Westbrook, Rockets use small ball to beat Lakers 121-111
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Russell Westbrook scored 41 points and Robert Covington hit two clutch late 3-pointers while getting 14 points and eight rebounds in his auspicious Rockets debut, leading Houston to a 121-111 over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.
James Harden managed just 14 points while the Rockets unveiled the latest version of their commitment to small ball by not playing anybody taller than 6-foot-7 against the hulking Lakers.
Anthony Davis and the Lakers capitalized inside, but Houston still rallied from a late four-point deficit and ended the game on a 19-5 surge highlighted by two of Covington’s four 3-pointers. The veteran shooter was acquired from Minnesota on Wednesday in a four-team trade.
Davis had 32 points and 13 rebounds, and LeBron James had 18 points, 15 assists and nine rebounds in a meeting of first-place teams with sharply contrasting approaches.
The Lakers got plenty of simple baskets down low, but the Rockets went 15 for 29 on 3-pointers in the first three quarters to keep it close.
BUCKS 112, 76ERS 101
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 36 points and 20 rebounds and Milwaukee used a strong defensive effort to beat Philadelphia.
Antetokounmpo had 30-plus points and 15-plus rebounds for the fifth straight game and the 14th time this season.
The Bucks won for the 12th time in 13 games, avenging a lopsided Christmas Day loss to the 76ers in Philadelphia. The 76ers closed out an 0-4 road swing that also included losses to Atlanta, Boston and Miami.
Khris Middleton, limited to four points in the first half, finished with 20 points and seven rebounds, and point guard Eric Bledsoe added 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
76ers center Joel Embiid finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds but was frustrated most of the night and shot 6 of 26 from the field and 3 of 10 from 3-point range.
Tobias Harris led Philadelphia with 25 points, and Ben Simmons narrowly missed a triple-double with 11 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists.
PELICANS 125, BULLS 119
CHICAGO (AP) — Zion Williamson scored 21, JJ Redick added 18 points and New Orleans hung on to beat Chicago.
Williamson had nine points as New Orleans outscored Chicago 31-19 in the third quarter to break open the game. The Pelicans led by as many as 27 points and withstood a big run down the stretch by the Bulls‘ backups to come away with the win after back-to-back losses.
Redick hit three 3-pointers, and All-Star Brandon Ingram added 15 points and five assists before leaving with a sprained right ankle in the third.
Zach LaVine led Chicago with 22 points. Chandler Hutchison scored 16 points to go with eight rebounds, and Adam Mokoka added 15 points in the fourth quarter — the first points of his career.
KNICKS 105, MAGIC 103
NEW YORK (AP) — Julius Randle scored 22 points, Taj Gibson had 19 and New York beat Orlando for its third straight victory.
Despite trading leading scorer Marcus Morris to the Clippers earlier in the day, the Knicks rallied from 10 down in the fourth quarter to match their longest winning streak of the season.
Elfrid Payton had 15 points and nine assists for the Knicks, who got rookie RJ Barrett back after he missed nine games with a sprained right ankle. He finished with 12 points.
Nikola Vucevic had 25 points and eight rebounds for the Magic, who lost for the seventh time in eight games.
Coach Steve Clifford was trying desperately to get a timeout on their final possession, but nobody on the court saw him and the Magic couldn’t get a shot off. Clifford screamed at the officials after the game and had to be held back by Orlando assistant coaches.
TRAIL BLAZERS 125, SPURS 117
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard had 26 points and 10 assists, Hassan Whiteside had 17 points and tied a season-high with 23 rebounds, and Portland beat San Antonio.
The Blazers got a major boost off their bench from Gary Trent Jr., who scored 18 points. Trent’s points late were important as he hit four 3-pointers and scored 12 points in the fourth quarter as Portland rallied from a 92-86 deficit.
Trey Lyles had a season-high 23 points and 10 rebounds, DeMar DeRozan added 21 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 20 points and eight rebounds for the Spurs.