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NBA ROUND-UP: Nikola Jokic records a triple-double in the Denver Nuggets' win over Celtics

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NBA ROUND-UP: Nikola Jokic records a triple-double in the Denver Nuggets' win over Celtics

NBA ROUND-UP: Nikola Jokic runs riot to record triple-double in Denver Nuggets win over Celtics, while Ja Morant scores 35 to help Memphis Grizzlies beat Kings

Nikola Jokic had 30 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists, and the hot-shooting Denver Nuggets beat the Boston Celtics 123-111 on Sunday night in a matchup of NBA conference leaders that was delayed by about 35 minutes. because a hard dunk bent one of the rims.

Jokic hit 10 of 13 shots from the field and all eight free throws for his second straight triple-double and ninth of the season. Bruce Brown added 21 points for the Nuggets, who shot 57 percent from the floor and made 17 of 30 3-pointers.

Denver won for the 10th time in 12 games, snapped a six-game skid against Boston and opened up a one-game lead in the Western Conference.

Nikola Jokic had a triple-double as the Denver Nuggets beat the Boston Celtics 123-111

Nikola Jokic had a triple-double as the Denver Nuggets beat the Boston Celtics 123-111

The Nuggets led by as many as 18 and waited a long delay with 6:43 remaining as a crew struggled to level the rim again after a dunk by Boston’s Robert Williams III. It took six workers, two ladders, a floor, phone calls and eventually a crew to pick up the side of the backboard before it was fixed.

The players were allowed a short warmup before the game resumed, and the Nuggets broke away.

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Jaylen Brown scored 30 points and Jayson Tatum got off to a slow start to add 25 for Boston, which went just 9 of 33 from 3-point range in the opening four-game trip. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Celtics, whose East lead was cut to 1 1/2 games.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone called the match “hell of a challenge” and that was before Denver announced that Jamal Murray was out again. The point guard has missed two of the last three games because of issues with his operated-on left knee.

Jokic (15) prepares to shoot the ball against Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams (12)

Jokic (15) prepares to shoot the ball against Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams (12)

Bruce Brown started in his place and went 4 of 6 on 3s. It’s a familiar theme for the Nuggets, who enter as the NBA’s top 3-point shooting team. They are 34 of 58 from long distance over the past two games.

The game was billed as a matchup of top NBA MVP contenders Jokic and Tatum. And most people noticed.

A large number of Celtics fans began chanting “MVP! MVP!” when Tatum went to the foul line late in the second quarter. Nuggets fans returned the favor loudly moments later with their own MVP chant for Jokic as he went to the line.

In the end, Jokic showed that it will be difficult to wrestle the trophy from him.

Jokic collects a loose ball in the second half against the Boston Celtics in Denver

Jokic collects a loose ball in the second half against the Boston Celtics in Denver

GRIZZLIES 118, KINGS 108

Ja Morant scored 35 points, Tyus Jones added 18 and the Memphis Grizzlies broke open a close game in the fourth quarter to defeat the Sacramento Kings 118-108 on Sunday night.

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Dillon Brooks added 15 for Memphis, while Jaren Jackson Jr. finished with 14 and three blocks as the Grizzlies won their third straight. Morant added eight rebounds and five assists. Jones had eight assists and Steven Adams tied his career-high with 23 rebounds.

De’Aaron Fox led the Kings with 19 points, while Malik Monk scored 18 to spark the Sacramento bench. Domantas Sabonis matched Monk’s 18 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.

In a closely played first half, the Kings starters suffered from poor shooting. Only Sabonis had a good percentage with 14 points on 6 of 10 shooting. But Monk brought energy off the bench with 12 points.

Morant led the Grizzlies with 18 points en route to a 59-58 lead at the break.

Ja Morant drives to the basket in the second half against the Kings' Malik Monk (0).

Ja Morant drives to the basket in the second half against the Kings’ Malik Monk (0).

WIZARDS 118, BUCKS 95

Rui Hachimura had 26 points, Kristaps Porzingis scored 22 and Kyle Kuzma had a triple double as the Washington Wizards beat the short-handed Milwaukee Bucks 118-95 on Sunday night for their season-best fifth straight. that success.

The scuffling Bucks played without Giannis Antetokounmpo, who sat out with a sore left knee. Antetokounmpo is averaging 38 points and 14.6 rebounds over his last six games, which included a 43-point, 20-rebound performance in Friday night’s win over Minnesota that snapped Milwaukee’s four-game losing streak.

Jrue Holiday also missed the game due to illness, and Khris Middleton sat out the eighth straight game due to right knee pain.

Bobby Portis led Milwaukee with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Jevon Carter had 14 points and Grayson Allen added 13 points and eight assists.