SAN FRANCISCO: Nikola Jokic posted his 18th triple double of the season to lead reigning NBA champion Denver’s 119-103 victory at Golden State on Sunday.
The 29-year-old Serbian center, a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, had 32 points, 16 rebounds and 16 assists plus four steals while Jamal Murray added 27 points for the Nuggets.
Klay Thompson came off the bench to lead the Warriors with 23 points, but none in the second half, while Stephen Curry added 20 in the matchup of the past two NBA title winners.
“They are literally the Warriors. They are champions. They are a tough team to beat,” Jokic said. “But 103 points in this arena is really good for our defense.”
It was Jokic’s third career game with at least 30 points, 15 rebounds and 15 assists — passing Wilt Chamberlain for the second most in NBA history behind Oscar Robertson.
It was Jokic’s sixth career game with 15 rebounds and 15 assists to pass Magic Johnson for fourth on the all-time list.
Jokic, who hit 13-of-24 shots from the floor, also became the first NBA player with 14 rebounds and 14 assists in three consecutive games.
Thompson had 16 points in the first quarter on 4-of-6 3-point shooting, but the Nuggets (39-19) closed the second quarter on a 14-0 run to equalize at 61-61 at half-time, then reeled off a 14-0 run early in the third quarter to seize command.
“That run 14-0 at the end of the second quarter when we got the game back into control, and we went up 10 points in the third quarter, I think that stretch helped us take control and we controled the game the whole way,” Jokic said.
It was Denver’s seventh consecutive triumph in games against Golden State (29-27) and 10th in their past 11 matchups.
At Philadelphia, Greek star Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 30 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and passed off nine assists to lead Milwaukee’s 119-98 rout.
New Bucks coach Doc Rivers collected a victory over his former club, the 76ers having fired Rivers last May after three seasons guiding the franchise. Milwaukee hired Rivers last month to replace fired Adrian Griffin.
“It was awesome,” Rivers said of his return. “I had three good years here. I enjoyed my stay. This was good. There were a couple hilarious comments.”
Damian Lillard added 24 points, nine assists and seven rebounds while Malik Beasley added 20 points as the Bucks hit 43-of-79 shots from the floor (54.4 percent) and kept the Sixers to 36-of-97 (37.1 percent) shooting.
Milwaukee seized a 69-48 half-time lead and stayed in command to the finish despite some second-half stumbles.
“We came out and played hard in the first two quarters,” two-time NBA MVP Antetokounmpo said. “In the third quarter we were a little bit sloppy. But going into the fourth quarter I think we did our best job just finding one another, making the right plays offensively.”
The Sixers, playing without injured reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid, had 24 points from Tyrese Maxey.
At Houston, Oklahoma City’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 36 points and the Thunder won their fifth consecutive game, beating the host Rockets 123-110 to grab a share of the Western Conference lead with Minnesota at 40-17.
At Phoenix, Grayson Allen scored 24 points and Kevin Durant added 22 to lead the host Suns over the Los Angeles Lakers 123-113.
LeBron James led the Lakers with 28 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds while Anthony Davis had 22 points and 14 rebounds.
In Los Angeles meanwhile, the Clippers were outgunned 123-107 by the Sacramento Kings, De’Aaron Fox leading the way for the visitors with 33 points.
Indiana center Myles Turner scored 33 points to lead the host Pacers over Dallas 133-111. The Mavericks saw their seven-game win streak snapped despite 33 points for Luka Doncic and 29 from Kyrie Irving.
Cleveland’s Jarrett Allen had 22 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Cavaliers’ 114-105 victory at Washington.
DeMar DeRozan scored 24 points to lead Chicago in a 114-106 victory at New Orleans while Finnish forward Lauri Markkanen scored 26 points to lead Utah’s 128-109 home win over San Antonio.
Atlanta beat visiting Orlando 109-92 behind Dejounte Murray’s 25 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds, but the Hawks lost scoring leader Trae Young for at least four weeks due to surgery Tuesday to repair a torn left pinkie ligament.