By: Associated Press
Nikola Jokic scored a career-high 47 points and Will Barton added a season-best 28 as the Denver Nuggets held off the Atlanta Hawks 123-115. Denver improved to 25-11, second-best in the Western Conference. Jokic surpassed his previous career high of 41 with a putback that gave the Nuggets a 114-109 lead with 3:14 remaining. Jamal Murray followed with a turnaround jumper and Barton put back his own missed shot to put the Nuggets up 118-109 at the 1:57 mark. That essentially ended all hopes for the NBA-worst Hawks, who were led by Trae Young's 29 points.
Missing Kemba Walker, the Boston Celtics became the latest NBA contender to surprisingly come up short against one of the league's worst teams, losing 99-94 to the Washington Wizards, who got 27 points from Ish Smith to lead a depleted lineup Monday night.
Walker sat out his third game in a row with the flu, and while the Celtics won the previous two -- against also-rans Atlanta and Chicago -- they couldn't overcome poor shooting, a slow start and a whole lot of Smith.
In other NBA Monday action:
De’Aaron Fox had 21 points and seven assists, Buddy Hield also scored 21 and the Sacramento Kings thumped the Golden State Warriors 111-98. Trevor Ariza added a season-high 18 points for the Kings, and Harrison Barnes scored 18 as well. Glenn Robinson III had 16 points for Golden State. The Warriors have lost five straight after a season-high four-game winning streak.
DeMar DeRozan had 25 points and the San Antonio Spurs had a season-high 19 3-pointers in beating Milwaukee 126-104, snapping the Bucks five-game winning streak. Patty Mills added 21 points, including 6 for 10 on 3-pointers, for San Antonio. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 24 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists for Milwaukee, which lost for the first time since Dec. 25.
Luka Doncic scored 21 of his 38 points in the third quarter to lead the Dallas Mavericks past the Chicago Bulls 118-110. Doncic had 11 rebounds and 10 assists for Dallas. It was his NBA-leading 11th triple-double of the season. Lauri Markkanen led the Bulls with 26 points, who lost Wendell Carter Jr. to an apparent ankle injury.
Joel Embiid scored 18 points playing with a dislocated left ring finger as the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 120-113. Ben Simmons had 17 points and 15 rebounds for Philly, which snapped a four-game losing streak. Embiid injured his finger in the first quarter. He got it taped up and returned to have a solid offensive game.
T.J. Warren scored 30 of his season-high 36 points in the second half, and the Indiana Pacers beat the Charlotte Hornets 115-104. The Pacers snapped a two-game skid and had lost four of their last five.
Markelle Fultz scored a career-high 25 points, including seven straight during a 15-1 run in the fourth quarter that sent the Orlando Magic past the slumping Brooklyn Nets 101-89. Nikola Vucevic had 23 rebounds and 11 points for his 300th career double-double.
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 35 points, Joe Ingles added 22 and the Utah Jazz extended their winning streak to six games by holding on for a 128-126 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.