Giannis stars as Bucks reach 50 wins after eclipsing Suns, Nuggets fall to fourth straight loss
The Milwaukee Bucks underlined their NBA title favouritism as they reached 50 wins for the season with a commanding 116-104 road victory over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday.
Giannis Antetokounmpo backed up Monday's 40-point return against the Sacramento Kings with 36 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists at the Footprint Center.
The Bucks have won 20 of their past 22 games, including a 15-game winning streak during that stretch, while the Suns have now lost three consecutive games.
Milwaukee's record is 50-19, pulling clear of the Boston Celtics (47-22) in second in the Eastern Conference, while the 37-31 Suns remain among the mayhem in the tight Western Conference playoffs race.
The Suns had rallied from a 57-48 half-time deficit to take the lead in the fourth quarter but the Bucks steadied, with Antetokounmpo's block on Devin Booker's two-point attempt among the highlights.
Bucks center Brook Lopez added 21 points with 10 rebounds, while Jrue Holiday chipped in with 12 points, six rebounds and five assists.
Booker top scored for the Suns, still missing Kevin Durant due to an ankle injury, with 30 points on 13-of-27 shooting, while Chris Paul added 11 points with eight assists. Phoenix only made eight three-pointers for the game.
Nuggets fall to fourth straight defeat
The Western Conference-leading Denver Nuggets slumped to their fourth straight defeat despite a third-quarter rally, going down 125-110 to the Toronto Raptors.
Fred VanVleet scored 36 points on 13-of-22 shooting including eight triples as the Raptors flew out of the blocks with a franchise-record 49-point first quarter, improving their record to 33-26.
The Nuggets fall to 46-23 amid their slump, with Nikola Jokic scoring 28 points with eight rebounds and seven assists, while Michael Porter Jr added 23 points with five three-pointers.
Lakers hit franchise record in key win over Pels
Anthony Davis produced a bounce-back display after his "terrible" showing two nights ago with 35 points and 17 rebounds as the Los Angeles Lakers won 123-108 over the New Orleans Pelicans.
Malik Beasley added 24 points, shooting seven-of-12 from beyond the arc, as the Lakers moved closer to .500 with a 34-35 record to boost their playoffs hopes.
Beasley's three-point shooting helped the Lakers achieve a franchise record for threes made in a half, with 15 as a team before half-time.