Forward Aaron Gordon returned after a two-game absence after suffering dog bites on Christmas Day, scoring 10 points in the Nuggets’ home win over the Hornets on Monday.
Gordon received 21 stitches as a result of the incident.
“It’s always good having him out there, just his energy on the glass, or catching lobs, playing defense, whatever it is,” guard Jamal Murray told reporters. “Obviously, he was just trying to get his legs back tonight because he’s been out for a while. But just him being around was good. He was embraced by the whole team.”
- Murray led the Nuggets with 25 points and Michael Porter Jr. added 22. “Guys were locked in and defense was leading to offense,” coach Michael Malone said. “We took care of it in the second half, and that’s Denver Nuggets basketball.”
Star forward Kevin Durant was ruled out Monday because of hamstring tightness, but that didn’t keep the Suns from routing the visiting Trail Blazers, 109-88.
Shooting guard Bradley Beal led the way with 21 points and center Jusuf Nurkic scored 18 against his former team. Afterward, Nurkic received his praise for Beal, who returned from an ankle injury on Friday.
“He changes everything,” Nurkic told reporters of Beal. “It’s simple. We depend on him. When he’s out there, it doesn’t matter what he does, just being out there makes a big difference for our team.”
- Star shooting guard Devin Booker was held to 10 points on 4-of-16 shooting. But he did compile eight rebounds and six assists.
- Coach Frank Vogel said Durant began to feel his hamstring issue when scoring 31 in Sunday’s win over the Magic. “He was able to finish the game, but it was enough to keep him out,” Vogel said. “He’s day-to-day.”
The Timberwolves put up a fight, but were never able to rally past the host Knicks on Monday, becoming the first team to lose in 2024.
“I thought our energy just kind of dipped,” coach Chris Finch told reporters. “Our start to the game was good, we made some shots, we got a few stops, but I didn’t think our energy was super high and it kind of maintained that level. They found another gear and we didn’t respond.”
- Minnesota trailed by as many as 22 points in the third quarter, before a 10-0 run to start the fourth cut the deficit to six. They kept coming at the Knicks … but were never able to come all the way back.