Will Barton scored 21 points, Nikola Jokic had 20 points, eight rebounds and seven assists and the host Denver Nuggets pounded the Portland Trail Blazers 140-108 on Thursday night.
Jeff Green scored 19 points, Facundo Campazzo had 18 points and 12 assists, Bones Hyland added 17 and Zeke Nnaji amassed 16 points and nine rebounds for Denver, which recorded season highs in points and made 3-pointers (21).
Barton sustained a neck strain in the third quarter when he went head-first into Nurkic’s knee. He was down on the court for a several minutes before walking to the locker room. He returned to the bench at the end of the third quarter but didn’t play again.
Ben McLemore scored 18 points and Dennis Smith Jr. had 17 points and eight assists for the Trail Blazers. Nassir Little scored 14, Trendon Watford finished with 11 and Robert Covington and Jusuf Nurkic had 10 each. Nurkic added eight rebounds and six assists.
Portland was without Larry Nance Jr. (knee), Norman Powell (health and safety protocol) and Anfernee Simons (personal).
The Blazers announced Thursday that Damian Lillard underwent surgery to repair an abdominal injury and will be out six to eight more weeks.
The Nuggets were without JaMychal Green (personal).
Denver led 26-25 late in the first quarter before pulling away. Jokic banked in a turnaround shot, Campazzo hit a 3-pointer and Nnaji tipped in a basket to spark a 15-3 run to end the period.
The Blazers got within 49-39 on a layup by Smith, but Denver put together another run. Campazzo hit a layup, Barton made a short shot, Campazzo sank a 12-foot jumper and Jokic made a finger roll for an 8-0 run, and Denver soon led 63-44 with 3:48 left in the half.
Green’s dunk with 1.7 seconds left in the half made it 72-55 at the break.
The Nuggets opened the third quarter on an 11-3 run, and Portland never got closer than 19 the rest of the way.