DENVER (AP) – Will Barton scored 21 points before leaving the game in the third quarter with a neck strain, Nikola Jokic finished with 20 and the Denver Nuggets crushed a depleted Portland Trail Blazers 140-108 on Thursday night.
The Nuggets extended their lead to 26 points in the third quarter, and this time, unlike two nights ago against the Clippers, they didn’t miss it. Although it took them almost three minutes to score their first basket in that time, a dunk from Jeff Green, who finished with 19 points.
Argentine Facundo Campazzo totaled 18 points and 12 assists for the Nuggets. Jokic, who did not jump onto the court in the fourth quarter, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out seven assists in a rare game in which he missed a double-double.
The scare of the game came late in the third quarter, when Barton appeared to hit his neck against a Portland player on a play. He was lying on the floor for a few moments while his companions surrounded him. Finally he walked to the locker room and later returned to the bench.
Ben McLemore had 18 points and the Blazers’ five starters finished in double figures at the start of a six-game road trip. Portland can’t count on their top four scorers: Damian Lillard (abdominal tendinopathy), CJ McCollum (right lung pneumothorax), Norman Powell (health protocol) and Anfernee Simons (personal reasons).