Jokic’s triple-double leads Denver ahead of Boston in NBA showdown

Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets shoots against Grant Williams #12 of the Boston Celtics during the fourth quarter at Ball Arena on January 01, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by MATTHEW STOCKMAN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) – Nikola Jokic delivered a triple-double with 30 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists to ignite host Denver against Boston 123-111 in a Sunday NBA conference leaders’ showdown.

Jokic, the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, made 10 of 13 shots from the floor, including both 3-point attempts, and scored 8-for-8 from the free throw line to produce his ninth triple-double of the season.

The Nuggets improved to 24-12, extended their Western Conference lead to one game with a 10th win in 12 contests, and broke Boston’s four-game winning streak.

“We’re playing good basketball,” said Denver’s Andrew Gordon, who contributed 18 points, six rebounds and seven assists.

“It’s about doing business. We finally took care of the business. It’s not about the other team. It’s about the standard we hold ourselves to. Tonight we kept that standard.”

Denver, 14-3 at home, defeated the Celtics for the first time since November 2019.

Bruce Brown added 21 points for Denver while Michael Porter Jr. added 19.

Jaylen Brown led Boston with 30 points and eight rebounds, while Jayson Tatum contributed 25 points, seven rebounds and six points for the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics, who still have the NBA’s best record at 26-11.

Gordon defended the Boston stars for much of the night.

“These are special players,” Gordon said. “You’re trying to make it difficult for them. You really won’t be able to stop them. You’re trying to make them uncomfortable, make their shots harder, and that’s what we did.”

A broken rim halted play for 34 minutes, with 6:43 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Nuggets leading 110-97.

Japan’s Rui Hachimura came off the bench to record a game-high 26 points as he led the Washington Wizards to a 118-95 win in Milwaukee.

Latvia center Kristaps Porzingis added 22 points and Kyle Kuzma contributed his second career triple-double with 10 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists for the Wizards (17-21).

Washington’s winning streak stretched to five games despite the absence of star guard Bradley Beal.

The Bucks fell to 23-13 and were led by Bobby Portis with 19 points and 10 rebounds, and they were without Greek star Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was out with a sore left knee.

Ja Morant scored 35 points and New Zealand center Steven Adams added 11 points and 23 rebounds to lead the host Memphis Grizzlies to a 118-108 win over Sacramento.

“We’re committed to improving and delivering,” Morant said.

De’Aaron Fox led the Kings (19-16) with 19 points while Domantas Sabonis added 18 points and 14 rebounds.

The Grizzlies improved to 23-13, level with New Orleans in second place in the West, a game behind Denver.

© Agence France-Presse