ATLANTA (AP) Paul Millsap had 28 points and 15 rebounds, five other Atlanta players scored in double figures, and the Hawks stretched their franchise-record winning streak to 17 games in a row with a 113-102 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night.
Atlanta (38-8) has won 31 of 33 and leads the Eastern Conference by a commanding seven games. This was a bit tougher than expected against the struggling Nets, who kept it close most of the way.
The Hawks pulled away in the final quarter, leading by as many as 15. Millsap finished off Brooklyn’s last run with a 3-pointer from the corner with 2:34 remaining, pushing Atlanta to a 109-98 edge.
Joe Johnson led the Nets with 26 points. It wasn’t enough to prevent Brooklyn’s 11th loss in 13 games, a slide that has knocked the team out of the top eight in the Eastern Conference.
CAVALIERS 99, TRAIL BLAZERS 94
CLEVELAND (AP) – Kyrie Irving scored a career-high 55 points, breaking the arena record while LeBron James watched from the bench and leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to their eighth straight win.
Irving took over with James sidelined with a sprained right wrist. He buried a 3-pointer with 6.4 seconds left to break a 94-94 tie, grabbed a rebound off a missed 3-pointer by Portland’s Damian Lillard, and as many in the crowd chanted ”M-V-P” and James danced near the bench, Irving dropped two free throws with 2.1 seconds remaining to seal the win.
Irving broke the previous scoring record at Quicken Loans Arena held by Allen Iverson. His point total was also the highest in the league this season, bettering the 52 scored by Golden State’s Klay Thompson and Minnesota’s Mo Williams. Irving made a team-record 11 3-pointers and finished 10 of 10 from the free-throw line.
LaMarcus Aldridge, playing his second game since deciding to delay thumb surgery until after the season, scored 38 to lead the Trail Blazers, who have dropped six of seven.
76ERS 89, PISTONS 69
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Robert Covington scored 19 points, Michael Carter-Williams had 14 points and 10 assists, and the Philadelphia 76ers snapped a six-game losing streak.
JaKarr Sampson had 13 points and Luc Mbah a Moute added 12 for the Sixers (9-37). Carter-Williams, back after missing the Sixers’ last game due to an upper respiratory infection, finished one rebound shy of a triple-double.
Greg Monroe led the Pistons (17-30) with 20 points, and Jodie Meeks scored 19 off the bench. Detroit shot just 2 of 20 from 3-point range in a matchup of slumping squads missing their top scorers. The Pistons have lost four straight, and three since leading scorer Brandon Jennings ruptured his left Achilles in a 101-86 loss to Milwaukee on Saturday.
RAPTORS 119, KINGS 102
TORONTO (AP) – Lou Williams scored 27 points and the Toronto Raptors made a season-high 17 3-pointers in a victory over the slumping Sacramento Kings.
Greivis Vasquez scored 18 and Jonas Valanciunas had 15 for the Raptors, who won their fourth straight. It’s Toronto’s longest streak since a six-game run in December.
Rudy Gay scored 22 points, Ben McLemore had 17 and DeMarcus Cousins, 13, for the Kings, whose season-long losing streak reached seven games. Forward Carl Landry returned after missing the previous five games with a sprained right wrist and finished with 14 points.
SPURS 95, HORNETS 86
SAN ANTONIO (AP) – Tony Parker scored 17 points and the San Antonio Spurs overcame another lethargic third quarter to beat the Charlotte Hornets.
Danny Green had 16 points and Tim Duncan added 12 points and 14 rebounds as San Antonio won its sixth straight at home.
Gerald Henderson scored 18 points, Al Jefferson had 17 points and 16 rebounds and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist added 14 points for Charlotte. The Hornets were without star guard Kemba Walker, who will be out at least six weeks following surgery on his left knee.
NUGGETS 93, PELICANS 85
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Arron Afflalo scored 18 points and the Denver Nuggets snapped a seven-game losing streak.
Afflalo hit four 3-pointers, the last with 2:32 left to increase Denver’s then-tenuous lead to 89-85. After that, the Pelicans were unable to score another point and saw their four-game winning streak end.
Anthony Davis had 24 points and 12 rebounds, but briefly left late in the third quarter after a collision with Kenneth Faried under the basket. Davis returned with more than 8 minutes left, but the Pelicans were unable to regain the lead.
Tyreke Evans had 25 points for New Orleans.
KNICKS 100, THUNDER 92
NEW YORK (AP) – Carmelo Anthony had 31 points and 10 rebounds, Lance Thomas scored a season-high 17 points against his former team and the New York Knicks beat the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Langston Galloway added 18 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. hit three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, finishing with 14 for the Knicks, who won for the fourth time in five games, representing nearly half of their nine victories on the season.
Russell Westbrook scored 40 points on 13-of-30 shooting for the Thunder, who were without Kevin Durant for a second straight game because of a sprained big toe on his left foot.
ROCKETS 99, MAVERICKS 94
HOUSTON (AP) – Josh Smith scored 18 points and James Harden added 17 as the Houston Rockets used a balanced scoring effort to outlast the Dallas Mavericks.
It was the third straight win for the Rockets, who played without Dwight Howard (sprained ankle), and the fourth loss in a row for Dallas.
Terrence Jones blocked a shot by Monta Ellis but knocked it out of bounds in the closing moments, giving Dallas a final chance. The inbounds pass by Chandler Parsons sailed out of bounds to give Houston the ball. Harden made two free throws after that to secure the win.
Ellis led the Mavericks with 33 points.
TIMBERWOLVES 110, CELTICS 98
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Kevin Martin scored 21 points in his first game in more than two months and Gorgui Dieng added 16 points and 14 rebounds to lift the Minnesota Timberwolves over the Boston Celtics.
Zach LaVine added 17 points and six assists and Martin scored nine straight points during a crucial stretch of the fourth quarter to help the Timberwolves (8-37) snap a 10-game losing streak at Target Center.
Jared Sullinger had 16 points and eight rebounds and Marcus Thornton scored 15 for the Celtics, whose promising road trip came to an end with a thud. The Wolves had not won at home since beating Portland on Dec. 10.
CLIPPERS 94, JAZZ 89
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Jamal Crawford scored 21 points and the Los Angeles Clippers used a fourth-quarter rally to beat the Utah Jazz.
The Clippers have won a franchise-record 13 straight games against the Jazz.
Crawford knocked down four 3-point baskets in the win, and Chris Paul scored 21 points and dished out six assists. Crawford scored 14 in the first half after scoring 23 against the Nuggets on Monday.
Enes Kanter scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the loss, while Derrick Favors added 18 points and nine rebounds.
SUNS 106, WIZARDS 98
PHOENIX (AP) – Goran Dragic scored 20 points to lead five Phoenix players in double figures and the Suns held on to beat the worn-out Washington Wizards.
The Wizards, playing their fourth game in five nights, trailed by 22 in the first half and 18 early in the fourth quarter before twice cutting it to four. Washington’s Otto Porter scored eight consecutive points to slice the lead to 101-97 with 1:17 left, but Markieff Morris’ high-arching 15-footer with 23.9 seconds to go put Phoenix up 103-97.
Phoenix, which hadn’t played since Sunday, improved to 5-2 with one to go in its franchise-record eight-game homestand.
Porter and Marcin Gortat scored 14 each for the Wizards.