WASHINGTON (AFP) – Nikola Jokic delivered a triple-double with 30 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists to spark host Denver over Boston, 123-111, in a Sunday showdown of NBA conference leaders.
Two-time reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Jokic made 10-of-13 shots from the floor, including both 3-point attempts, and went 8-for-8 from the free throw line to produce his ninth triple double of the season.
The Nuggets improved to 24-12, stretching their Western Conference lead to one game with a 10th win in 12 contests and snapping Boston’s four-game win streak.
“We’re playing a good brand of basketball,” said Denver’s Andrew Gordon, who contributed 18 points, six rebounds and seven assists.
“It’s about handling business. We ended up handling business. It’s not about the other team. It’s about the standard that we hold ourselves to. Tonight we held that standard.”
Denver, 14-3 at home, defeated the Celtics for the first time since November 2019.
Bruce Brown added 21 points for Denver while Michael Porter Jr. added 19.
Jaylen Brown led Boston with 30 points and eight rebounds while Jayson Tatum contributed 25 points, seven rebounds and six points for the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics, who still have the best record in the NBA at 26-11.
Gordon defended the Boston stars much of the night.
A broken rim halted the game for 34 minutes with 6:43 remaining in the fourth quarter with the Nuggets leading 110-97.
Japan’s Rui Hachimura came off the bench to score a game-high 26 points in leading the Washington Wizards to a 118-95 victory at Milwaukee.
Latvian center Kristaps Porzingis added 22 points and Kyle Kuzma contributed his second career triple double with 10 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists for the Wizards (17-21).
Washington’s win streak stretched to five games despite the absence of star guard Bradley Beal.
Falling to 23-13, the Bucks were led by 19 points and 10 rebounds from Bobby Portis, and were without Greek star Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was sidelined by a sore left knee.
Ja Morant scored 35 points and New Zealand center Steven Adams added 11 points and 23 rebounds to spark the host Memphis Grizzlies to a 118-108 victory over Sacramento.
“We took it upon ourselves to step up and deliver,” Morant said.
De’Aaron Fox led the Kings (19-16) with 19 points while Domantas Sabonis added 18 points and 14 rebounds.
The Grizzlies improved to 23-13, level with New Orleans for second in the West, one game behind Denver.