Jamal Murray scored 30 points, Michael Porter Jr had 27 points and 12 rebounds, and the host Denver Nuggets beat the Philadelphia 76ers, 104-95, on Tuesday night, March 30 (Wednesday, March 31, Manila time).
Nikola Jokic finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds and Paul Millsap scored 10 points for the Nuggets
Tyrese Maxey had 13 points and Tobias Harris had 12 as the Sixers slipped into a share of the East top spot with the Brooklyn Nets at 32-15.
Ben Simmons scored 11 and Dwight Howard and Shake Milton finished with 10 each for Philadelphia.
The Nuggets scored 44 points in the opening quarter, a season high for the period, and never trailed in winning their third straight.
It was 9-6 when the Nuggets – who are running 5th in the Western Conference at 29-18 – started to pull away.
Murray started things with a rare four-point play. Porter had a layup and Jokic scored on two layups and then Porter hit a 26-foot three-pointer to make it 22-10.
Seth Curry’s jumper broke the run, but the Nuggets scored 10 of the next 14 points to increase their lead to 32-16. After Matisse Thybulle made a triple, Denver ended the first on a 12-3 run, capped by a three-pointer for Murray to give him 16 points in the period.
The Sixers were able to trim the deficit to 17 at one point, but 20 first-half points from Porter Jr and 18 by Murray gave the Nuggets a 68-45 lead at the break.
Denver led by 25 on 3 occasions in the 3rd quarter, but Philadelphia made a run at the end of the period. Mike Scott hit a three-pointer, Simmons made a layup and Milton drained another from behind the arc in the final second to make it 88-71 heading into the 4th.
The Sixers continued to chip into the lead at the start of the 4th. Furkan Korkmaz had a dunk, two free throws and a layup to get within 90-77.
After a timeout, Murray hit from the baseline, made a pullup jumper, and a three-pointer to stretch the lead to 97-79.
Maxey scored all of his points in the final 4:28 to help Philadelphia get within 6, but Denver held on for the easy victory. – Rappler.com