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Shorts: Nuggets seal playoff bid as Nikola Jokic makes history

April 08, 2022 16:21 IST
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Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) drives to the net against Memphis Grizzlies center Steven Adams (4) in the third quarter of their NBA match at Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado, USA, on Thursday

IMAGE: Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) drives to the net against Memphis Grizzlies center Steven Adams (4) in the third quarter of their NBA match at Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado, USA, on Thursday. Photograph: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Nikola Jokic overcame a gash on his head to finish with 35 points and 16 rebounds while grabbing a piece of NBA history as the host Denver Nuggets beat the Memphis Grizzlies 122-109 on Thursday night to clinch a top-six spot in the Western Conference playoffs.


Jokic became the first NBA player to compile 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 500 assists in a season. He needed 31 points to reach the milestone and returned in the fourth quarter to hit the mark. He cut his head in the first minute of the game due to an inadvertent elbow by the Grizzlies' Jaren Jackson Jr. Jokic was bleeding badly before being bandaged, and he wore a red headband the rest of the night.

Aaron Gordon had 22 points, Bones Hyland and Will Barton scored 16 apiece and Monte Morris had 10 for the Nuggets, who won for the fifth time in seven games.

Desmond Bane netted 14 points to lead seven Memphis players in double-figures scoring. The Grizzlies, who are second in the West, have dropped two in a row after an 11-1 stretch.

Timberwolves 127, Spurs 121

Anthony Edwards poured in a career-high 49 points to lead Minnesota over San Antonio in Minneapolis.

Because the Denver Nuggets also won Thursday, the Timberwolves are locked into the seventh spot in the West, which means a home game against the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers in the play-in tournament on Tuesday. San Antonio is still in the running for the ninth spot (and a home game in the play-in tourney).

Karl-Anthony Towns added 21 points and 13 rebounds for the Timberwolves. Keldon Johnson scored 20 points to lead the Spurs, who had won seven of their previous eight games.

Raptors 119, 76ers 114

Pascal Siakam had 37 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds and Toronto defeated visiting Philadelphia.

Gary Trent Jr. added 30 points for the Raptors, who won the season series 3-1. Precious Achiuwa had 20 points for Toronto, and Scottie Barnes contributed 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Joel Embiid had 30 points and 10 rebounds for the 76ers, who had a three-game winning streak end. Tyrese Maxey added 22 points, Danny Green scored 18 and James Harden had 13 points and 15 assists.

Bucks 127, Celtics 121

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday both scored 29 points as Milwaukee moved a half-game ahead of visiting Boston for second place in the Eastern Conference.

Milwaukee led much of the way thanks to advantages of 58-34 for points in the paint, 14-5 on second-chance points and 19-9 on fast breaks -- a byproduct of the Bucks forcing the Celtics into 15 turnovers.

Jaylen Brown recorded a triple-double of 22 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for Boston (50-31). Marcus Smart stepped up with Jayson Tatum (knee) on the sideline, scoring 19 of his 29 points in the second half. Smart shot 7 of 12 from 3-point range as Boston hit 21 of 50 shots from deep.

Warriors 128, Lakers 112

Klay Thompson continued a hot stretch with a team-high 33 points and host Golden State rallied late in the third quarter to defeat superstar-depleted Los Angeles in San Francisco.

Jordan Poole saw a 17-game run of 20-point performances come to an end, but he posted 19 points and 11 assists for the Warriors, who increased their lead over the Dallas Mavericks to a full game with two remaining in the battle for the No. 3 playoff seed in the West.

Playing without LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony, the Lakers got a career-high 40 points from Talen Horton-Tucker in a surprisingly competitive effort in the wake of playoff elimination two nights earlier. Los Angeles lost its eighth straight game.

Hornets 128, Magic 101

LaMelo Ball scored 26 points and Terry Rozier posted 22 as Charlotte's backcourt set the tone in beating visiting Orlando.

Kelly Oubre Jr. added 16 points and Montrezl Harrell 14 as Charlotte won for just the second time in five games and avenged its homecourt loss to Orlando in January.

Chuma Okeke poured in 20 points and Moritz Wagner racked up 17 for the Magic, who got 12 points each from Markelle Fultz, Ignas Brazdeikis, R.J. Hampton and Devin Cannady.

Pelicans 127, Trail Blazers 94

CJ McCollum scored 23 points to lead six New Orleans scorers in double figures in a lopsided win over visiting Portland.

Willy Hernangomez had 17 points and 14 rebounds for New Orleans. Jonas Valanciunas, returning from a one-game absence caused by a sore ankle, added 14 points.

Trey Murphy III and Larry Nance Jr., who was acquired along with McCollum from Portland in a February trade, had 12 points each, and Jaxson Hayes scored 11 as the Pelicans overcame the absence of leading scorer Brandon Ingram (hamstring tightness).

Tennis: Felix Auger-Aliassime toppled in Morocco

Alex Molcan of Slovakia saved two match points Thursday and outlasted No. 1 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7) in the second round of the Grand Prix Hassan II at Marrakech, Morocco.

Auger-Aliassime led 6-5 in the third set and had a match point, but Molcan battled back to force the tiebreaker. Molcan took a 6-5 lead in the tiebreaker before Auger-Aliassime stopped him with two straight points for another match point. Down 7-6, Molcan won three straight points to clinch the match.

Molcan saved eight of 12 break points overall while Auger-Aliassime saved six of nine. The Canadian had seven aces but was hindered by 10 double faults.

In the quarter-finals Molcan will face Botic van de Zandschulp. The Dutch sixth seed was a 6-2, 6-4 winner over the Czech Republic's Vit Kopriva.

Belgium's David Goffin earned his 300th career match win by defeating Spain's Pablo Andujar 5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-3. France's Richard Gasquet, Argentina's Federico Coria and Spain's Roberto Carballes Baena were also winners Thursday.

US Men's Clay Court Championship

American sixth seed Frances Tiafoe won a two-hour, 40-minute marathon over Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (4) in the second round Thursday at Houston.

Tiafoe fired 11 aces with only one double fault and won 79.7 percent (51 of 64) of his first-service points. Cuevas stayed in the match by saving five of eight break points and breaking Tiafoe's serve three times in five opportunities.

Fifth seed Cristian Garin of Chile also used three sets to advance, beating Australia's Jordan Thompson 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Garin next will meet second-seeded American Taylor Fritz, who topped Chile's Alejandro Tabilo 6-1, 6-4. Tiafoe's next foe will be countryman John Isner, the fourth seed, who squeaked past another US player, Steve Johnson, 6-7 (1), 7-6 (4), 6-3.

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