James Harden scored 41 points as the red-hot Houston Rockets held off the host New Orleans Pelicans 108-104 on Saturday night.
Dec 29, 2018; New Orleans, LA, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) gives instructions to guard Austin Rivers (1) against New Orleans Pelicans in the second half at Smoothie King Center. Houston Rockets defeated New Orleans Pelicans 108-104. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Harden had his third straight game with at least 40 points and his seventh straight with at least 35 as the Rockets won for the ninth time in 10 games.
Eric Gordon added 21 points, Danuel House Jr. scored 15 and recently signed Austin Rivers came off the bench to score 10.
Julius Randle had 23 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Pelicans, who lost for the sixth time in seven games. Anthony Davis, who scored a season-high 48 points and grabbed 17 rebounds while playing nearly 43 minutes a night earlier, had 22 points and 11 rebounds. E’Twaun Moore scored 21 and Jrue Holiday had 20.
Warriors 115, Trail Blazers 105
Klay Thompson scored 32 points and Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant added 25 apiece as visiting Golden State downed Portland.
Damian Lillard put in 40 points for the Trail Blazers, who beat the Warriors 110-109 in overtime two nights earlier. Jusuf Nurkic added 21 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for Portland.
Golden State’s Andre Iguodala was assessed a technical foul and ejected for throwing the ball into the stands after time expired in the first half.
Spurs 122, Clippers 111
LaMarcus Aldridge scored a season-high 38 points and keyed a mid-third quarter run that cemented the game and helped propel visiting San Antonio to a win over Los Angeles.
Both teams were playing the second games of a back-to-back and it showed, especially from the Clippers, who beat the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday but had no energy in the second half when San Antonio ran away with the game.
San Antonio busted open a game that was tied at the half by outscoring the Clippers by 20 points in the third period.
Wizards 130, Hornets 126
Trevor Ariza scored 24 points and converted a crucial three-point play with 1.8 seconds remaining, and injury-riddled Washington snapped a three-game losing streak with a home victory over Charlotte.
Ariza came to the rescue after the Wizards nearly blew a nine-point lead in the final 24 seconds. He was fouled on a layup and hit the ensuing free throw to give the Wizards their final four-point victory margin.
The Wizards were playing their first game since learning that All-Star guard John Wall would miss the remainder of the season because of upcoming heel surgery. The Wizards also were without Otto Porter (knee), Markieff Morris (back/neck) and Dwight Howard (spinal surgery).
Bucks 129, Nets 115
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 14 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter and added 10 rebounds and 10 assists to record his third triple-double as Milwaukee built a big lead and warded off a late comeback attempt by visiting Brooklyn.
Antetokounmpo helped the Bucks finish off their seventh win in eight games by scoring eight straight points down the stretch after the Nets were within 116-109 on a short jumper by Shabazz Napier with 4:51 remaining.
The Bucks finished the game with a 13-6 run highlighted by Antetokounmpo. He hit two mid-range jumpers, two layups, including one when he made a crafty move around Napier, and hit the right-handed layup around Jared Dudley with 1:58 left for a 126-113 lead.
Celtics 112, Grizzlies 103
Marcus Morris put Boston ahead for good with a jumper with 2:41 remaining and Al Horford buried a crucial 3-pointer a little more than a minute later, rallying the visitors to a victory at Memphis.
In the first head-to-head meeting of star point guards Kyrie Irving of Boston and Mike Conley of Memphis since March 2015, they matched game-high, 26-point efforts in a game that featured five late lead changes.
Horford finished with 18 points and five 3-pointers as the Celtics outscored the Grizzlies 48-21 from beyond the arc.
Nuggets 122, Suns 118
Jamal Murray ignited a 46-point performance with a pair of early 3-pointers as Denver scored the game’s first eight points and never trailed en route to a victory over host Phoenix.
Murray’s total was his second-highest of the season. He went for 48 points last month against Boston.
The Nuggets bolted out to a 36-16 advantage after one quarter and went up by as many as 25 in the second period.
Jazz 129, Knicks 97
Rudy Gobert scored 24 points and had 13 rebounds — in the first half alone — as Utah scored 71 points in the first 24 minutes and waltzed to a win over visiting New York.
As the score indicates, it was all Jazz all night, except for a six-minute stretch in the third. But Utah closed the quarter on a 15-6 run to take a 97-66 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Utah opened up the fourth period on a 16-2 run and went up 113-68 on Georges Niang’s 24-foot, 3-point jumper. Utah’s largest lead of the game was 46 points.
Hawks 111, Cavaliers 108
Veteran Vince Carter came off the bench to score 21 points and Atlanta won for the fifth time in six games, beating visiting Cleveland.
Carter, at 41 years, 337 days, became the oldest player in NBA history to lead (or tie for the lead) his team in scoring. Carter had been tied with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at 41 years, 331 days, after he had a season-high 18 points on Dec. 23 at Detroit.
Cleveland tied the score at 106 when Collin Sexton made a pair of free throws with 57.9 seconds remaining. John Collins reclaimed the lead for Atlanta when he scored on a putback with 47.9 seconds left.
—Field Level Media