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NBA Capsules: James Harden scores 48 points, Rockets win 9th in row

Portland Trail Blazers center Meyers Leonard and Houston Rockets guard James Harden tie each other up, resulting in a jump ball call during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017. (Steve Dykes / Associated Press)
Portland Trail Blazers center Meyers Leonard and Houston Rockets guard James Harden tie each other up, resulting in a jump ball call during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017. (Steve Dykes / Associated Press)
Associated Press

PORTLAND – James Harden scored 48 points and the Houston Rockets won their ninth straight, overcoming a 14-point, fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Portland Trail Blazers 124-117 on Saturday night.

Harden was 16 of 29 from the field and had eight rebounds to help the Rockets (20-4) win for the 12th time in 13 road games this season. Chris Paul added 24 points, and Trevor Ariza had 13.

Damian Lillard tied a franchise record with nine 3-pointers and had 35 points for Portland (13-12). C.J. McCollum had 28 points, and Al-Farouq Aminu added 15, all on 3-pointers.

Portland put Houston in a hole early in the third quarter, scoring 11 consecutive points to take a 78-72 lead. The lead grew was at 14 late in the third quarter when Lillard limped to the bench, favoring his right foot. With Lillard’s foot on ice, Houston launched a rally, pulling to 103-98 when Lillard returned with seven minutes remaining. But the Rockets had momentum, and took a 110-109 lead on Ariza’s 3-pointer.

The Rockets never trailed again, outscoring Portland 14-6 during the final three minutes.

Cavaliers 105, 76ers 98

CLEVELAND – LeBron James had his 58th career triple-double and Cleveland rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Philadelphia.

James had 30 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists to help the Cavaliers bounce back from a loss in Indiana on Friday night that ended their 13-game winning streak.

Sixers forward Robert Covington fell into Cleveland’s bench trying to save a loose ball with just over a minute to play. He was down for a couple of minutes before being helped to his feet.

Rookie Ben Simmons’ breakaway dunk gave Philadelphia a 96-91 lead, but the Cavaliers ended the game on a 14-2 run. James converted a three-point play and Kyle Korver hit a 3-pointer, giving Cleveland the lead. Dwyane Wade added two baskets and Jae Crowder’s 3-pointer put the Cavaliers ahead 104-98.

James had nine points, seven rebounds and six assists in the fourth quarter in his third triple-double of the season.

Covington and J.J. Redick scored 19 points each for Philadelphia.

Both starting centers missed the game. Joel Embiid sat out for Philadelphia because he hasn’t been cleared to play on back-to-back nights and Kevin Love didn’t play because of a sore left hip.

Thunder 102, Grizzlies 101, OT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Russell Westbrook overcame a poor shooting night, recording a triple-double, including two clinching free throws with 5.2 seconds left in overtime to lead Oklahoma City past Memphis.

Westbrook, who was 7 of 29 from the field and missed 11 of his 12 3-point attempts, added 14 assists and 11 rebounds. Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams led the Thunder with 21 points and nine rebounds each, while Alex Abrines, starting for the injured Paul George, had a career-high 20 points, converting five 3-pointers, also a career-best.

Tyreke Evans led Memphis with 29 points and 13 rebounds, and Marc Gasol finished with 22 points. Ben McLemore contributed 17 points as the Grizzlies lost their third straight and 14th in 15. Memphis led by as many as 20 in the first half.

Heat 101, Nets 89

MEXICO CITY – Goran Dragic and Tyler Johnson each scored 20 points and Miami beat Brooklyn in the Heat’s first game in Mexico in franchise history.

Playing in front of 19,777 fans at raucous Arena Ciudad de Mexico, Dragic was 9 of 19 from the field and had seven rebounds for Miami. The Heat snapped a two-game losing streak to improve to 12-13.

James Johnson added 17 points, Justice Winslow had 15 and Kelly Olynyk 11 for Miami. The Heat rallied from two seven-point deficits.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson led the Nets with 18 points. Coming off a 100-95 victory over Oklahoma City on Thursday night in the Mexico City opener, the Nets dropped to 10-15.

Lakers 110, Hornets 99

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Jordan Clarkson scored 14 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and Los Angeles BEAT fatigued and short-handed Charlotte.

Brandon Ingram added 18 points, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 15 and Lonzo Ball had five points and nine assists for the Lakers. They have won two straight after losing five in a row.

Kemba Walker scored 23 points and Dwight Howard had 21 points and 12 rebounds for Charlotte. The Hornets have lost seven of eight.

Spurs 104, Suns 101

PHOENIX – Bryn Forbes sank a 3-pointer with 21.5 seconds to play and severely depleted San Antonio held off a fourth-quarter Phoenix rally.

The Spurs left Pau Gasol and Manu Ginobili home to rest after a victory over against Boston on Friday night and had Danny Green (left groin tightness) and Kyle Anderson (left MCL sprain) out with injuries.

Still, they led by as many as 19 points in the third quarter before the Suns came back to take their first lead of the night, 100-99, on Marquese Chriss’ breakaway dunk with 1:32 to go.

Patty Mills and LaMarcus Aldridge scored 20 apiece for San Antonio in its fourth straight win and eighth in nine games. Mike James scored 25 points, and T.J. Warren had 24 for the Suns, who fell to 0-2 since losing Devin Booker to a left adductor strain that is expected to sideline him two to three weeks.

Clippers 113, Wizards 112

LOS ANGELES – Lou Williams hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds remaining, lifting Los Angeles past Washington.

With Bradley Beal guarding him, Williams unleashed the winner from the top of the key, capping a wild final 12 seconds in which both teams traded leads on clutch plays.

After Williams’ basket, there was a video review of Beal’s potential winning baseline jumper. The referees decided to replay the last 1.1 seconds. Marcin Gortat’s jumper bounced off the rim at the buzzer.

Williams scored 35 points to lead a dominant bench effort for the Clippers. They snapped a four-game skid, with their reserves outscoring Washington’s 59-47.

Beal scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half. Otto Porter Jr. had 27 points and 11 rebounds.

Bulls 104, Knicks 102

CHICAGO – Kris Dunn made two free throws with 2.9 seconds left to lift Chicago past New York..

Dunn was fouled by Courtney Lee while driving to the basket.

Following a timeout, the Knicks – who scored 10 straight points to tie it at 102 – had a chance to tie or take the lead, but Kristaps Porzingis missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Nikola Mirotic, in just his second game of the season, had 19 points to help Chicago win its second straight. Dunn finished with 17 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.

Porzingis had 23 points for New York. The Knicks are 1-8 on the road.

Bucks 117, Jazz 100

MILWAUKEE – Giannis Antetokounmpo had 37 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists and Milwaukee beat Utah for its third consecutive victory.

Antetokounmpo scored 24 points in the second half. Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe each added 20 points. Rudy Gobert and Alec Burks each had 20 points for Utah.

Hawks 117, Magic 110

ATLANTA – Ersan Ilyasova scored 26 points on 9-for-9 shooting and Atlanta overcame Nikola Vucevic’s triple-double to beat Orlando.

Vucevic had 31 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, and Jonathan Simmons added a career-high 29 points for the Magic. They beat the Hawks 110-106 in overtime Wednesday night in Orlando.

Kent Bazemore scored six late points for Atlanta, with two baskets coming on dunks following steals. The Hawks tied a season high with 17 3-pointers on 33 tries. Ilyasova hit all five of his attempts.

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