DENVER (AP) — Kevin Love scored 22 points, Jarrett Allen recorded his second straight double-double and the Cleveland Cavaliers held off the Denver Nuggets 99-87 on Monday night.
Allen finished with 21 points and 16 rebounds to help the Cavaliers start a five-game trip on the right note. This was on the heels of a 11-point, 14-rebound performance in a win over Atlanta over the weekend.
The Cavaliers overcame a big night from NBA MVP Nikola Jokic, who scored 24 points and grabbed 19 rebounds. They held Denver to 9-of-38 shooting from 3-point land, and forced more than 20 turnovers.
Up by 11 in the third quarter, Cleveland saw Denver rally to tie the game at 70. But Love hit a reverse layup to ignite a 19-3 run that helped put the game away.
Darius Garland scored nine points for the Cavs as he returned after missing the last two games with a sprained left ankle.
Ricky Rubio and Facundo Campazzo were both issued technicals late in the third quarter after getting in the face of the other. Rubio appeared to take exception with Campazzo's foul in the corner.
Cavaliers: Love moved past John “Hot Rod” Williams for sole possession of fifth place on Cleveland's all-time defensive rebounds list. ... Rookie PF Evan Mobley had 10 points as he dealt with early foul trouble. ... SG Collin Sexton had 14 points.
Nuggets: G Jamal Murray (torn ACL) went through a shooting routine in pregame warmups as the crowd shuffled into the arena. ... G Will Barton finished with 12 points, while Aaron Gordon had 12 points and nine rebounds.
PATIENCE, PART I
Nuggets coach Michael Malone recently chatted with Bones Hyland about staying patient as he tries to work the rookie guard into the rotation. Hyland saw his first action of the season Monday and had seven points. He was taken 26th overall out of VCU.
“Every rookie has a different path,” Malone said. “I told Bones that Jamal didn’t start and Nikola didn’t start. Michael Porter (Jr.) as a rookie probably had 15 DNPs (did not play), and now he’s a max player. America’s great.”
PATIENCE, PART II
Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff figures it will take about 10 games of tinkering before he settles on a steady rotation.
“We want to give groups an opportunity to be successful or to fail, but they need to have the data behind them,” Bickerstaff explained.
Cavaliers: Face the Clippers in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
Nuggets: At Utah on Tuesday to complete a back-to-back.
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Pat Graham, The Associated Press