Nikola Jokic totaled 26 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists as the Denver Nuggets held the slumping Brooklyn Nets to five points over the final 5:18 of a 124-118 victory Wednesday night in New York.
Denver won its third straight and improved to 11-5 in its past 16 games thanks to a balanced offense that placed six in double figures.
Jokic made 8 of 13 shots overall and scored nine points in the fourth quarter. Reserve Austin Rivers tied a career high with seven 3-pointers and added 25 points -- 22 in the second half as Denver erased an 11-point halftime deficit.
Will Barton added 21 points and 10 rebounds while DeMarcus Cousins chipped in 13 points before being ejected for disputing a traveling call early in the fourth quarter. Aaron Gordon and Monte Morris contributed 10 points apiece for Denver, which shot 47.2 percent from the floor and hit 15 of 36 3-point attempts.
The Nets dropped their third straight game overall and lost for the eighth time in 10 home games, dropping to 12-13 in Brooklyn. The Wednesday defeat occurred with James Harden sidelined due to left hamstring tightness and the team down to nine available players.
Rookie Cam Thomas scored 25 points and Patty Mills added 21 for Brooklyn, which missed five of its final six shots. LaMarcus Aldridge added 18 points while DeAndre' Bembry contributed 14 for the Nets, who shot 48.9 percent.
Brooklyn held a 79-74 lead on Bembry's reverse layup with 5:42 remaining in the third quarter. Denver answered with an 18-5 spurt for an eight-point lead on a 3-pointer by Rivers with 93 seconds left. The Nuggets then took a 96-91 lead into the fourth when Thomas hit a 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds left
Denver held a 116-108 lead when Rivers hit his seventh 3-pointer with six minutes left. However, the Nuggets missed five shots in a row before Gordon's 11-footer made it 118-113 with 3:17 to go. Gordon blocked Aldridge at the rim nearly two minutes later before Morris sealed it with a layup in the final minute.
--Field Level Media