Jokic, Grant lead Nuggets to 114-99 win over Trail Blazers

DENVER (AP) — With his team well ahead in the final seconds, Nikola Jokic heaved a shot from the top of the key that swished through the net for a three-pointer.

It was that kind of night for the Denver Nuggets.

Jokic and Jerami Grant scored 20 points apiece and Denver overcame a career-high 33 by Hassan Whiteside to beat the Portland Trail Blazers 114-99 yesterday.

Gary Harris and Will Barton each added 15 points for the Nuggets, who had lost five of their previous six games and failed to surpass 100 points in four of those losses — with poor outside shooting a big factor.

They were back on target against Portland, making twice as many three-pointers (18 of 36) as the Trail Blazers (nine of 30). Grant accounted for five of them.

“The main thing is we were making shots and when we make shots, I think we can beat anybody,” Jokic said. “When we’re scoring, we create open 3s and those are the best 3s.”

Denver coach Michael Malone thought crisp ball movement was the key to generating open looks for his team.

“And I liked the fact that guys were stepping into their shot, shooting with confidence, being a lot more shot ready and playing in attack mode,” Malone said.

Carmelo Anthony, who spent the first seven years of his career in Denver, received a warm reception from the crowd during pre-game introductions.