Jokic joins elite company with another 20/15/10, Dallas keep play-in hopes alive
Reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic joined elite company on Monday as he put together another spectacular performance in the Denver Nuggets' 116-111 home win against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Jokic put up a team-high 25 points on eight-of-11 shooting, while adding 17 rebounds and 12 assists. In the process, he joined Hall-of-Famers Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson as the only players in NBA history to produce 10 games of at least 20 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists in the same season.
The contest was meant to be a battle of the two top MVP candidates, but 76ers center and award favourite Joel Embiid was ruled out with calf soreness after suiting up for all 13 games this month.
With James Harden also out, Tyrese Maxey led the 76ers with 29 points on 12-of-21 shooting, five assists, four rebounds and three steals, while Paul Reed excelled off the bench with 16 points (seven-of-seven), nine rebounds, two steals and a block in just 17 minutes.
The win extends the Nuggets' lead atop the Western Conference to 3.5 games, while their 51-24 record trails only the Milwaukee Bucks (54-21) and the Boston Celtics (52-23) for the league's best. Their 32-6 record at home is the second-best in the league, behind the 32-5 Memphis Grizzlies.
Timberwolves win fourth straight in potential first-round preview
The Minnesota Timberwolves are getting hot at the right time, collecting their fourth win in a row by defeating the Sacramento Kings 119-115 away from home.
Karl-Anthony Towns was sitting out the second leg of the back-to-back after returning from a long-term injury on Sunday against the Golden State Warriors, but the Wolves had seven players score at least 14 points each in a well-rounded effort.
Elite young defender Jaden McDaniels led Minnesota in scoring with 20 points (eight-of-15 shooting), Kyle Anderson dished a game-high 11 assists and Rudy Gobert controlled the paint with 16 points (five-of-nine), 16 rebounds and two blocks.
The win means the Timberwolves leapfrogged the Warriors into the Western Conference's sixth seed, and if the season ended today, they would have a first-round series against the Kings.
Mavericks keep postseason hopes alive
With the Dallas Mavericks' season hanging on by a thread, they took advantage of Luka Doncic's rescinded technical and rode him to a 127-104 away win against the Indiana Pacers.
Doncic was given his 16th technical of the season in Sunday's surprise loss to the Hornets, which would have resulted in a one-game suspension if the league did not overturn it.
But it did, and Doncic went on to lead the Mavericks with 25 points (eight-of-17), seven rebounds and six assists, while Kyrie Irving chipped in 16 points (seven-of-11), six assists, three blocks and two steals.
The result leaves Dallas (37-39) a half-game behind the Los Angeles Lakers (37-38) and Oklahoma City Thunder (37-38) as they battle it out for the last play-in spots.