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Nuggets trip OKC; Raps drub Celtics

Denver Nuggets forward Paul Millsap, right, reacts as he drives past Oklahoma City Thunder forward Markieff Morris. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Denver Nuggets forward Paul Millsap, right, reacts as he drives past Oklahoma City Thunder forward Markieff Morris. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Denver Nuggets forward Paul Millsap, right, reacts as he drives past Oklahoma City Thunder forward Markieff Morris. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER (AP) – Nikola Jokic scored 36 points, including five free throws in the final moments, and the Denver Nuggets fended off Oklahoma City’s late rally for a 121-112 victory Tuesday night in a matchup between two of the top three teams in the Western Conference standings.

Jokic added 10 assists and nine rebounds to finish just shy of his 13th triple-double this season for the Nuggets who won their fifth straight and ninth in a row at home. They improved to 3-0 against the Thunder this season, clinching the four-game season series between the Northwest Division rivals.

Will Barton added 23 points and Jamal Murray 20 for Denver, which extended its division lead over the Thunder to four games.
Paul George had 25 points to lead Oklahoma City which fought back from an 18-point deficit in the second half but could not sustain its rally in the late going.

Russell Westbrook finish an assist shy of a triple-double with 22 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists. Jerami Grant added 21 points.

Oklahoma City got back into the game by turning up its defense, forcing five turnovers in six Denver possessions in one stretch, to pull into a 97-all tie on a 3-pointer by Dennis Schroder with 6:02 left to play.

Westbrook followed by hitting a 3-pointer to give the Thunder its first lead since early in the first half.

RAPTORS 118, CELTICS 95

In Toronto, a lack of togetherness is turning into big trouble for the struggling Boston Celtics.

Pascal Siakam scored 25 points, Kawhi Leonard had 21 and the Toronto Raptors used a huge second quarter to rout Boston, 118-95.

Marcus Morris scored 17 points, and Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier each had 11 as Boston lost for the fifth time in seven games. The Celtics are 0-3 since play resumed following the All-Star break.

“We have to be a lot more connected as a team,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “That’s been the theme for a while.”

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Written by Rafael Bandayrel

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