Nikola Jokic had 18 points and 10 rebounds, Mason Plumlee provided a boost off the bench and the Denver Nuggets wore down the Brooklyn Nets in a 101-93 win Thursday night.
The Nets were playing their fourth road game in seven nights. They shot 23% in the second half.
Paul Millsap added 18 points for a Nuggets team that’s proving adept at rallying late. They overcame a 21-point, four-quarter deficit in a win over Philadelphia last week.
On Thursday, the Nuggets trailed by 16 points in the third quarter before using a 19-6 run to work their way back. They took their first lead since the first quarter on a Jerami Grant’s 3-pointer with 9:30 remaining. They wouldn’t relinquish the lead.
The comeback was spurred in large part by Denver’s bench. Plumlee helped lead the charge by scoring all 10 of his points in the second half.
Kyrie Irving had 17 points and nine assists despite a sore right shoulder. Irving was questionable earlier in the day but got treatment and was ready to go by game time.
DeAndre Jordan had an interesting stat line — 11 rebounds and no points. Jarrett Allen added 17 points and 10 boards as the Nets dropped to 1-3 on their five-game trip.
Brooklyn entered with a dynamic offense and Denver with a top-notch defense.
In the first half, the Nets controlled the tempo with their shooting. In the second, the Nuggets took it back with defense. They’ve now held opponents to fewer than 100 points in five of the last six games.
It looked like Irving was in for a mammoth night after scoring five points in the opening minute.
Two nights ago, the Nuggets had their hands full with Atlanta guard Trae Young, who erupted for 42 points. Denver coach Michael Malone warned his team that if they thought that was tough, this one was "an even greater challenge,” in reference to Irving.
Nets: F Taurean Prince was given a technical foul for a hold in the first quarter. ... G/F Garrett Temple briefly left in the third after being hit in the chin by Gary Harris’ elbow. Harris was issued a flagrant foul.
Nuggets: G Malik Beasley (illness) didn’t play. ... Denver had seven players in double figures.
Nets guard Caris LeVert underwent surgery Thursday to repair ligaments in his right thumb. There's no timetable for his return.
LeVert is averaging 16.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists. He missed half of last season with a dislocated right foot.
"It's bad luck especially with what he went through last year," coach Kenny Atkinson said. "I feel for him.”
Veteran guard Iman Shumpert was signed Wednesday to fill a specific need for the Nets — perimeter defense.
"That's always been his calling card," said Atkinson, who was an assistant coach with New York when Shumpert played for the Knicks. "I know him well, know the personality. He gets after it defensively."
IRVING & MURRAY
There was some history between Irving and Nuggets guard Jamal Murray. When Irving was at Pepsi Center last November — as a member of the Boston Celtics — he took exception to Murray, sitting on 48 points, taking a shot in the closing seconds of a game already decided. Irving threw the ball into the stands.
Nets: Finish a five-game trip Saturday in Chicago.
Nuggets: At Memphis on Sunday.
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