DENVER (AP) — Paul Millsap scored 21 points and hit a key 3-pointer in the final minutes, and the Denver Nuggets beat the Los Angeles Lakers 125-116 on Friday night.
Jamal Murray had 22 points and Nikola Jokic also scored 21 to help the Nuggets end a three-game home losing streak and stay in the thick of the playoff race.
Millsap missed 44 games with a left wrist injury before returning Feb. 27 against the Clippers. Friday was his sixth game back and his best performance, which included six rebounds and three blocked shots.
Brook Lopez led Los Angeles with 29 points. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 17 points and nine rebounds, and Lonzo Ball had 15 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. The Lakers had their four-game road winning streak snapped.
The Lakers trailed by 13 in the first half but took the lead at the end of the third quarter with a 12-2 run. It set up a fourth quarter that had seven lead changes.
Millsap’s three-point play with 4:24 left made it 112-110 and was the last time the lead changed hands. Murray’s two free throws stretched it to six and after the Lakers got within two, Millsap drained a 3-pointer with 1:43 left and blocked Ball’s layup with 34 seconds remaining to seal it.
Things got chippy at the end when Caldwell-Pope delivered a hard foul to Murray along the sideline after Millsap’s block. Murray hit both free throws and two more to end the game.
Lakers: The Lakers signed F Derrick Williams to a 10-day contract on Friday. … G Brandon Ingram missed his fourth straight game with a left groin strain. Coach Luke Walton said Ingram is feeling better but did not say when the guard would return.
Nuggets: F Wilson Chandler was inactive with a hip injury. “The hip has been giving him a lot of trouble,” coach Michael Malone said. … Devin Harris’ 12 points were his most with Denver since being acquired from Dallas on Feb. 10. … Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper was in attendance.
Lakers: Host Cleveland on Sunday night.
Nuggets: Host Sacramento on Sunday afternoon.
This story has been corrected to with the date of Millsap’s return and games played.
By MICHAEL KELLY, Associated Press
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