James Harden carried the load down the stretch once again as the Houston Rockets extended their winning streak to four games with a 102-97 victory over the visiting Utah Jazz on Monday.
Dec 17, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shoots the ball as Utah Jazz forward Jae Crowder (99) defends during the third quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Harden scored a game-high 47 points and contributed six rebounds, five assists and five steals as Houston (15-14) climbed above .500 for the first time since Nov. 23.
After Utah pulled even at 94-94 on a Rudy Gobert tip-in with 1:59 remaining, Harden sank a 3-pointer when Ricky Rubio and Royce O’Neale dropped under a screen set by Chris Paul. After Harden added two free throws, Utah cut the deficit to 99-97 on three Donovan Mitchell free throws with 35 seconds to go.
With 13.3 seconds left, Harden then buried another 3-pointer with Rubio defending, producing the final margin. Mitchell led the Jazz with 23 points.
Bucks 107, Pistons 104
Giannis Antetokounmpo powered for 32 points, 12 rebounds and five assists, and Milwaukee overcame a triple-double from Blake Griffin to win at Detroit.
Khris Middleton had 22 points and six assists, and Eric Bledsoe contributed 17 points and nine assists for the Bucks, who won for the fourth time in five games.
Griffin had 19 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists but also committed 10 turnovers. Detroit’s Reggie Bullock supplied 24 points and Stanley Johnson contributed 20 points and six rebounds off the bench. Andre Drummond chipped in 10 points with 14 rebounds for the Pistons, who had won their previous contest to snap a six-game skid.
Suns 128, Knicks 110
T.J. Warren scored 17 of his 26 points in a dominating third quarter, and Phoenix opened a season-high, five-game road trip by routing New York.
Devin Booker led the Suns with 38 points in his second game back from a hamstring injury, but it was Warren who helped the Suns turn things around after halftime.
DeAndre Ayton had a double-double of 21 points and 13 rebounds, while Josh Jackson (14 points) and Richaun Holmes (13) also finished in double figures for Phoenix. Emmanuel Mudiay led the Knicks with 32 points.
Timberwolves 132, Kings 105
Karl-Anthony Towns scored 14 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, and eight other Minnesota players produced double-figure point totals as the Timberwolves soundly defeated Sacramento in Minneapolis.
Andrew Wiggins led the Timberwolves with 17 points, and Derrick Rose, starting for the injured Jeff Teague, had 13 points and 11 assists.
Minnesota led by as much as 36 in the first half and then had to weather a Sacramento comeback attempt in the third period. Buddy Hield paced the Kings with 21 points.
Thunder 121, Bulls 96
Paul George scored 24 points to lead Oklahoma City to a win over visiting Chicago.
George scored 16 points in the final 4:47 of the second quarter as the Thunder closed the quarter on a 23-7 run to seize control of the game. It looked as if Oklahoma City had done that earlier, when a 21-3 run in the first quarter brought the Thunder from down five to up 13 before Chicago fought its way back in.
Russell Westbrook had 13 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists for his 111th career triple-double as the Thunder won for the second consecutive game. Steven Adams added 19 and Dennis Schroder 18. Lauri Markkanen had 16 points and 15 rebounds for the Bulls, and Bobby Portis also scored 16 points.
Spurs 123, 76ers 96
Rudy Gay scored 21 points, and LaMarcus Aldridge added 20 points and 10 rebounds as host San Antonio routed Philadelphia to win for the fifth time in six games.
The Spurs led by 11 at halftime but broke open the game in the middle of the third quarter via a 15-0 run that expanded their advantage to 79-53. Gay had 11 points in a period that allowed San Antonio to build as much as a 29-point lead and take a 93-71 cushion into the final 12 minutes.
DeMar DeRozan also scored 20 points for the Spurs. JJ Redick and Ben Simmons led Philadelphia with 16 points each, and Joel Embiid added 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Warriors 110, Grizzlies 93
Andre Iguodala returned from a three-game absence to hit two second-quarter 3-pointers, helping Golden State pull away from Memphis in Oakland, Calif.
Kevin Durant had 23 points, Stephen Curry 20 and Klay Thompson and Jonas Jerebko 16 apiece for the Warriors, who won for the sixth time in their past seven games.
Omri Casspi, a member of Golden State’s championship team last season, had a team-high 20 points for the Grizzlies, who found out shortly before game time that star point guard Mike Conley would be unavailable due to a sore hamstring.
Trail Blazers 131, Clippers 127
Damian Lillard scored 22 of his 39 points in the third quarter, and backcourt mate CJ McCollum added 27 points as Portland held on to win at Los Angeles.
Jusuf Nurkic contributed 20 points and seven assists for the Trail Blazers, who followed a victory over the NBA’s top team, the Toronto Raptors, on Friday with the win over the high-scoring Clippers.
Tobias Harris scored a career-high 39 points including 11 free throws for the Clippers, who lost for just the fourth time in 13 home games this season. However, Los Angeles has lost four consecutive games overall.
—Field Level Media