PHILADELPHIA — Gary Harris scored 21 points and Nikola Jokic flirted with a triple-double and the Denver Nuggets beat the short-handed Philadelphia 76ers 115-103 on Saturday. The Sixers played the game with only seven available players after COVID-19 protocols and injuries ruled out a number of the hosts’ players.
Philadelphia started the game without four regular starters, including point guard Ben Simmons (sore left knee) and center Joel Embiid (back) who were held out because of injuries.
The other two starters, Seth Curry and Tobias Harris missed the game due to coronavirus concerns. Curry tested positive for the virus Thursday, which resulted in a number of players forced into isolation due to contact tracing and COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
Watch Highlights From The Philadelphia 76ers vs Denver Nuggets Game
“COVID created this but the concern is not COVID now. The concern is injuries,” 76ers head coach Doc Rivers said.
“Joel started complaining about his back, that started yesterday,” Rivers revealed. “And we didn’t know if he was playing or not but honestly, with the minutes we would have to ask, it would be insane to play him tonight.”
“We’ve got to be very careful in how we navigate the next week.”
Jokic registered a double-double with 15 points and 12 assists for Denver (4-5). He shot 6-of-8 from the field and missed a triple-double by one rebound after pulling down nine boards in the win.
Will Barton and Jamal Murray each scored 14 points, JaMychal Green finished with 12 points and six rebounds off the bench, while Monte Morris also scored 12 points from a role off the bench for the Nuggets, who bounced back from the 124-117 overtime defeat to the Dallas Mavericks Thursday night.
Philadelphia 7ers were led by 2020 first-round pick Tyrese Maxey, who started at point guard and played 44 minutes. Maxey scored 39 points on 18-of-33 shooting in his first career start for the Sixers (7-3).
“I had to hunt my shot just a little more because it was needed,” Maxey, whose 22 points were the most in the first half for a Sixer this season, said.
Isaiah Joe had 13 points, Dakota Mathias finished with 12, while Danny Green, Dwight Howard, and Tony Bradley all scored 11 points in the loss.
Bradley and Howard completed their double-doubles with 15 and 11 rebounds, respectively.
The Nuggets were without forward Michael Porter Jr., who will remain in the NBA’s health and safety protocol.
The Philadelphia 76ers are slated to play Monday in Atlanta.
Denver will travel to take on New York Knicks on Sunday.