banner

NBA Basketball

Jokic stars on "Serbian Heritage Night," Nuggets pound Bulls

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

By JAY COHEN

AP Sports Writer

CHICAGO (AP) It started when Nikola Jokic was introduced with Denver's starting lineup, and the cheering continued throughout the night. There were chants of "Serbia! Serbia!"

Jokic felt right at home in Chicago.

The 7-foot center had 21 points, seven rebounds and five assists on "Serbian Heritage Night," leading the Nuggets to a runaway 135-102 victory over the Bulls on Wednesday.

"The ovations, the fans, the people from Serbia did bring the flags," Jokic said, "I mean when Serbia is playing this is the atmosphere. Just imagine the whole arena is doing that. The whole Serbian population, people, love basketball."

Denver shot 61.4 percent (51 for 83) from the field and had seven players score in double figures. Paul Millsap had 22 points and eight rebounds in 27 minutes, and Wilson Chandler made five of the Nuggets' 20 3-pointers on his way to 19 points.

The Nuggets (39-33) led by as many as 46 while improving to 1-2 on a seven-game trip. They also pulled within 1 1/2 games of idle Utah for eighth in the Western Conference playoff race.

"Anytime on the road you're able to build a 40-point lead, your guys are playing at a high level," Denver coach Michael Malone said.

Jokic went 9 for 11 from the field and made each of his two 3-point tries. He called the warm reception "really, really cool," and his teammates also got a kick out of the Serbian contingent in the crowd of 20,671.

"It was a home game for him," a grinning Millsap said. "Definitely a home game for him. I see why he was feeling it out there."

Cristiano Felicio scored 16 points for the Bulls (24-47), who have dropped four of five. Bobby Portis had 15 points and eight rebounds, and Noah Vonleh finished with 14 points.

"We are not coming out with any type of edge whatsoever, and we're allowing teams to gain confidence in games, and it just goes downhill from there," coach Fred Hoiberg said.

Chicago played without Kris Dunn, Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine due to injuries, and veteran center Robin Lopez did not dress. Dunn has a right toe sprain, Markkanen has been bothered by lower back spasms and LaVine is out with soreness in his surgically repaired left knee.

LaVine (16.7 points per game), Markkanen (14.9) and Dunn (13.4) are the Bulls' top three scorers after Nikola Mirotic was traded to New Orleans last month.

"When you lose, it hurts until midnight," Portis said. "Then, when midnight comes, you worry about the next game."

The Nuggets opened a 33-23 lead on Jokic's layup with 1:15 left in the first quarter and maintained a double-digit advantage for the rest of the game. Once a fast shooting start for the Bulls wore off, it was never in doubt.

The lead ballooned to 20 for the first time on Chandler's layup with 5:52 left in the first half. It got up to 30 when Jokic and Will Barton hit consecutive 3-pointers, making it 74-44 with 58.2 seconds remaining in the quarter.

Jokic then made a slick pass to set up Jamal Murray's three-point play, helping Denver to a 77-46 halftime lead. The Nuggets shot 68.3 percent (28 for 41) from the field in their highest-scoring first half of the season.

PLAYING IT COY

The playoff race doesn't mean very much for lowly Chicago as the season winds down. It's the results for the teams at the bottom of the standings that affect the Bulls in terms of positioning for their pick in the draft lottery.

Asked if he was scoreboard watching for the bottom of the NBA, a chuckling Hoiberg responded: "I look at the scores. I follow the box scores very closely, as all coaches do at this time of year."

TIP-INS

Nuggets: G Gary Harris (strained right knee) missed his third consecutive game. Malone called a Monday return at Philadelphia a "best-case scenario." ... Barton and Murray each had 16 points. Reserve Devin Harris scored 14, and Trey Lyles had 10. ... The Nuggets swept the season series for the second straight year.

Bulls: G Antonio Blakeney had six points on 3-for-10 shooting after he was listed as questionable due to a left wrist sprain. ... The Bulls made their first four 3-point attempts and finished 13 for 38 from beyond the arc. They went 3 for 30 from long range during Monday night's 110-92 loss to the New York Knicks.

UP NEXT

Nuggets: Visit Washington on Friday night. Denver lost 109-104 to the Wizards on Oct. 23.

Bulls: Host Milwaukee on Friday night in the finale of their season series. The Bulls won two of the previous three matchups, but lost 110-96 in their last meeting on Jan. 28.

---

Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap

---

For more NBA coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

Updated March 21, 2018

Sports Data API Powered by STATS © 2018 by STATS.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.

Bowl Games
Sat, Dec 15
Cure Bowl
10:30 PT11:30 MT12:30 CT1:30 ET6:30 GMT2:30 北京时间11:30 MST12:30 CST1:30 EST
New Mexico Bowl
11:00 PT12:00 MT1:00 CT2:00 ET7:00 GMT3:00 北京时间12:00 MST1:00 CST2:00 EST
Las Vegas Bowl
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET8:30 GMT4:30 北京时间1:30 MST2:30 CST3:30 EST
Preview
21
Camellia Bowl
2:30 PT3:30 MT4:30 CT5:30 ET10:30 GMT6:30 北京时间3:30 MST4:30 CST5:30 EST
New Orleans Bowl
6:00 PT7:00 MT8:00 CT9:00 ET2:00 GMT10:00 北京时间7:00 MST8:00 CST9:00 EST
Men's College Basketball
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 北京时间6:00 MST8:00 EST
Preview
16
NFL Scoreboard
Thursday, Dec. 13
LA Chargers 5:20 PT6:20 MT7:20 CT8:20 ET1:20 GMT9:20 6:20 MST7:20 CST8:20 EST7:20 CT5:20 UAE (+1)20:20 ETNaN:�
Preview
Kansas City 
Saturday, Dec. 15
Houston 1:30 PT2:30 MT3:30 CT4:30 ET21:30 GMT5:30 2:30 MST3:30 CST4:30 EST3:30 CT1:30 UAE (+1)16:30 ETNaN:�
Preview
NY Jets 
Cleveland 5:20 PT6:20 MT7:20 CT8:20 ET1:20 GMT9:20 6:20 MST7:20 CST8:20 EST7:20 CT5:20 UAE (+1)20:20 ETNaN:�
Preview
Denver 
Sunday, Dec. 16
Arizona 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 11:00 MST12:00 CST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Atlanta 
Tampa Bay 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 11:00 MST12:00 CST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Baltimore 
Detroit 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 11:00 MST12:00 CST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Buffalo 
Green Bay 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 11:00 MST12:00 CST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Chicago 
Oakland 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 11:00 MST12:00 CST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Cincinnati 
Dallas 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 11:00 MST12:00 CST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Indianapolis 
Washington 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 11:00 MST12:00 CST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Jacksonville 
Miami 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 11:00 MST12:00 CST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Minnesota 
Tennessee 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 11:00 MST12:00 CST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
NY Giants 
Seattle 1:05 PT2:05 MT3:05 CT4:05 ET21:05 GMT5:05 2:05 MST3:05 CST4:05 EST3:05 CT1:05 UAE (+1)16:05 ETNaN:�
Preview
San Francisco 
New England 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET21:25 GMT5:25 2:25 MST3:25 CST4:25 EST3:25 CT1:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ETNaN:�
Preview
Pittsburgh 
Philadelphia 5:20 PT6:20 MT7:20 CT8:20 ET1:20 GMT9:20 6:20 MST7:20 CST8:20 EST7:20 CT5:20 UAE (+1)20:20 ETNaN:�
Preview
LA Rams 
Monday, Dec. 17
New Orleans 5:15 PT6:15 MT7:15 CT8:15 ET1:15 GMT9:15 6:15 MST7:15 CST8:15 EST7:15 CT5:15 UAE (+1)20:15 ETNaN:�
Carolina 
NBA Scoreboard
LA Lakers 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 MST7:00 CST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Houston 
LA Clippers 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET1:30 GMT9:30 6:30 MST7:30 CST8:30 EST5:30 UAE (+1)02:3020:30 ET7:30 CTNaN:�
Preview
San Antonio 
Chicago 6:30 PT7:30 MT8:30 CT9:30 ET2:30 GMT10:30 7:30 MST8:30 CST9:30 EST6:30 UAE (+1)03:3021:30 ET8:30 CTNaN:�
Preview
Orlando 
Dallas 7:30 PT8:30 MT9:30 CT10:30 ET3:30 GMT11:30 8:30 MST9:30 CST10:30 EST7:30 UAE (+1)04:3022:30 ET9:30 CTNaN:�
Preview
Phoenix 
NHL Scoreboard
Arizona 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 MST6:00 CST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Buffalo 
Los Angeles 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 MST6:00 CST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Columbus 
Carolina 4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 MST6:30 CST7:30 EST4:30 UAE (+1)19:30 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Montreal 
Toronto 4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 MST6:30 CST7:30 EST4:30 UAE (+1)19:30 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Tampa Bay 
Vancouver 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 MST7:00 CST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Nashville 
Florida 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 MST7:00 CST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Minnesota 
Edmonton 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 MST7:00 CST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Winnipeg 
Dallas 7:30 PT8:30 MT9:30 CT10:30 ET3:30 GMT11:30 8:30 MST9:30 CST10:30 EST7:30 UAE (+1)22:30 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
San Jose 
Minor League Baseball
International League
Memphis 4:05 PT5:05 MT6:05 CT7:05 ET12:05 GMT
Durham