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Lakers end 5-game skid; James, Westbrook have triple-doubles

December 29, 2021 GMT
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, right, shoots as Houston Rockets center Christian Wood (35) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
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Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, right, shoots as Houston Rockets center Christian Wood (35) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
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Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, right, shoots as Houston Rockets center Christian Wood (35) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

HOUSTON (AP) — LeBron James and Russell Westbrook both had triple-doubles and the Los Angeles Lakers snapped a season-high, five-game skid with a 132-123 victory over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.

James had 32 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for his third triple-double this season. Westbrook scored 24 points with 12 rebounds and 10 assists for his seventh of the season.

Houston stuck around for most of the night, but James took over late to allow the Lakers to pull away and hand the Rockets their fifth consecutive loss.

Jalen Green, the second overall pick in this year’s draft, led the Rockets with 24 points after missing 15 of the last 16 games with a strained left hamstring.

NUGGETS 89, WARRIORS 86

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Stephen Curry became the first player in NBA history to make 3,000 career 3-pointers in a game where Denver barely held off NBA-leading Golden State.

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Denver’s Nikola Jokic blocked a potential game-tying shot by Jonathan Kuminga in the final seconds to preserve the win after his team nearly blew a 24-point halftime lead. The Warriors got one more chance to tie the game, but Andre Iguodala missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Jokic had 22 points, 18 rebounds, five assists and four steals to lead the Nuggets, while Will Barton added 21 points.

Andrew Wiggins had 21 points and eight rebounds for Golden State in his first game back from the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Curry, who scored 21 of his 23 points in the second half, made a corner 3-pointer late in the third quarter to give him 157 consecutive games with a 3-point field goal. It ties his own NBA record, which he set from 2014-16.

PELICANS 108, CAVALIERS 104

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Garrett Temple nailed four 3-pointers in a 3:50 span of the fourth quarter and rookie Herb Jones scored a career-high 26 points to lift New Orleans over Cleveland.

The Cavaliers led by as many as 23 points in the first quarter but could not ward off a strong three quarters by the Pelicans.

Ricky Rubio had 27 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists for Cleveland before injuring his left knee on a non-contact stop in the lane with 2:20 left. Rubio had to be carried off the court by teammates.

BUCKS 127, MAGIC 110

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 28 points, Bobby Portis scored 17 of his 19 points in the first half and Milwaukee defeated Orlando.

Milwaukee has won four in a row and five of its last seven. Since starting the season 6-8, the Bucks have gone 17-5 to surge back near the top of the Eastern Conference standings.

Khris Middleton scored 21 points for the Bucks, while Jrue Holiday chipped in 18 points and 10 assists. Antetokounmpo capped his 24th 20-point night in the fourth quarter by chucking Orlando’s Freddie Gillespie to the floor with a forearm before dunking with his left hand.

Orlando rookie forward Franz Wagner scored 27 of his career-best 38 points in the second half. He made 12 of 20 shots and 4 of 8 3s.

76ERS 114, RAPTORS 109

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TORONTO (AP) — Tobias Harris had 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists for his first career triple-double, Joel Embiid finished with 36 points and 11 rebounds, and Philadelphia hung on to beat Toronto.

Georges Niang scored 19 points, Seth Curry had 12 and Furkan Korkmaz 10 as the 76ers won their second straight.

Chris Boucher scored a season-high 28 points and matched his career high with 19 rebounds, but the depleted Raptors lost their second straight.

KNICKS 96, TIMBERWOLVES 88

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Mitchell Robinson had 14 points and a season-high 18 rebounds, Julius Randle added 13 points and 15 boards, and New York topped short-handed Minnesota.

Evan Fournier scored 13 points, while Quentin Grimes added 11 off the bench for the Knicks in their second straight win.

Malik Beasley had 20 points and Jaden McDaniels added a season-high 18 for Minnesota, which has lost three of four.

With stars Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell all out due to COVID-19 protocols, Minnesota was able to knock off Boston on Monday. With all three still unavailable one day later, the Wolves couldn’t repeat that performance against the Knicks, thanks in large part to poor shooting.

HEAT 119, WIZARDS 112

MIAMI (AP) — Tyler Herro scored 32 points off the Miami bench, Jimmy Butler finished with 25 points and a career-best 15 assists, and the depleted Heat held off depleted Washington.

Duncan Robinson added 26 points for Miami, making eight 3-pointers on a night the Heat got by with an eight-man rotation that might be facing a new challenge after Butler twisted his right ankle with 1:03 remaining.

Kyle Lowry is in the health and safety protocols, Bam Adebayo is out with a thumb injury and now the Heat will start a two-week road trip Wednesday in San Antonio with Butler either missing or quite possibly ailing.

Spencer Dinwiddie scored 24 points and Kyle Kuzma had 22 for Washington. Davis Bertans scored 19, Daniel Gafford finished with 16 and Corey Kispert added 14 for the Wizards.

KINGS 117, THUNDER 111

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Tyrese Haliburton had 24 points and 10 assists, and Sacramento held off Oklahoma City.

Buddy Hield added 21 points off the bench for the Kings. Harrison Barnes scored 17 and De’Aaron Fox had 12 points and eight assists.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 33 points for the Thunder.

Earlier in the day, Oklahoma City coach Mark Daigneault, rookie Josh Giddey and forward Derrick Favors entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols. Assistant coach Mike Wilks ran the team in Daigneault’s absence.

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