Nikola Jokic’s triple-double propels Nuggets past Pelicans

Nikola Jokic had 27 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds for his 12th triple-double of the season and 117th of his career, and the host Denver Nuggets beat the New Orleans Pelicans 125-113 on Friday night.

Michael Porter Jr. finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds, Jamal Murray added 20 points and nine assists for the Nuggets, who have alternated wins and losses for the past five games. Aaron Gordon had 15 points, Reggie Jackson wound up with 12 and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 11 points.

Zion Williamson scored 30 points for the Pelicans, who had their seven-game road winning streak snapped. Jonas Valanciunas added 17 points, Larry Nance Jr. scored 13, CJ McCollum contributed 12 points and seven assists and Jose Alvarado finished with 10 points for New Orleans.

Denver led by 15 at halftime and scored the first seven points of the third quarter to go ahead 73-51. The Pelicans responded with a 10-2 run to get within 14.

The Nuggets stretched the lead late in the period. Caldwell-Pope hit from deep, and Jokic dunked over Valanciunas, who was called for a technical for flopping. Murray hit the free throw, Gordon dunked after a McCollum miss and Jokic later grabbed an offensive rebound and fed Porter for a dunk to make it 94-73.

New Orleans got within 15 in the final minute of the period, but Jackson scored the final five points of the quarter, including a layup in the last second to make it 100-80 heading into the fourth.

The Pelicans chipped away at the deficit early in the final period. Williamson scored seven points to help get New Orleans within 107-94 before Murray hit a 3-pointer.

Williamson kept New Orleans within striking distance with 18 points in the quarter, including a putback dunk that made it a 13-point game with 4:11 left, but the Pelicans never seriously threatened.

New Orleans led by five points midway through the first quarter before Denver finished the period on a 24-7 run to take the lead to grab a 37-25 lead.

The Nuggets increased the advantage to 19 late in the second, but McCollum hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to cut the gap to 66-51 at halftime.