Denver Nuggets edge Indiana Pacers, close in on playoff spot

Paul Millsap hit a left-handed layup with 7 seconds remaining, Nikola Jokic scored 26 points before being ejected in the fourth quarter for arguing, and the host Denver Nuggets moved to the verge of their first playoff spot since 2013 with a 102-100 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.

The magic number for the Nuggets dropped to one as they remained in the West’s No. 2 spot behind Golden State. Denver ran its home record to a Western Conference-leading 30-6.

Jokic and the Nuggets were up 96-89 with 2:56 remaining when Jokic was called for a foul while jostling with Myles Turner. Jokic was incensed at the call and kept barking at official Tony Brothers, who tossed Jokic. Indiana later tied the game at 100, before Millsap hit the winner over Turner. Bojan Bogdanovic’s 3-pointer bounced off the rim in the final seconds.

Millsap finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds for Denver, which overcame an 18-point, first-half deficit.

Thaddeus Young led Indiana with 18 points and 10 boards. The magic number for earning their fourth straight playoff spot stays at one for a Pacers team that hasn’t won in Denver since 2007.

Jazz 114, Nets 98: Donovan Mitchell scored 24 points, Rudy Gobert added 23 points and 17 rebounds, and host Utah beat Brooklyn. Derrick Favors had 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Jazz. Jae Crowder and Ricky Rubio added 12 points apiece as Utah won its third straight game. Spencer Dinwiddie scored 22 points and D’Angelo Russell added 20 for Brooklyn. The Nets dropped their second in a row after winning four straight.

Spurs 108, Trail Blazers 103: DeMar DeRozan scored 21 points and host San Antonio extended its winning streak to eight games with a victory over Portland, which lost C.J. McCollum to a left leg injury. Damian Lillard scored 34 points for Portland, which had won three straight.

Mavericks 121, Cavaliers 116: Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 22 points, Dirk Nowitzki closed within four points of Wilt Chamberlain on the NBA scoring list and host Dallas ended a seven-game losing streak with a victory over Cleveland.

Wizards 135, Grizzlies 128: Bradley Beal scored 40 points for the second straight night and host Washington beat Memphis. Beal shot 12 of 17 from the field and made a career-high nine 3-pointers. The Wizards converted 17 of 35 from beyond the arc in a game that featured 20 lead changes.

Suns 138, Pelicans 136: Josh Jackson hit a tying 3-pointer with 2 seconds left in overtime, New Orleans was assessed a technical foul after calling a timeout they didn’t have and Devin Booker hit the free throw to give visiting Phoenix the victory. Booker finished with 40 points to go with 13 assists, and Jackson, who had 19 points, scored the game’s final point on a free throw. The Pelicans’ Elfrid Payton had 16 points, 16 assists and 13 rebounds in his fourth straight triple-double.

Celtics 129, Hawks 120: Kyrie Irving just missed his second straight triple-double with 30 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, Jaylen Brown scored 23 points with a key 3-pointer and host Boston held off Atlanta after blowing a 25-point second-half lead. Marcus Morris had 19 points and Jayson Tatum 18 for Boston, which has won six of eight. Trae Young led the Hawks with 26 points.

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