NBA: Bucks, Timberwolves earn key wins

By Sports Desk January 15, 2024

Damian Lillard's long 3-pointer just before the buzzer capped a remarkable rally in the final seconds of overtime for the Milwaukee Bucks, who came through with a thrilling 143-142 win over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday.

The Bucks trailed 141-137 with under 30 seconds left in overtime before pulling out a third straight victory on late 3-pointers by Brook Lopez and Lillard, who scored nine of his 29 points in extra time and added eight assists.

Giannis Antetokounmpo recorded 27 points and 10 rebounds for Milwaukee, while Malik Beasley went 5 of 9 from 3-point range while finishing with 23 points and Bobby Portis contributed 22 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. 

Sacramento put forth quite a comeback of its own before being dealt a second straight loss, as the Kings overcame a 12-point deficit with under eight minutes left in the fourth quarter to force overtime.

Kevin Huerter led the Kings' comeback by scoring 11 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter. Sacramento also received a 21-point, 13-rebound, 15-assist triple-double from Domantas Sabonis while getting 32 and 28 points from De'Aaron Fox and Malik Monk, respectively. 

Huerter buried a go-ahead 3-pointer and Monk followed with a jumper to give Sacramento a 141-137 lead with 33.9 seconds left in overtime. Monk missed two free throws on the Kings' next possession, however, and Lopez made them pay by sinking a corner 3 with 11.5 seconds remaining to cut the margin to one.

After Fox made 1 of 2 free throws to put the Kings up 142-140, Lillard dribbled past half-court and knocked home a 32-foot shot as time expired.

Milwaukee held a seemingly comfortable 113-101 lead with 7:53 left in the fourth quarter, but the Kings gradually closed the gap and forced overtime when Fox drove the lane and scored with one second remaining to create a 128-128 tie.


Edwards sparks rally as Timberwolves hold off Clippers

Anthony Edwards scored 33 points and led a second-half surge that propelled the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 109-105 win over the Los Angeles Clippers in a clash of Western Conference division leaders.

Edwards recorded 20 of his points in the third quarter and added nine rebounds and six assists to help the Northwest Division leaders to a second straight victory. The win put the Timberwolves a half-game ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder for first place in both the division and the West.

Minnesota outscored the Clippers by a 35-23 margin in the third quarter to take an 81-63 lead into the fourth, though Los Angeles cut an 11-point deficit down to three with an 8-0 run that trimmed the Timberwolves' advantage to 103-100 entering the final minute.

Rudy Gobert and Edwards combined to go 6 for 6 from the free-throw line in the closing stages, however, to keep the Clippers at bay.

Gobert ended with 15 points along with a game-high 18 rebounds.

Kawhi Leonard finished with 26 points and nine rebounds for Pacific-leading Los Angeles, which lost for just the second time in 10 games. Norman Powell had 24 points off the bench on 9-of-12 shooting, but Paul George struggled to a 5-of-19 shooting night while finishing with 16 points in the loss..


Jokic just misses triple-double, leads Nuggets past Pacers

Nikola Jokić finished just shy of another triple-double and was one of four Denver starters with at least 20 points as the Nuggets posted a 117-109 win over the Indiana Pacers.

Jokic compiled 25 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists to narrowly miss extending his league-leading triple-double total to 13. 

Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. also had 25 points in the defending NBA champions' second straight victory, while Aaron Gordon recorded 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting along with 10 rebounds.

Denver went ahead to stay after Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit a 3-pointer that snapped a 71-71 tie midway through the third quarter. The Nuggets gradually extended the margin the rest of the way, and eventually went up comfortably when Jokic followed a Porter 3-pointer by tipping in Murray's missed shot with 3:16 remaining that increased their lead to 109-97.

Indiana, playing a third straight game without injured leading scorer Tyrese Haliburton, was led by former Nugget Bruce Brown's 18 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. The Pacers had won their first two games since Haliburton strained his hamstring on Jan. 8 and three straight overall. 


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