DENVER — Nikola Jokic had a triple-double after making up with Suns owner Mat Ishbia and Michael Porter Jr. sank five 3-pointers to assist the Denver Nuggets beat Phoenix 118-102 on Tuesday night in Game 5 to regain the series lead.
Joker had 29 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists for his tenth profession playoff triple-double, breaking a tie with Wilt Chamberlain for many by a middle in NBA history.
Game 6 is Thursday night in Phoenix.
The house team has won every game within the series. If that holds true again, the decisive winner-take-all clash will come Sunday back in Denver, where the top-seeded Nuggets own the NBA’s best home record at 39-7, including 5-0 within the playoffs.
After Denver lost two straight at Phoenix, Nuggets coach Michael Malone devised a five-point plan for the Nuggets to regain control of the series: patch up their transition defense, slow Devin Booker, get more from his bench, unleash MPJ and knock down open 3s.
Check, check, check, check and check.
Porter bounced back from a nasty night in Game 4 with 19 points on 5-of-8 shooting from long range.
Denver outscored Phoenix 31-23 in fast-break points; Booker scored 28 points but missed 11 of 19 shots; Bruce Brown boosted the Nuggets’ bench with 25 points and the Nuggets sank 13 of 27 from long range.
Kevin Durant chipped in 26 points for Phoenix.
The Nuggets turned a three-point halftime lead right into a 91-74 cushion with a domiinant third quarter wherein Jokic made seven of eight shots for 17 points and Booker was just 1-for-8 for 3 points.
The chippiness of the series reached a recent level in the ultimate minute of the third quarter when Nuggets swingman Brown antagonized the Suns as they huddled up on the court and Durant gave Jokic a forearm shiver.
A double technical was assessed on Durant and Brown.
Before the sport, Jokic shared a warm pregame embrace — and the basketball — with Ishbia 48 hours after their kerfuffle over a loose ball in Phoenix in Game 4 resulted in a technical foul and a $25,000 wonderful for the Nuggets big man.
“I used to be hoping he was going to pay my wonderful,” Jokic cracked after the sport.
The Nuggets jumped out to an early 14-point lead however the Suns trailed just 52-49 at halftime, and the sport might need been tied had Booker’s nearly halfcourt heave left his hands only a tick sooner.