Thunder hold off Pacers in Paul George’s return to Indiana
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Paul George made a winning return to Indiana, hitting the clinching free throws with 10.7 seconds left in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 100-95 victory over the Pacers on Wednesday night.
Steven Adams had 23 points and 13 rebounds, and Russell Westbrook finished with 10 points, 17 rebounds and 12 assists in his ninth triple-double this season. The Thunder have won two straight on the road.
Former Oklahoma City guard Victor Oladipo led the Pacers with 19 points and Bojan Bogdanovic had 15. Indiana had a chance to tie after getting the ball back with 15.2 seconds left, but committed a turnover and then fouled George. The Pacers’ winning streak ended at four.
But the highly anticipated matchup between George and Oladipo, the key components in last summer’s blockbuster trade, didn’t go as expected.
George was booed loudly during introductions and every time he touched the ball. Fans only cheered for George when he was called for a foul or made a mistake and it seemed to take a toll on the four-time All-Star. He finished 12 points on 3-of-14 shooting, had two rebounds and four turnovers.
Oladipo, the reigning Eastern Conference player of the week, didn’t have a typical night either. He was 9 of 26 with five rebounds and six assists.
ROCKETS 108, HORNETS 96
HOUSTON (AP) – Chris Paul scored a season-high 31 points, James Harden added 21 and Houston beat Charlotte to extend its NBA-best winning streak to 11 games.
The Rockets have won 17 of their last 18 games to improve to 22-4, the best record in the league.
Houston led by one late in the first before scoring 25 straight points over the end of that quarter and the beginning of the second to make it 49-23.
Dwight Howard tied a season high with 26 points and had 18 rebounds and three blocks for the Hornets. They’ve dropped nine of their last 10.
CELTICS 124, NUGGETS 118
BOSTON (AP) – Kyrie Irving had 33 points and Boston shot a season-high 60 percent from the field to rout Denver in the Celtics’ highest-scoring game of the season.
Irving added seven assists in his return after missing a blowout loss Monday night in Chicago because of a bruised left quadriceps. It was his eighth game this season with 30 or more points. Jaylen Brown finished with 26 points and five rebounds.
Gary Harris led the Nuggets with a career-high 36 points and six assists. Jamal Murray added 28 points and 10 assists. Denver’s Nikola Jokic sat out his seventh straight game with a left ankle sprain.
WIZARDS 93, GRIZZLIES 87
WASHINGTON (AP) – Bradley Beal scored 18 points and John Wall had 13 in his return from a sore knee to help Washington hold off Memphis.
Beal scored 11 points in the fourth quarter, hitting three 3-pointers. Otto Porter Jr. added 14 points, and Marcin Gortat had 12. Wall missed nine games, with Washington going 4-5 in his absence.
Andrew Harrison led Memphis with 20 points, JaMychal Green had 15 points and 15 rebounds, and Marc Gasol had 15 points and 10 rebounds. The Grizzlies have lost five straight and 16 out of 17.
TRAIL BLAZERS 102, HEAT 95
MIAMI (AP) – Damian Lillard scored seven of his 18 points in the final 3:16, and the Portland Trail Blazers overcame a 16-point second-half deficit to beat Miami and snap a five-game losing streak.
Lillard had only one field goal in the first 31 minutes. But he converted a three-point play put the Trail Blazers ahead to stay, 98-95, and sank two free throws on their next possession for a five-point lead. CJ McCollum scored 28 points for the Trail Blazers.
Miami reserve Wayne Ellington sank seven 3-pointers and scored a season-high 24 points.
PELICANS 115, BUCKS 108
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – DeMarcus Cousins had 26 points and 13 rebounds and New Orleans beat Milwaukee.
The Pelicans turned the ball over 21 times, with nine committed by Cousins, but the mercurial All-Star center came through in the clutch with a couple of soaring dunks – one on a putback and another on a cut down the lane – and added a 3-pointer with 22 seconds left that put it virtually out of reach.
Anthony Davis returned from a one-game absence caused by a nagging adductor injury to score 25 points and grab 10 rebounds. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 32 points and nine rebounds for Milwaukee.
BULLS 103, JAZZ 100
CHICAGO (AP) – Nikola Mirotic scored 29 points, Kris Dunn hit a clutch jumper with 22 seconds left and Chicago beat Utah for its fourth straight victory.
Mirotic made 11 of 18 shots from the field and grabbed nine rebounds in his best performance since he returned last week after missing the start of the season with facial fractures. The 6-foot-10 forward got hurt in a practice fight with teammate Bobby Portis, throwing the future of both players in question, but the Bulls are perfect since Mirotic returned to the court.
Donovan Mitchell led Utah with 32 points on 15-for-26 shooting.
RAPTORS 115, SUNS 109
PHOENIX (AP) – DeMar DeRozan matched his season high with 37 points and Toronto beat Phoenix for its seventh victory in eight games.
DeRozan scored 18 points in the third quarter and Toronto led by as many as 15 before the Suns rallied in the fourth. Serge Ibaka had 21 points and 13 rebounds, and Jonas Valanciunas added 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Raptors. Toronto was 3-1 on its four-game trip.
Troy Daniels led the Suns with a season-high 32 points on 11-of-16 shooting, including 7 of 10 on 3-pointers. Phoenix was lost five straight and seven of eight – the last four losses with star guard Devin Booker sidelined by a groin injury.
CLIPPERS 106, MAGIC 95
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Lou Williams scored 31 points, DeAndre Jordan had 16 points and 20 rebounds and Los Angeles beat Orelando to open a four-game trip.
Jonathon Simmons scored 20 points for the Magic. They have lost 14 of 17.
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