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Darius Garland scores 26 points as the Cavaliers beat the defending champion Nuggets 121-109

Denver has lost three of its past four games.
Credit: AP Photo/David Dermer
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland drives on Denver Nuggets guard Julian Strawther during an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023.

CLEVELAND — Darius Garland scored 26 points and rookie Craig Porter Jr. added a career-high 21, powering the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 121-109 victory over the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets on Sunday night.

Evan Mobley had 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Jarrett Allen added 15 points for Cleveland, which built a season-high 26-point lead in the fourth quarter en route to winning its third in a row.

Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell, who is averaging 29.2 points, was inactive with a right hamstring strain and sixth man Caris LeVert did not play because of a sore left knee.

Nuggets center Nikola Jokic battled foul trouble and finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in 28 minutes. The two-time MVP had been the first player to start a season with 12 games of at least 20 points and 10 rebounds since Elgin Baylor in 1967.

Michael Porter Jr. scored 21 points and Christian Braun had 13 points off the bench for Denver, which dropped its fourth straight on the road after winning its first two. The Nuggets are 0-2 on a five-game trip that ends Friday in Houston.

Cleveland, which did not trail in the final three quarters, outrebounded the Nuggets 47-33 with power forward Mobley and center Allen both fronting and playing behind Jokic on many possessions.

Garland scored 16 points and Mobley had 12 in the first half, helping Cleveland carry a 66-58 advantage into the break. Porter had 13 points and Jokic scored 10 for Denver.

Nuggets shooting guard Jamal Murray, who missed his sixth straight game with a right hamstring strain, is traveling with the team. Coach Michael Malone has not ruled out him returning on the trip.


Nuggets: Visit Detroit on Monday night.

Cavaliers: Visit Philadelphia on Tuesday night.


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