DeRozan, Spurs rout Raptors in Leonard’s return

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              Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) and San Antonio Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan (10) jockey for a rebound during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — James Harden hit a contested 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds left in overtime and finished with his second triple-double of the week and fifth straight 40-point game, rallying the Houston Rockets past the Golden State Warriors 135-134 in a thriller between Western Conference powers Thursday night for their sixth straight victory.

Kevin Durant’s long 3-pointer missed as the buzzer sounded in what will go down as one of the best games this regular season — a rematch of the seven-game Western Conference finals won by two-time defending champion Golden State.

Stephen Curry put the Warriors ahead with 23.1 seconds remaining in OT on the way to 35 points — a basket that shouldn’t have counted because Durant was clearly out of bounds when he flung the ball back in.

Harden, however, had one more acrobatic moment still in him. He released the ball with at least four hands in his face for the game-winner.

The reigning MVP finished with 44 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds, while Clint Capela contributed 29 points and 21 rebounds for Houston.

Harden also hit 3-pointers at the 3:52 and 2:02 marks of OT in a game featuring dazzling displays on both ends by some of the game’s biggest stars.

SPURS 125, RAPTORS 107

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — DeMar DeRozan had his first career triple-double with 21 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists, and San Antonio welcomed back Kawhi Leonard with thunderous jeers in a victory over Toronto.

Leonard scored 21 points on 8-for-13 shooting, but the anger the Spurs‘ fans showered on him seemed to impact the MVP candidate. Leonard had to take a step back at the free throw line and compose himself amid chants of “Traitor! Traitor!” and “Quitter! Quitter!” from the capacity crowd that adored him during his seven seasons in San Antonio.

Leonard forced his way out of San Antonio in a trade that yielded DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl from Toronto for Leonard and Danny Green.

Leonard was booed heavily from the moment he walked onto the court for warmup. The boos continued during a pregame video tribute and player introductions, whenever he touched the ball and as he walked off the court following the lopsided loss.

DeRozan and the Spurs dominated the battle of former teammates, leading by as many as 28 points in snapping the Raptors‘ three-game winning streak. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 23 points for San Antonio, Bryn Forbes added 20, Derrick White 19 and Rudy Gay 13.

NUGGETS 117, KINGS 113

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Jamal Murray scored 17 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter and Denver beat Sacramento for its fourth straight win.

Nikola Jokic had 26 points and 13 rebounds, and the Nuggets maintained their lead atop the Western Conference by winning for the eighth time in 10 games. Mason Plumlee added 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Buddy Hield had 29 points to lead the Kings, who have lost three straight.