Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray Lead Nuggets Past Struggling Pelicans

Denver Nuggets, Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr., NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

It is Jamal Murray’s time right now. He is locked in right now. He has his shot, his swagger, and, more importantly, trust in his team to help him succeed — helping the Denver Nuggets remain as one of the NBA’s elite teams.

“It’s fun to play basketball,” Murray said. “But we still have room to improve. We’re not satisfied with where we’re at.”

On Tuesday night, Murray scored 32 points, and Nikola Jokic recorded his 16th triple-double of the season to hold off the reeling New Orleans Pelicans 122-113.

A season-high seven 3-pointers gave Murray 771 for his career, moving him past J.R. Smith and towards Will Barton for the franchise record.

“I’ll get that in three games,” Murray declared.

NBA SCORES & NEWS: Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets & New Orleans Pelicans Updates

Early in the game Tuesday, his smooth jumper was so in rhythm that Nuggets coach Michael Malone didn’t want to take him out. Malone didn’t take him out until later than usual, as well. After trailing by 12 in the second quarter, the Nuggets closed the gap to 60-57 at halftime and took control in the third.

“I don’t want to be the guy that puts the fire out,” Malone said. “Jamal was really, really good in all areas of the game tonight.”

As for Jokic, he added 26 points, 18 rebounds, and 15 assists, improving the Nuggets to 16-0 when he has a triple-double.

“I’m happy as long as we are winning games and the players are happy around me,” Jokic said.

The Pelicans, who have lost nine straight games and finished 3-13 in January, were led by 21-point outings from CJ McCollum and Herbert Jones. Among the reasons for the slump is Zion Williamson’s injury, which has kept him out of 15 games straight.

“We’ve got to keep our heads down and keep working,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “It’s hard to win in the NBA. We’re seeing that. There was some beauty in what I saw tonight. … We’re right there, but we have to sustain it for 48 minutes.”

NBA SCORES & NEWS: Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets & New Orleans Pelicans Updates

Early in the fourth quarter, the Nuggets led by 13 points but the Pelicans cut it to five several times, including Jones’ layup with less than a minute left. Denver moved to 23-4 at home after fending off New Orleans with a pair of free throws by Murray and Jokic.

About Jake Rogers 406 Articles
Jake Rogers is a sports writer who attended Arizona State University and currently serves as a contributor for NBA Analysis Network.