Nikola Jokic recorded his seventh triple-double of the season as the Denver Nuggets cruised to a 126-110 win over the short-handed Philadelphia 76ers at Pepsi Center.
Jokic recorded 32 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists as the Nuggets picked up their 12th win from their past 16 games.
3️⃣2️⃣ points- NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) January 27, 2019
Nikola Jokic records his 7th triple-double of the season in the #Nuggets' 126-110 win over the #Sixers #MileHighBasketball pic.twitter.com/ZtDuslByvR
The Serbian big man returned with a bang after serving a one-game suspension for leaving the bench during an altercation against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday.
Denver had five other players score in double figures on the night, with Mason Plumlee adding 17 points, Will Barton 16, Torrey Craig 15, Malik Beasley 14 and Monte Morris 10.
Philadelphia, who were without the injured trio of Joel Embiid (back), Jimmy Butler (wrist) and Wilson Chandler (hamstring) were led by JJ Redick's 22 points, while Corey Brewer added a season-high 20 points and four steals. Ben Simmons finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds and four assists, shooting just 6-of-17 from the field.
🇦🇺 Ben Simmons records 1️⃣9️⃣ points and 1️⃣2️⃣ rebounds in the #Sixers' 126-110 loss to the #Nuggets pic.twitter.com/KHaoBbC94y- NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) January 27, 2019
Denver scored a season-high 77 points in the first half, dominating inside, outscoring the 76ers 42-22 in the paint, thanks to Jokic's monster 20-point, 12-rebound performance through the first 24 minutes.
Without Embiid in the middle, Jokic was unstoppable as Denver went on to outscore the 76ers 74-40 in the paint for the game. The 76ers are now 1-3 in games without Embiid this season.
Denver led by 12 at the half, before the 76ers hit back immediately, opening the quarter on a 7-0 run to cut the lead to two, but the Nuggets quickly responded on an 11-2 run to keep the 76ers at arm's length. They kept their foot on the gas, exploding on another 10-3 run later in the quarter, to take a 107-96 lead into the fourth.
From there the Nuggets held on, keeping the 76ers to just 14 fourth-quarter points as they move to 33-15 on the season.
The 76ers now travel to Los Angeles to take on the Lakers, with Embiid and Butler both expected to return to the lineup on Wednesday, while the Nuggets are back in action on Tuesday against the Memphis Grizzlies.