The Washington Post

Brooklyn is rising as Denver slumps



Mikal Bridges scored 25 points, and the Brooklyn Nets withstood a late rally and another tripledoub­le by Nikola Jokic to beat the host Denver Nuggets, 122-120, on Sunday.

Nic Claxton had 20 points and Dorian Finney-smith and Spencer Dinwiddie added 15 points each for Brooklyn, which has won five of its past six games.

Jokic had 35 points, 20 rebounds and 11 assists for his Nba-leading 27 th triple-double of the season but missed a contested 14-foot jumper with five seconds left that would have given the Nuggets the lead.

Michael Porter Jr. added 23 points for Western Conference-leading Denver, which matched a season high with its third consecutiv­e loss.

“Tough loss,” Nuggets Coach Michael Malone said. “Our guys fought back, gave ourselves a chance at the end.”

Trailing by eight points at the break, Brooklyn fought back to take an 80-77 lead on Bridges’s jumper midway through the third quarter. The Nets stretched their advantage to 98-87 going into the fourth quarter as Royce O’neale and Joe Harris connected on successive three-pointers in the final 40 seconds of the third period.

Harris hit another three-pointer to give the Nets a 109-94 advantage with 8:11 left, Brooklyn’s biggest lead to that point.

Denver got within 121-120 on a pair of free throws by Jokic with 41.6 seconds remaining, and the Nuggets won a challenge with 23.2 seconds left to reverse a foul call on Jokic and gain possession, but Jokic then missed the potential go-ahead shot. The Nuggets fouled Bridges with 1.8 seconds remaining, and he made one of two free throws.

Jokic’s jumper at the buzzer fell short.

• KNICKS 112, LAKERS 108: Julius Randle scored 33 points in a bounce-back performanc­e, RJ Barrett got 20 of his 30 in the second half, and New York snapped its three-game losing streak with a victory over host Los Angeles.

Immanuel Quickley had 15 points as the Knicks survived a ferocious late rally by the Lakers to salvage a weekend split in Los Angeles without second-leading scorer Jalen Brunson, who has a bruised left foot.

Los Angeles scored eight straight points down the stretch to make it close, trimming New York’s lead to 110-108 on Dennis Schröder’s layup with 19.3 seconds left. After Los Angeles needed 14 seconds to commit a foul to stop the clock, former Lakers guard Josh Hart hit two free throws to seal it.

D’angelo Russell had a seasonhigh 33 points and eight assists despite managing just two points in the fourth quarter for the Lakers, whose three-game winning streak ended with only their fourth loss in 12 games since the trade deadline.

• CAVALIERS 114, HORNETS 108: Darius Garland had 28 points, Donovan Mitchell added 23, and Cleveland overcame a 16-point second-half deficit to beat host Charlotte for its fourth win in the past five games.

Evan Mobley added 18 points and nine rebounds for the Cavaliers, who trailed most of the game.

Garland, who sat out Friday night’s loss to Miami with a quadriceps injury, shot 8 for 20 from the field and was 10 for 13 from the foul line, including a free throw with 10.7 seconds left to seal the win.

Terry Rozier had 27 points to lead the Hornets, who were playing their second game in less than 24 hours.

• THUNDER 120, SPURS 90: Jalen Williams scored 21 points and had 10 assists, and Oklahoma City used a balanced effort on offense despite playing without Shai Gilgeous-alexander to beat host San Antonio as it competes for a berth in the Western Conference play-in tournament.

Ousmane Dieng had a careerhigh 17 points and Josh Giddey added 15 for the Thunder, which won its second in a row and fifth in six games. Oklahoma City tied Utah and New Orleans for 10th place in the West at 33-35.

San Antonio’s Zach Collins had 23 points and 11 rebounds for his ninth career double-double.

• PELICANS 127, TRAIL BLAZERS 110: Trey Murphy III hit a career-best nine three-pointers to highlight his career-high 41 points, and host New Orleans defeated Portland.

Murphy, who participat­ed in the dunk contest during All-star Weekend last month, also had a couple of baskets of the highflying variety, scoring his final points on a driving, two-handed reverse dunk before checking out of the game for good to a standing ovation.

The Blazers played without star guard and leading scorer Damian Lillard, who sat out because of tightness in his right calf.

Anfernee Simons scored 17 for Portland.

 ?? DAVID ZALUBOWSKI/ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Mikal Bridges, here defended by Jamal Murray, had 25 points for the Nets, who have won five of six. Denver has lost three straight.
DAVID ZALUBOWSKI/ASSOCIATED PRESS Mikal Bridges, here defended by Jamal Murray, had 25 points for the Nets, who have won five of six. Denver has lost three straight.

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