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Nikola Jokic inspires Nuggets to NBA win

Nikola Jokic had 19 points, 18 assists and 12 rebounds for the 42nd triple-double of his career as the Denver Nuggets beat the short-handed Houston Rockets 124-111 for their first win of the NBA season.

Jokic sliced apart Houston’s front court even though the Rockets don’t play with a traditional centre.

“I don’t think he cares who he’s playing against,” said Nuggets coach Michael Malone.

“Big, small, that’s how Nikola plays every night. That’s why he’s a great player, he makes everybody better.”

Jamal Murray added 21 points before leaving with 4:05 remaining in the third quarter after a collision in traffic sent him sprawling to the floor.

He held his hand to his head for a couple of minutes but got up and walked under his own power to the locker room for further examination..

James Harden had 34 points to lead undermanned Houston.

The Rockets have started the season without key components of their roster, including John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Gordon and Mason Jones, who remain away from the team due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

Damian Lillard scored 31 points and Gary Trent J had 28, leading the visiting Portland Trail Blazers to a 115-107 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Trent came off the bench to convert 10 of 14 shots, including 7 of 11 from 3-point range.

CJ McCollum contributed 20 points and 11 rebounds for Portland.

Enes Kanter collected 12 points and 14 rebounds while Jusuf Nurkic added 10 points and 12 boards.

LeBron James had 29 points, nine rebounds and six assists for the Lakers, who were playing for the second time in as many nights.

Trae Young scored 29 points, Bogdan Bogdanovic added 17 as the Atlanta Hawks beat the Detroit Pistons 128-120 in their NBA home opener.

John Collins finished with 15 points for the Hawks, who are 3-0 for the first time since 2016-17 and hit 20 3-pointers while shooting 47.6 per cent beyond the arc.

The Pistons dropped to 0-3.

Ja Morant exited with a sprained ankle but the Memphis Grizzlies earned their first victory of the season without him, outlasting the Brooklyn Nets 116-111 in overtime.

The NBA Rookie of the Year was wheeled to the back of the arena late in the first half after hurting his left ankle when he leaped to block a shot by Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and landed on the Nets forward’s foot.

He watched Brandon Clarke score the go-ahead basket on a follow shot with 41 seconds left in overtime before the Grizzlies put it away with free throws.

Donovan Mitchell hit a go-ahead layup with seven seconds left and finished with 20 points, lifting the Utah Jazz over the Oklahoma City Thunder 110-109.

Bogan Bogdanovich scored 23 points and Mike Conley added 20 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for the Jazz, who ended a 17-game losing streak in regular season road games against the Thunder.

Utah’s last win in Oklahoma City came on October 31, 2010.

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