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Jokic’s triple-double lifts Nuggets past Hornets

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA (AP) – Nikola Jokic had 26 points, 19 rebounds and 11 assists for his 19th triple-double of the season, and the Denver Nuggets held on to beat the Charlotte Hornets 113-109 on Monday night.

Aaron Gordon added 21 points and Will Barton scored 18 for the Nuggets, who earned a split of the season series.

Miles Bridges had 27 points and 11 rebounds and LaMelo Ball added 22 points, 11 assists and six rebounds for Charlotte, which fell to 1-13 in the second night of back-to-backs. The loss dropped the Hornets to ninth place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind the idle Brooklyn Nets.

The Nuggets currently sit in sixth place in the Western Conference, so there’s a chance that they won’t host a playoff series.

But Denver has won a franchise-record 23 road games this season, so Jokic doesn’t seem all that concerned.

“It just seems like we have been good on the road,” said Jokic, offering no explanation as to why.

Charlotte Hornets’ Mason Plumlee guards against Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic. PHOTO: AP

Denver took an 83-74 lead into the fourth quarter and quickly extended it to 13 points. The Hornets rallied, battling back to cut the lead to one with 4:07 left behind three-pointers from Isaiah Thomas, Bridges and Ball and an alley-oop dunk by Bridges.

The Hornets had several chances to tie the game, but shots simply wouldn’t fall. Monte Morris put the Nuggets up by five with two free throws with 38.8 seconds left before Terry Rozier answered with a three-pointer.

Jokic missed a jumper on Denver’s next possession with the shot clock running down, but got his own rebound off a tipped ball and was fouled hard with 8.6 seconds left. He made both shots to make it a two-possession game and put the Hornets away.

It was the 17th offensive rebound for the Nuggets – and the fifth by Jokic. Denver finished with 32 second-chance points.

The Nuggets held a 51-40 advantage on the glass overall.