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Jokic has strong game in return, Nuggets beat Celtics 119-99

Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari (8), of Italy, is fouled as he drives the lane by Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder in the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 10, 2017, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Nikola Jokic had 21 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in his return to the lineup, and the Denver Nuggets beat the Boston Celtics 119-99 on Friday night.

Jokic played 27 minutes after missing two games because of illness. Wilson Chandler had 23 points and eight rebounds for the Nuggets, and Danilo Gallinari returned from sitting out Wednesday's game with vertigo to score 20 points.

Denver increased its lead for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference to a full game over idle Portland.

Isaiah Thomas had 19 points, Avery Bradley 16 and Al Horford 15 for the Celtics, who finished their road trip 2-3. Boston held Golden State to 86 points in Wednesday's win but couldn't contain the Nuggets, who never trailed.

Boston fell behind by as many as 20 in the first half but rallied to trail by just 11 at the break. A 3-pointer by Bradley midway through the third period got the Celtics within 75-67 but Denver responded with an 11-4 run to make it 86-71.

Boston made one more run to get within nine on a three-point play by Jaylen Brown early in the fourth, but two 3-pointers by the Nuggets got the lead to 15 again and the Celtics never cut into the lead.

TIP-INS

Celtics: The 119 points were the most Boston has allowed since giving up 123 to Washington on Jan. 24. ... G James Young missed his second straight game with a sore lower back. ... Coach Brad Stevens said Bradley, who has been on a minutes restriction since returning from a sore right Achilles tendon on Feb. 26 after missing 18 games, is close to full go. He sat out Sunday's loss in Phoenix for rest.

Nuggets: Denver won despite committing 19 turnovers. ... G Emmanuel Mudiay did not play. He scored 24 of his 30 points in the first quarter of the Nuggets' win in Boston on Nov. 6. ... F Kenneth Faried missed his seventh straight game with lower back spasms and there is no timetable for his return. ... F Malik Beasley was assigned to Sioux Falls of the NBA Development League.

UP NEXT

Celtics: Host the Chicago Bulls on Sunday afternoon.

Nuggets: At the Sacramento Kings on Saturday night.

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