NEW YORK (AP) — D’Angelo Russell had 27 points and 11 assists, and the Brooklyn Nets surpassed last season’s win total by beating the Denver Nuggets 135-130 on Wednesday night.
Russell made six of the Nets’ 19 3-pointers, one game after they made only five as a team in their poorest shooting performance of the season.
DeMarre Carroll added 18 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for Brooklyn (29-27), which got two key injured players back and led by 21 points in ending a three-game skid. Joe Harris scored 17 points and Treveon Graham had 16, with four 3-pointers.
Nikola Jokic had 25 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in his 10th triple-double of the season for the Nuggets, who have lost two straight games to fall out of a tie for the Western Conference lead.
Mason Plumlee scored a season-high 24 points on 10-for-12 shooting against his former team, and Jamal Murray had 19 points and 11 assists after missing six games with a sprained left ankle.
Brooklyn had failed to score 100 in its previous two games and had season lows of 32 percent shooting overall and 11.9 percent (5 for 42) from 3-point range in a 113-94 loss to Milwaukee on Monday.
Coach Kenny Atkinson dismissed questions about a need for more shooting before the trade deadline, and he sure looked right against Denver.
The Nets made 13 of their first 18 attempts from behind the arc. Harris, who missed the last game with a sore right hip, hit three 3s, and Allen Crabbe came off the bench to hit his first 3-point attempt after missing 26 games with a sore right knee.
Looking to bounce back from a 129-103 loss at Detroit on Monday, the Nuggets scored the first eight points and raced to a 16-5 lead. But their 14-point lead was down to five by the end of the first quarter, and it was clear by then they were going to have trouble stopping the Nets.
Brooklyn was 7 of 9 from behind the arc in a 42-point second quarter, and then opened the third with a 12-4 run to push the lead to 84-64. The Nets had 108 points and a 21-point cushion in the final minute of the period, and scored enough to hold on when the Nuggets trimmed it to single digits in the final couple minutes.
Nuggets: Plumlee was 7 for 7 in the first quarter. … Gary Harris missed his fourth consecutive game with a strained right groin. Paul Millsap missed his second straight with right ankle soreness. … Coach Michael Malone, a New York native, said his parents would be at the game. His father, Brendan, coached 28 years in the NBA.
Nets: Shabazz Napier, 0 for 10 behind the arc on Monday, hit both 3-point attempts and had 10 points and 11 assists. … Atkinson said Caris LeVert, nearing a return from a dislocated right foot, practiced again with the Nets’ NBA G League affiliate. He will be evaluated Thursday. … The Nets celebrated the Lunar New Year as part of the NBA Chinese New Year celebration. The Nets will travel to China in October for two preseason games against the Los Angeles Lakers.
PICK A WINNER
Malone will coach Team LeBron in the All-Star Game on Feb. 17. LeBron James will draft his roster for the team on Thursday, and Malone was asked if he will watch when the results are unveiled to see if the captain picked him a good team.
“I think it’s hard not to get good players. I mean, it’s the 24 best players in the world — now 26 because of Dirk (Nowitzki) and Dwyane Wade,” Malone said. “So I haven’t sent LeBron my suggestions. I just hope that we get Nikola Jokic on our team because we really need to go through that game and that weekend with the future of that team.”
Nuggets: Visit Philadelphia on Friday.
Nets: Host Chicago on Friday.
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