Zion Williamson delivered a season-high 36 points as the New Orleans Pelicans cooled off the NBA-leading Minnesota Timberwolves with a 121-107 victory on Monday.
CJ McCollum scored nine of his 23 points in the fourth quarter to help the Pelicans pull away and bounce back from Thursday's 44-point blowout loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA In-Season Tournament semifinals.
Minnesota entered the matchup with a league-best 17-4 record and had won six consecutive games, but played without leading scorer Anthony Edwards due to a hip pointer.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Mike Conley and Naz Reid all had 17 points for the Timberwolves, with Towns adding 12 rebounds.
Minnesota never led in the second half, however, as the Pelicans ended the second quarter on a 12-3 run to take a 59-52 half-time lead.
New Orleans held a 90-86 advantage after three quarters, then opened the fourth on a 9-0 spurt capped by a McCollum 3-pointer to gain further separation.
Zion Williamson dropped a season-high in points against the Wolvespic.twitter.com/vT05A8DUhq— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 12, 2023
The Pelicans also received 20 points from Brandon Ingram and 14 points and 13 rebounds from Jonas Valanciunas.
Bucks bounce back with overtime win over Bulls
Giannis Antetokounmpo compiled 32 points, 12 rebounds and six assists and the Milwaukee Bucks dominated the early stages of overtime to come through with a 133-129 win over the Chicago Bulls.
After Chicago rallied from a 14-point first-half deficit to force overtime on DeMar DeRozan's jumper with 3.7 seconds left in regulation, the Bucks opened the extra session with an 8-1 run to build a 126-119 lead and never trailed thereafter.
Brook Lopez and Malik Beasley each had 19 points to help Milwaukee rebound from Thursday's loss to the Indiana Pacers in the NBA In-Season Tournament semfinals.
The Bulls had a four-game winning streak halted despite a monster performance from DeRozan, who put up 41 points and 11 assists. Coby White finished with a season-high 33 points in the loss.
Goodnight. pic.twitter.com/Kd6adwVfyF— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) December 12, 2023
Nuggets hold off Hawks to end three-game skid
Jamal Murray scored 29 points on 12-of-15 shooting and added nine rebounds to help the Denver Nuggets get back on track with a 129-122 win over the Atlanta Hawks.
The reigning NBA champions withstood a career-high 40 points from Atlanta's Bogdan Bogdanović and a fourth-quarter comeback attempt by the Hawks to stop a three-game losing streak. Nikola Jokić contributed 25 points and nine assists for Denver, while rookie Julian Strawther hit six 3-pointers while producing a career-high 22 points off the bench.
Bogdanovic had 13 of his points in the fourth quarter with Atlanta's leading scorer, Trae Young, out of the game after being ejected when arguing a no-foul call late in the third.
The Hawks trailed 100-86 at the time of Young's departure and were down by 20 points with under 10 minutes left before rallying late, as Bogdanovic led a 16-5 run that cut the Nuggets' lead to 126-122 with 30.5 seconds left.
Jokic hit two free throws on the ensuing possession, however, and Bogdanovic missed a pair of 3-point tries in the final seconds as the Hawks' bid came up short.
Going to bed with a win— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) December 12, 2023
Catch ya tomorrow, Wuggets Wation! pic.twitter.com/qenshZcUs9
Young had 19 points and nine assists before exiting.