Nikola Jokic notched his fifth triple-double of the campaign to help the Denver Nuggets to victory over the Golden State Warriors, while the James Harden-less Houston Rockets were led by Christian Wood in their win over the San Antonio Spurs.
The Portland Trail Blazers were dealt an injury concern as they lost Jusuf Nurkic to a broken wrist in their loss to the Indiana Pacers, Shake Milton put up season-high figures to help the Philadelphia 76ers breeze past the Miami Heat and the Toronto Raptors edged past the Charlotte Hornets.
Thursday night’s NBA results
|Houston Rockets 109-105 San Antonio Spurs|
|Golden State Warriors 104-114 Denver Nuggets|
|Miami Heat 108-125 Philadelphia 76ers|
|Indiana Pacers 111-87 Portland Trail Blazers|
|Charlotte Hornets 108-111 Toronto Raptors|
Golden State Warriors 104-114 Denver Nuggets
Jokic had 23 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists while Jamal Murray had 17 points and nine rebounds as the Nuggets beat the Golden State Warriors 114-104.
Will Barton had 17 points, JaMychal Green added 15 points and nine rebounds, Paul Millsap scored 12, Monte Morris had 11 and PJ Dozier scored 10 points for Denver. The Nuggets were missing two starters in Michael Porter Jr. (COVID-19) and Gary Harris (personal reasons).
Stephen Curry scored a game-high 35 points and added 11 rebounds, James Wiseman had 18, Andrew Wiggins added 16 and Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 14 for the Warriors.
Denver led by 11 at half-time and increased it to 73-59 after two free throws by Dozier but Golden State clawed its way back. A three-point play and a three-pointer by Curry got the Warriors within seven, and Oubre’s trey with 3:45 left in the third quarter made it 79-74.
The Nuggets responded with an 11-2 run to end the period, with Facundo Campazzo hitting a corner three-pointer to put them ahead 90-76 heading into the fourth.
Golden State scored the first six points of the final quarter to get within eight but Barton’s three-pointer and free throw to complete a four-point play gave Denver a 94-82 lead. Curry hit a driving layup but Jokic answered with a jump hook to keep it a 12-point game.
Curry banked in a floater and hit a layup to keep the Warriors close but Green hit a three-pointer from the top of the circle and Morris made it 105-91 on a layup that gave Jokic 10 assists and his fifth triple-double of the season.
Indiana Pacers 111-87 Portland Trail Blazers
Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis combined for 48 points and the Pacers used a 33-10 blitz in the second quarter to take command en route to a 111-87 thumping of the Blazers, ending Indiana’s 11-game losing streak in Portland.
Of greater concern for Portland, though, was center Nurkic breaking his right wrist. He exited in the third quarter after the fall, and he did not come back into the game. It was unclear how long Nurkic would be sidelined.
Brogdon logged a game-high 25 points and Sabonis scored 23 as the Pacers, short-handed after trading Victor Oladipo to the Houston Rockets, won a second straight on the road.
Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum had 22 points apiece for Portland, who had won four in a row but was playing the second night of a back-to-back set.
Having dueled to a 28-all tie through the game’s first 13 minutes, the Pacers took the lead for good with a 12-0 burst that featured scoring by reserves only, with Doug McDermott accounting for seven of the 12 points. After McCollum scored twice to get the Trail Blazers back within 40-32 at the 6:22 mark of the period, the Pacers heated up again, this time using a 19-2 flurry to open a 25-point lead.
Aaron Holiday ignited the run by scoring six of the first nine points. Down 59-36 at the break, the Trail Blazers got no closer than 11 in the second half.
Houston Rockets 109-105 San Antonio Spurs
Wood racked up 27 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead the short-handed Rockets to a surprising 109-105 win over the host Spurs.
The game was Houston’s first since they shipped star guard James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets as part of a four-team trade that was finalised Thursday morning.
None of the players the Rockets received in the trade – Victor Oladipo (from the Indiana Pacers), Dante Exum (from the Cleveland Cavaliers), and Rodions Kurucs (from the Brooklyn Nets) – were in uniform on Thursday, forcing Houston, also missing John Wall and Eric Gordon to minor injuries, to field a makeshift lineup that more than held its own.
San Antonio led 99-90 after a hook shot by LaMarcus Aldridge with 4:39 to play and seemingly had finally put away the determined Rockets, who answered with three-pointers by Wood and Sterling Brown before tying the game at 101 on another Wood trey with 2:47 left.
After a Spurs turnover, Wood canned a pair of free throws to grant the Rockets a 103-101 lead. Brown added a layup after a miss by Aldridge to put the Rockets up by four with 1:46 to play.
Keldon Johnson, who had a career-high 29 points, saw his layup with 1:31 left countered by a hoop from the Rockets’ Jae’Sean Tait that rebuilt the four-point lead. A DeMar DeRozan layup cut the advantage in half, and after a Houston turnover, his jumper with 0.3 seconds left went in and out. Two free throws from Houston’s P.J. Tucker in the final moments capped the scoring.
Miami Heat 108-125 Philadelphia 76ers
Milton scored a season-high 31 points, Tobias Harris added 18 and the 76ers had little trouble dispatching the depleted Heat 125-108.
Ben Simmons bounced back from a subpar game Tuesday to post his 30th career triple-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists. He reached the milestone in just his 228th career game, as he became the third-fastest in NBA history – behind Oscar Robertson (75 games) and Magic Johnson (190) – to hit the mark.
Tyrese Maxey contributed 15 points and Danny Green and Isaiah Joe had 12 apiece for the Sixers, who also ousted the Heat two nights earlier, while Joel Embiid had nine points and five rebounds in 24 minutes.
Duncan Robinson led the Heat with 22 points, Gabe Vincent added 21 and Tyler Herro had 17. Precious Achiuwa had 10 points and 11 rebounds for his second straight double-double.
The Heat had only eight available players once again and remained without standouts such as Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic and Kendrick Nunn, among others.
Having entered the fourth trailing 91-66, Miami briefly cut the deficit to 15 before the Sixers extended their advantage to 109-86 on a Joe three-pointer for a 23-point lead that carried them hope comfortably.
Charlotte Hornets 108-111 Toronto Raptors
Reserve Boucher matched his career best with 25 points and added 10 rebounds and the Raptors held off the Hornets 111-108.
Kyle Lowry added 16 points and 12 assists as the Raptors won for the third time in 11 games this season. Fred VanVleet had 17 points for Toronto and Pascal Siakam added 15 points, OG Anunoby had 13 points and Norman Powell had 11.
Terry Rozier scored 22 points for the Hornets and P.J. Washington added 20 points and 11 rebounds. Devonte’ Graham had 15 points, LaMelo Ball had 14 points and 11 assists, Miles Bridges had 12 points and Malik Monk and Bismack Biyombo each scored 10.
The Raptors took a 13-point lead into the fourth quarter that the Hornets quickly trimmed to five. Siakam’s layup with 7:14 to play gave the Raptors their first points of the fourth, before he came back with a three-pointer to increase the lead to 10.
The cushion reached 11 until the Hornets reduced the deficit on a three-pointer with 4:27 to play. Rozier’s layup cut the lead to three with 1:37 to play but Boucher came back with a dunk.
Ball’s dunk made it a three-point game with 43.8 seconds left, but the Hornets later missed two tries at three-pointers to end the game.