NBA: James Harden scores 38, Nets rally from 24 down to stun Suns
James Harden scored 38 points, Joe Harris added 22 and Brooklyn overcame a 24-point deficit to stun Phoenix.
The Nets were playing without two of their three main stars, but Harden was more than up for the challenge against the Suns. Kevin Durant was out with a hamstring injury while Kyrie Irving was held out with lower back tightness.
Harden’s 3-pointer from a few feet beyond the arc with 31 seconds left gave the Nets their first lead of the game at 126-124 and he hit two more free throws with 11.3 seconds remaining to polish off the win. The Suns didn’t score over the final 2:48.
Brooklyn won its fourth straight game in a triumphant return to Phoenix for coach Steve Nash. The Suns had their six-game winning streak snapped.
Chris Paul scored 29 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough for the Suns. Devin Booker added 22.
Pelicans 144, Grizzlies 113
Zion Williamson scored 31 points while dominating inside, and New Orleans ended a three-game skid with a victory over Memphis.
Williamson, who was 13 of 16 from the field, added seven rebounds and six assists as the Pelicans finished with a season high in points. Josh Hart scored a season-high 27 points and Brandon Ingram had 22 for New Orleans.
Ja Morant scored 28 points on 12-of-16 shooting for Memphis. Kyle Anderson finished with 19 points and Dillon Brooks scored 18, going 4 of 6 from 3-point range.
The Pelicans won their fifth straight over the Grizzlies in the latest showdown between Williamson, the top overall pick in the 2019 draft, and Morant, who was taken second.
Raptors 123, Bucks 113
Fred VanVleet scored 33 points, Pascal Siakam added 23 and Toronto withstood the loss of Kyle Lowry to beat slumping Milwaukee.
Lowry exited with a sore left ankle in the third quarter but had 18 points, six rebounds and six assists in 22 minutes. The ankle problem caused Lowry to go to the locker room late in the first half, though he returned to start the third quarter.
Milwaukee lost its fourth straight despite getting 34 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists from Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks hadn’t dropped four in a row since the 2019 Eastern Conference finals against Toronto, when they blew a 2-0 lead and lost the series in six games.
Celtics 112, Nuggets 99
Jaylen Brown had 27 points and eight assists to help Boston withstand a 43-point night from Nikola Jokic and beat Denver.
Jayson Tatum added 21 points and eight assists to help Boston bounce back following two anemic performances in back-to-back losses to Detroit and Washington — the Eastern Conference’s bottom two teams.
It was Jokic’s third 40-point game of the season. Jamal Murray added 25 points but Denver had its three-game winning streak snapped.
The Nuggets were extremely short-handed playing without five rotation players, including Paul Millsap (left knee sprain) and Monte Morris (right shoulder strain).
Trail Blazers 115, Thunder 104
Damian Lillard scored 12 of his 31 points in the final 4:11 to help Portland beat Oklahoma City.
The Trail Blazers squandered a 24-point lead in the second half, then regained control behind Lillard, who made all four of his 3-point tries during the closing run while playing with five fouls.
Gary Trent Jr. scored 19 points and Enes Kanter had eight points and 21 rebounds for Portland, which has won five straight. Lillard is averaging 30.2 points during the streak.
Lu Dort scored 23 points and Hamidou Diallo added 17 for the Thunder. Oklahoma City guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the team’s leading scorer, missed his fourth consecutive game with a sprained left knee.
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