CLEVELAND – LeBron James couldn’t get to 30,000 career points and he and his Cleveland teammates couldn’t stop Paul George, Russell Westbrook or Carmelo Anthony as the Oklahoma City Thunder thumped the Cavaliers 148-124 on Saturday for their fourth straight win.
Oklahoma City tied the record for the most points scored against Cleveland in a regulation game. Philadelphia scored 148 back in 1972.
George scored 36, Westbrook had 23 and 20 assists and Anthony scored a season-high 29 as the Thunder embarrassed the Eastern Conference champions, whose defensive issues aren’t improving. Cleveland has lost 10 of 14.
James finished with 18 points and is seven shy of becoming the seventh player in NBA history to reach the 30,000-point plateau. His next chance is Tuesday when the Cavs visit San Antonio.
Rockets 116, Warriors 108
HOUSTON – Chris Paul scored 33 points and 11 rebounds, James Harden had 22 points and Houston held off Golden State to snap its 14-game road winning streak.
Harden stepped back from Stephen Curry for a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to make it 114-108 with 1:10 left. Harden then blocked Curry’s 3-point attempt after a timeout, and Paul made two free throws with 28 seconds left.
Golden State lost away from home for the first time since Nov. 22. The Warriors had won seven straight in Houston.
Kevin Durant led Golden State with 26 points, Draymond Green had 21 and Curry added 19 on a night he went 5 of 15 on 3-point attempts.
76ers 116, Bucks 94
PHILADELPHIA – Joel Embiid had 29 points and nine rebounds and Philadelphia pulled away from undermanned Milwaukee for its seventh win in eight games.
Ben Simmons added 16 points and nine assists, and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot added 16 points in a rare start as the Sixers (22-20) moved past Milwaukee (23-22) for sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
Khris Middleton had 23 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists for the Bucks in their second straight loss. They were without top scorer Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was sitting out the first of two games to rest a sore right knee.
Fellow starter Malcolm Brogdon (family matter) also wasn’t available. Tony Snell (15 points) and Sterling Brown (14 points) moved into the lineup, and the Bucks rallied from 16 points down to tie it before fading in the fourth quarter.
Timberwolves 115, Raptors 109
MINNEAPOLIS – Andrew Wiggins scored 29 points and Karl-Anthony Towns had all 22 of his points in the second half as Minnesota rallied from an 11-point first-half deficit to beat Toronto.
Playing without leading scorer Jimmy Butler, the Wolves managed to overcome Towns’ early foul trouble and hot perimeter shooting by the Raptors to snap a two-game skid.
Kyle Lowry led Toronto with a season-high 40 points on 14-for-25 shooting, including 6 of 10 from behind the arc. The Raptors shot 54 percent in the first half, when they led by as many as 11.
Jazz 125, Clippers 113
SALT LAKE CITY – Donovan Mitchell scored 23 points and Utah closed out Los Angeles.
Despite missing starting guard Rodney Hood because of a leg injury, Utah set season bests for points in the first quarter (39) and first half (76). It never trailed while ending the Clippers’ six-game winning streak.
Lou Williams paced the Clippers with 31 points, 10 steals and seven assists, and he helped cut the lead to single digits in the fourth quarter. Blake Griffin added 25 points and eight rebounds.
Pelicans 111, Grizzlies 104
NEW ORLEANS – Jrue Holiday scored 13 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter, DeMarcus Cousins had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and New Orleans beat Memphis.
Anthony Davis had 21 points and 12 rebounds but did not score his first points of the second half until he dunked with 1:15 to go in the game, giving the Pelicans a 108-102 lead.
Darius Miller added 12 points in a reserve role for New Orleans, which never trailed but very nearly blew a 21-point lead.
Bulls 113, Hawks 97
ATLANTA – Robin Lopez scored 20 points, Lauri Markkanen added 19 and Chicago easily beat Atlanta.
The Bulls, coming off a seven-point home loss to defending NBA champion Golden State three days ago, have won four of five. They never trailed, taking an 11-pont lead midway through the first quarter on Lopez’s dunk and going up 17 on Markkanen’s dunk in the closing seconds of the first half.
Dennis Schroder scored 18 points and Dewayne Dedmon had 11 for Atlanta, which showed why it’s spent the season at or near the bottom of the NBA standings.
Trail Blazers 117, Mavericks 108
PORTLAND, Ore. – Damian Lillard hit his first nine shots – including seven 3-pointers – en route to 31 points, and Portland beat Dallas.
Lillard shot 10 of 15 from the floor and handed out nine assists. CJ McCollum added 26 points for Portland, which won its third straight game overall and season-best sixth straight at home.
Wesley Matthews led Dallas with 23 points. Dirk Nowitzki and Dennis Smith Jr. scored 21 points each, with Nowitzki reaching a season high.
Heat 106, Hornets 105
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Kelly Olynyk scored 14 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, including a free throw with 0.2 seconds left, to help Miami erase a five-point deficit in the final 34 seconds and stun Charlotte.
Wayne Ellington had 26 points on six 3-pointers, Joe Johnson had 22 points and Olynyk was brilliant down the stretch.
Nic Batum scored a season-high 26 points and Kemba Walker had 22 for Charlotte, which had a two-game winning streak snapped.
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