The Milwaukee Bucks stumbled again without injured star Giannis Antetokounmpo and several other big names, going down 109-95 at the Denver Nuggets in the NBA on Monday night.
With the reigning MVP missing his second game in a row with a knee ailment, Milwaukee – who lead the Eastern Conference – lost their third game in row as they were overpowered by the Nuggets, who are third in the West.
The Bucks, who have the best win-loss record in the NBA at 53-13, in fact played without their top six scorers of the season, as they rest several top-liners ahead of the play-offs.
Jamal Murray scored 21 points, Paul Millsap had 20 and Jerami Grant added 19 for Denver, while Kyle Korver made 23 points for the Bucks.
Reigning champions the Toronto Raptors made ground on Milwaukee by posting their fourth straight win, a 101-92 victory at the Utah Jazz.
Serge Ibaka had 27 points and 13 rebounds and Pascal Siakam also scored 27 points and had 11 rebounds and eight assists for the Raptors.
Kyle Lowry had 21 points and seven assists as the Raptors improved to 21-4 since January 15. They sit second in the East with a 46-18 win-loss record.
Joe Ingles had 20 points and six assists for the Jazz, who had won five in a row.
In Monday’s only other game, the hapless Atlanta Hawks scored a rare win, beating the visiting Charlotte Hornets 143-138 in double overtime.
De’Andre Hunter broke a tie by sinking three free throws with 13.3 seconds left in the second overtime to help the Hawks to the win.
Trae Young had 31 points and 16 assists for Atlanta, and John Collins added 28 points and 11 rebounds.
Terry Rozier led the Hornets with a career-high 40 points.