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Murray scores 39 as Nuggets rout Grizzlies 131-114

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Jamal Murray didn’t take long to erase a bad night against Brooklyn.

Murray, who was missed 10 of 11 shots against the Nets last time out, connected on his first four on Sunday en route to a season-high 39 points as the Nuggets dominated the Memphis Grizzlies for a 131-114 victory.

“It was just preparation,” Murray said of the difference. “I mean, I know I didn’t shoot well (against Brooklyn), so I wanted to bounce back. Start out by being aggressive. Miss or make.”

Murray added eight assists with no turnovers on the night, while connecting on 14 of 24 shots, including 7 of 12 from 3-point range. Murray didn’t play in the fourth quarter after Denver held a 108-80 lead after three.

“I had a feeling he was going to come out not only being aggressive, but shooting the ball at a high level,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “He’s too good of a shooter to continue shooting the way he had been recently.”

Paul Millsap had 23 points and Juancho Hernangomez finished with 15. Jerami Grant added 12 points as Denver won for the sixth time in the last seven, scoring a season high in points.

Jaren Jackson Jr. led Memphis with 22 points, including a career-high five 3-pointers. Jonas Valanciunas had 16 points and 10 rebounds. Brandon Clarke finished with 19 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach.

A promising start offensively for Memphis, led by Valanciunas, eventually turned as the Nuggets’ defense tightened. Ja Morant’s flashy moves in the paint, along with other inside shots by Grizzlies shooters ended up returned by Denver rim protectors.

Denver’s seven blocks, coupled with nine Memphis turnovers in the first half, translated to a 72-49 Nuggets lead at the half. The major damage came in the second quarter with Denver outscoring Memphis 44-17.

“They raised their level to an elite level, and our guys just couldn’t really catch that second gear. It just wasn’t our day,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said, later adding: “We tried to claw back here and there, but that second quarter kind of got away from us.”

Murray already had 26 points by halftime, and characteristic of a young Memphis team, the Grizzlies simply didn’t have the experience to counter the Nuggets’ burst. Denver would eventually lead by as many as 33.

“Tonight, they just made shots,” said Morant, who had 13 points and six assists to go with four turnovers.

The Nuggets had 29 fast-break points to only 10 from Memphis, much of Denver’s a result of a defense that recorded 10 blocked shots and forced 16 Grizzlies turnovers leading to 25 points.

“I think that’s a fun way to play when you can play defense, when you can rebound and get out and run before they set their defense,” Malone said. “When you are running and sharing the ball, it is even that much more fun, so it was great.”

TIP-INS

Nuggets: Gave up 100 points for only the second time in the last seven games. … Will Barton, who was listed as probable after having left adductor tightness against the Nets, started but was limited to six points. … Previous high for points this season was 121 against Atlanta on Nov. 12. … Hernangomez was 5 of 6 from the field, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range. …Had 36 assists, a season high.

Grizzlies: Valanciunas has reached double figures in 12 straight games. … Memphis has made at least 10 3-pointers in seven straight games, matching the franchise record set in March of last season. … Entered the game leading the NBA with 55 points in the paint per game. Managed only 40 against the Nuggets.

TEAMMATE TRANSLATION

Hernangomez, in his fourth season out of Spain, was praised by Malone for the energy he brings to the Nuggets. Malone said the 6-foot-9 forward is contagious with the energy. “He’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever had,” Murray said. “He’s always the first one to stand by the bench and clap for his teammates and cheer. He’s always talking, even if he can’t talk English.”

UP NEXT

Nuggets: Open a four-game homestand against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.

Grizzlies: Host the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday.

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1st Quarter

Time Team Play Score
12:00   Jumpball  
11:48   Bad pass turnover on Gary Harris, stolen by Jae Crowder  
11:45   Bad pass turnover on Jae Crowder, stolen by Paul Millsap  
11:41 +3 Jamal Murray made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Nikola Jokic 3-0
11:25   Bad pass turnover on Jae Crowder, stolen by Jamal Murray  
11:23 +2 Jamal Murray made dunk 5-0
11:02   Jae Crowder missed jump shot  
10:59   Defensive rebound by Jamal Murray  
10:54 +2 Jamal Murray made jump shot 7-0
10:39   Ja Morant missed reverse layup, blocked by Jamal Murray  
10:33   Offensive rebound by Jonas Valanciunas  
10:33 +2 Jonas Valanciunas made hook shot 7-2
10:19 +2 Jamal Murray made jump shot, assist by Gary Harris 9-2
10:04 +2 Jaren Jackson Jr. made hook shot, assist by Ja Morant 9-4
9:42   Paul Millsap missed floating jump shot  
9:38   Defensive rebound by Jae Crowder  
9:35   Personal foul on Will Barton  
9:28 +3 Jae Crowder made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Ja Morant 9-7
9:09   Jamal Murray missed jump shot  
9:07   Defensive rebound by Jonas Valanciunas  
8:51   Shooting foul on Paul Millsap  
8:51   Ja Morant missed 1st of 2 free throws  
8:51   MEM team rebound  
8:51 +1 Ja Morant made 2nd of 2 free throws 9-8
8:39   Nikola Jokic missed jump shot  
8:36   Defensive rebound by Jaren Jackson Jr.  
8:27 +2 Ja Morant made finger-roll layup 9-10
8:13 +2 Gary Harris made floating jump shot, assist by Jamal Murray 11-10
8:00   Shooting foul on Gary Harris  
8:00 +1 Jonas Valanciunas made 1st of 2 free throws 11-11
8:00 +1 Jonas Valanciunas made 2nd of 2 free throws 11-12
7:48   Will Barton missed jump shot  
7:47   Defensive rebound by Jaren Jackson Jr.  
7:34   Jaren Jackson Jr. missed hook shot  
7:29   Defensive rebound by Gary Harris  
7:23   Shooting foul on Dillon Brooks  
7:23 +1 Paul Millsap made 1st of 2 free throws 12-12
7:23   Paul Millsap missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
7:21   Defensive rebound by Jonas Valanciunas  
7:06 +3 Jonas Valanciunas made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Ja Morant 12-15
6:54   Jamal Murray missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:52   Defensive rebound by Jonas Valanciunas  
6:46 +3 Jonas Valanciunas made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Dillon Brooks 12-18
6:31   Gary Harris missed floating jump shot  
6:28   Defensive rebound by Jae Crowder  
6:21 +2 Jonas Valanciunas made dunk, assist by Ja Morant 12-20
6:01   Will Barton missed 3-pt. jump shot  
5:58   Defensive rebound by Jonas Valanciunas  
5:47 +3 Ja Morant made 3-pt. jump shot 12-23
5:37 +3 Nikola Jokic made 3-pt. jump shot 15-23
5:24   Personal foul on Nikola Jokic  
5:14   Jaren Jackson Jr. missed finger-roll layup  
5:11   Defensive rebound by Mason Plumlee  
5:06 +3 Jamal Murray made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Nikola Jokic 18-23
4:48   Marko Guduric missed jump shot  
4:44   Defensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
4:21   Gary Harris missed 3-pt. jump shot  
4:18   Defensive rebound by Brandon Clarke  
4:11 +2 Brandon Clarke made alley-oop shot, assist by Tyus Jones 18-25
3:58 +2 Will Barton made driving dunk 20-25
3:39   Jaren Jackson Jr. missed layup, blocked by Gary Harris  
3:36   Defensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
3:34 +2 Jamal Murray made layup, assist by Nikola Jokic 22-25
3:16 +3 Jaren Jackson Jr. made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Kyle Anderson 22-28
3:02   Will Barton missed jump shot  
2:59   Defensive rebound by Jaren Jackson Jr.  
2:51   Marko Guduric missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:48   Defensive rebound by Will Barton  
2:36   Jamal Murray missed jump shot  
2:34   Offensive rebound by Mason Plumlee  
2:32   Jamal Murray missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:32   DEN team rebound  
2:31   Personal foul on Brandon Clarke  
2:21   Shooting foul on Kyle Anderson  
2:21 +1 Jamal Murray made 1st of 2 free throws 23-28
2:21 +1 Jamal Murray made 2nd of 2 free throws 24-28
2:05   Tyus Jones missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:02   Offensive rebound by Kyle Anderson  
1:59 +2 Kyle Anderson made fade-away jump shot 24-30
1:53   Personal foul on Marko Guduric  
1:48   Mason Plumlee missed layup  
1:45   Defensive rebound by Kyle Anderson  
1:42   Kyle Anderson missed layup  
1:42   Offensive rebound by Marko Guduric  
1:35   Kyle Anderson missed layup, blocked by Mason Plumlee  
1:35   Offensive rebound by Jonas Valanciunas  
1:28   Jonas Valanciunas missed jump shot  
1:25   Defensive rebound by Mason Plumlee  
1:19 +2 Mason Plumlee made alley-oop shot, assist by Jamal Murray 26-30
1:06 +2 Marko Guduric made layup, assist by Kyle Anderson 26-32
0:51 +2 Jerami Grant made finger-roll layup, assist by Monte Morris 28-32
0:32   Tyus Jones missed jump shot  
0:30   Defensive rebound by Monte Morris  
0:10   Jamal Murray missed fade-away jump shot  
0:07   Defensive rebound by Marko Guduric  
0:00   Marko Guduric missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:00   MEM team rebound  
0:00   End of period  

2nd Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:43 +2 Jonas Valanciunas made hook shot, assist by Kyle Anderson 28-34
11:26   Monte Morris missed jump shot  
11:24   Defensive rebound by Jonas Valanciunas  
11:19   Marko Guduric missed layup, blocked by Mason Plumlee  
11:16   Offensive rebound by Marko Guduric  
11:07 +2 Jonas Valanciunas made layup 28-36
10:48 +3 Jerami Grant made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Juancho Hernangomez 31-36
10:31   Jonas Valanciunas missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:28   Defensive rebound by Michael Porter Jr.  
10:16   Mason Plumlee missed floating jump shot  
10:12   Offensive rebound by Mason Plumlee  
10:12 +2 Mason Plumlee made dunk 33-36
10:00   Bad pass turnover on Ja Morant, stolen by Monte Morris  
9:52   Michael Porter Jr. missed dunk, blocked by Marko Guduric  
9:52   Defensive rebound by Ja Morant  
9:52   Personal foul on Mason Plumlee  
9:35   Jonas Valanciunas missed hook shot, blocked by Juancho Hernangomez  
9:32   Defensive rebound by Mason Plumlee  
9:32   Shooting foul on Ja Morant  
9:32 +1 Monte Morris made 1st of 2 free throws 34-36
9:32   Monte Morris missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
9:31   DEN team rebound  
9:31   Offensive foul on Jerami Grant  
9:31   Turnover on Jerami Grant  
9:20   Bad pass turnover on Jonas Valanciunas, stolen by Mason Plumlee  
9:16 +2 Monte Morris made finger-roll layup, assist by Mason Plumlee 36-36
8:58   Dillon Brooks missed jump shot  
8:55   Defensive rebound by Juancho Hernangomez  
8:45   Mason Plumlee missed floating jump shot  
8:43   Defensive rebound by Jonas Valanciunas  
8:35   Shooting foul on Mason Plumlee  
8:35 +1 Dillon Brooks made 1st of 2 free throws 36-37
8:35 +1 Dillon Brooks made 2nd of 2 free throws 36-38
8:25 +2 Mason Plumlee made dunk, assist by Jerami Grant 38-38
8:06   Solomon Hill missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:01   Defensive rebound by Jerami Grant  
7:54   Shooting foul on Jonas Valanciunas  
7:54   Juancho Hernangomez missed 1st of 2 free throws  
7:54   DEN team rebound  
7:54   Juancho Hernangomez missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
7:52   Defensive rebound by Solomon Hill  
7:40   Shooting foul on Mason Plumlee  
7:40 +1 Jaren Jackson Jr. made 1st of 2 free throws 38-39
7:40 +1 Jaren Jackson Jr. made 2nd of 2 free throws 38-40
7:23   Bad pass turnover on Nikola Jokic, stolen by Solomon Hill  
7:19   Ja Morant missed layup, blocked by Michael Porter Jr.  
7:15   Defensive rebound by Juancho Hernangomez  
7:13 +2 Juancho Hernangomez made finger-roll layup, assist by Michael Porter Jr. 40-40
7:13   Shooting foul on Jae Crowder  
7:13 +1 Juancho Hernangomez made free throw 41-40
6:57   Dillon Brooks missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:53   Defensive rebound by Michael Porter Jr.  
6:49   Out of bounds turnover on Michael Porter Jr.  
6:32   Jaren Jackson Jr. missed jump shot, blocked by Michael Porter Jr.  
6:28   Defensive rebound by Jamal Murray  
6:25 +3 Juancho Hernangomez made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Jamal Murray 44-40
6:07   Solomon Hill missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:04   Defensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
5:55 +2 Jamal Murray made dunk, assist by Nikola Jokic 46-40
5:41   Jaren Jackson Jr. missed 3-pt. jump shot  
5:37   Defensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
5:28 +2 Nikola Jokic made finger-roll layup, assist by Jamal Murray 48-40
5:17   Dillon Brooks missed driving layup  
5:14   Defensive rebound by Paul Millsap  
5:10   Michael Porter Jr. missed jump shot  
5:10   MEM team rebound  
5:00   Bad pass turnover on Jae Crowder, stolen by Paul Millsap  
4:56 +2 Paul Millsap made finger-roll layup 50-40
4:44   Traveling violation turnover on Jaren Jackson Jr.  
4:34 +3 Will Barton made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Nikola Jokic 53-40
4:24 +2 Tyus Jones made floating jump shot 53-42
4:11 +2 Jamal Murray made layup, assist by Nikola Jokic 55-42
4:11   Shooting foul on Brandon Clarke  
4:11 +1 Jamal Murray made free throw 56-42
3:48   Bad pass turnover on Tyus Jones, stolen by Paul Millsap  
3:38   Shooting foul on Jaren Jackson Jr.  
3:38 +1 Paul Millsap made 1st of 2 free throws 57-42
3:38 +1 Paul Millsap made 2nd of 2 free throws 58-42
3:29   Bad pass turnover on Ja Morant, stolen by Paul Millsap  
3:26 +2 Paul Millsap made dunk, assist by Will Barton 60-42
3:02   Kyle Anderson missed floating jump shot  
2:57   Defensive rebound by Will Barton  
2:48 +2 Nikola Jokic made hook shot 62-42
2:35   Ja Morant missed floating jump shot  
2:32   Defensive rebound by Paul Millsap  
2:21   Nikola Jokic missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:16   Defensive rebound by Jae Crowder  
2:16   Personal foul on Nikola Jokic  
2:06 +2 Ja Morant made driving layup 62-44
1:48   Paul Millsap missed 3-pt. jump shot  
1:44   Offensive rebound by Will Barton  
1:42   Paul Millsap missed layup  
1:38   Offensive rebound by Paul Millsap  
1:38 +2 Paul Millsap made dunk 64-44
1:33 +2 Ja Morant made finger-roll layup 64-46
1:19 +3 Jamal Murray made 3-pt. jump shot 67-46
1:09   Shooting foul on Nikola Jokic  
1:09   Ja Morant missed 1st of 2 free throws  
1:09   MEM team rebound  
1:09 +1 Ja Morant made 2nd of 2 free throws 67-47
0:56 +2 Jamal Murray made floating jump shot, assist by Jerami Grant 69-47
0:49   Lost ball turnover on Jonas Valanciunas, stolen by Paul Millsap  
0:45   Will Barton missed layup, blocked by Jae Crowder  
0:45   MEM team rebound  
0:31   Ja Morant missed driving layup  
0:27   Defensive rebound by Will Barton  
0:07 +3 Paul Millsap made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Jamal Murray 72-47
0:01   Shooting foul on Paul Millsap  
0:01 +1 Ja Morant made 1st of 2 free throws 72-48
0:01 +1 Ja Morant made 2nd of 2 free throws 72-49
0:01   Bad pass turnover on Juancho Hernangomez, stolen by Marko Guduric  
0:00   End of period  

3rd Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:49   Out of bounds turnover on Jonas Valanciunas  
11:35   Jamal Murray missed floating jump shot  
11:32   Defensive rebound by Jaren Jackson Jr.  
11:11   Dillon Brooks missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:08   Defensive rebound by Will Barton  
11:00   Nikola Jokic missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:57   Defensive rebound by Jae Crowder  
10:48   Jaren Jackson Jr. missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:44   Defensive rebound by Jamal Murray  
10:34 +2 Paul Millsap made jump shot 74-49
10:27   Personal foul on Jamal Murray  
10:18   Ja Morant missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:16   Defensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
10:04 +3 Jamal Murray made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Paul Millsap 77-49
9:49   Out of bounds turnover on Ja Morant  
9:40 +2 Gary Harris made jump shot, assist by Nikola Jokic 79-49
9:34   Personal foul on Gary Harris  
9:28   Jonas Valanciunas missed jump shot  
9:24   Offensive rebound by Jaren Jackson Jr.  
9:24   Lost ball turnover on Jaren Jackson Jr., stolen by Jamal Murray  
9:17   Unsportsmanlike technical foul  
9:17 +1 Jamal Murray made free throw 80-49
9:07 +2 Gary Harris made floating jump shot, assist by Jamal Murray 82-49
8:55   Shooting foul on Paul Millsap  
8:55   Jaren Jackson Jr. missed 1st of 2 free throws  
8:55   MEM team rebound  
8:55 +1 Jaren Jackson Jr. made 2nd of 2 free throws 82-50
8:44   Jamal Murray missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:40   Defensive rebound by Jae Crowder  
8:27 +3 Jaren Jackson Jr. made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Ja Morant 82-53
8:16   Shooting foul on Jaren Jackson Jr.  
8:16 +1 Will Barton made 1st of 2 free throws 83-53
8:16   Will Barton missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
8:14   Defensive rebound by Jonas Valanciunas  
8:01   Bad pass turnover on Ja Morant, stolen by Jamal Murray  
7:56   Jamal Murray missed 3-pt. jump shot  
7:53   Defensive rebound by Ja Morant  
7:43 +3 Jaren Jackson Jr. made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Jae Crowder 83-56
7:29 +2 Paul Millsap made dunk, assist by Will Barton 85-56
7:21   Shooting foul on Will Barton  
7:21 +1 Dillon Brooks made 1st of 2 free throws 85-57
7:21 +1 Dillon Brooks made 2nd of 2 free throws 85-58
7:00 +2 Gary Harris made jump shot, assist by Jamal Murray 87-58
6:37   Dillon Brooks missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:35   Defensive rebound by Jamal Murray  
6:30