Harden has 61 to tie career best, lead Rockets over Spurs
HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden matched his career high with 61 points, including 27 in the first quarter, to lead the Houston Rockets to a 111-105 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night.
Harden hit three straight 3-pointers to give the Rockets a 103-100 lead and scored all of Houston’s points in a 13-2 run late in the fourth quarter.
Harden topped the 50-point mark for the eighth time this season, compared with 10 such performances from the rest of the league combined. He matched his career-best total set earlier this season against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
The NBA’s leading scorer surpassed the 30-point mark in the second quarter and the 40-point mark with 9 minutes remaining in the third.
Bryn Forbes led San Antonio with 20 points, while Derrick White added 18 and DeMar DeRozan had 16.
NETS 111, LAKERS 106
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Joe Harris scored 26 points, D’Angelo Russell added 21 points and 13 assists against his former team, and Brooklyn eliminated Los Angeles from playoff contention.
Spencer Dinwiddie added 19 points in his hometown as the Nets (38-36) bolstered their playoff chances with their second straight win after an 0-3 start to this seven-game road trip.
JaVale McGee had career highs of 33 points and 20 rebounds along with six blocked shots for the Lakers, who have lost five straight and 10 of 11.
Los Angeles (31-41) will miss the playoffs for a franchise-record sixth straight season despite the arrival of LeBron James, who fell just short of his 81st career triple-double with 25 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds.
THUNDER 116, RAPTORS 109
TORONTO (AP) — Paul George scored 28 points, Russell Westbrook had 18 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds, and Oklahoma City beat Toronto.
Dennis Schroder came off the bench to score 26 points and Jerami Grant had 19 as the Thunder snapped a four-game losing streak and avenged Wednesday’s 123-114 home defeat to Toronto.
The Thunder made 20 of 43 shots from 3-point range. Oklahoma City made a season-high 22 3-pointers against the Lakers on Jan. 17.
Kawhi Leonard scored 37 points and Pascal Siakam had 25 for the Raptors, who played without All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry.
BUCKS 116, HEAT 87
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 27 points, had eight rebounds and seven assists after missing two games with a sprained right ankle and helped NBA-leading Milwaukee over Miami.
The win came with a brief scare for the Bucks: Antetokounmpo went down in a mix of players after stealing a pass from Goran Dragic early in the second quarter. Milwaukee immediately called a timeout and after a few moments, Antetokounmpo limped to the bench favoring his right leg. A short rest got him right back on the court.
Khris Middleton added 18 points and 10 assists for a career-best three consecutive games with a double-double for Milwaukee, which improved to (29-6) for the second-best home record in the NBA behind the Denver Nuggets (30-6) and secure their most home victories since 2000-01.
Hassan Whiteside came off the bench to score 14 points, Kelly Olynyk added 13 and Bam Adebayo and Dwyane Wade each had 12.
NUGGETS 111, KNICKS 93
NEW YORK (AP) — Nikola Jokic had 21 points and 17 rebounds, Jamal Murray scored 18 points, and Denver beat New York for its sixth straight victory.
Gary Harris chipped in 14 points for Denver, which moved into a tie with defending champion Golden State for first place in the Western Conference with 11 games remaining for each team.
Will Barton scored 10 of his 12 in the opening quarter as the Nuggets jumped out to a 37-18 lead.
Former Nuggets first-round pick Emmanuel Mudiay had 21 points and rookie Mitchell Robinson added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Knicks, who have lost their last three games and 11 of 12.
CLIPPERS 110, CAVALIERS 108
CLEVELAND (AP) — Danilo Gallinari scored 27 points and Los Angeles continued its torrid March, edging Cleveland.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 16 points while Lou Williams had 15 for the Clippers, who are 9-1 this month and closing in on a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Kevin Love scored 22 points for Cleveland, which trailed 94-83 early in the third quarter. Jordan Clarkson and rookie Collin Sexton each had 20.
MAGIC 123, GRIZZLIES 119, OT
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Terrence Ross scored 31 points and Evan Fournier had 27, including the game-clinching free throws, and Orlando rallied to beat Memphis.
Nikola Vucevic added 25 points for the Magic, who came from 14 points behind in the fourth quarter to tie it in regulation and go on to win their fourth straight.
Memphis got 29 points from Tyler Dorsey, who replaced Mike Conley in the lineup. Conley didn’t play because of what the team called “general soreness.” Jonas Valanciunas had 23 points and 24 rebounds, and Justin Holiday scored 22 for the Grizzlies. Chandler Parson had 17 points.