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Nuggets survive Nikola Jokic’s ejection, hold off Wizards

Sportsnaut
Dec 13, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon (50) moves in for a dunk in the second quarter against the Washington Wizards at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 13, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon (50) moves in for a dunk in the second quarter against the Washington Wizards at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Nikola Jokic had 28 points, 19 rebounds and nine assists before being ejected, Monte Morris scored 22 points and the host Denver Nuggets beat the Washington Wizards 113-107 on Monday night.

Aaron Gordon had 16 points and Jeff Green scored 13 for the Nuggets, who held a 33-point lead in the third quarter but had to hold on. Jokic was tossed midway through the fourth period after arguing calls with two different referees after the same passage of play.

Davis Bertans scored 21 points, Bradley Beal had 19 points and 10 assists, Aaron Holliday added 18 and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 13 for Washington.

The Wizards were without Kyle Kuzma due to health and safety protocols.

Denver was missing JaMychal Green, who suffered an ankle injury in San Antonio on Saturday night, and Will Barton, who has missed the past two games with a non-COVID illness.

The Nuggets led by seven after the first quarter and quickly expanded the gap in the second.

Markus Howard hit a 3-pointer and Vlatko Cancar scored five points in an 8-2 run to open the period, making it 37-24. Daniel Gafford’s dunk got the Wizards within 46-37 midway through the quarter, but then the Nuggets began to pull away.

Morris hit a 3-pointer and Jokic scored the Nuggets’ last six points of the half to put Denver ahead 59-41 at intermission.

In the third quarter, Jokic hit a 3-pointer and a layup, Morris completed a four-point play and Jeff Green scored six straight points to make it 74-44 with 9:03 left in the third.

Denver was ahead 81-48 with 6:48 left in the third before the Wizards made a push. Beal hit a fadeaway, a bank shot and two 3-pointers during a 13-4 run that got the deficit under 20. Washington got within 101-85 with 6:26 left.

Less than a minute later, Jokic was ejected, and the Wizards eventually cut the margin to 105-95 with 3:25 left. Holliday’s 10-footer made it an eight-point game and Washington had a chance to get closer, but Beal was called for charging with 1:37 left.

Gordon dunk’s dunk made it 107-97 with 1:17 to go. Caldwell-Pope hit a 3-pointer before Denver closed it the win at the foul line.

–Field Level Media