Nikola Jokic had 22 points, 19 rebounds and 10 assists in his return from a one-game suspension, and the host Denver Nuggets beat the Atlanta Hawks 105-96 on Friday night.
Jokic was suspended for Wednesday’s win over Indiana after his actions against Miami on Monday night. He notched his 59th career triple-double in this one, tying Larry Bird for eighth all-time.
Aaron Gordon had a season-high 23 points, Jeff Green added 16, Bones Hyland scored a career-high 15 points and P.J. Dozier had 12 for Denver, which has won four straight.
Trae Young had 30 points and nine assists, John Collins scored 26 and pulled down nine rebounds, Clint Capela had 14 points and 13 rebounds and Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 10 for the Hawks, who have lost six straight.
The Nuggets led by three at halftime and opened the third quarter with nine straight points to go up 58-46. However, Young was fouled on a 3-point attempt and hit all three free throws and Collins hit a corner 3-pointer during a 14-4 run that made it 62-60.
Young picked up his fourth foul with five minutes left in the third quarter and Denver went on a 13-2 run to lead 78-65 late in the period, and then took a 79-69 lead into the fourth.
Dozier opened the final period with a 12-footer and Hyland hit a 3-pointer to give the Nuggets an 84-69 lead, their biggest of the night.
Atlanta closed within 88-79 on a dunk by Collins, but Hyland hit consecutive 3-pointers to restore the 15-point lead, 94-79, with 7:03 remaining, and Denver closed it out.
The Hawks scored the next four points and had a chance to get the deficit under 10, but Young missed a running floater and Green hit two free throws.
Denver led 32-21 in the final minute of the first quarter but went cold for more than six minutes. The Hawks took advantage, outscoring the Nuggets on a 17-2 run to lead by four halfway through the second quarter.
Denver recovered and took a 49-46 lead into intermission.
–Field Level Media
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