DENVER (AP) — Will Barton scored a career-high 35 points, Nikola Jokic recorded his fifth triple-double of the season and the Denver Nuggets beat the Los Angeles Clippers 129-114 Thursday night to win their fourth straight.
Jokic finished with 17 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists to help lead Denver to a win in a matchup of short-handed teams.
The Clippers played without Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, who were left back in Los Angeles for the one-game trip. Denver forwards Wilson Chandler (right groin) and Danilo Gallinari (left knee bone bruise) also sat, but Kenneth Faried returned after missing nine games with lower back spasms. Faried had 12 points in 18 minutes.
Chris Paul had 18 points and 14 assists, J.J. Redick scored a team-high 22 and Austin Rivers had 17 for the Clippers, who have lost three straight.
Also in the NBA on Thursday:
— Kevin Love returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers' lineup on Thursday, but the star was LeBron James. The Cavs won a matchup of division leaders as James scored 17 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter of a 91-83 downing of Utah. James was 13 of 20 from the field and had 10 rebounds with six assists. Love played 19 minutes and scored eight of his 10 points in the first quarter. Love had left knee surgery Feb. 14 and was originally expected to miss six weeks. Kyrie Irving had 21 points before sitting out the fourth quarter due to tightness in his left knee.
— Klay Thompson scored 21 of his 29 points in the first quarter and the Golden State Warriors clinched their third straight Pacific Division title by ripping Orlando, 122-92. Stephen Curry added 25 points and nine assists after appearing to injure his right foot in the opening minutes.
— Russell Westbrook notched his 34th triple-double of the season with 24 points, 16 assists and 10 boards to lead Oklahoma City's 123-102 romp over the Raptors in Toronto. Victor Oladipo added 23 points as the Thunder pulled within 3 ½ games of the first-place Jazz in the Northwest Division. The Raptors are four games behind the Atlantic-leading Celtics.
— Memphis was a 103-91 winner in Atlanta behind Marc Gasol's triple-double of 18 points, 10 boards and 10 assists. Mike Conley had 22 points and 12 assists in the Grizzlies' third straight victory.
— Brook Lopez scored 24 points and the Brooklyn Nets dominated the second half to beat the Knicks 121-110.
FRIDAY'S GAMES (All Times EDT)
Chicago at Washington, 7 p.m.
Dallas at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Boston at Brooklyn, 7:30 p.m.
Toronto at Detroit, 7:30 p.m.
Houston at New Orleans, 8 p.m.
Minnesota at Miami, 8 p.m.
Orlando at Phoenix, 10 p.m.
Milwaukee at L.A. Lakers, 10:30 p.m.
SATURDAY'S GAMES (All Times EDT)
Sacramento at Oklahoma City, 3 p.m.
Portland at Atlanta, 6 p.m.
Washington at Charlotte, 7 p.m.
Cleveland at L.A. Clippers, 8:30 p.m.
Utah at Chicago, 9 p.m.
San Antonio at Memphis, 9 p.m.
Houston at Denver, 9:30 p.m.
Milwaukee at Golden State, 10:30 p.m.
SUNDAY'S GAMES (All Times EDT)
Dallas at New Jersey, Noon
Boston at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.
Phoenix at Detroit, 4:30 p.m.
Minnesota at New Orleans, 6 p.m.
Indiana at Toronto, 6 p.m.
Portland at Miami, 6 p.m.
Sacramento at San Antonio, 7 p.m.
Cleveland at L.A. Lakers, 9:30 p.m.