Nikola Jokic outduels Christian Wood as Nuggets rout Rockets

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Ben DuBose
·2 min read
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All-Star center Nikola Jokic (29 points, 16 rebounds, 7 assists) showed why he’s an MVP frontrunner on Friday at Toyota Center, leading the Denver Nuggets to a decisive 128-99 win (box score) in Houston.

The Rockets were led by frontcourt starters Kelly Olynyk (23 points, 6 rebounds), Jae’Sean Tate (21 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists) and Christian Wood (15 points, 3 rebounds), but were unable to keep up with Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. (21 points, 4-of-7 on 3-pointers).

Houston’s backcourt struggled mightily, with Kevin Porter Jr. and John Wall combining for 11 turnovers and 4-of-17 shooting (23.5% FG).

For the rebuilding Rockets (14-42), it’s the 10th loss in 11 games, allowing them to drop a half-game behind Minnesota for the NBA’s worst record in the 2020-21 season. Meanwhile, the Nuggets (36-20) remain in strong position for the 2021 playoffs at No. 4 in the Western Conference.

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Houston returns to action on Sunday night in Orlando for the start of a road back-to-back, with a second game coming Monday in Miami.

Wall is expected to sit out one of those matchups in Florida for planned maintenance, according to the team’s revised plan, but it isn’t yet clear which game he will sit and which he will play. Backcourt mate Sterling Brown could return from a minor left knee injury during the back-to-back, which could potentially fill some of Wall’s vacated minutes.

Sunday’s tipoff versus the Magic is set for 6:00 p.m. Central. For now, here’s highlights and postgame reaction from Friday’s loss to Denver.

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