Nuggets post best points total of season, blow Blazers up


January 13, 2022; Denver, Colorado, United States; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) passes the ball over Portland Trail Blazers guard Dennis Smith Jr. (10) in the second quarter at the Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Will Barton scored 21 points, Nikola Jokic had 20 points, eight rebounds and seven assists and host Denver Nuggets beat the Portland Trail Blazers 140-108 on Thursday night.

Jeff Green scored 19 points, Facundo Campazzo had 18 points and 12 assists, Bones Hyland added 17 and Zeke Nnaji had 16 points and nine rebounds for Denver, which recorded season highs in points and made 3 points (21).

Barton sustained a neck sprain in the third quarter when he entered Nurkic’s knee headfirst. He stayed on the pitch for several minutes before heading to the locker room. He returned to the bench at the end of the third quarter but did not play again.

Ben McLemore scored 18 points and Dennis Smith Jr. had 17 points and eight assists for the Trail Blazers. Nassir Little scored 14, Trendon Watford finished with 11 and Robert Covington and Jusuf Nurkic each have 10. Nurkic added eight rebounds and six assists.

Portland was without Larry Nance Jr. (knee), Norman Powell (health and safety protocol), and Anfernee Simons (staff).

The Blazers announced Thursday that Damian Lillard has undergone surgery to repair an abdominal injury and will be out for six to eight more weeks.

The Nuggets were without JaMychal Green (staff).

Denver was leading 26-25 at the end of the first quarter before retiring. Jokic took advantage of a reversal shot, Campazzo scored 3 points and Nnaji flipped into a basket to trigger a 15-3 run to end the period.

The Blazers came close 49-39 on a layup from Smith, but Denver had another run. Campazzo hit a layup, Barton took a short shot, Campazzo sank a 12-foot jumper and Jokic did a finger roll for an 8-0 run, and Denver quickly led 63-44 with 3: 48 to play in half-time.

Green’s dunk with 1.7 seconds left in the half made it 72-55 at the break.

The Nuggets opened the third quarter on an 11-3 streak, and Portland never came close to 19 for the remainder of the course.

– Media at field level

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