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“600 blocks” not enough for Wemby: Jokic leads Nuggets to victory and first place

An electrifying Jokic/Wembanyama duel and Joel Embiid’s comeback were the highlights of the basketball night. The Mavericks’ streak is broken. The NBA on Wednesday morning

Even in the thin air of Colorado’s capital, Victor Wembanyama knew how to convince. The French shooting star of the San Antonio Spurs gave Nikola Jokic and his Nuggets a run for their money in Denver and underlined his reputation as “Rookie of the Year”. After his near quadruple-double, it seems only a formality that the youngster will win this title at the end of the season. His box score ended with 23 points, 15 rebounds, eight assists and an impressive nine blocks, leaving a bemused Jokic

“He had about 600 blocks today,” said the Serbian star center as he navigated his way to the next MVP title. “But we got the win,” Jokic noted after the 110-105 victory for the defending champions, who improved their record to 53-23 (Spurs at 18-58) and climbed to first place in the West. Because the established player failed a number of times against the greenhorn with his normally feared elegant lay-ups and short-distance shots (keyword: blocks), Jokic unusually even opted for a dunk three times. In total, the Nuggets’ big man ended up with 42 points – 16 above his average.

Embiid back and strong nerves

The Nuggets are also first because the Oklahoma City Thunder lost 105-109 in Joel Embiid’s comeback against the Philadelphia 76ers (41-35) and are now only third in the conference at 52-23. Center Embiid played for the first time after a nine-week absence due to a meniscus injury and scored 24 points with limited playing time. He sealed the win with four converted free throws in the final 40 seconds.

Also past OKC are the Minnesota Timberwolves (52-23), who dealt the Houston Rockets (38-37) and their playoff hopes a bitter blow in a 113-106 defeat. Naz Reid boosted his hopes of winning the Sixth Man of the Year Award with 25 points.

Doncic triple-double not enough – Knicks lose in Miami

After seven wins in a row, the Dallas Mavericks (45-30) lost at the Golden State Warriors (41-34). Even Luka Doncic’s 20th triple-double of the season (30/12/11) didn’t help the Texans in the end. For the Dubs, Andrew Wiggins (23 points) outplayed the Splash Brothers Stephen Curry (13) and Klay Thompson (14). Maxi Kleber went 17 minutes without scoring (three rebounds, two assists) – three points less than Daniel Theis, who was once again in action for 18 minutes for the Los Angeles Clippers (47-28) in their 95:109 win at the Sacramento Kings (44-31) and sank a three-pointer.

To the East. Are the New York Knicks running out of steam at the end of a long regular season? The team led by Isaiah Hartenstein (four points, one rebound) lost for the third time in a row and is in danger of slipping out of the direct playoff places. The Knicks (44-31) equalized again with four minutes to go in their 99-109 loss to the Miami Heat (42-33), but then ran out of gas. The Knicks are fifth, the Indiana Pacers (43-33) sixth, the Heat seventh – a tight race in the East.

Finally, the King. LeBron James led the Los Angeles Lakers to a 128-111 victory over the Toronto Raptors (23-52) on their trip to Canada. The highest-scoring player in NBA history notched up 23 points and nine assists, converting ten out of twelve shots. The Lakers improved to 43-33 and are ninth in the West.

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