The Denver Nuggets entered the All-Star break winners of six of their last seven while the Minnesota Timberwolves capped Thursday's two-game slate with a 119-111 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
TIP-INSNuggets: Denver's 13 3-pointers in the first half were their most since February 13, 2017, when they connected on 16 in the first half of a 132-110 win over Golden State. Nikola Jokic notched the first halftime triple-double since 2016 en route to a 30-point, 15-rebound and 17-assist night.
While Jokic's breathtaking first-half performance stole the headlines, the Nuggets claimed victory thanks to a strong all-round display.
"Each guy kind of had their own little stretch", Nuggets coach Michael Malone said.
The 6'10 Serbian center functions as a de facto point guard for the Nuggets when their offense is flowing properly, and as Thursday's game against the Milwaukee Bucks illustrated, it quickly allows Jokic to pile up statistics. The three-pointers allowed are a franchise record by the Bucks and one make away from the NBA-record set by the Cleveland Cavaliers past year. It was Jokic's 11th triple-double in his two-plus seasons in the National Basketball Association - with three coming against the Bucks - his fifth this season and his fourth since January 27.
Jokic now has five triple doubles this season.
"I know how good we can be when we decide to play hard", Butler said. "Maybe I'm a little bit (more) aggressive". I'm just playing the same way I always play. "I didn't have any extra motivation or anything like that though".
Gary Harris scored 20 of his 28 in the first half and Jamal Murray finished with 26 for the Nuggets.
Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 36 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists for his ninth career triple-double, passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most in Bucks history. "Give them credit for generating open shots. Usually when we can get on the score sheet, it's probably going to end up good for our team".
The Nuggets shot 55.3 percent overall from the floor, including 60 percent (24 of 40) from beyond the arc.