Lakers beaten by Blazers in 1st game since Bryant’s death
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Lakers dried their eyes and took the Staples Center court for the first time since Kobe Bryant’s death with a resolve that would have made him proud.
Damian Lillard played through the basketball world’s collective heartbreak with his own remarkable effort.
Lillard scored 48 points and the Portland Trail Blazers beat Los Angeles 127-119 on Friday night in the Lakers’ first game since Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others died in a helicopter crash.
Lillard hit seven 3-pointers and added 10 assists and nine rebounds in a phenomenal performance that sent the Blazers to a win over an opponent still dealing with the trauma of the crash five days earlier.
LeBron James had 22 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds, and Anthony Davis had 37 points and 15 boards in the Lakers’ first game since last Saturday.
NETS 133, BULLS 118
NEW YORK (AP) — Kyrie Irving scored a season-high 54 points, making all 10 shots in the first half and 19 of 23 for the game, to lead Brooklyn over Chicago.
Irving’s previous season high was 50 against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the season-opening 127-126 loss on Oct. 23. Irving is the first player in Nets franchise history to score 45 points in three games in a single season.
Spencer Dinwiddie had 20 points off the bench and Taurean Prince chipped in with 16. Jarrett Allen and Garrett Temple contributed 12 and 11, respectively.
The Nets never trailed in their second straight win, and their third in their last four games, with Irving playing the lead role. He scored 16 points in the first quarter on 6-of-6 shooting, and by halftime he was up to 27 points. Irving capped it by scoring five points in the final in the final 4.9 seconds, including a buzzer-beating 3 from the right side which gave the Nets a 73-57 lead.
Chicago, which trailed by as much as 21, fell to 19-32. Zach LaVine led the Bulls with 22.
PELICANS 139, GRIZZLIES 111
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Zion Williamson scored 24 points in a little less than 29 minutes, and New Orleans beat Memphis in the first matchup this season between the NBA’s top two draft picks.
Newly selected All-Star Brandon Ingram scored 20 and Lonzo Ball hit five 3-pointers on seven attempts in his 19-point night for the Pelicans, who won their third straight while ending Memphis’ four-game winning streak.
Jrue Holiday added 18 points for New Orleans, which gave coach Alvin Gentry his 500th win and pulled to four games behind the Grizzlies for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot with 33 games remaining.
Jonas Valanciunas had 18 points for Memphis before fouling out with 8:11 remaining. Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant, taken second overall behind Williamson in last June’s draft, scored 16 points.
NUGGETS 127, BUCKS 115
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Will Barton had 24 points and eight assists as tired and short-handed Denver snapped Milwaukee’s nine-game winning streak and handed the NBA-leading Bucks just their third home loss this season.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 31 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for Milwaukee, finishing just shy of his fifth triple-double this season. Khris Middleton added 24 points for the Bucks, who hadn’t lost at home since Dallas beat them 120-116 on Dec. 16.
Malik Beasley scored 16 points for Denver. Nikola Jokić had 15 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, and Michael Porter Jr. added 15 points and 11 rebounds as every member of the Nuggets that played scored in double figures.
HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden scored 35 points, Russell Westbrook added 32 and Houston built a big lead and held on for a victory over Dallas.
Harden led the Rockets with a season-high 16 rebounds with center Clint Capela out with a bruised heel.
The Rockets led by 16 points entering the fourth quarter on a night when Mavericks star Luka Doncic sat out with a sprained right ankle that is expected to keep him out at least six games.
Kristaps Porzingis had 35 points and 12 rebounds as the Mavericks lost their second game in a row.
THUNDER 111, SUNS 107
PHOENIX (AP) — Danilo Gallinari scored 27 points, Dennis Schroder added 24 and Oklahoma City rallied in the final minutes to push past Phoenix.
Oklahoma City used a 13-0 run late in the fourth quarter to flip a 99-92 deficit into a 105-99 lead with 25 seconds left and held on for the win. Schroder drained a 3-pointer during the rally to tie the game at 99, and Chris Paul hit a go-ahead jumper to make it 101-99.
Paul had 20 points and 10 assists.
Phoenix was led by Devin Booker and Kelly Oubre Jr., who both scored 27 points.
RAPTORS 105, PISTONS 92
DETROIT (AP) — Pascal Siakam scored 30 points and Serge Ibaka added 21 to lift Toronto past Detroit for its 10th straight victory.
Siakam made his first five shots from the field and scored 13 points in the first quarter, when the Raptors quickly built their lead into double digits. They were mostly in control after that, handing a Pistons team that was missing Blake Griffin its fifth loss in a row.
The victory clinched a trip to the All-Star Game for Raptors coach Nick Nurse and his staff, who will coach Team Giannis. The Raptors (35-14) are assured the best record in the Eastern Conference among teams with an eligible head coach through this Sunday’s deadline.
Andre Drummond had 20 points and 20 rebounds for Detroit, but much of that came when the Pistons were well behind.