JaMychal Green had 20 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, and the Denver Nuggets extended their winning streak to six games with a 124-92 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night.
Nikola Jokic had 18 rebounds, 11 assists and eight points before sitting down for good with 2:22 left in the third quarter.
DeMarcus Cousins, signed by the Nuggets for the remainder of the season on Friday, added 19 points and eight rebounds, and the Denver bench finished with a season-high 76 points.
Anfernee Simons had 16 points to lead the Trail Blazers, who were coming off a loss to the Warriors on Thursday that ended a four-game winning streak.
Denver led by no less than 20 points. Although the Nuggets sometimes looked slow playing second in a back-to-back, the smaller, less experienced Blazers roster couldn’t match them.
Justise Winslow, who started for the Blazers in a loss to Golden State on Thursday, did not play due to an Achilles injury. He was replaced in the starting lineup by Keon Johnson, a 19-year-old rookie acquired by the Trail Blazers in a trade to the Clippers on Feb. 4. It was Johnson’s first career start.
The Blazers also launched Drew Eubanks, who was signed to a 10-day contract earlier in the week when Portland announced center Jusuf Nurkic was battling plantar fasciitis.
Portland is still missing Damian Lillard, who is recovering from abdominal surgery. The Blazers announced Sunday that their six-time All-Star has progressed through the first phase of his recovery and will be reevaluated in two to three weeks after a reconditioning protocol.
The Nuggets went on an 18-4 run to start the second quarter and pushed their lead to 50-31. The Blazers have never threatened.
NO REST FOR THE TIRED
The Nuggets are playing three games in four days. They were coming off a 115-110 win at home to Sacramento on Saturday night. Thursday, they beat the Kings on the road, 128-110.
So going up against a Blazers team with its players injured and rotated was a challenge, Denver coach Michael Malone said.
“We went through the staff this morning and told the guys to be locked in because it’s a completely different team to the one we played the first three times, and they have players you probably don’t know “Malone said.
Nuggets: Denver has won two of the previous three games with Portland this season. … Jokic is ranked seventh all-time with 73 triple-doubles. He had one a night earlier in the Nuggets’ home win over Sacramento (18 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds) for his ninth triple-double in his last 19 games.
Trail Blazers: Lillard and Nurkic both watched from the Blazers bench in street clothes. Portland has used 22 different starting formations this season.
Nuggets: Host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.
Trail Blazers: Visit the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.
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