Nikola Jokic scored 11 of his game-high 35 points in an early runaway Saturday night, helping the host Denver Nuggets blow out the Phoenix Suns 119-91 in a battle of teams that had won their NBA openers.
Jokic hit all 11 of his shots and completed his 17th career triple-double with game highs of 12 rebounds and 11 assists for the Nuggets, who were making their home debut after winning 107-98 in Los Angeles against the Clippers on Wednesday.
Devin Booker had 25 points for the Suns, who had opened at home with an impressive 121-100 thumping of the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.
Jokic hit four straight shots, including a 3-pointer, and a pair of free throws in a 20-7 game-opening burst Saturday that gave the Nuggets the lead for good.
A 3-pointer by Will Barton opened a 17-point lead late in the first period, and a 3-pointer by Jamal Murray gave Denver an 84-59 advantage midway through the third period.
The Suns rallied behind nine points from TJ Warren and two 3-pointers by Mikal Bridges to close within 92-79 by quarter’s end and then got as close as 11 on a Josh Jackson hoop to open the fourth quarter.
But the Nuggets kept the visitors at arm’s length the rest of the way to open 2-0 for the first time since 2011.
All five Nuggets starters scored in double figures, with Murray totaling 26 points, Gary Harris 18 and Barton and Paul Millsap 14 apiece.
Denver shot 43-for-85, 50.6 percent.
Booker, who went 14-for-17 from the free-throw line, finished with his team-high point total despite shooting just 5-for-15 from the field and 1-for-6 on 3-pointers.
Warren added 16, Isaiah Canaan 15 and Bridges 10 for the Suns. Rookie center Deandre Ayton was held to five points and eight rebounds in 23 foul-plagued minutes.
Phoenix shot 29-for-77, 37.7 percent.
—Field Level Media