Nuggets beat Bucks 129-106 in clash of conference leaders

By MICHAEL KELLY Associated Press

DENVER (AP) — 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 in a matchup of the NBA's conference leaders.

Michael Porter Jr. added 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 first meeting.

The Nuggets held out four starters -- Jokic, Murray, Porter and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope -- when the teams met in Milwaukee on Jan. 25.

Denver had played the night before in New Orleans and opted to rest its stars.

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