DENVER — Nikola Jokic had 31 points and 11 assists, Jamal Murray finished with 26 points and nine assists and the Denver Nuggets beat the Milwaukee Bucks 129-106 on Sunday, March 26, 2023 (PH time), in a late-season showdown of the NBA’s conference leaders.

Michael Porter Jr. scored 19 points for West-leading Denver (50-24), which outscored East-leading Milwaukee 68-40 in the second half.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 31 points — just seven in the second half -- and grabbed nine rebounds for the Bucks (53-20).

The battle of the top teams in each conference -- and two strong MVP candidates -- was more competitive than the teams’ first meeting, won by the Bucks 107-99.

“It’s better to win games, but our goal is to do something in playoffs,” Jokic said.

SUNS 125, 76ERS 105

Devin Booker scored 29 points, Bismack Biyombo added 17 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks and the Phoenix Suns snapped a three-game losing streak.

Phoenix got good minutes from most of their bench players, particularly Terrence Ross and T.J. Warren. Warren finished with 16 points, while Ross had 15. Booker shot 9 of 18 from the field and hit all nine of his free throws.

The Suns won despite a huge game from Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey, who finished with 37 points on 14-of-19 shooting, including 7 of 11 from 3-point range. Joel Embiid added 28 points and 10 rebounds.

KINGS 121, JAZZ 113

Kevin Huerter scored 27 points, had seven rebounds and four assists and Sacramento beat Utah.

Domantas Sabonis finished with 16 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists for his NBA-leading 60th double-double of the season. Harrison Barnes added 18 points. Keegan Murray scored 14 of his 22 total points in the first quarter and knocked down six three-pointers for the Kings.

Jazz rookie Walker Kessler scored a career-high 31 points for the Jazz. Kessler added 11 rebounds and finished 14 of 16 from the floor.

NETS 129, HEAT 100

Mikal Bridges scored 27 points and the Brooklyn Nets opened the third quarter on a 31-6 run on the way to rolling past Miami and leapfrogging the Heat back into the No. 6 spot in the Eastern Conference.

Cam Johnson added 23 points and Spencer Dinwiddie scored 15 for the Nets (40-34), who snapped a five-game slide. They’re only a half-game up on Miami (40-35) in the race for the sixth and final guaranteed playoff berth, but swept the Heat 3-0 this season and would also own a head-to-head tiebreaker. / AP