Nuggets hold off Thunder, tie Warriors for top spot in West

Denver’s Jamal Murray scored 27 points to help lift the Nuggets over the Thunder 115-105 in Oklahoma City on Friday night. The win puts Denver in a tie with the Warriors for the best record in the Western Conference.

Nikola Jokic chipped in 23 points and 16 rebounds for the Nuggets, who won all four meetings with Oklahoma City this season.

Russell Westbrook had 27 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, and Paul George had 25 points and nine rebounds for the Thunder.

Westbrook went down hard to the floor after being fouled in the fourth quarter, and he got up and started jawing with the Nuggets bench. He scored six points in the next minute, but Murray hit a crucial 3-pointer with just under two minutes to play.

Celtics 114 Pacers 112: Kyrie Irving hit a driving layup with 0.5 of a second left and host Boston beat Indiana to move into fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Irving finished with 30 points and five assists. Al Horford added 19 points and seven rebounds. Bojan Bogdanovic led the Pacers with 27 points.

Trail Blazers 118, Hawks 98: Damian Lillard scored 36 points, Al-Farouq Aminu added 17 points and 11 rebounds, and visiting Portland extended its winning streak to a season-high six games with a victory over Atlanta. The Trail Blazers took charge with a 16-0 run in the third quarter that pushed the lead to 21 points. The Hawks pulled within 10 early in the fourth on Trae Young’s runner, but Zach Collins’ follow dunk and Jake Layman’s difficult three-point play made it 97-82 to remove any remaining suspense.

Jazz 128, Wizards 124: Donovan Mitchell scored 35 points, Joe Ingles added 18 points and 10 assists, and host Utah beat Washington. Rudy Gobert finished with 13 points and 17 rebounds for the Jazz. Bradley Beal scored 34 points, and Bobby Portis added 28 points and 13 rebounds for Washington.

Lakers 129, Hornets 115: LeBron James had 27 points and nine assists, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 25 points and host Los Angeles ended Charlotte’s four-game winning streak. Kyle Kuzma added 20 for the Lakers, who have won three straight at home. Kemba Walker scored 24 points and had six assists for the Hornets, who trail Miami for the final playoff spot from the East by two games with seven games remaining.

Briefly: The Celtics have banned a fan from their games for two years for being verbally abusive toward the Warriors during their game in Boston on Jan. 26. The Celtics said they didn’t enforce a lifetime ban because their investigation couldn’t prove that the fan used a racial slur toward Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins, who reportedly said the fan “muttered” a racial slur at him. … Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina, who is averaging 5.7 points per game, is expected to miss the rest of the season because of a groin injury suffered Sunday during a game against the Clippers.

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