Jamal Murray scored 22 of his 25 points in the third quarter, Nikola Jokic had 18 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds, and the host Denver Nuggets routed the Chicago Bulls 135-105 on Thursday night.

Paul Millsap finished with 14 points, and Gary Harris, returned from missing five games due to a strained left hamstring, also scored 14 off the bench for Denver.

Lauri Markkanen had 27 points and 10 rebounds, Robin Lopez finished with 17 points and Jabari Parker had 15 for Chicago. The Bulls have lost nine in a row and have yet to win in the 2019 calendar year.

The Nuggets were coming off a 142-111 home loss to Golden State on Tuesday night. The Warriors set an NBA record for points in a first quarter with 51.

Denver's defense was much better against Chicago. The Bulls scored 30 in the first quarter but had just 54 point midway through the third quarter. Chicago was outscored 75-43 in the second and third quarters.

The Nuggets started to pull away midway through the second. Jokic went behind the back for a layup and a foul, and his free throw gave Denver a 51-42 lead.

Markkanen's 3-pointer made it a six-point game with 1:51 left in the period, but the Nuggets finished the first half with eight straight points, capped by Malik Beasley's 3-pointer with three seconds left to make it 61-47 at intermission.

Markkanen opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer, but Denver dominated from there. Murray hit a 3-pointer, Jokic scored on two consecutive layups, Murray hit another 3-pointer and Beasley converted a three-point play to make it 74-52.

Murray put it away with another flurry. He scored the next 11 points for Denver and had 16 points in the final 6:57 of the period to push the lead to 103-73 heading into the fourth.

Murray hit 7 of 10 shots in the third, including 6 of 8 from 3-point range, despite turning his right ankle early on.

--Field Level Media


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