Injury-plagued Nuggets beat Thunder to hold Western Conference lead
The Denver Nuggets held off the Oklahoma City Thunder to claim a 109-98 win in the NBA on Friday.
With several starters sidelined long term by injuries, some observers believe the Nuggets are on the brink of a collapse.
The Nuggets entered Friday's game leading the Western Conference and jumped out to a fast start before holding off the Thunder.
Center Nikola Jokic scored 24, collected 15 rebounds and handed out nine assists.
The Nuggets (19-9) had four other players in double-figures. Even Nick Young, playing his first game in a Denver uniform, got in on the act, hitting two key three-pointers.
Paul George scored 32 to lead OKC (17-10). Steven Adams put up 26 points and hauled in 14 rebounds.
This was a huge win for Denver, made even greater by the fact three starters were out. Guard Gary Harris (hip), who has not played since December 3, is expected to be out another two to three weeks. Forward Paul Millsap, who injured his toe on December 7, is expected to miss up to five more weeks.
There is some good news on the injury front, as forward Will Barton, who has been out since the first week of the season, is expected back soon from a hip injury.
Nikola Jokic tallies 24 PTS, 15 REB & 9 AST & the @nuggets improve to 19-9 with the 109-98 win over the @okcthunder! #MileHighBasketball— NBA (@NBA) December 15, 2018
Jamal Murray: 19 PTS, 9 REB
Juancho Hernangomez: 19 PTS, 9 REB
Torrey Craig: 15 PTS, 5 REB
Paul George: 32 PTS pic.twitter.com/j35j2px7z4
Giannis gigantic for Bucks
Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo had 44 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists in a 114-102 win over the Cavs.
The 76ers' Joel Embiid scored 40 and added 21 rebounds in a 113-101 loss to the Pacers.
Knicks guard Emmanuel Mudiay scored 34 and had eight assists to help rally New York from 19 behind at the half to a 126-124 overtime win against the Hornets.
Hornets cough up huge lead
The Hornets blew a 15-point lead after three quarters in the overtime loss to the Knicks at home.
Thompson delivers for Warriors
Warriors star Klay Thompson hit a clutch three-pointer in a 130-125 win over the Kings.
Kyrie Irving produced a crazy ball-handling move. Boston won their eighth straight with a 129-108 victory over the Hawks.
Boston Celtics 129-108 Atlanta Hawks
New York Knicks 126-124 Charlotte Hornets
Brooklyn Nets 125-118 Washington Wizards
Milwaukee Bucks 114-102 Cleveland Cavaliers
Indiana Pacers 113-101 Philadelphia 76ers
Miami Heat 100-97 Memphis Grizzlies
Denver Nuggets 109-98 Oklahoma City Thunder
Portland Trail Blazers 128-122 Toronto Raptors
Golden State Warriors 130-125 Sacramento Kings
Rockets at Grizzlies
The underperforming Rockets (13-14) visit the overachieving Grizzlies (16-12). The Rockets' struggles this season have been well-documented, but far less attention has been paid to Memphis, who finished 22-60 last season and definitely were not expected to be four games over .500 at this stage of the season.