Nikola Jokic scored 21 points and pulled down 17 rebounds Friday night for the surging Denver Nuggets, who moved back into a tie for the top seed in the Western Conference by cruising to a 111-93 win over the host New York Knicks.
With their sixth straight win, the Nuggets (49-22) tied the idle Golden State Warriors for the best record in the West. Denver has never earned the top seed in the West and has yet to make an appearance in the NBA Finals.
Jamal Murray scored 18 points for the Nuggets, who also received 14 points from Gary Harris, 13 points from Monte Morris, 12 points from Will Barton and 11 points from Mason Plumlee.
Denver will look to cap a perfect four-game Eastern Conference road swing when it visits the Indiana Pacers on Sunday.
Emmanuel Mudiay scored 21 points and Mitchell Robinson (16 points, 10 rebounds) recorded a double-double for the NBA-worst Knicks (14-59) who have lost three straight and 11 of 12. New York needs to win at least four of its remaining nine games to avoid tying or exceeding the worst record in franchise history.
Kevin Knox added 19 points for the Knicks while DeAndre Jordan had 11 rebounds.
The Knicks took their only lead at 5-4 on a 3-pointer by Mudiay just 2:11 into the game. Murray’s 3-pointer on the next possession put the Nuggets ahead for good and Barton scored eight of his points during a 15-0 run by Denver that gave them a 26-9 lead with 5:28 left in the first.
The Nuggets extended the lead to 21 at 37-16 on Plumlee’s layup with 31 seconds left. Robinson scored seven points during a 13-2 run by the Knicks that spanned the first two quarters, but the Nuggets held New York scoreless for more than four minutes in the second and went ahead again by 20 at 52-32 on Murray’s free throw with 4:07 left in the half.
Mario Hezonja scored seven points for the Knicks during a 12-3 run that pulled them within 67-59, but Morris and Jokic had five points apiece as the Nuggets ended the third on a 15-3 spurt. Denver led by as many as 24 points in the fourth quarter.
—Field Level Media