Nikola Jokic scored 31 points and dished out 11 assists, Jamal Murray finished with 26 points and nine assists, and the host Denver Nuggets beat the Milwaukee Bucks 129-106 on Saturday night.
Michael Porter Jr. scored 19 points and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Bruce Brown had 11 points each for the Nuggets, who won their 50th game of the season in a battle between the top teams in each conference.
Giannis Antetokounmpo matched Jokic with 31 points and grabbed nine rebounds, Khris Middleton, Grayson Allen and Brook Lopez scored 13 each, and Bobby Portis Jr. added 11 points for the Bucks.
Antetokounmpo was aggressive from the start, with 13 points in the first quarter and 24 at halftime. But the Bucks went 4:10 without a point in the fourth period as the Nuggets built a 20-point lead. Antetokounmpo was hit with a technical foul with 6:41 left — Milwaukee’s fourth of the game — and went to the bench for the rest of the night with 5:54 remaining.
Suns 125, 76ers 105
Devin Booker scored 29 points and T.J. Warren, Terrence Ross and Cameron Payne combined for 45 points off the bench as host Phoenix ended a three-game skid by beating Philadelphia.
Phoenix shot 50.5 percent from the floor as a team and used its balanced scoring to take control in the second half. The Suns went on a 13-3 run early in the fourth quarter that effectively put the game away.
Booker led six Suns scoring at least 13 points. Fellow starters Chris Paul and Bismack Biyombo finished with 13 and 17, respectively. Biyombo also grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds. The 76ers got a game-high 37 points from Tyrese Maxey, while Most Valuable Player candidate Joel Embiid added 28 points and 10 rebounds.
Hawks 143, Pacers 130
John Collins scored 21 points and Dejounte Murray added 20 as Atlanta overcame an ejection to leading scorer Trae Young and took a win over visiting Indiana.
Young was given a technical foul and ejected for throwing the ball harshly back to the referee. The game was tied 84-84 with 7:25 left in the third quarter when the incident occurred. Young was still frustrated about having a 3-pointer taken away and turned into an offensive foul. He finished with 14 points and five assists.
Indiana was led by reserve Jordan Nwora with 33 points, one shy of his career high. Tyrese Haliburton added 19 points and 13 assists. The Pacers led 74-72 at halftime thanks to Nwora, who set a regular-season franchise record with 25 points in the second quarter.
Nets 129, Heat 100
Mikal Bridges scored 27 points and Brooklyn snapped a season-worst, five-game losing streak by putting together a dominant second half in a victory over host Miami.
Brooklyn turned a 14-point deficit into a blowout after halftime. The Nets outscored Miami 39-18 in the third quarter and 64-31 in the final 24 minutes. Cameron Johnson added 23 points and hit five of Brooklyn’s 18 threes. Brooklyn shot 49.4 percent overall and a blistering 59.3 percent in the decisive third quarter.
Tyler Herro and Max Strus scored 23 points apiece to lead the Heat, who shot 47.5 percent but were a dreadful 6 of 19 in the third. Strus scored all of his points by halftime, shooting 9-for-10.
Kings 121, Jazz 113
Kevin Huerter poured in a team-high 27 points, Harrison Barnes led a third-quarter surge and Sacramento moved within one win of clinching its first playoff berth in 17 years with a victory over visiting Utah.
Keegan Murray chipped in with 22 points and Barnes had 18. Domantas Sabonis recorded 16 to go with a game-high 15 rebounds and team-high seven assists for the Kings (45-29).
The loss was a costly one for the Jazz (35-39), who began the night tied with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks in the loss column in their duel for the final play-in spot in the Western Conference.
Pelicans 131, Clippers 110
Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas had double-doubles and visiting New Orleans dominated Los Angeles.
Ingram, coming off his first career triple-double, had 32 points and a career-high 13 assists, and Valanciunas had 17 points and 13 rebounds as the Pelicans (37-37) won their fourth consecutive game to start a crucial four-game road trip.
Bones Hyland scored 18 points to lead the Clippers (39-36). Eric Gordon had 15, Russell Westbrook had 14, Ivica Zubac and Nicolas Batum had 13 each, Kawhi Leonard added 12 and Robert Covington 11.
–Field Level Media