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Murray and Jokic score 28 each as the Nuggets run past shorthanded Jazz 111-95

By MATTHEW COLES


Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Jamal Murray scored 28 points, Nikola Jokic tallied 28 points and 13 rebounds, and the Denver Nuggets pushed past the shorthanded Utah Jazz 111-95 on Tuesday night.

Murray missed seven games with a knee injury but is working his way back into game shape the last two contests. After being restricted to 21 minutes against Atlanta on Saturday, Murray went 11-for-20 in 27 minutes against the Jazz.

Murray dunked a career-high five times in the first half and had four steals. In the fourth quarter, he hit three straight 3s to push a close game to 104-90 with 4:10 to play.

Talen Horton-Tucker scored 24 points for Utah. Omer Yurtseven posted a season-high 20 points and Luka Samanic had a season-best 15 points for the Jazz, who have lost 13 straight.

The Nuggets were sloppy in the third quarter and Horton-Tucker hit a 3 to cut Denver’s lead to 80-77. Jokic, who had three turnovers in the quarter, powered a 7-0 run with two inside baskets to push the edge back to double-digits.

Yurtseven’s one-hander brought the Jazz within 58-53, but Porter quickly scored five points and Murray added a dunk just before halftime to give Denver a 65-53 lead.

The Nuggets have won four of five and have their sights set on the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Denver played well from the opening tip, jumping out a 19-point lead in the first quarter.

The Nuggets (55-24) may have wanted to get their starters more rest, but the Jazz stayed close until Murray got hot in the fourth quarter.

The defending champions turn around Wednesday and host Minnesota (also 55-24), who defeated Washington 130-121 on Tuesday. Oklahoma City is one game behind in the third spot with the season ending on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Jazz started featuring their younger players weeks ago and are jockeying for lottery position. Utah sat six of their top players.

The holdouts were Lauri Markkanen (shoulder), Jordan Clarkson (back), John Collins (back), Kris Dunn (foot), Walker Kessler (nose) and Collin Sexton (illness), who average a combined 81.2 points a game.

Denver coach Michael Malone was back and forth between the locker room and the bench due to stomach discomfort. Assistant David Adelman took charge for several minutes in the first half.

UP NEXT

Nuggets: Host Minnesota on Wednesday night before finishing the season with two road games against non-playoff teams.

Jazz: Host Houston on Thursday night.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba

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