NBA roundup: Rockets roll to fourth consecutive victory in 120-88 rout of Cavaliers
Chris Paul had 22 points and 11 assists, Ryan Anderson added 21 points and the Houston Rockets became the latest team to thump Cleveland on national TV, beating the disconnected Cavaliers 120-88 on Saturday night.
James Harden only scored 16 — 15 below his league-leading average — but Houston rolled to its fourth straight win and improved to 11-2 since Jan. 8.
Meanwhile, the Cavs’ downward spiral accelerated.
Since losing at Golden State on Christmas, LeBron James and his teammates are 0-8 in network broadcasts and have been embarrassed in several matchups against quality teams. They lost by 28 at Minnesota, 34 in Toronto, 24 at home to Oklahoma City and 32 to the Rockets, who toyed with the defending Eastern Conference champs.
James finished with just 11 points and didn’t play in the fourth quarter as the Rockets were too far ahead. Isaiah Thomas scored 12 for Cleveland.
at Nuggets 115, Warriors 108: Nikola Jokic scored 19 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:10 left, and added nine rebounds as the Denver Nuggets beat the Golden State Warriors 115-108 on Saturday night.
Will Barton had 25 points and Gary Harris 16 for the Nuggets, who split the four games with Golden State this season. Denver rallied from 12 down in the second half to hand the Warriors their second loss in three games.
Kevin Durant scored 31 points and Stephen Curry had 24 for Golden State.
Denver got a scare when Jamal Murray left the game with a right leg injury after he collided with Draymond Green on a drive into the lane less than a minute in. He went to the locker room and came back to the bench with his right thigh heavily wrapped.
Murray played 28 minutes and had 12 of his 15 points after halftime.
Durant, who didn’t attempt a shot in the first quarter, was 12 of 16 from the field the rest of the game. He had nine points in the fourth when Golden State appeared to take control, but Denver rallied to take a 102-99 lead on Barton’s 3-pointer.
With the game tied at 104, Harris misfired on a dunk but the ball went to Jokic in the corner, and he drained a 3-pointer to give Denver the lead.
After Curry missed a 26-footer, Jokic hit two free throws to make it 109-104 and Denver closed it out.
Jazz 120, at Spurs 111: Ricky Rubio scored a season-high 34 points and added nine assists, and the Utah Jazz upended the San Antonio Spurs 120-111 on Saturday night for their fifth straight victory.
San Antonio had possession trailing 112-109, but Jazz forward Derrick Favors batted down a pass near the 3-point line and raced down the court for a monstrous one-handed dunk to essentially seal the Jazz’s second win over the Spurs this season.
Favors finished with 14 points.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 31 points for San Antonio in their final home game before embarking on their annual monthlong rodeo road trip.
The Spurs lost three times during the five-game homestand after losing just three home games prior.
at Timberwolves 118, Pelicans 107: Jimmy Butler scored 30 points, Karl-Anthony Towns had 22 points and 16 rebounds for his league-leading 47th double-double, and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the New Orleans Pelicans 118-107 on Saturday night.
In front of a capacity crowd dotted with celebrities in town for Sunday’s Super Bowl, the Wolves dominated from the start en route to their 12th straight home win and a four-game season sweep of the Pelicans.
Anthony Davis led New Orleans with 38 points and managed to keep the Pelicans from getting completely blown out in the first quarter, when the Wolves opened a 22-6 lead. Davis scored 19 first-quarter points to help the Pelicans pull within single digits at times, but Minnesota had an answer for every run and shot 50.5 percent on the night to steadily maintain its lead.
at Pistons 111, Heat 107: Andre Drummond had 23 points and 20 rebounds, and Blake Griffin made a key 3-pointer in the final minute to lift Detroit over Miami.
Ish Smith added 25 points for the Pistons, including a late 3-pointer of his own. Detroit has won three in a row, the last two with Griffin in the lineup after acquiring him in a trade.
Griffin’s 3-pointer with 44 seconds to play put the Pistons ahead 108-101, but Goran Dragic responded with a four-point play, making a 3-pointer while being fouled with 32 seconds left. Detroit ran the clock down on the next possession, and Smith sank his only 3-point attempt of the game, from the right corner with 14 seconds to play.
Dragic scored 33 points for the Heat, who have lost three in a row. Miami was without center Hassan Whiteside, who was out with an illness.
at Pacers 100, 76ers 92: Victor Oladipo and Bojan Bogdanovic each scored 19 points and Indiana beat Philadelphia.
Oladipo added nine rebounds and four assists. Domantis Sabonis scored 10 points, grabbed eight rebounds and had six assists. Lance Stephenson finished with 14 points and nine rebounds off the bench for Indiana.
Joel Embiid finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds while playing on both nights of the back-to-back. Ben Simmons scored 10 points and added 11 rebounds for Philadelphia.
Wizards 115, at Magic 98: Otto Porter scored 20 points and Tomas Satoransky had a career-high 19 to lift Washington over Orlando.
Bradley Beal had 18 points, eight rebounds and eight assists as the Wizards won their fourth straight without injured All-Star point guard John Wall. Washington shot 54 percent and had 35 assists, the fourth straight game with 30 or more. Mario Hezonja and Johnathon Simmons led Orlando with 15 points apiece. The Magic had seven players in double figures, including 14 points from Elfrid Payton, but couldn’t keep up with Washington’s unselfish play.
Mavericks 85, at Kings 81: Yogi Ferrell made consecutive 3-pointers to spark a big run at the start of the fourth quarter and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Sacramento Kings 106-99 on Saturday night to snap a five-game losing streak.
Dirk Nowitzki had 15 points and seven rebounds while inching closer to another milestone in his illustrious NBA career. Harrison Barnes scored 18 points and Dwight Powell added 17 points and nine rebounds to help Dallas win in Sacramento for the first time in nearly three years.
The Mavericks trailed by as much as 10 in the second half and were down 85-81 heading into the fourth before opening the final period on a 16-0 run. Devin Harris followed Ferrell’s back-to-back 3s with a pair of layups, including one off a midcourt steal. After Nowitzki connected from deep, Harris made a 3-pointer to put Dallas up 97-85.
Sacramento closed to 100-94 on a free throw by De’Aaron Fox with 2:45 remaining but Barnes made a driving one-handed dunk and a more traditional two-handed jam to help the Mavericks hold on.
Dallas won for the second time in 10 games.
Nowitzki played 26 minutes and needs six more to become sixth player in NBA history to reach 50,000 for his career, joining a list that includes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kevin Garnett, Jason Kidd and Elvin Hayes.
Fox and Temple had 15 points apiece for Sacramento. The Kings had not lost at home to the Mavericks since Feb. 5, 2015.
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