LOS ANGELES, United
States
– Nikola Jokic made a clutch go-ahead layup with eight seconds left
and finished with 33 points as the Denver Nuggets outduelled Luka Doncic’s
Dallas Mavericks 107-106 on Wednesday.

Jokic also had seven assists while American Jerami Grant
scored 15 points and Canada’s Jamal Murray chipped in 14 in the matchup of two
of the top young teams in the NBA’s Western Conference.

“We lost one at home against them before. It was long
time ago but we wanted to get this game back. We needed a lot of focus and a
lot of energy because it is the last game of our road trip,” said Serbia’s
Jokic.

Slovenia’s Doncic flirted with a triple double, finishing
with 27 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds. Dwight Powell, of Canada,
 scored 16, Tim Hardaway added 15, Seth Curry 14 and German forward Maxi
Kleber had 13 for the Mavericks.

Dallas played its fifth straight game without injured
starter Kristaps Porzingis, who has a knee injury. The Nuggets were without two
starters, guard Will Barton (personal reasons) and Paul Millsap (knee).

Dorian Finney-Smith nailed a three pointer and Hardaway hit
a basket to give Dallas a 106-101 lead late in the fourth.

Jokic then made a shot in the lane and Grant drained two
free throws to make it 106-105 with 87 seconds remaining.

Denver got the ball back with 23 seconds left. Jokic drove
for a layup with eight seconds left. 

The Mavericks called a timeout, but the Nuggets trapped
Doncic to force him to pass, and the defence prevented Dallas from getting a
shot off before the final buzzer.

Jokic said they won because they were able to keep the ball
out of Doncic’s hands at the end of the game.

“He had 27 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists but we
made it a little harder for him, especially at the end,” said Jokic.
“We double teammed him and made someone else make a play. 

“He passed to the corner and they lost the ball. It was
great defence by us.”

Also, Serge Ibaka sank a pair of free throws with five
seconds left in overtime to lift the shorthanded Toronto Raptors to a 112-110
victory against the Charlotte Hornets. 

Ibaka, of Congo, and Terence Davis each tallied 23 points
for the Raptors, who avoided losses on consecutive nights. 

OG Anunoby finished with 19 points, Kyle Lowry had 15
points, and Patrick McCaw scored 13 in the win.

In regulation, Lowry’s layup with 17 seconds left pushed the
Raptors ahead 100-99, which was countered by a Terry Rozier free throw to force
the extra session.

At the end of overtime, Charlotte’s Rozier missed a
potential winning three-point shot. 

In Indianapolis, Jimmy Butler returned from a one game
absence due to a back problem to finish with 14 points, seven assists and six
rebounds in the Miami Heat’s 122-108 win over the host Indiana Pacers.

In the third quarter American Butler exchanged bumps and
words with Indiana’s T.J. Warren, who was ejected.

– Butler blasts Warren –

Butler said after the game he can’t wait until he faces
Warren again and even demonstrated how he already has the March 20th game
circled on his calendar.

“He’s not even in my league. I am going to tear him up
every time we play,” Butler said. 

Butler tweeted a screen shot of the NBA schedule and circled
the game with the comment, “Don’t be mad you can’t guard me. We will see
what you about in March.”

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