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Nuggets mauled by Timberwolves, Celtics stay unbeaten

By AFP - Nov 03,2023 - Last updated at Nov 03,2023

Anthony Edwards #5 of the Minnesota Timberwolves shoots the ball while Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets defends in the third quarter at Target Centre on Thursday in Minneapolis, Minnesota (AFP photo)

LOS ANGELES — The defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets crashed to their first defeat of the season in an upset 110-89 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, while Boston extended their unbeaten start with a brutal thrashing of Indiana.

Denver began the season in imperious form, building to a 4-0 start, but were stopped in their tracks after a dominant performance from the Timberwolves at Minneapolis’s Target Centre.

Anthony Edwards led the Minnesota scoring with 24 points while Karl-Anthony Towns finished with 21 in a wire-to-wire victory for the Timberwolves, who led by 19 points at half-time.

Rudy Gobert delivered a crucial defensive performance with 12 rebounds and two blocks to help shut down Denver’s free-scoring offense.

Two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic led the Denver scorers with 25 points, 10 rebounds and three assists.

“It just shows what we’re capable of, honestly,” Minnesota’s Mike Conley said after the win. “We know we can be a great team — we’ve got to put it together for four quarters.

“Tonight we beat a really good team and were able to stick with the easy things and let that just bring us home,” added Conley, who finished with 17 points.

While Denver kissed goodbye to their unbeaten record, there were no such problems for the Celtics, who romped to a 155-104 blowout over the Pacers to improve to 4-0 at the top of the Eastern Conference.

The points total was the second-highest ever in Celtics history, behind the 173 scored in a win over Minneapolis in 1959.

Jayson Tatum led Boston with 30 points and 12 rebounds, with Derrick White adding 18 points and Sam Hauser 17 from five three-pointers.

 

LeBron snaps streak 

 

The game was over as a contest well before the finish, allowing Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla to rest his starters for the entirety of the fourth quarter.

In other games, LeBron James produced a vintage 35-point performance as the Los Angeles Lakers staged a second-half rally to end their 11-game losing streak to city rivals the Los Angeles Clippers with a 130-125 overtime victory.

The Lakers trailed by 19 points early in the game but roared back in the second half to complete a dramatic win, the team’s first over the Clippers since 2020.

For long periods James appeared to be locked in a toe-to-toe battle with Clippers veteran Paul George, who scored 20 points in a remarkable fourth quarter to force the contest to overtime.

George, who finished with 35 points, fouled out early in overtime and momentum swung back to the Lakers who closed out the win.

James received scoring support from Anthony Davis and D’Angelo Russell with 27 points each, while Austin Reaves added 15.

In San Francisco, Klay Thompson drained a jump shot with 0.2 seconds remaining to clinch a thrilling 102-101 win for the Golden State Warriors over the Sacramento Kings.

Thompson’s last-gasp bucket settled an engrossing duel between the two northern California teams which saw the lead change hands no fewer than 12 times.

The Warriors improve to 4-1 to move up to second in the Western Conference standings.

In Toronto, the Milwaukee Bucks fell to 2-2 for the season after slumping to a 130-111 defeat on the road.

Pascal Siakam scored 26 points in a balanced offensive effort for the Raptors, who saw all five starters finish in double figures.

German international Dennis Schroder had 24 points and Scottie Barnes added 21 as Toronto outgunned the Bucks’ twin-pronged line-up led by Giannis Antetokounmpo and new signing Damian Lillard.

Antetokounmpo was restricted to 16 points while Lillard finished with 15 as the Raptors cruised to their second win of the season against a Bucks team led by their former assistant coach Adrian Griffin.

In Dallas, the Mavericks maintained their perfect start to the season to improve to 4-0 with a 114-105 defeat of the Chicago Bulls.

Grant Williams had 25 points, Tim Hardaway Jr. posted 24 points while Luka Doncic added 18 points with 10 assists as Dallas overturned a five-point deficit early in the fourth quarter to close out victory.

 

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