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Nikola Jokic, Nuggets start fast, cool off Knicks

Nikola Jokic scored 24 of his 32 points in a dominant first quarter in the Denver Nuggets' 113-97 victory over the New York Knicks on Wednesday night.

Jokic finished with 12 rebounds to help lead the Nuggets to their 10 victory in 12 games. Denver, which led by as much as 31, moved back into a tie with the Los Angeles Clippers for third place in the Western Conference.

Austin Rivers scored 11 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter against his former team, Michael Porter Jr. had 17 points, and Facu Campazzo 16.

New York Knicks guard Elfrid Payton (6) drives to the rim between Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. (1) and guard Facundo Campazzo (7) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, May 5, 2021, in Denver. (AP PhotoDavid Zalubowski)

This one got away from New York early. The Knicks committed three fouls in the game’s first 22 seconds and coach Tom Thibodeau was hit with a technical 28 seconds in. Things got worse from there.

RJ Barrett picked up his third foul with 5:32 left in the first period, the Knicks shot 4 of 24 from the field and went 5:46 between made shots.

Jokic doubled New York’s point total on his own in the first (24-12).

Denver Nuggets guard Austin Rivers, left, drives to the rim as New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett defends in the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, May 5, 2021, in Denver. (AP PhotoDavid Zalubowski)

Julius Randle had 14 points and eight rebounds and Derrick Rose, Reggie Bullock and Barrett also each scored 14 points. The Knicks had won 12 of 13 before Wednesday night.

Denver led by 28 midway through the second quarter but New York went on a 12-3 run to cut it to 59-40 late in the period. The Nuggets took a 64-43 lead into halftime.

The Knicks got to 78-62 with a trio of 3-pointers from Barrett and had a couple of chances to get within 13 but couldn’t get any closer. Porter hit a 3-pointer and Rivers two free throws to make it 108-77 with 5:48 left.

New York Knicks forward Obi Toppin, right, hangs from the rim after dunking the ball for a basket while Denver Nuggets center JaVale McGee defends in the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, May 5, 2021, in Denver. (AP PhotoDavid Zalubowski)

TIP-INS

Knicks: Shot 38.6 percent for the game and failed to score at least 100 points for the first time since April 7. ... New York has lost 13 straight in Denver. Its last victory was 109-107 on Nov. 8, 2006, when Ball Arena was known as Pepsi Center.

Nuggets: Coach Malone said he doesn’t expect P.J. Dozier to return any time soon from his right adductor strain suffered Monday night at the Los Angeles Lakers. ... Campazzo had five steals for the second straight game.

Denver Nuggets forward Paul Millsap (4) drives between New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) and guard RJ Barrett (9) to put up a shot blocked by center Nerlens Noel in the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, May 5, 2021, in Denver. (AP PhotoDavid Zalubowski)

UP NEXT

Knicks: At Phoenix on Friday night.

Nuggets: At Utah on Friday night.

Denver Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo, left, looks to pass the ball as New York Knicks forward Obi Toppin, front right, and guard Derrick Rose defend in the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, May 5, 2021, in Denver. (AP PhotoDavid Zalubowski)