Nuggets secure No. 2 seed with win over Grizzlies

Jamal Murray scored 21 points, Nikola Jokic had 15 points and 15 rebounds and the visiting Denver Nuggets beat the Memphis Grizzlies 126-111 on Sunday to secure the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.

Denver (57-25) moved past Minnesota, which lost at home to Phoenix on Sunday, and will begin the first round of the playoffs against the winner of Tuesday night’s play-in game between the No. 7 New Orleans Pelicans and No. 8 Los Angeles Lakers.

The Nuggets bounced back from a disappointing loss at San Antonio on Friday night to tie the franchise record for wins set in the 2012-13 season and give head coach Michael Malone his 424th career win. Malone broke a tie with George Karl to move into second in club history for wins and trails franchise leader Doug Moe, who has 432.

Christian Braun had 19 points and 10 rebounds, Aaron Gordon had 15 points, Michael Porter Jr. added 12 and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Reggie Jackson and Peyton Watson scored 11 each for Denver, which swept the four-game season-series against injury-riddled Memphis.

GG Jackson scored a career-high 44 points, Jake LaRavia had 29 and Scotty Pippen Jr. finished with 15 for the Grizzlies (27-55).

The Nuggets built a 66-54 halftime lead behind 19 points from Murray and a double-double by Jokic (10 points, 11 rebounds). They quickly stretched it in the third quarter.

Gordon scored off his own miss and fed Caldwell-Pope for a layup, Jokic hit a hook shot, Murray made a layup and Gordon dunked during a 10-2 spurt to open the second half.

Porter and Caldwell-Pope hit from deep to give Denver an 85-60 lead with 5:04 left in the third quarter.

The Grizzlies cut into the lead behind Jackson, who scored 11 points in the final 4:47 of the third to make it 94-75 heading into the fourth.

Denver’s bench was able to maintain a comfortable lead in the final quarter. Braun started it with a steal and dunk, split a pair of free throws and fed Watson for a dunk to make it 99-78.