The Denver Nuggets’ six-game winning streak came to an end on Friday with the defending NBA champions failing to a 119-93 loss at home to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 40 points for the Thunder, shooting 14 of 20 from the field and making 10 out of 10 free throws.
The win moves the Thunder above the Nuggets into second place in the West on 21-9, behind leaders Minnesota (23-7).
The Nuggets’ Serbian star Nikola Jokic made 19 points shooting nine of 10 from the field and had ten rebounds but gave up seven turnovers.
The Thunder led 54-48 at the break and extended their lead to 20 points by the end of the third quarter.
It was the fifth time this season that Gilgeous-Alexander enjoyed a 40-point game and he said it was a “super fun” performance.
“We have so many weapons on the floor that I get to play in space and when I play in space, in my comfort zone, I have pretty good nights,” he said.
Bucks fight back
Giannis Antetokounmpo top scored with 34 points as the Milwaukee Bucks, second in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, came back to win 119-111 at the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Bucks trailed 59-52 down at half-time but dominated the third quarter to end a four-game road trip with a 3-1 record.
Antetokounmpo shot 14 of 22 from the field and grabbed 16 rebounds and five assists — and he was well supported by Damian Lillard, who scored 31 points and converted all 11 of his free throws.
Lillard said Milwaukee (24-8) had faced up to their slow start during frank exchanges during the interval.
“We came into the locker room and we just kind of addressed that we hadn’t done a lot of things well,” said Lillard, who scored 24 of his points in the second half.
“They started the game better than us. Our transition defense, you know, it was bad. They got to the spots they wanted to, they played a comfortable game and they’re a good team,” he said.
Lillard and Antetokounmpo took over in the third quarter, each scoring 14 points as the Bucks shifted the momentum decisively.
“A good game on the road, end of a road trip, a team challenging us and, we had to show our character and I thought we came out in the third quarter and established that,” added Lillard, who praised the team’s improved defense.
“You’ve got to be on the string, five guys, and I thought that was where we made the biggest improvement. We did things together, our communication, getting to spots and supporting each other. We did that much more consistently in the second half,” he said.
Donovan Mitchell returned after missing four games to provide 34 points, six rebounds and nine assists for the Cavs, who remain without the injured Evan Mobley and Darius Garland.
Eastern Conference leaders, the Boston Celtics, extended their 100 percent home record to 16 games with a 120-118 win over the Toronto Raptors.
Jaylen Brown had 31 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Celtics with Derrick White adding 21 points and Luke Kornet 20 as Boston won their fifth straight game.
The game was tied at 116 when Kornet made a dunk with 32 seconds left to grab a lead that Boston held on to.
Tyrese Maxey scored 42 points for the Philadelphia 76ers, third in the East, as they put aside their injury woes to win 131-127 in Houston.
Philadelphia’s main man, the league’s MVP Joel Embiid, missed his third straight game with an ankle injury and Nicolas Batum was also sidelined.
Tobias Harris helped out with 22 points for the 76ers who condemned the Rockets to their third straight loss.
De’Aaron Fox scored 31 points, 26 of them in the second half, as the Sacramento Kings came back from a poor start to beat the Atlanta Hawks 117-110.
The Kings trailed by 18 points at the break but dominated the second half, with Fox ending the night with a career-high eight three-pointers.
Number one draft pick Victor Wembanyama sat out the San Antonio Spurs’ 134-128 loss at the Portland Trail Blazers as the team stuck to their policy of avoiding putting him in back-to-back games while the rookie managed an ankle injury.
Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said that the Frenchman’s absence had been mandated by the team’s medical staff.
“He’s got a minutes restriction and he can’t play back-to-backs for a couple of weeks until they take another picture and check out his foot again,” Popovich said.
World Cup News
/ 17 hours ago
Saudi Arabia formally launched its bid to host the 2034 World Cup on Friday,...
/ 3 months ago
FIFA on Saturday confirmed that three bids to host the Women’s World Cup in...