Denever Nuggets rout Grizzlies behind 31 from Michael Porter Jr.

Apr 26, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) controls the ball as Memphis Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas (17) guards in the first quarter at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Nikola Jokic had 24 points and 15 rebounds, Michael Porter Jr. scored 31 points, and the host Denver Nuggets beat the Memphis Grizzlies 120-96 on Monday night.

Aaron Gordon scored 15 points and Paul Millsap had 12 off the bench for the Nuggets (40-21). Denver swept the three-game season series with the Grizzlies.

Ja Morant scored 27 points, Jonas Valanciunas finished with 13 points and Jaren Jackson Jr. had 10 off the bench for Memphis. The Grizzlies finished their 11-day, seven-game road trip 4-3.

Memphis (31-29) cut a five-point halftime deficit to 64-63 on a bucket by Kyle Anderson early in the third, but the Nuggets responded with an 11-2 run, highlighted by Facu Campazzo’s no-look pass to Porter for a 3-pointer at the top of the arc.

The Grizzlies scored the next six points to get back within four but a three-point play by Shaquille Harrison and a layup by P.J. Dozier put the Nuggets ahead 85-75 entering the fourth.

Denver started to pull away in the fourth quarter.

After Desmond Bane made the first shot of the period, Millsap and Dozier took over. Millsap hit a floater, a 3-pointer and a layup while Dozier converted a three-point play and drained an 18-footer during a 12-0 Nuggets run.

Morant broke the drought with a free throw and his reverse layup cut the deficit to 101-84 with 6:34 left. Denver went up by 20 on a dunk by Porter, and after Bane and Jackson made free throws, Porter hit a layup and Jokic’s baseball pass to Austin Rivers led to another layup and a 109-87 lead with 4:33 left.

After a low-scoring first quarter, both teams got hot in the second. Memphis was 12-for-18 shooting in the period and the Nuggets did their damage from deep, going 7-for-13 on 3-point attempts.

The Grizzlies led 37-36 midway through the second quarter but two 3-pointers from Gordon and another by Jokic put Denver ahead by six. The Nuggets were able to hold onto a 58-53 lead at halftime.

–Field Level Media