NBA highlights on March 14: Pacers, Celtics, Nuggets come back to win
Li Xiang

Three of the six NBA games on Thursday ended with comeback victories for the home teams. The Indiana Pacers trailed at one point by 19 points before Wesley Matthews made the 1.8-second game-winning shot to help his team defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder 108-106. Kyrie Irving had the second triple-double in his career to bring the Boston Celtics back from a 17-point-trailing to beat the Sacramento Kings 126-120. Nikola Jokic claimed a victory for the Denver Nuggets against the Dallas Mavericks 100-99 with a buzzer beater.

'Joker' ruins Doncic's efforts with a floater

Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets makes a buzzer beater to help his team defeat the Dallas Mavericks 100-99 at the Pepesi Center, March 14. /VCG Photo

Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets makes a buzzer beater to help his team defeat the Dallas Mavericks 100-99 at the Pepesi Center, March 14. /VCG Photo

Paul Milsap scored the court's highest 33 points for Denver. Jokic got 11 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists. Jamal Murray and Will Barton respectively had 12 and 11 points. Malik Beasley from the bench put down 12 points.

Luka Doncic missed one assist to get a triple-double for Dallas as he put down 24 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Jalen Brunson and Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 20 and 17 points respectively. The team's two big men, Dwight Powell (16points+10 rebounds) and Maxi Kleber (11 points+11 rebounds) both had double-doubles. Dorian Fenney-Smith got 17 points off the bench. Dirk Nowitzki scored nine points and was 17 points away from Wilt Chamberlain on the list of NBA career scoring leaders.

Luka Doncic #77 of the Maverciks dunks in the game against the Nuggets, March 14. /VCG Photo

Luka Doncic #77 of the Maverciks dunks in the game against the Nuggets, March 14. /VCG Photo

Though the Nuggets had Milsap who seemed to almost unstoppable by burying 14 of his 19 shots, their careless defense gave the opponent too many chances and that's why the visiting Mavericks led in every of the first three quarters. Then in Q4, Denver finally found their focus on defense and managed to limit the scoring of Dallas to 10 points.

The last two minutes of the game were the real roller-coaster. First Jokic helped the home team regain the lead (98-97) with a ginger roll and free throw. Then Doncic showed why he's the best rookie of the season with a dunk and an opportunity for a three-point play. However, the 20-year-old young man missed the free throw, leaving the opponent five seconds, which was all Jokic needed to make the game-winning floater to help the Nuggets win.

Pacers never give up

Wesley Matthews #23 of the Indiana Pacers celebrates after making the game-winning shot to help his team defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder 108-106 at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse, March 14. /VCG Photo

Wesley Matthews #23 of the Indiana Pacers celebrates after making the game-winning shot to help his team defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder 108-106 at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse, March 14. /VCG Photo

Indiana saw six of their players score double-digit points. Domantas Sabonis scored the team's highest 26 points from the bench. Bojan Bogdanovic got 23 points. The other four of the first-lineup, Matthews, Darren Collison, Thaddeus Young and Myles Turner dropped 16, 17 ,11 and 10 points each.

Paul George shot the court's high of 36 points for OKC. Russell Westbrook had another triple-double of 19 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists. Steven Adams got 17 points while Abdel Nader from the bench out down 10 points.

Paul George #13 of the Thunder dunks in the game against the Pacers, March 14. /VCG Photo

Paul George #13 of the Thunder dunks in the game against the Pacers, March 14. /VCG Photo

Though they were playing a back-to-back away game, the Thunder showed no sign of weariness and dominated the game from the beginning. As George finished a three-point play in the third quarter, his team already led by 19 points (73-54), their biggest lead in the game.

The Pacers then carried on tenacious counter-attack. Thanks to Sabonis' continuously scoring in the paint and a logo shot by Collison, the home team managed to narrow the difference to seven points (88-81) before the last quarter. The last quarter became a totally physical contest and Sabonis again tied the score 106-106 for Indiana before the last 30 seconds. Though Bogdanovic missed his last shot, Matthews put the ball back into the basket to help the Pacers win the game at home and remain as No.3 in the Eastern Conference.

Irving proves he's Boston's leader

Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics handles the ball in the game they win against the Sacramento Kings 126-120 at the TD Garden, March 14. /VCG Photo

Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics handles the ball in the game they win against the Sacramento Kings 126-120 at the TD Garden, March 14. /VCG Photo

Irving put down 31 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists for Boston. Marcus Morris had a double-double of 21 points and 13 rebounds. Jayson Tatum and Al Horford scored respectively 15 and 12 points. Jaylen Brown got the highest 22 points for bench players.

Sacramento's Buddy Hield shot down the court's most 34 points. De'Aaron Fox put down 19 points, seven rebounds and nine assists. Harrison Barnes got 20 points while Willie Cauley-Stein claimed a double-double of 10 points and 13 rebounds. Marvin Bagley III scored 14 points off the bench.

Buddy Hiled of the Kings dunks in the game against the Celtics, March 14. /VCG Photo

Buddy Hiled of the Kings dunks in the game against the Celtics, March 14. /VCG Photo

Though the chances for the Kings to make the playoffs this season were already slim, their youngsters managed to cause enough trouble for the Celtics at the TD Garden with their remarkable athleticism and energy. As Bagley kept dunking at the beginning of the second quarter, Sacramento saw their largest lead in the game (44-27).

Irving stood out to save Boston. He scored 19 points the first half to keep the game from becoming a foregone conclusion and turned on the orchestrating mode in the second half to help his teammates score via nine assists. As the Kings narrowed the difference to one (104-103) in the last quarter, it was Irving who led a 14-2 run for the Celtics with six points and three assists before his team could seal the win for the game.

Other games on Thursday included: (away teams come first)

Cleveland Cavaliers 91-120 Orlando Magic

Los Angeles Lakers 98-111 Toronto Raptors

Minnesota Timberwolves 100-120 Utah Jazz