NBA: Mavericks end Nuggets' win streak

By Sports Desk March 17, 2024

Kyrie Irving hit a dramatic floating shot with 0.4 seconds left to play that gave the Dallas Mavericks a thrilling 107-105 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, a result that halted the reigning NBA champions' five-game winning streak.

Irving took an in-bounds pass from Maxi Kleber and dribbled to just behind the free-throw line before sinking a left-handed runner that lifted the Mavericks to their fifth win in six games. Dallas scored the contest's final five points after the Nuggets fought back from a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit to take a late 105-102 lead.

Denver trailed 98-85 with 6:50 remaining before briefly moving ahead with a 20-4 run. After Nikola Jokić's jumper with 1:05 to go tied the game at 102-102, Jamal Murray capped the spurt with a go-ahead 3-pointer with 27.7 seconds left.

Luka Dončić answered with a 3-pointer on Dallas' ensuing possession, however, and Murray misfired on the Nuggets' next trip down the court to set up Irving's heroics.

Doncic finished with 37 points and nine rebounds, while Irving had 24 points and nine assists as the star guard duo accounted for over half of the Mavericks' scoring total.

Muray had 12 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter to help bring the Nuggets back, while Michael Porter Jr. recorded 20 points and Jokic compiled 16 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.


Hot-shooting Bucks outscore Suns despite Antetokounmpo's absence

On a day in which they were without Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks got big performances from Damian Lillard and Bobby Porits and a season-high 24 3-pointers to come through with a 140-129 win over the Phoenix Suns.

Portis went 5 of 5 from beyond the arc while amassing 31 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, while Lillard also had 31 points while matching a career high with 16 assists as Milwaukee prevailed despite Antetokounmpo sitting out with a sore hamstring.

The Bucks got plenty of other contributors while connecting on 58.5 per cent of their 3-point attempts for the game. Khris Middleton poured in 22 points in 25 minutes in his return from a 16-game absence, while Malik Beasley finished 5 of 8 from 3-point range in a 17-point effort.

Phoenix closed out a 2-2 road trip on a down note despite shooting 58.6 per cent from the field, including an 11-of-15 outing from Bradley Beal in which he tallied 28 points.

Former Buck Grayson Allen added 25 points while making 6 of 11 of his 3-point tries, but Milwaukee held Suns star Kevin Durant to a season-low 11 points.

The Bucks seized control with a big second quarter in which they outscored Phoenix by a 43-24 margin to extend a 39-36 first-quarter lead into a commanding 82-60 advantage at half-time. Portis led the way with 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting over the first two periods.

Phoenix cut its deficit down to 100-94 late in the third quarter, but the Bucks ended the period on a 9-0 run capped by a Lillard 3 that gave them a 109-94 lead into the fourth.

Milwaukee maintained a lead of at least seven points the rest of the way.


Hawks halt three-game skid with key win over Clippers

Dejounte Murray totalled 21 points and 10 assists as the Atlanta Hawks got back on track with a 110-93 victory over the slumping Los Angeles Clippers.

De'Andre Hunter added 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting off the bench to help the Hawks snap a three-game losing streak and hand the Pacific Division-leading Clippers a fourth defeat in five games.

Murray hit 5 of 10 attempts from 3-point range as Atlanta shot 50 per cent (17 of 34) from beyond the arc compared to 30.6 per cent for Los Angeles, which struggled to get any complementary scoring beyond stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

Leonard finished with 28 points and George had 26, but no other Los Angeles player reached double figures despite James Harden's return from a two-game absence caused by a strained left shoulder.

Harden dished out nine assists but had just nine points on 3-of-10 shooting in 36 minutes.

The Clippers particularly struggled during a second quarter in which they were outscored by a 30-15 margin by Atlanta, which opened up the period on an 8-0 run to build a 39-29 lead just over two minutes in.

Atlanta later scored 12 consecutive points to extend its advantage to 61-40 with two minutes remaining before half-time, and the Hawks' margin grew to as many as 29 points early in the fourth quarter.

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