Serb rookie Jokic shines as Nuggets stop Raptors' streak

Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets had the game of his NBA life and as a result the Toronto Raptors' winning streak is history.

The Serbian rookie centre had career-highs of 27 points and 14 rebounds, and the Nuggets snapped the Raptors' franchise-best 11-game winning streak 112-93 on Monday.

"My teammates, they give me the ball," said the 20-year-old who entered the contest averaging just 9.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.

Denver coach Michael Malone gushed over Jokic's outstanding effort.

"What a performance by Nikola," he said. "Every time I think he's reached the ceiling on his rookie season he finds a way to keep impressing me. I hope he keeps on doing that. He's a hell of talent and I'm happy he's part of our organization.

While rookie big men like New York's Kristaps Porzingis, Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns and Philadelphia's Jahlil Okafor grab the headlines, Malone likes the upside of his big man.    

"You can talk about all of those young bigs, they're all talented," he said. "I don't know their names but I know Nikola Jovic and I wouldn't trade him for the world.

"He's a special young man, a special talent and he's only going to get better."

Will Barton poured in 16 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, and fellow reserve Randy Foye added 16 for Denver (19-30) who completed a 2-0 season series sweep over second best team in the East.    

"Our bench was terrific," Malone said. "Will and Randy were great off the bench."

The Nuggets led by 11 at halftime behind Jokic's 15 points and carried an 80-65 cushion into the fourth frame before pushing it to as many as 27 en route to the stunner.

DeMar DeRozan tossed in 24 points but fellow All-Star Kyle Lowry finished with just 10 on 3-of-12 shooting for the Raptors (32-16), who suffered their first loss since January 4 at Cleveland.

"You can describe it any way you want to," a ticked Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. "That was a stinker. That was one of our worst performances of the year.

“We played like we were playing in mud. You can blame it on the altitude, whatever it was. We stunk."

Elsewhere:

- San Antonio Spurs 107, Orlando Magic 92: LaMarcus Aldridge scored 28 points, Australian-native Paddy Mills matched his season-best with 22, and the Spurs (40-8) improved to 26-0 at home this season after handling the Magic. Nikola Vucevic had 20 points and 10 rebounds for Orlando (21-26) who lost for the ninth time in 10 games.

- Cleveland Cavaliers 111, Indiana Pacers 106 (OT): Kyrie Irving scored 25 points, including the go-ahead jumper with three minutes left in overtime, LeBron James added 24 with 12 rebounds, and the visiting Cavs (35-12) pulled away from the Pacers for their fifth straight win. George Hill topped Indiana (25-23) by tying his season high with 23 points.

- Oklahoma City Thunder 114, Washington Wizards 98: Kevin Durant scored 28 points, and Russell Westbrook had his seventh triple-double of the season, with 17 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists, as the Thunder (37-13) rolled the visiting Wizards (21-25)for their 11th win in the last 12 decisions.

- Detroit Pistons 105, Brooklyn Nets 100: Andre Drummond had 21 points with 18 rebounds and the tie-breaking dunk with 90 seconds left, Reggie Jackson netted 19, and the visiting Pistons (26-23) sent the the Nets to their ninth loss in 10 games. Brook Lopez paced Brooklyn (12-37) with 27 points.

- Memphis Grizzlies 110, New Orleans Pelicans 95: Jeff Green scored 24 points, Zach Randolph had 22 with 12 rebounds, and the visiting Grizzlies (29-20) closed on a 26-9 run to sprint past the Pelicans for their 10th win in 12 games. Anthony Davis topped New Orleans (18-29) with 23 points.

- Atlanta Hawks 112, Dallas Mavericks 97: Jeff Teague poured in a season-high 32 points as the host Hawks (28-22) soared past the Mavs to stop a three-game slide. Chandler Parsons paced Dallas (28-23) with 19 points and 11 rebounds while German Dirk Nowitzki netted 18.

- Utah Jazz 105, Chicago Bulls 96 (OT): Gordon Hayward scored six of 27 points in the 12-3 overtime session to go along with 12 rebounds and the Jazz (22-25) beat the visiting Bulls. Jimmy Butler led Chicago (26-21) with 26 points and Spaniard Pau Gasol had 19.

- Sacramento Kings 111, Milwaukee Bucks 104: Rudy Gay netted 32 points and the Kings (21-27), minus injured All-Star centre man DeMarcus Cousins, stopped a five-game slide after handling the visiting Bucks. Greg Monroe had 24 points and 12 rebounds for Milwaukee (20-30), losers of three in a row.

Last update: Tue, 02/02/2016 - 12:39
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