Nuggets get job done

April 06, 2019

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Nikola Jokic tallied 22 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists as the Denver Nuggets clinched the Northwest Division title with a 119-110 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday.

Paul Millsap scored 25 points and Jamal Murray had 23 as Denver locked up at least the number three seed in the NBA’s Western Conference.

Denver have a slim chance at gaining the top seed but the first place Golden State Warriors also won on Friday, 120-114 over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Denver leads the Houston Rockets by 1-1/2 games for the second seed in the West.

“That’s big,” said Murray of the division title. “Everybody knows how well we play at home.”

In Oakland, Stephen Curry bounced back from his lowest scoring game of the season to deliver 40 points as the Warriors moved to within one win of clinching the top seed by beating the struggling Cavaliers.

Golden State just needs a win Sunday over the Los Angeles Clippers to seal the top seed in the West playoffs which begin next weekend.

The Warriors swept LeBron James’ Cavaliers in last season’s NBA finals.

Golden State led wire-to-wire Friday and at one stage had a whopping 21 point lead.

In Oklahoma City, Russell Westbrook secured his third straight season averaging a triple double as the Thunder beat the Detroit Pistons 123-110 in a NBA contest crucial to both teams’ playoff hopes.

Westbrook finished with 19 points, eight rebounds and 15 assists and has now averaged 10 or more points, rebounds, assists over the course of the season. He also averaged 10 or more figures in 2017-18 and 2016-17.

Paul George scored 30 points and Jerami Grant had 19 for Oklahoma City who won for the second straight game and fourth time in the past seven.

Westbrook came into the game needing three assists to secure his triple double season average and did it on just the fourth possession by Oklahoma City.