Kuzma, Lakers overcome Harden’s 51 to end Rockets’ streak
HOUSTON (AP) Rookie forward Kyle Kuzma set career highs with 38 points and seven 3-pointers, and the Los Angeles Lakers overcame 51 points from James Harden to end the Houston Rockets’ 14-game winning streak with a 122-116 victory Wednesday night.
It was Houston’s first loss since Nov. 14 and snapped a three-game skid for the Lakers.
The game was tied before Los Angeles scored 10 straight points – while Houston missed seven shots in a row – to go up 110-100 with about four minutes left.
Houston ended an almost four-minute scoring drought when Harden made a free throw, and he added three more after being fouled on a 3-point attempt a few seconds later to cut it to 110-104. But former Rocket Corey Brewer made a 3-pointer before Lonzo Ball hit two free throws to make it 115-104.
Harden powered Houston on a night when Chris Paul had just eight points before leaving early in the fourth quarter with a sore left leg.
HEAT 90, CELTICS 89
BOSTON (AP) – Kelly Olynyk scored a career-high 32 points in his rousing return to Boston, and undermanned Miami hung on a victory.
On a night when the Celtics honored their former forward in his first game back, the popular Olynyk received a standing ovation from Boston fans and led the Heat to another win against the top team in the Eastern Conference. Josh Richardson had 19 points and six assists for Miami, which took two of three in the season series. The Heat ended Boston’s 16-game winning streak earlier this season with a victory at home.
Olynyk signed with Miami as a free agent during the offseason. His previous high was 30 points on Dec. 15, 2014.
Kyrie Irving paced the Celtics with 33 points, but missed a jumper from the right wing that bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
WARRIORS 97, GRIZZLIES 84
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Klay Thompson scored 27 of his 29 points in the first half and made his first nine field goal attempts, leading undermanned Golden State past Memphis for its 10th straight win.
Kevin Durant added 22 points and eight rebounds for the defending NBA champions, who were down five regulars again. Two-time MVP Stephen Curry sat out his sixth straight game with a sprained right ankle.
Thompson shot 10 for 16 overall and didn’t miss until a 3-point try with 6:10 left before halftime.
Marc Gasol had 21 points, nine rebounds and five assists for Memphis, which started a stretch with seven of eight games on the road. The Grizzlies were 10 of 44 in the second half and committed 17 turnovers overall.
BULLS 112, MAGIC 94
CHICAGO (AP) – Denzel Valentine had 16 points and 10 rebounds, Nikola Mirotic had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Chicago beat Orlando for its seventh straight win.
The Bulls had lost 10 straight with Mirotic out of the lineup prior to his return Dec. 8, and they haven’t lost since to improve to 10-20.
Nikola Vucevic scored 18 points for Orlando, which lost its sixth in a row.
Facing the league’s fourth-worst scoring defense, the Bulls took a 43-27 lead with 9:05 left in the second quarter on Mirotic’s layup, one of many easy baskets.
SPURS 93, TRAIL BLAZERS 91
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – LaMarcus Aldridge scored 22 points, and Pau Gasol had 20 points and a season-high 17 rebounds in San Antonio’s victory over Portland.
Aldridge hit 10 of 17 shots against his former team. Gasol and Aldridge each scored 16 points during the first half to help the Spurs (22-10) win their third consecutive game.
The short-handed Spurs were without Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker. Both were rested on the first night of a back-to-back. Leonard and Parker are recovering from quadriceps injuries.
Portland, coming off a 3-2 road trip, lost its fifth consecutive home game. The Trail Blazers (16-15) are the only NBA team with a winning overall record but a losing mark at home.
Damian Lillard led Portland with 17 points. C.J. McCollum shot 5 of 22.
TIMBERWOLVES 112, NUGGETS 104
DENVER (AP) – Karl-Anthony Towns had 25 points and 10 rebounds, Jimmy Butler also scored 25 and Minnesota beat Denver.
Jamal Crawford added 20 points and seven assists off the bench for the Timberwolves, who rallied from 14 down to end Denver’s eight-game home winning streak.
The Nuggets were without leading scorer Gary Harris and backup point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, forcing coach Michael Malone to use his 13th different starting lineup. Malone went with a bigger group and started Nikola Jokic and Mason Plumlee together for the first time this season.
It worked for most of the game, but the Nuggets faltered after taking an 80-66 lead late in the third quarter.
Jamal Murray led Denver with 30 points. Plumlee added 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Jokic had 22 points, six rebounds and 10 turnovers.
THUNDER 107, JAZZ 79
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Russell Westbrook had 24 points and 10 rebounds to help the Oklahoma City Thunder roll past the Utah Jazz 107-79 on Wednesday night.
Westbrook made 10 of 13 shots and had seven assists and four steals. Oklahoma City has won eight of 11 after a rough start to the season. The Thunder (16-15) are above .500 for the first time since early November.
Paul George scored 10 of his 18 points in the third quarter and Carmelo Anthony also scored 18 for Oklahoma City.
Rodney Hood scored 17 points for the Jazz, who have lost six of seven.
Breakout rookie Donovan Mitchell sat out with a right big toe contusion.
RAPTORS 129, HORNETS 111
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – DeMar DeRozan scored 18 of his 28 points after halftime and Toronto overcame a slow start to beat Charlotte for its fourth straight win.
Serge Ibaka scored 15 of his 24 points in the first half for Toronto, and OG Anunoby shot 6 of 7 from beyond the arc while scoring 20 points. Toronto has won 10 of 11 and is in third place in the Eastern Conference.
The Hornets got a career-best 32 points from reserve Jeremy Lamb but lost for the 11th time in 13 games.
PACERS 105, HAWKS 95
ATLANTA (AP) – Victor Oladipo scored 23 points, Myles Turner had 20 and Indiana beat Atlanta.
Bojan Bogdanovic had 19 points as Indiana won for the second time in five games. The Pacers rallied from a sluggish start to shoot 48.8 percent.
Atlanta has yet to win consecutive games this season and dropped to 7-24. The Hawks bench outscored Indiana’s 46-28, led by 18 points and nine rebounds from John Collins.
KINGS 104, NETS 99
NEW YORK (AP) – George Hill scored 22 points, Zach Randolph added 21 and Sacramento completed its first back-to-back sweep of the season by beating Brooklyn.
The Kings got off to a sizzling start following their victory in Philadelphia a night earlier, then held on after Brooklyn cut a 21-point lead to two with just over a minute to play.
The Nets missed a flurry of chances to tie before Hill finished it off with two free throws with 2.8 seconds remaining. Spencer Dinwiddie scored 16 points but was among the many Nets with poor-shooting nights.
MAVERICKS 110, PISTONS 93
DALLAS (AP) – Harrison Barnes scored 25 points, rookie Dennis Smith Jr. had 15 points and five assists in his return from a hip injury and Dallas beat Detroit.
The Mavericks, last in the Western Conference, won for just the second time in eight games while ending a three-game Detroit winning streak that followed seven straight losses by the Pistons.
Anthony Tolliver led Detroit with a season-high 18 points, going 4 of 6 from 3-point range.
CLIPPERS 108, SUNS 94
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Austin Rivers scored 21 points, DeAndre Jordan grabbed 20 rebounds and Los Angeles beat Phoenix to end a three-game skid.
Back home from a 1-4 road trip, the injury-depleted Clippers had lost seven of 10 before leading all the way against a young Suns team that has its own injury woes.
T.J. Warren led Phoenix with 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Josh Jackson added 17 points. The Suns dropped their ninth in a row to the Clippers at Staples Center.
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