Home NBA Nikola Jokic, Bones Hyland put Denver Nuggets back on track in Miami

Nikola Jokic, Bones Hyland put Denver Nuggets back on track in Miami

Photo: Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

Denver Nuggets had to dig up deep to end a six-game losing streak against a close-knit group in Miami. Michael Malone’s squad faced Miami without four key players.

Michael Porter Jr. will probably miss the rest of the season, while PJ Dozier has suffered a season-ending injury last week. At the same time, Jamal Murray is still recovering from a torn left ACL, while JaMychal Green was ruled out for Monday’s game.

Nikola Jokic and Bones Hyland led an injury-depleted squad to a 120-111 victory over the Heat. Jokic returned and scored 24 points after four games. Aaron Gordon added 20, while Bones Hyland hit 5 threes to finish the contest with 19 points.

“It felt good going back to the locker room. You’ve just seen smiles in faces and the energy that we had when we start the season”, Hyland said after the end of the game.

“This was a must win for us,” Hyland continued.

It was the first meeting of the teams since the dustup between Jokic and Miami’s Markieff Morris on Nov. 8. But, this one was focused more on the basketball side of the matchup.

Denver seemed desperate to return to its winning ways. The lead was 63-43 by halftime, the biggest deficit that the Heat have faced at intermission so far this season.

“I think they played extremely well. And in those pivotal moments in the course of the game, it seemed like they made every shot, every play,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said on the Nuggets.

Michael Malone’s squad shot a whopping 51 percent from beyond the arc and 58 percent from the field. The Nuggets improved to 10-10 as they got back reigning MVP Nikola Jokic.

“Let’s be honest, this whole team is built around Nikola. He’s the focal point and centerpiece of our offense, and the same can be said for our defense,” Michael Malone said on what Jokic brings to his squad.

“So, while he was out, we struggled and that happens to any team when you take out an MVP. There’s gonna be side effects from that. So to have him back was a confidence boost for our guys.”

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