Nuggets beat Blazers 124-92, extend win streak to 6 games


PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) JaMychal Green had 20 points and 10 rebounds off the bench and the Denver Nuggets pushed 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 for good with 2:22 left in the third quarter.

DeMarcus Cousins, signed by the Nuggets for the rest of the season on Friday, added 19 points and eight rebounds, and Denver’s 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 snapped a four-game winning streak.

Denver led by as many as 20 points. Although the Nuggets looked sluggish at times playing the second of a back-to-back, the smaller and less experienced Blazers’ lineup couldn’t match them.

Justise Winslow, who started for the Blazers in a loss to Golden State on Thursday, did not play because of a sore Achilles. He was replaced in the starting lineup by Keon Johnson, a 19-year-old rookie acquired by the Trail Blazers in a trade with the Clippers on Feb. 4. It was Johnson’s first career start.

The Blazers also started Drew Eubanks, signed to a 10-day contract earlier in the week when Portland announced that center Jusuf Nurkic was battling plantar fasciitis.

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Portland is still missing Damian Lillard, who is recovering from abdominal surgery. The Blazers announced Sunday that their six-time All-Star had progressed through the first phase of his recovery, and that he 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 never threatened.

NO REST FOR THE WEARY

The Nuggets are in the midst of playing three games in four days. They were coming off a a 115-110 victory at home over Sacramento on Saturday night. On Thursday, they beat the Kings on the road, 128-110.

So facing a Blazers team with its rotating injured and traded players was a challenge, Denver coach Michael Malone said.

”We went through the personnel this morning and told the guys to be locked in because this is a completely different team than we played the first three times, and they have players you’re probably not familiar with,” Malone said.

TIP INS:

Nuggets: Denver 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’ win at home against Sacramento (18 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds) for his ninth triple-double in his last 19 games.

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Trail Blazers: Both Lillard and Nurkic watched from the Blazers’ bench in street clothes. Portland has used 22 different starting lineups this season.

UP NEXT

Nuggets: Host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.

Trail Blazers: Visit the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.

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