Harden shines for rockets despite loss
Jonas Valanciunas’ offensive rebound and free throw with 0.1 second left in overtime helped the host Memphis Grizzlies topple the Houston Rockets 126-125 on Wednesday.
Valanciunas paired a career-high 33 points with 15 rebounds and teamed with Mike Conley (35 points, eight assists) to help Memphis fend off James Harden and the rallying Rockets. Valanciunas corralled a miss by Conley before absorbing a foul from Houston centre Clint Capela on the game’s deciding play.
That followed an MVP-caliber stretch from Harden, who scored 18 of his game-high 57 points in the fourth quarter before adding eight points during a 28-second stretch in overtime.
Memphis averted a four-game season series sweep against Houston, which lost for just the third time since the All-Star break. Former Rockets forward Chandler Parsons drilled two 3-pointers in overtime to keep the Grizzlies in control despite Harden ’s efforts.
76ers 118, Celtics 115
Joel Embiid collected 37 points and a career-high 22 rebounds to go along with a late key block on Kyrie Irving as host Philadelphia averted a season sweep by Boston.
Jimmy Butler scored 15 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter for the 76ers, who have won six in a row overall. Irving scored 16 of his 36 points in the first quarter for the Celtics, who fell short against Philadelphia for just the third time in the teams’ past 20 regular-season meetings.
Al Horford scored 22 points and Terry Rozier added 20 points off the bench for Boston, which saw guard Marcus Smart receive a flagrant-2 foul and an immediate ejection less than a minute into the third quarter following a two-handed shove into the back of Embiid.
Raptors 123, Thunder 114 (OT)
Pascal Siakam scored 33 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead Toronto to an overtime win at Oklahoma City.
The Raptors dominated the extra session, outscoring the Thunder 13-4 after letting a 19-point, second-half lead slip away. Oklahoma City didn’t score in the extra period until 31.5 seconds remained. Kawhi Leonard scored five of his 22 points in overtime, and Fred VanVleet finished with 23 points for the Raptors.
Russell Westbrook, returning from a one-game suspension and coming off a 2-for-16 shooting performance Saturday in a loss to the Golden State Warriors, helped lift the Thunder with 42 points and 16-of-29 shooting, including 5-of-10 accuracy from behind the 3-point arc.
Cavaliers 107, Bucks 102
Collin Sexton scored 25 points, and Jordan Clarkson added 23 off the bench to lead host Cleveland over short-handed Milwaukee.
Coming into the game, Sexton had been the first rookie to score at least 23 points in six consecutive games since Tim Duncan did it twice for the San Antonio Spurs in 1998. Sexton now has accomplished the feat in seven straight games.
Milwaukee dressed only nine players and was without Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Mirotic. Antetokounmpo missed his second straight game with an ankle injury. The Bucks announced Wednesday that Mirotic will be out two to four weeks with a thumb injury. Khris Middleton led Milwaukee with 26 points.
Heat 110, Spurs 105
Goran Dragic scored 22 points off the bench, and Dwyane Wade had a big basket and a steal in the final minutes as visiting Miami outlasted San Antonio to snap Spurs’ nine-game winning streak.
After trailing by as many as 18 in the third quarter and by 13 with 9:50 to play, San Antonio charged back, pulling within 106-103 with 2:05 left. With Miami on top 108-105, Wade stole the ball from DeRozan with 9.1 seconds left. Kelly Olynyk then converted a pair of free throws to cement the win for the Heat.
Dion Waiters scored 18 points for the Heat, who hold a 1 1/2-game lead on the Orlando Magic for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot. Patty Mills, Marco Belinelli and Aldridge scored 17 points each for the Spurs.
Magic 119, Pelicans 96
Orlando led from start to finish, pounding visiting New Orleans for its third consecutive win.
Evan Fournier scored 22 points for the Magic, and Aaron Gordon had 20. Nikola Vucevic contributed 15 points and 17 rebounds.
Frank Jackson was the only Pelicans starter to score in double figures, netting 14 points. Reserve Stanley Johnson scored a team-high 18 points off the bench. Pelicans star forward Anthony Davis did not play due to a family matter.
Bulls 126, Wizards 120 (OT)
Kris Dunn atoned for a late miss in regulation with a pair of 3-pointers in overtime, and Lauri Markkanen added a back-breaking trey with 32.3 seconds remaining to send Chicago to victory over visiting Washington.
The loss assured the Wizards (30-42) of a losing season and cost them a key game in their desperate quest to move up from 11th place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Markkanen, the game’s leading scorer with 32 points, also collected a game-high 13 rebounds. Dunn had 26 points and 13 assists for the Bulls, who won their second straight after a five-game losing streak. Jabari Parker scored 28 points for the Wizards against his former team.
Trail Blazers 126, Mavericks 118
Damian Lillard scored 33 points and handed out 12 assists as Portland knocked off visiting Dallas.
Six players scored in double figures for the Trail Blazers, including Seth Curry with 20 off the bench. It was the fifth win in six games for Portland.
Luka Doncic scored 24 points and Justin Jackson contributed 21 for the Mavericks, who have lost 14 of their past 16 outings.
Jazz 137, Knicks 116
Donovan Mitchell scored 30 points in three quarters and Utah easily ran its winning streak to five games by rolling over host New York.
Mitchell helped the Jazz get their latest win by shooting 12 of 20 and hitting five 3-pointers. Utah matched a team record by hitting 20 3-pointers.
Rookie Kevin Knox scored 27 points for the Knicks, who lost for the 10th time in 11 games. Mario Hezonja added 23 points for New York, which was without Dennis Smith Jr. (sore back), Allonzo Trier (strained left calf) and Noah Vonleh (ankle).
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