NIKOLA Jokić scored 27 points on 13-of-16 shooting from the floor and dished out 11 assists to lead the Denver Nuggets to their sixth straight win, a 134-119 rout of the visiting Detroit Pistons on Tuesday.

Denver remained one of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) hottest teams, earning its 15th victory in the past 18 games.

The Nuggets took control early, closing the first quarter on a 9-0 run that proved decisive. The burst carried over into the second period, ultimately extending to 14-0 before the Pistons ended a 4:15 scoring drought.

The Nuggets dominated the second quarter with a 37-point eruption and took a 20-point lead into half time. Denver extended its advantage to 28 points in the third quarter.

Michael Porter, Jr. and Will Barton scored 25 and 24 points, respectively, for Denver. Paul Millsap added 12 points, and Monte Morris chipped in 10 points.

Jokić grabbed eight rebounds and Porter had seven to contribute to the Nuggets’ 44-30 advantage on the glass. Barton pulled in six rebounds, handed out four assists and made two steals.

Porter and Barton both knocked down three 3-pointers as the Nuggets made 14 of 31 as a team from beyond the arc. Denver shot 59.6% from the floor overall.

Jerami Grant led Detroit in his return to Denver, where he played in the 2019-20 season, posting 29 points, five rebounds and four assists. Saddiq Bey, who finished with 25 points, shot 6 of 12 from 3-point range to lead Detroit’s 15-of-35 shooting from outside.

Frank Jackson came off the bench to score 11 points for the Pistons, who have alternated losses and wins over the past seven games.

The Pistons’ effective 3-point shooting was not enough to combat the Nuggets’ dominance on the interior. Denver outscored Detroit (62-48) in the paint.

In addition to Jokić’s 11 assists, Nuggets reserves PJ Dozier and Facundo Campazzo contributed five apiece.

Meanwhile, Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden was diagnosed with a right hamstring strain after undergoing an MRI, the team announced on Tuesday.

The Nets said Harden will be reevaluated after approximately 10 days.

Harden returned from a two-game absence on Monday; however, he made what resulted in a cameo appearance after aggravating a previous injury in Brooklyn’s 114-112 victory over the New York Knicks. He lasted just four minutes before missing the remainder of the contest.

Harden, 31, is averaging 25.4 points, 11 assists and 8.7 rebounds in 34 games with the Nets this season. The team traded for the nine-time All-Star in mid-January. — Reuters