Nuggets beat Pacers behind Jamal Murray’s first career triple-double


Nuggets center Nikola Jokic sat on the sidelines, dressed in a peach-colored suit with a flamboyant shirt. He made for quite a colorful bench ornament.

And the NBA’s reigning, two-time MVP, out with an injured left hamstring, was able to relax and enjoy his Friday night off as his teammates dunked Indiana, 134-111, at Ball Arena.

And Jokic, the league’s master at triple-doubles, got to observe his buddy, Jamal Murray, notch the first triple-double of his career. The guard finished with 17 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds.

“It feels really, really good knowing that I didn’t do that before (his knee injury),” said Murray, who received a game ball, signed by his teammates.

Murray also joked about his big night coming with Jokic on the bench in street clothes: ” ‘Joker just steals all of my (triple-doubles) every game. It was nice to finally get one on the board.”

Assistant coach David Adelman, who’s filling in for head coach Michael Malone who’s in the league’s health and safety protocols, was thrilled for Murray, who missed all of last season after undergoing surgery to repair his torn ACL.

“He’s already had such a storied career here as a Nuggets and everything he’s been through, so it’s very cool to see that,” Adelman said. “If Jamal is not in the conversation (for making the All-Star Game), then you don’t value winning.”

Murray brought the crowd to its feet late in the third quarter with two spectacular assists in succession, first feeding Christian Braun for an alley-oop dunk, and then doing the same for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Then Bruce Brown turned his own steal into Denver’s third breakaway dunk in a row as its lead blew up to 92-76.

“That was a really fun sequence,” Murray said. “I was yelling and screaming up and down the court. The fans got into it and we knew we had (the Pacers) where we wanted them.”

The running, gunning Nuggets turned the game into a monster jam rally and ended up shooting a sizzling 61.4% (51 of 83). They shot 50% (14 of 28) from 3-point land. Even without Jokic in the lineup, the Nuggets dished out a season-high 38 assists.

“Thirty-eight assists in an NBA game is absurd,” Adelman said.

And Denver’s 16 dunks tied for its most in a game since the Nuggets finished with 16 dunks, their most since March 20, 2009 vs. Washington, and the most since the 1996-97 season. The Nuggets also had a season-high 16 steals.

Denver won its ninth consecutive game and has won 12 of its last 13. The Nuggets improved to 22-3 at home, where they have won 16 in a row.

Big picture: the leaders of the Western Conference are 33-13, the best record in franchise history through 46 games.

Indiana, without star point guard Tyrese Haliburton, dropped its sixth straight game, a season-worst.


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