James Harden delivered another exceptional scoring performance, and the Houston Rockets swept a brief two-game swing against Eastern Conference opponents, cruising past the host Orlando Magic 130-107 on Friday.
Two nights after pairing 55 points with eight assists in Cleveland against the Cavaliers, Harden posted 54 points and seven assists to subdue the Magic, who have dropped three straight games.
Harden drilled a franchise record-tying 10 3-pointers to lead Houston past the Cavaliers. He then finished 10-for-15 from behind the arc against Orlando en route to his fifth 50-point game of the season.
Russell Westbrook chipped in 23 points, seven rebounds and six assists while Ben McLemore shot 6 of 7 from long distance for 18 points off the bench. Houston hit 22 of 39 3-point attempts en route to winning for the sixth time in eight games. Evan Fournier led the Magic with 27 points, and Aaron Gordon added 21.
Los Angeles Lakers 113 — Miami Heat 110
LeBron James compiled 28 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds while leading visiting Los Angeles past Miami for its sixth consecutive victory.
The Heat, trailing 112-110 with 8.1 seconds left, couldn’t rebound a missed free throw by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. After another foul and one more Caldwell-Pope free throw, Miami’s Jimmy Butler missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer that could’ve forced overtime.
Anthony Davis added a game-high 33 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks for the Lakers, who earned their 13th straight road win. Butler, the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week, scored a team-high 23, but his Heat lost at home for the first time this season, falling to 11-1.
Milwaukee Bucks 127 — Memphis Grizzlies 114
Giannis Antetokounmpo returned from a one-game absence to post 37 points and 11 rebounds, and visiting Milwaukee rallied past Memphis for its 17th consecutive win.
Milwaukee now has the second-longest winning streak in franchise history. The record of 20 was set during the team’s 1970-71 championship season.
Antetokounmpo, who missed Wednesday’s game because of soreness in his right quad, keyed a fourth-quarter surge that saw the Bucks pull away late. Jaren Jackson Jr. scored a career-high 43 points for the Grizzlies, sinking 9 of 15 from 3-point range.
Los Angeles Clippers 124 — Minnesota Timberwolves 117
Paul George scored 46 points and Kawhi Leonard added 42 as Los Angeles showed off its star power and held on for a victory over Minnesota in Minneapolis. Leonard and George became the first duo in Clippers history to each score at least 40 points in a game.
Montrezl Harrell added 18 points off the bench as the Clippers won despite playing without a true point guard. Patrick Beverley sat out after leaving the Wednesday game at Toronto with a concussion, and Lou Williams also was sidelined with a sore right calf.
The Timberwolves went to work with their own scoring duo as Karl-Anthony Towns scored 39 points and Andrew Wiggins added 34. Towns added 12 rebounds and stayed in the game despite an injury to his left knee with 1:42 remaining.
Philadelphia 76ers 116 — New Orleans Pelicans 109
Tobias Harris scored 31 points, and host Philadelphia defeated New Orleans to remain unbeaten at home while winning its fifth straight game overall.
Ben Simmons added 24 points and 11 assists while Joel Embiid had 24 points and 11 rebounds as the Sixers improved to 14-0 at home. It’s their longest winning streak at home to open a season since coming up with 22 in the championship season of 1966-67.
Brandon Ingram led the Pelicans with 17 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter while former Sixer JJ Redick added 19, but New Orleans dropped its 11th consecutive game and fell to 2-11 on the road.
Indiana Pacers 110 — Atlanta Hawks 100
Georgia native Malcolm Brogdon collected 19 points and 12 assists as Indiana posted a victory at Atlanta.
T.J. Warren scored 18 points and Doug McDermott added 16 off the bench for the Pacers, who have won 10 of their past 13 overall and seven straight against Atlanta. Domantas Sabonis recorded 12 points and 14 rebounds to secure his 11th consecutive double-double.
Trae Young scored a team-leading 23 points on a 9-for-30 performance from the field for the Hawks, who misfired on all 13 attempts from 3-point range in the first half en route to losing for their 14th time in 16 games. De’Andre Hunter had 21 points and Jabari Parker added 20 in a losing effort.
Charlotte Hornets 83 — Chicago Bulls 73
Devonte’ Graham scored a team-high 16 points, PJ Washington recorded 13 points and 10 assists, and Charlotte beat host Chicago by holding the Bulls to the fewest points scored by an NBA team this season.
Miles Bridges added 13 points for Charlotte, which won its third game in a row despite scoring its fewest points in a game this season, as well. Bismack Biyombo had 12 points, and Terry Rozier and Cody Zeller finished with 11 points apiece.
Zach LaVine and Ryan Arcidiacono shared the team lead with 12 points apiece for the Bulls. Lauri Markkanen and Thaddeus Young added 10 points apiece for Chicago, which was outscored just 15-10 in the third quarter.
Utah Jazz 114 — Golden State Warriors 106
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 32 points and tied a franchise record with eight 3-pointers as Utah rallied from a double-digit deficit in the first half to beat visiting Golden State.
Donovan Mitchell scored 28 points and Rudy Gobert added 15 points and 15 rebounds as the Jazz improved to 10-3 at home, just the third Western Conference team with double-digit victories in its own building.
Alec Burks scored 24 points and Damion Lee added 21 for the Warriors, who have lost seven of their past eight games and 10 of their past 12. Golden State fell to 3-13 on the road.
New York Knicks 103 — Sacramento Kings 101
Julius Randle recorded 26 points and nine rebounds, and New York beat host Sacramento to notch back-to-back victories for the first time this season.
Elfrid Payton scored 16 points, and Mitchell Robinson added 14 points and nine rebounds for the Knicks, who overcame a 16-point, third-quarter deficit. New York is 2-2 since Mike Miller took over as interim coach after the firing of David Fizdale.
Buddy Hield scored 34 points and collected a career-high 12 rebounds for the Kings, who had a three-game winning streak halted. Sacramento’s Harrison Barnes scored 18 points.
–Field Level Media