Jokic’s Nuggets stifle NBA-leading Bucks

Jokic’s Nuggets stifle NBA-leading Bucks

Jokic’s Nuggets stifle NBA-leading Bucks

Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets made a statement on March 25, downing Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks 129-106 in a battle of NBA conference leaders.

In a game touted as a potential NBA Finals preview, two-time and reigning NBA MVP Jokic scored 31 points, handed out 11 assists and pulled down six rebounds, and the Nuggets held East leaders Milwaukee to 40 second-half points with the kind of dominant defensive display they’ve been accused of lacking this season.

Jamal Murray, who made five three-pointers and scored 26 points for Denver, said it all started on the defensive end, and not just in a third quarter in which the Nuggets out-scored the Bucks 34-19.

“I thought we played great defense all game,” Murray said.

“We had a good start, even though they went on a run I thought we were consistent all game with our defense and we found transition points.”

Antetokounmpo, who won MVP honors for two straight years before Jokic, scored 31 points, but just seven in the second half.

The third quarter was pivotal in Miami, where the Brooklyn Nets out-scored the Heat 39-18 in the period, on the way to a 129-100 victory that moved them past Miami and into sixth place in the East.

Mikal Bridges scored 27 points, Cam Johnson scored 23 and Spencer Dinwiddie chipped in 15 for Brooklyn, who snapped a five-game losing streak to at least temporarily put themselves in position for direct entry to the playoffs.