Jokic posts 4th straight triple-double as Nuggets down Kings

Agence France-Presse
Jokic posts 4th straight triple-double as Nuggets down Kings
Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic.
Justin Tafoya / Getty Images / AFP

LOS ANGELES – Nikola Jokic bagged his fourth straight triple-double as the Denver Nuggets overpowered the Sacramento Kings, 117-96, in their NBA Western Conference showdown on Wednesday (Thursday Manila time).

Two-time former NBA Most Valuable Player Jokic finished with 14 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists to record his 19th triple-double of the season.

The Serbian star had gone into the game facing an intriguing duel with Sacramento's Domantas Sabonis, who himself has been in blistering form since the All-Star break with three consecutive triple-doubles.

But Sabonis was effectively bottled up by Denver as the Nuggets staged a superb second quarter rally to turn the game around after trailing by 15 points.

Sacramento, missing injured playmaker De'Aaron Fox, had swept into a 47-32 lead to raise hopes of a morale-boosting road victory.

Denver, however, roared back with a 21-4 run to regain control with Jamal Murray, who finished with 32 points, outstanding as the Nuggets opened up a 65-55 halftime lead at the break.

Denver continued to pour it on after the break, outscoring Sacramento 35-17 in the third quarter before coasting to victory by a 21-point margin.

The win leaves reigning NBA champions Denver third in the Western Conference with a 40-19 record, while Sacramento slipped to 33-25 in eighth place.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, Anthony Edwards shrugged off a lingering ankle injury to score 34 points as the Western Conference-leading Minnesota Timberwolves overcame stubborn resistance from the struggling Memphis Grizzlies to grind out a 110-101 victory.

Memphis (20-38) had surged into an early 14-point lead in the first quarter to catch the Wolves napping.

Memphis also led by double digits in the third quarter before Minnesota hit back to claim their 42nd win of the season.

Edwards led the Wolves scoring with 34 points while four other players reached double figures for the home side.

Birthday boy Doncic shines

In Toronto, Luka Doncic celebrated his 25th birthday with a 30-point triple double as the Dallas Mavericks bounced back from Tuesday's shattering buzzer-beater defeat to Cleveland with a 136-125 win over the Raptors.

A high-scoring first half saw Toronto sneak into a 67-66 lead at the break before Doncic sparked a 40-point third quarter by the visitors to take the game out of reach.

Doncic scored 15 of his 30 points in the third quarter, finishing the game with 16 assists and 11 rebounds to complete his triple.

Kyrie Irving added 29 points from 11-of-20 shooting while P.J. Washington bagged 23 points, including five 3-pointers.

Dallas coach Jason Kidd praised his team's response to Tuesday's defeat in Cleveland, which came after a mammoth half-court 3-pointer by Max Strus as time ran out.

"I thought the intent, the energy was in the right place," Kidd said. "We lost on a 50-footer last night and could easily have still been thinking about that game. We put ourselves in a position to win last night, and it didn't happen.

"I thought the group did a great job of being able to turn the page tonight.

Kidd, meanwhile, reserved praise for Doncic's latest masterpiece.

"Just a normal game, a triple-double," Kidd said of Doncic's display. "He was really good. Luka is our leader and he was really good tonight."

Cleveland meanwhile were unable to back up Tuesday's win over Dallas in their road game against Chicago, the Bulls winning 132-123 in double overtime.

Donovan Mitchell could have won it for Cleveland as time expired in the first period of overtime, only to see his 20-foot jump shot miss.

Chicago then pulled away in the second period of overtime to wrap up victory.

DeMar DeRozan led Toronto's scorers with 35 points, while Nikola Vucevic finished with 24.

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