NBA: Nikola Jokic's speedy triple-double lifts Nuggets past Pistons

Field Level Media, Reuters

Posted at May 15 2021 11:59 AM

Nikola Jokic recorded a triple-double in less than 27 minutes on the court, finishing with 20 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists to lead the Denver Nuggets to a 104-91 victory over the host Detroit Pistons on Friday night.

The Nuggets (47-24) kept alive their hopes of moving up to the third seed in the Western Conference with one regular-season game left to play. Denver won its third in a row and entered Friday one game behind the Los Angeles Clippers, but in possession of the head-to-head tiebreaker.

L.A. played at Houston later on Friday night and closes the season at Oklahoma City on Sunday. Denver finishes at Portland on Sunday.

The Pistons' Hamidou Diallo, who was listed as questionable due to health and safety protocols heading into the game, totaled 18 points and 12 rebounds. Josh Jackson finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.

But Detroit (20-51) shot a dismal 6-for-37 from 3-point range and lost its fourth in a row. The Pistons have lost 11 of 13 and finish their season at home on Sunday against the Miami Heat.

Markus Howard also had 20 points for Denver, while Vlatko Cancar had 11 points.

Monte Morris was back after sitting out Thursday's game against Minnesota for rest and finished with 15 points off the Nuggets' bench.

Detroit used only eight players as Wayne Ellington (bilateral calf strain), Jerami Grant (right knee soreness), Cory Joseph (left ankle soreness), Rodney McGruder (right elbow sprain), Frank Jackson (right ankle sprain), Dennis Smith Jr. (left knee soreness), Mason Plumlee (rest) and Isaiah Stewart (personal reasons) were out.

Tyler Cook had 17 points and Deividas Sirvydis also stepped up with 16 points off the Pistons' bench.

Saddiq Bey, who continues to be a bright spot on the Pistons' rebuilding squad, also had 14 points, while Jahlil Okafor added 13.

Will Barton (right hamstring strain) and PJ Dozier (right adductor strain) remained out for the Nuggets.