 and Robert Covington 10 for Minnesota.

The Timberwolves were able to withstand an early push by Denver to keep it a game in the second half.

Trailing 63-51 in the first minute of the third quarter, Minnesota went on a 9-2 run to get within 65-60. The teams traded baskets and free throws to keep it at five, but Dieng hit consecutive 3-pointers to cut Denver’s lead to 72-70 and prompt a Nuggets’ timeout.

The Timberwolves had two chances to tie or take the lead before Malik Beasley hit a corner 3-pointer, and Murray scored nine points in the quarter to make it 82-75 heading into the fourth.

Denver opened up a 91-80 lead on Barton’s layup with 8:46 left. Covington shot an air ball on a 3-point attempt, and Beasley hit another corner shot from deep to put the Nuggets ahead 97-84.

Minnesota called a timeout, but 3-pointers by Murray and Jokic gave Denver a 19-point lead, their biggest of the game.

The Nuggets used hot shooting to race out to a 17-point lead in the first quarter. Denver made 12 of its first 13 shots and led 31-14 and 33-16, and then missed its last five shots of the quarter, allowing Minnesota to get back into it.

The lead was still 17 until the Timberwolves scored 13 straight to make it 44-40 midway through the second. The Nuggets built their lead back to 10 at halftime.

—Field Level Media

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