Nikola Jokic poured in a career-high 47 points to help the high-flying Denver Nuggets return to winning ways with a 123-115 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
Denver had lost two of their previous three games but got back on track at State Farm Arena thanks largely to Serbia centre Jokic, who also grabbed eight rebounds and handed out five assists.
The Nuggets’ victory keeps them second in the Western Conference standings behind the in-form LA Lakers.
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) January 7, 2020
At the top of the Eastern Conference, leaders the Milwaukee Bucks suffered a shock 126-104 defeat to the San Antonio Spurs despite another impressive showing from Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Antetokounmpo finished with 24 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists – all team highs – but was unable to prevent the Bucks from suffering just their sixth defeat in 38 games this season. DeMar DeRozan top-scored with 25 points for San Antonio, who drained a campaign-high 19 three-pointers in the victory.
Fortunately for Milwaukee, second-placed Boston were unable to take advantage of their defeat as the Celtics also lost, surprisingly going down 99-94 to the Washington Wizards.
Philadelphia snapped a four-game losing streak with a 120-113 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Joe Richardson led the 76ers with 23 points while Joel Embiid (18 points, nine rebounds and eight assists) and Ben Simmons (17 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists) also impressed.
The win takes the 76ers to 17-2 at home this season, though it may have come at a cost. Embiid appeared to dislocate a finger in the first quarter and may miss Friday’s game against Boston.
In Monday other’s games, Markelle Fultz scored a career-high 25 points as the Orlando Magic beat the Brooklyn Nets 101-89 while the Golden State Warriors – NBA champions in 2015, 17 and 18 – continued their poor season with a 111-98 loss to the Sacramento Kings.
Also, Bojan Bogdanovic sunk 35 points as the Utah Jazz beat the New Orleans Pelicans 128-126 to record a sixth successive victory, the Dallas Mavericks beat the Chicago Bulls 118-110 and the Indiana Pacers won 115-104 against the Charlotte Hornets.