Dallas Mavericks striker Luka Doncic (77) gets the most votes in the first All Star vote. —AP
LOS ANGELES – Rookie Michael Porter Jr. clinched a career high of 25 points to lead the Denver Nuggets to a 124-116 NBA victory over the Indiana Pacers.
Porter came from the bank and scored eleven out of twelve hits from the field – a success rate of 91.7 percent – when the Nuggets left a slow start and rebounded from the loss on New Year's Eve against the Houston Rockets.
"I felt very comfortable out there," said Porter. "It is amazing to start the year like this. It is an incredible feeling and I have to thank my teammates and coaches."
The Pacers achieved a lead of 14 points with a 5:23 point lead in the first quarter, whereby the Nuggets tried to meet the conditions again, which Nikola Jokic was aggravated by bad problems.
Denver would not take the lead until Gary Harris left a three-pointer at 9:16 in the third to make it 73-72.
Porter scored 10 points in the third quarter, and Jokic added eight of his 22 points during that period when the Nuggets 92-88 took the lead.
Denver opened the fourth run in an 11: 6 run, and the Pacers – led by Jeremy Lambs 30 points – could not recover.
Jokic, who was forced into three fouls in just eight minutes in the first half, scored 20 points in just 16 minutes after the break to help the Nuggets achieve their third win in four games.
At 24-10, the Nuggets are banned in the fight against the Los Angeles Clippers for second place in the Western Conference behind the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Clippers improved to 25-11 with a 126-112 home win over the Detroit Pistons.
The Montrezl Harrell (23 points) and Lou Williams (22 points) reserves led the Clippers to shake off Paul George's early exit to outperform the Pistons (37-16) in the third quarter and take control of that Take over game.
"We took care of the business," said Clippers coach Doc Rivers after his team won a second game in a row for the first time since their fourth consecutive win from December 8th to 14th.
Rivers had no immediate information about George, who left with a tight Achilles tendon in the second half.
The Miami Heat started in 2020 with a dominant defensive performance, in which reigning champion Toronto Raptors shot 31.5 percent in an 84-76 victory.
Bam Adebayo led Miami with 15 points and 14 rebounds, and the heat prevailed against the Raptors (21-16) in the fourth quarter, improving their best home record to 16-1.
The Raptors, who still miss injured Spanish Big Man Marc Gasol and Pascal Siakam, were led by Center Serge Ibaka's 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Utah narrowly won in Chicago, where two-time defensive jazz player Rudy Gobert came out big in the waning seconds of a win between 102 and 98.
The French center forced a miss by Chicago's Zach LaVine, with jazz increasing between 100 and 98 and remaining less than 25 seconds.
Utah corrected the rebound and Donovan Mitchell made two free throws to give jazz a four-point lead.
Gobert blocked another LaVine attempt with a 7.6 second lead and Jazz won a game with 13 changes in the lead.
"We knew it was a very aggressive team, especially Zach. So I just had to do what I do and be there for my teammates," said Gobert, who scored 17 points, 12 rebounds and completed three blocked punches.
Luka Doncic, who led the vote winners in Thursday's All Star voting results, celebrated the Dallas Mavericks' 123-111 victory over the Brooklyn Nets with 31 points. – AFP
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