Nikola Jokic had 15 points and 11 assists, and the visiting Nuggets beat fading Washington 113-108 on Thursday night for their fifth straight victory.
Paul Millsap, Gary Harris, Jamal Murray and Torrey Craig also added 15 points for the Nuggets, who were playing for the first time since clinching their first playoff berth in six years with Monday’s win in Boston.
“I was really worried about this game just because of the hangover effect of clinching in Boston,” Denver head coach Michael Malone said. “To pull this out, even though it wasn’t pretty, speaks to our team and not being satisfied.”
Eight players reached double figures for Denver, which sits a half-game behind the Western Conference-leading Warriors.
Bradley Beal scored 25 points and Tomas Satoransky had 16 points and 10 assists for Washington, which lost its third straight.
Thomas Bryant added 22 points in his first start in a month, but the 11th-place Wizards’ playoff hopes continued to dwindle. They’re six games back of eighth-place Miami with nine remaining.
Photo: Nick Wass / Associated Press
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“You try to be optimistic about it, but realistic at the same time, too,” Beal said. “It’s tough when you’re in the position where you need help from other teams. They’re trying to make it just like we are.”
Kings 116, Mavericks 100: Marvin Bagley III had 22 points and 12 rebounds for host Sacramento in his first game against fellow rookie Luka Doncic. Buddy Hield scored 11 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, and De’Aaron Fox added 15 points and nine assists for Sacramento. Willie Cauley-Stein had 10 points and 18 rebounds. Former Kings forward Justin Jackson scored 19 points in his first start with Dallas. Dwight Powell added 14 points. The second overall pick in the NBA draft, Bagley made a three-point play on a spinning layup to open the final period.
Hawks 117, Jazz 114: Trae Young scored 23 points, including a go-ahead three-point play, and host Atlanta ended Utah’s five-game winning streak. Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz with 34 points. It was a costly loss as it dropped the Jazz into a four-way tie for fifth place with the Thunder, Spurs and Clippers. The Hawks snapped a three-game losing streak. Young, the rookie point guard, says the Hawks also have motivation for a strong finish even though they’re far removed from the playoff race. “It’s important to everybody in this locker room to go out strong,” said Young, who also had 11 assists. “Going out strong will help us next year.”
Hornets 113, Timberwolves 106: Kemba Walker scored 31 points and rookie Miles Bridges had 11 points and 12 rebounds for his first double-double on his 21st birthday as Charlotte won at home, handing Minnesota its fifth straight loss. Jeremy Lamb added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Hornets, who won for only the fifth time in their past 16 games. Karl-Anthony Towns led Minnesota with 21 points and 16 rebounds. Charlotte head coach James Borrego turned to his youth after entering the night 3½ games behind eighth-place Miami in the Eastern Conference and with the team’s playoff hopes fading fast. Second-year player Dwayne Bacon got the start over Nic Batum, who earns $24 million per season. Bridges continued to start and rookie Devonte Graham and second-year pro Malik Monk also received extended action, as did young center Willy Hernangomez.
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