LeBron James produced his 31st double-double, Kyle Kuzma chipped in 23 points and the visiting Los Angeles Lakers turned a third-quarter defensive clinic into a 124-115 win over the Houston Rockets on Saturday.
The Lakers delivered an efficient offensive display without their leading scorer, Anthony Davis, by following James’ lead. James paired a team-high 31 points with a game-high 12 assists to steward the Lakers. Their defensive might turned the tide in the third, which they won 32-17.
JaVale McGee and former Rockets center Dwight Howard recorded three blocks each, while Danny Green had four steals. The Lakers posted 13 steals and nine blocks while limiting the Rockets to 12-for-37 shooting from behind the arc.
Russell Westbrook (35 points, nine rebounds, seven assists) and James Harden (34 points, seven assists) paced the Rockets, who have dropped three straight and four of five. Houston committed 20 turnovers.
Phoenix Suns 123 – Boston Celtics 119
Devin Booker scored 39 points and fell an assist shy of his first career triple-double as visiting Phoenix held off undermanned Boston.
Booker added 10 rebounds, Deandre Ayton had 26 points and 15 boards and Mikal Bridges scored a career-high 26, as the Suns won for the fourth time in their last five. Dario Saric scored 13 with 11 rebounds and five assists.
Marcus Smart scored a career-high 37 points on a team-record-setting 11 3-pointers, but the Celtics fell for the sixth time in their last eight. Jayson Tatum scored 26 with 10 rebounds, and Gordon Hayward had 22 points, seven boards and seven assists. Boston played without starters Kemba Walker (left knee) and Jaylen Brown (thumb sprain).
Los Angeles Clippers 133 – New Orleans Pelicans 130
Kawhi Leonard scored 39 points, and Lou Williams had 32 as visiting Los Angeles defeated New Orleans in Leonard’s fifth consecutive game with more than 30 points in the absence of second-leading scorer Paul George
Despite being with George because of a hamstring injury, the Clippers had plenty of help. Montrezl Harrell added 24 points, and Landry Shamet scored 11. The Clippers outscored New Orleans 31-20 in the fourth quarter.
Derrick Favors (10-for-10 from floor) had 22 points and 11 rebounds, Brandon Ingram scored 21, JJ Redick tallied 19 while Lonzo Ball had a triple-double with 18 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for New Orleans.
Oklahoma City Thunder 119 – Portland Trail Blazers 106
Chris Paul tied his season high with 30 points to lift Oklahoma City to a win over visiting Portland. Paul was 11 of 15 from the floor in the game and added seven assists.
Portland was without guard CJ McCollum, who suffered a sprained left ankle Friday. The Blazers’ bench was further depleted before the game when swingman Kent Bazemore and forward Anthony Tolliver were reportedly traded to the Sacramento Kings. According to ESPN, Portland will receive Trevor Ariza, Wendell Gabriel and Caleb Swanigan in the deal.
Rookie Darius Bazley, starting at forward in Danilo Gallinari’s absence (rest), had a career-best 13 rebounds for the Thunder. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 22 points. Dennis Schroder added 15 — all in the final 15 minutes.
Toronto Raptors 122 – Minnesota Timberwolves 112
Fred VanVleet scored 29 points in his return from a hamstring injury, and Kyle Lowry added 28 points as visiting Toronto used a third-quarter charge to earn a victory over Minnesota.
Norman Powell scored 20 points, and Pascal Siakam added 14 as the Raptors continued to get their regulars back on the court. Powell and Siakam returned from injury last weekend. Marc Gasol returned Friday. VanVleet was the latest to see the court again after missing the last five games.
Jarrett Culver scored 26 points, and Robert Covington added 22 as the Timberwolves lost their fifth consecutive game. Karl-Anthony Towns scored 12 for Minnesota in his second game back from a 15-game absence because of a sore knee. Andrew Wiggins had a triple-double in the defeat, scoring 18 points with 10 rebounds and 11 assists.
Milwaukee Bucks 117 – Brooklyn Nets 97
Giannis Antetokounmpo encountered little difficulty collecting 29 points and 12 rebounds as Milwaukee led most of the way and cruised to a victory over Brooklyn in New York.
Antetokounmpo posted his 37th double-double while also tying his career-high with eight turnovers, including four offensive fouls. The star forward made 12 of 20 shots and hit two 3-pointers, as the Bucks pushed their winning streak to six games and beat the Nets for the 16th time in the past 19 meetings.
Khris Middleton added 20 points as the Bucks led for the final 40:33, shot 50.6 percent (45 of 89) and led by as many as 25 points. Former Nets center Brook Lopez contributed 12 points, while Donte DiVincenzo and Wesley Matthews finished with 11 points apiece.
Philadelphia 76ers 90 – New York Knicks 87
Tobias Harris drained a go-ahead 3-pointer with 28.2 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter as Philadelphia won at New York.
Ben Simmons scored 21 points to reach the 20-point plateau in a career-best fourth straight contest for the 76ers, who snapped a six-game road losing skid and improved to 8-14 away from the City of Brotherly Love.
Josh Richardson scored 18 points, and Furkan Korkmaz added 17, one night after he erupted for a career-best totals in points (24) and 3-pointers (six) in the 76ers’ 100-89 victory over Chicago.
Utah Jazz 123 – Sacramento Kings 101
Bojan Bogdanovic made six 3-pointers and scored 30 points to help Utah roll over Sacramento at Salt Lake City.
Rudy Gobert recorded a season-high 28 points on 9-of-11 shooting and also had 15 rebounds and three blocked shots. Donovan Mitchell scored 22 points as the Jazz won for the 16th time in their past 18 games.
De’Aaron Fox recorded 21 points and eight assists for the Kings, who have lost four straight games and 13 of their past 16. Marvin Bagley III scored 17 points, and Buddy Hield added 14.
Detroit Pistons 136 – Atlanta Hawks 103
Derrick Rose scored 10 of his 27 points in the first quarter to set the tone, and visiting Detroit shot 59.3 percent from the field in a rout of Atlanta.
Rose, making only his third start, was 12-for-17 from the field and added nine assists. It was his eighth straight game of 20-plus points. Rose was one of six Detroit players who scored in double figures. He was joined by Svi Mykhailiuk with a career-high 25, Markieff Morris with 22, Andre Drummond with 16, Langston Galloway with 14 and Christian Wood with 10.
The Hawks got 20 points from John Collins, 19 from De’Andre Hunter and 16 points and seven assists from Trae Young. Newly acquired Jeff Teague had 15 points and seven assists in his first game back with the team.
Golden State Warriors 109 – Orlando Magic 95
D’Angelo Russell scored 26 points as Golden State snapped a 10-game losing streak with a victory over Orlando in San Francisco.
Rookie Jordan Poole scored a career-high 21 points, and Eric Paschall added 20 and nine rebounds for the short-handed Warriors, who recorded their first victory since winning four in a row from Dec. 20-27.
Markelle Fultz scored 10 of his 23 points in the final 4 1/2 minutes of the second quarter and finished 10 of 14 from the floor for the Magic, who failed to take advantage of a 13-0 run to start the game. Nikola Vucevic collected 13 points and 13 rebounds for Orlando, which last won in the Bay Area on Dec. 3, 2012.
Chicago Bulls 118 – Cleveland Cavaliers 116
Zach LaVine scored 21 of his game-high 42 points in the fourth quarter, and Lauri Markkanen had 17 points as host Chicago rallied past Cleveland.
Chicago trailed by as many as 19 points in the third quarter before opening the fourth on a 16-2 run to draw within 104-103. LaVine, who notched his third game of at least 40 points this season, banked in a pullup jumper with 4:38 to go to give Chicago a 108-107 lead and set off a see-saw finish.
Cleveland lost for the fourth straight game to conclude a six-game road trip at 2-4. Both teams were playing the second legs of back-to-backs. Kevin Love scored 29 points to lead five Cavaliers in double figures.
–Field Level Media