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NBA roundup

Suns 114, Lakers 104

Dario Šarić scored 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter, Mikal Bridges added 19 and Phoenix overcame Devin Booker's ejection for a victory over the Lakers on Tuesday night.

Booker scored 17 points before getting ejected for arguing with 7:10 left in the third quarter, but the Suns (23-11) still took charge down the stretch and cruised to their 15th victory in 18 games. Phoenix also moved past the defending NBA champions (24-12) into second place in the Western Conference by winning percentage after completing an unbeaten three-game road trip.

“You gain confidence when a guy like Book doesn’t play or gets tossed, and you’re able to pull a game out on the road at the end of a trip,” Phoenix coach Monty Williams said. “That’s a recipe for mailing it in ... but that was a big-time character win. We got better. I think we played good tonight, but we probably got more confidence that we can pull a game out on the road without Devin or Chris (Paul) saving the day.”

Booker was whistled for two technical fouls in remarkably rapid succession, resulting in the All-Star’s second ejection in just over five weeks.

“We weren’t nervous,” Bridges said of Booker's sudden departure. “We knew we had to go out there and do what we do. We had to lock in for the rest of the game and do it for our teammates. ... Our best player goes out, and we just kept staying the course and fighting all the way to the end. I feel it was a great road trip. I’m feeling good right now.”

LeBron James scored 38 points for Los Angeles, which has lost five of seven with mounting injury problems. Dennis Schröder added 17 points, but the Lakers couldn't keep up without regulars Anthony Davis, Kyle Kuzma and Marc Gasol.

Kuzma was a late scratch with a bruised right heel, while Gasol missed his first game under the NBA's health and safety protocols. The Lakers dropped to 3-6 since Davis was injured during a loss to Denver on Valentine's Day.

Moments before Booker’s ejection, James and Lakers coach Frank Vogel got simultaneous technicals for arguing a no-call on Paul.

“I’m happy with how we’re competing,” Vogel said. “Our guys are giving great effort and great hustle and great fight. You understand there’s a big picture here, and guys are keeping the big-picture mindset.”

Talen Horton-Tucker had 16 points, one off his career high for the Lakers.

James, who led the NBA in assists last season, repeatedly scored in the paint against Phoenix while taking an uncharacteristic off-ball role on many possessions. His highest-scoring performance since Jan. 25 still wasn’t enough for the Lakers, who are struggling to generate offense with Davis out for the past eight games with a calf injury.

James got no help from two struggling swingmen: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had four points in 31 minutes, and Wesley Matthews went scoreless in 23 minutes.

Nuggets 128, Bucks 97

Nikola Jokic had 37 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for his ninth triple-double of the season and 50th of his career, and Denver trounced Milwaukee to snap the latter's five-game winning streak.

Jamal Murray added 24 points as the Nuggets earned their third straight victory and showed no signs of wear one night after winning 118-112 at Chicago. Denver handed Milwaukee its most lopsided loss of the year and shot 55.8%, the highest field-goal percentage by any Bucks opponent this season.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 27 points and eight rebounds for Milwaukee as the Bucks finished an eight-game homestand in which they went 5-3. Khris Middleton added 20 points.

Antetokounmpo had his string of four straight games with at least 35 points end. The reigning two-time MVP was one off the team record owned by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who scored at least 35 points in five straight games on two separate occasions during the 1972-73 season.

P.J. Dozier had 19 points, Will Barton 14, Michael Porter Jr. 11 and Monte Morris 10 for Denver. Brook Lopez had 12 points for Milwaukee.

Antetokounmpo shot 10 of 15 overall and recorded dunks on three straight possessions early in the first quarter. But the Bucks couldn’t slow down the Nuggets, who led 37-23 after going on a 15-2 run to close the first quarter.

Denver extended the margin to 21 in the second quarter and led 64-50 at halftime as the Nuggets continually got open looks near the basket.

The Nuggets stayed in control throughout the third quarter and carried a 99-80 lead into the final period. Milwaukee scored the first six points of the fourth quarter to get the margin down to 13, but Denver responded with a 9-1 run and never was threatened again.

Jokic is one assist short of having three straight triple-doubles. He had 39 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists Monday at Chicago. In the game before that, Jokic had 19 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists in a 126-96 rout of Oklahoma City.

The Bucks’ Jrue Holiday came off the bench for a second straight game after missing 10 games due to COVID-19. Holiday played 18 minutes and had four points and three assists.

Hawks 94, Heat 80

Trae Young scored 18 points, including 13 straight for his team in the fourth quarter, and Atlanta snapped Miami’s six-game winning streak.

John Collins scored 17 for Atlanta, which lost at Miami on Sunday and fired coach Lloyd Pierce on Monday. Kevin Huerter scored 16 for the Hawks and Clint Capela had 10 points and 17 rebounds.

Duncan Robinson and Goran Dragic each scored 14 for Miami, which missed a chance to get over .500 for the first time this season. Bam Adebayo scored 11 for the Heat, who shot 37% — their fourth-worst showing of the season.

Miami was outrebounded 47-26, by far its worst margin of the season, and was held to a season-low in points. The Heat were again without Jimmy Butler, who missed his second consecutive game with right knee inflammation.

Grizzlies 125, Wizards 111

Ja Morant had 35 points and 10 assists, De’Anthony Melton and Dillon Brooks each added 20 points, and Memphis beat Washington.

Jonas Valanciunas had 11 points and 16 rebounds for Memphis, which has won back-to-back road games for the first time since winning four in a row away as part of a seven-game win streak from Jan. 8 to Feb. 1.

Russell Westbrook had 23 points and 15 assists for the Wizards, but also committed eight of Washington’s 22 turnovers.

Bradley Beal also scored 23 points for Washington, which has lost two in a row after winning seven of eight. Robin Lopez added 14 while hitting all six of his field goal attempts.


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