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Nikola Jokic’s triple-double powers Nuggets past Heat

Dec 30, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) and forward Haywood Highsmith (24) and center Bam Adebayo (13) and Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) and forward Bruce Brown (11) reach for a rebound in the first quarter at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Nikola Jokic had 19 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists for his eighth triple-double of the season, and the host Denver Nuggets beat the Miami Heat 124-119 on Friday night.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 20 points on 7-for-7 shooting for the Nuggets, who won for the ninth time in 11 games. Bones Hyland had 16 points, Vlatko Cancar scored 15, Jamal Murray added 14, Bruce Brown 13, Aaron Gordon 11 and Michael Porter Jr. 10 to help Denver erase an eight-point, fourth-quarter deficit.

Gordon (right shoulder strain), Murray (left knee management) and Brown (right ankle sprain) returned to the lineup after missing Denver’s Wednesday loss at Sacramento.

Tyler Herro finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds for the Heat, who had a two-game winning streak end. Bam Adebayo scored 22, Max Strus added 19 points, Jimmy Butler had 17 and Orlando Robinson 13.

The Nuggets led 60-57 at halftime, but Miami scored the first nine points of the third quarter to go ahead by six on a Herro 3-pointer. The lead increased to 79-71 with 4:59 left in the period. Jokic converted a three-point play to get the Nuggets within four, and two free throws by Cancar made it 86-83 late in the third.

Robinson’s dunk with 28.8 seconds left gave the Heat a 90-85 advantage heading into the fourth.

It was a three-point game after DeAndre Jordan’s alley-oop dunk early in the final quarter, but Butler’s three-point play and pull-up jumper increased the Miami lead to 100-92.

Hyland’s fifth 3-pointer of the night sparked a 7-2 run that cut the Heat’s lead to three with 7:15 left.

Adebayo had a steal and layup, but Brown split a pair of free throws, Caldwell-Pope hit a corner 3-pointer and Porter dunked to put Denver in front 105-104.

The lead changed hands five times, with Jokic’s 3-pointer putting the Nuggets up 115-114. Caldwell-Pope was called for a flagrant foul on Herro’s 3-point attempt with 2:23 left, and Herro made all three free throws to put Miami up by two.

Murray answered with a 3-pointer, Herro missed on the other end and Murray made two free throws with 1:31 left to make it 120-117.

Adebayo missed a jumper and Murray hit a floater with a minute left, and Denver closed it out.

–Field Level Media