LeBron James scored in double digits in his 867th straight game, breaking the record he shared with Michael Jordan, and the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied to beat the New Orleans Hornets 107-102 on Friday night to avoid slipping in the standings.
James finished with 27 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds, adding another stellar performance to his MVP-worthy 15th NBA season. He finally put the Pelicans away by scoring eight straight in the waning moments of the fourth quarter.
Jordan Clarkson added 23 points and Tristan Thompson had 14 rebounds in 21 minutes for the Cavs, who have won seven of eight. A loss would have dropped the three-time defending Eastern Conference champions from third to fifth with only a handful of games left in the regular season.
Jrue Holiday scored 25 and Nikola Mirotic 20 for New Orleans. Pelicans star Anthony Davis scored just 16 — 12 below his average — on 6-of-19 shooting as he was harassed by Thompson and Larry Nance Jr.
at Houston 104, Phoenix 103: Gerald Green made a 3-pointer at the buzzer and Houston rallied from a 21-point, second-half deficit to beat Phoenix.
The win was Houston’s 11th straight and extended Phoenix’s skid to 14 games.
Houston rested Chris Paul, Eric Gordon and Nene after clinching the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference on Thursday with Golden State’s loss to Milwaukee. The Rockets that did play looked uninspired early against the team with the NBA’s worst record, and Houston trailed by 17 at halftime.
James Harden had 28 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. P.J. Tucker added 18 points and made a career-high five 3-pointers.
Josh Jackson had 27 points for the Suns, who haven’t won since Feb. 28, and Troy Daniels added 23.
Philadelphia 101, at Atlanta 91: Ben Simmons had a triple-double in three quarters, Ersan Ilyasova scored 21 points and Philadelphia won its ninth straight game.
With 13 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists, Simmons has five triple-doubles in his last 10 games and 11 overall. The Rookie of the Year candidate did not play after leaving with 3:37 left in the third, giving Philadelphia the kind of performance it needed one game after All-Star center Joel Embiid suffered an orbital eye fracture and a concussion.
Philadelphia jumped out to an 11-point lead twice in the second quarter. The Hawks pulled within three in the first minute of the third, but the Sixers soon put away the game with a 39-15 run that made it 86-59 entering the fourth.
Damion Lee finished with a career-high 20 points and Taurean Prince and Isaiah Taylor each added 12 for Atlanta, the NBA’s second-worst team.
Denver 126, at Oklahoma City 125, OT: Paul Millsap scored a season-high 36 points to help Denver beat Oklahoma City.
Nikola Jokic had 23 points and 16 rebounds, and Will Barton added 18 points for the Nuggets, who had lost two straight and desperately needed the win for the Western conference playoff race. Denver entered the night two games out of the No. 8 spot.
Russell Westbrook had 33 points, 13 assists and nine rebounds, but he missed what would have been a game-winning 3-pointer at the end of regulation. Carmelo Anthony scored 23 points and Jerami Grant added 16 for the Thunder, who have lost four of five. Those losses have been by a combined nine points, with none by more than four.
Minnesota 93, at Dallas 92: Karl-Anthony Towns had 21 points and 20 rebounds, Jamal Crawford scored 24 points and Minnesota held off Dallas to gain ground in the tight Western Conference playoff race.
After shooting just 34 percent in the first half and trailing until midway through the third quarter, the Wolves turned to Crawford, who scored 15 points after halftime.
He hit three consecutive shots, including a 3 over a 1:14 stretch of the fourth quarter to give Minnesota a 74-68 lead. Nemanja Bjelica, scoreless for the first three quarters, hit two 3s to extend it to 85-73.
Harrison Barnes led Dallas with 19 points, and Dennis Smith Jr. had 17.
at Utah 107, Memphis 97: Donovan Mitchell scored 22 points and Dante Exum had a season-high 21 to lead Utah over Memphis.
Exum played strong defense and was just one short of his career best as he shot 8 of 10 in the absence of Ricky Rubio.
Joe Ingles, playing the point, had 17 points and 10 rebounds. Royce O’Neale added 13 points for the Jazz, who are jockeying for playoff position in the Western Conference.
Marc Gasol missed just one shot — a long 3-pointer — in scoring 28 points, but didn’t play in the fourth quarter when the Grizzlies may have needed him the most.
Chicago 90, at Orlando 82: Rookie Lauri Markkanen and Sean Kilpatrick each scored 13 points, rookie Ryan Arcidiacono had all of his eight points in the fourth quarter, and Chicago snapped a seven-game losing streak.
Arcidiacono’s 3-pointer started a 14-0 run in the fourth quarter for the Bulls, who took an 80-71 lead and held on to complete a four-game season sweep of the Magic. Aaron Gordon scored 18 points for Orlando, which went scoreless for almost six minutes of the fourth quarter and shot 33 percent for the game. Nikola Vucevic had 12 points and 14 rebounds for the Magic (22-53).
at Portland 105, CLIPPERS 96
Milwaukee 124, LAKERS 122, OT