Nikola Jokic logged another clinical display as the Denver Nuggets overcame the Los Angeles Clippers to leapfrog their Western Conference rivals into third, while a Luka Doncic triple-double led the Dallas Mavericks to a one-point victory and the Utah Jazz regained top spot in the NBA.
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Denver Nuggets 110-104 Los Angeles Clippers
Jokic made another statement in his MVP candidacy, leading the Denver Nuggets to a 110-104 road win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
Jokic finished with game-high totals of 30 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists, while teammate Michael Porter Jr. contributed 25 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and PJ Dozier added 16 points.
With the win, the Nuggets (43-21) overtook the Clippers (43-22) for the third spot in the Western Conference by a half-game. Denver also finished with a 2-1 season-series advantage over Los Angeles, earning a potential tiebreaker.
Kawhi Leonard returned to the starting lineup for the Clippers after a five-game absence with a sore right foot, finishing with 16 points and six assists. Paul George led Los Angeles with 20 points but he struggled to put the ball in the basket, finishing five-for-21 from the field, while Rajon Rondo added 18 points and five assists off the bench, and DeMarcus Cousins contributed 16 points in 14 minutes.
Los Angeles held a 28-27 advantage at the end of the first quarter. However, the Nuggets outscored the Clippers 56-45 over the next two quarters, and Denver led by 10 points at the end of the third quarter. The hosts managed to cut the deficit to three points with just over two minutes left but could get no closer.
The Nuggets are riding a five-game winning streak – the longest active run in the NBA – and have won nine of their past 10 games, despite losing Jamal Murray to a torn ACL on April 12.
Washington Wizards 124-125 Dallas Mavericks
Dorian Finney-Smith canned the deciding 3-pointer with 9.3 seconds left to play and Luka Doncic racked up his first triple-double since March 15 as the Dallas Mavericks outlasted the visiting Washington Wizards 125-124.
Dallas led by 12 points after one period and by five at the half having pushed their advantage to as many as 18 on two occasions, before the Wizards leapfrogged to the front with a surge at the end of the third quarter. The game was tied at 122 after Doncic’s pullup jumper with 34.9 seconds to play.
Bradley Beal put Washington in front with a pair of free throws with 26.1 seconds remaining before Doncic found Finney-Smith in the corner for his huge 3-point shot. Beal then missed the potential game-winning 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds to play.
Doncic finished with 31 points, 20 assists and 12 rebounds in the win for Dallas (36-27). Finney-Smith added 22 points, Maxi Kleber hit for 17, Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 16 points and Dwight Powell had 11 for the Mavericks, who have won six of their past seven games.
Russell Westbrook tied his season-high with 42 points and took 10 rebounds for the Wizards in the loss, just the second defeat for Washington (29-35) in its past 12 games. Beal added 29 points, and Rui Hachimura scored 18 for the Wizards.
Toronto Raptors 102-106 Utah Jazz
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 34 points, Rudy Gobert had a double-double and a couple of key late buckets, and the short-handed Utah Jazz regained the top spot in the NBA with a 106-102 win over the Toronto Raptors.
Gobert snagged 16 rebounds and scored 13 points, including a driving layup followed by a tip-in with 24.3 seconds remaining that helped the Jazz (46-18) win again without injured All-Star guards Donovan Mitchell (ankle) and Mike Conley (hamstring).
Joe Ingles added 15 points with nine assists for Utah, Jordan Clarkson contributed 15 points off the bench, including a spectacular dunk over Toronto’s Freddie Gillespie, and Royce O’Neale hit a go-ahead 3 midway through the fourth and finished with nine points and 10 rebounds.
Utah now has a slim half-game lead over resting Phoenix, who begins a three-game road trip in Oklahoma City on Sunday. This game marked the first of five straight home contests for the Jazz, who had trailed
Fred VanVleet scored 30 to lead Toronto (26-38), who are hoping to earn a spot in the play-in tournament. The Raptors were without Kyle Lowry, who took the night off to rest. All five starters scored in double figures for the Raptors, who led by as many as 10 but then managed to only score 13 in the fourth quarter.
Indiana Pacers 152-95 Oklahoma City Thunder
Domantas Sabonis had 26 points, 19 rebounds and a career-high 14 assists to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 152-95 blowout win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. According to ESPN Stats and Info, it’s a home team’s largest margin of defeat in NBA history.
The Pacers’ 152 points were the most in franchise history since the team moved to the NBA in 1976-77 and the 57-point margin was the largest loss in Thunder franchise history.
Indiana, who were up by 36 at half-time flirted with the largest margin in NBA history – Cleveland’s 68-point win over Miami in December 1991 – as they led by as many as 67 in the fourth quarter. The visitors hit a franchise-record 21 3-pointers, six by Doug McDermott.
With just under two minutes to go before halftime, Sabonis, 10 of 13 from the floor, earned his seventh triple-double of the season with his 10th assist. McDermott tied his career high with 31 points, scoring 16 with four 3-pointers in the first quarter.
Caris LeVert added 25 points for Indiana, who set season highs in field-goal percentage (65.5) and 3-point percentage (63.6). Moses Brown led the Thunder with 16 points, going seven of nine from the floor, with Oklahoma City just eight of 38 from behind the arc and 11 of 23 on free throws.
Golden State Warriors 113-87 Houston Rockets
Stephen Curry exploded for 23 of his 30 points in the third quarter as the Golden State Warriors turned an extended run into a 113-87 road victory over the Houston Rockets.
Curry rebounded from an inefficient first half in spectacular fashion, tallying 17 points during the Warriors’ 24-0 run to a 77-59 lead. He added a fourth 3-pointer of the frame to extend his stretch of consecutive points for the Warriors to 15 before Mychal Mulder converted a layup.
The Warriors talisman notched his league-leading sixth 20-point period by making seven of 12 field goals, including five of seven from behind the arc.
The Rockets (16-48) were held scoreless for 5:25 and missed all 12 of their attempts as the Warriors (32-32) seized control. Interestingly, Houston had just one turnover during the drought.
Curry added six rebounds and five assists to his ledger. Andrew Wiggins added 20 points while Mulder and Jordan Poole combined for 34 points off the Golden State bench. Draymond Green flirted with a triple-double, producing nine points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for the Warriors.
Kevin Porter Jr. scored 14 of his 16 points in the first half and added six assists. Jae’Sean Tate had 14 points, three assists and three steals while Christian Wood paired 10 points with seven boards for the Rockets, who led by as many as 11 points in the first half. Houston shot 36.4%.
Detroit Pistons 94-107 Charlotte Hornets
A 13-0 run in the fourth quarter, 29 points from Terry Rozier and the return of LaMelo Ball to the lineup powered the Charlotte Hornets past the Detroit Pistons, 107-94.
The Hornets (31-32) led for almost the entirety of the game, but a 20-6 Pistons run from the late third into the fourth quarter pulled Detroit within three points.
From there, Charlotte took over. Rozier scored eight of his game-high 29 during the Hornets’ mid-fourth-quarter run, as Charlotte pushed their lead to 16 points.
Detroit (19-45) cut the margin back down to seven points with less than two minutes remaining, but Rozier knocked down two of his eight 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to effectively put the game away.
Bismack Biyombo keyed the defensive effort with five blocked shots, while Cody Martin came away with a career-high-tying four steals. Biyombo also matched teammate Jaden McDaniels with a game-high nine rebounds. The Hornets also got three blocked shots from P.J. Washington, and two each from Ball and McDaniels.
Ball played a solid all-around game in his return from a wrist injury that sidelined him since March 20 with 11 points, a game-high eight assists and seven rebounds, while Miles Bridges scored 27 points to go with seven rebounds. Frank Jackson led Detroit with 25 points, and Saddiq Bey added 22.
Chicago Bulls 97-108 Atlanta Hawks
Trae Young scored 33 points while Clint Capela and John Collins each recorded double-doubles to lead the host Atlanta Hawks to a 108-97 win over the Chicago Bulls.
The Hawks (35-30) snapped a three-game losing streak and took sole possession of fifth place in the Eastern Conference a half-game ahead of the idle Boston Celtics. Atlanta also pulled to within one game of the idle fourth-place New York Knicks.
Young shot nine-for-14 from the field including 11-for-12 from the free throw line alongside his providing seven assists. Capela scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds while Collins finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Chicago’s Thaddeus Young, who started in place of injured forward Nikola Vucevic (right abductor tightness), finished with 20 points, seven rebounds and nine assists. Patrick Williams also had 19 points. Coby White and Tomas Satoransky each had 12 points. But the Bulls (26-38) were dealt another blow to their fading postseason hopes, losing their third in a row and fourth in their past five games.
After a Thaddeus Young layup to open the scoring in the third quarter, Capela and Collins sparked a 17-0 Hawks run and did not trail again.
Miami Heat 124-107 Cleveland Cavaliers
Kendrick Nunn scored 22 points to lead the Miami Heat to a 124-107 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Miami (34-30), who have won six of eight games, also got 20 points from Duncan Robinson, while Trevor Ariza added 18 points, Max Strus had 17, including 14 in the first half and Jimmy Butler 15. Bam Adebayo added 13 points and 10 rebounds as Miami went four games over .500 for just the second time this season.
Kevin Love and Collin Sexton led Cleveland with 25 points each, but the Cavaliers (21-43) still lost their sixth straight game. The Cavs also got 18 points from Dean Wade and 15 points and a game-high 11 assists from Cedi Osman.
Cleveland, thanks to seven-for-nine shooting on 3-pointers, grabbed a 36-29 lead at the end of the first quarter, before finding being outplayed in the second as they entered the break trailing 67-60.
Sexton made his first four shots of the third quarter – including three from long range – and had 12 points in the period. Even so, the Heat stretched their lead to 99-86 headed into the fourth, during which they cruised as head coach Erik Spoelstra was afforded the opportunity to rest key players.
New Orleans Pelicans 140-136 Minnesota Timberwolves (OT)
Zion Williamson scored 37 points and Lonzo Ball had a career-best game as the New Orleans Pelicans rallied late to defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves 140-136 in overtime.
Williamson made 14-of-17 field goals and added nine rebounds and tied a career high with eight assists; Ball scored a career-high 33 points while tying a career best with eight 3-pointers, and added 11 rebounds.
Eric Bledsoe scored 16 points, Brandon Ingram netted 14, Jaxson Hayes scored 13 and Willy Hernangomez had 12 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Pelicans (29-35), who stayed within 3.5 games of Golden State for a play-in spot in the Western Conference.
Rookie Anthony Edwards scored 29 points, Karl-Anthony Towns had 28 points and 14 rebounds before fouling out, D’Angelo Russell had 17 points and 11 rebounds but was one-of-12 on 3-pointers, Naz Reid scored 17 before also fouling out, Juancho Hernangomez scored 14 and Ricky Rubio added 11 points and seven assists to lead the Timberwolves (20-45), who saw their season-best four-game winning streak come to an end.
Williamson’s layup levelled it up at 127 with three minutes remaining in overtime, before Bledsoe broke the tie with a 3-pointer. Williamson then scored five straight points as New Orleans took a 135-129 lead with 1:38 left. The Pelicans scored their final five points on free throws.
Memphis Grizzlies 111-112 Orlando Magic
Rookie Cole Anthony swished a deep 3-pointer with 0.1 seconds left to cap his season-best 26 points and provide the Orlando Magic with a 112-111 comeback victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Anthony’s dramatic shot over Memphis’ Kyle Anderson was the finishing touch as the Magic overcame a 20-point deficit to split the back-to-back with the Grizzlies.
Moritz Wagner scored a season-high 24 points and Dwayne Bacon added 23 as Orlando (20-44) won for just the third time in the past 16 games. Rookie R.J. Hampton tallied a season-high 18 points to help the Magic snap a nine-game home losing streak.
Dillon Brooks scored 23 points for Memphis, who led by 14 at the half, and he knocked down an 18-footer with seven seconds left to give the Grizzlies (32-31) a 111-109 lead. Ja Morant recorded 22 points and seven assists, Anderson scored 21 points, and Jonas Valanciunas had 11 points and 16 rebounds for Memphis.
Orlando trailed by 20 midway through the third quarter but caught the Grizzlies at 109 with 1:16 left after Hampton and Wagner drained 3-pointers. Brooks’ go-ahead shot didn’t give Memphis a reprieve as the rookie Anthony made his fourth 3-pointer to win it.
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