Jokic, Nuggets Hold off Durant, Suns
Nikola Jokic leads Denver Nuggets to a hard-fought victory over Phoenix Suns; Kevin Durant moves into tenth place on scoring list.
Nikola Jokic had a phenomenal game, scoring 21 points and dishing out 16 assists to lead the Denver Nuggets to a hard-fought 119-111 victory over the Phoenix Suns. Despite being down 17 points in the first half, the Suns, led by Jusuf Nurkic with a season-high 31 points, managed to cut Denver's lead to 94-91 entering the fourth quarter. The game stayed within one possession for much of the period, but the defending champion Nuggets, led by Jokic and Michael Porter Jr, made clutch buckets to secure their fourth straight win.
Kevin Durant, who moved into tenth place on the NBA's career scoring list, added 30 points for the Suns, but shot just eight of 25 from the field. He reached the milestone late in the second quarter and finished the game with 27,411 career points. The Suns were playing without Devin Booker, and Nurkic fouled out with 45 seconds remaining, allowing Jokic to seal the win with two free throws.
In another game, the Orlando Magic secured a 130-125 victory over the Washington Wizards. Franz Wagner scored 31 points, Paolo Banchero added 28 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists, and Moritz Wagner contributed 18 points to help Orlando win their ninth straight game, tying a franchise record.
The Boston Celtics defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 125-119, with Jayson Tatum scoring 21 points before being ejected near the end of the third quarter. Derrick White also had 21 points for the Celtics, while Patrick Beverley led the 76ers with 26 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists.
In Dallas, the Memphis Grizzlies won 108-94 against the Mavericks, with Desmond Bane scoring 30 points. Luka Doncic, who is third in the NBA in scoring, missed the game for personal reasons, and the Mavericks also played without Tim Hardaway Jr., who was out with back spasms.
Other scores included the New Orleans Pelicans defeating the San Antonio Spurs 121-106 and the New York Knicks winning 119-106 against the Toronto Raptors.