SATURDAY AROUND THE NBA


Rockets 114, Pelicans 91

HOUSTON

James Harden scored 27 points in three quarters and the Houston Rockets routed the New Orleans Pelicans for their eighth straight victory. The NBA-leading Rockets improved to 59-14 to overtake the 1993-94 championship team for the most wins in franchise history. Houston never trailed and already had a huge lead to start the fourth before scoring seven straight points early in the period to make it 92-63 with 10 minutes remaining. Clint Capela had four points and a steal to lead Houston in that stretch. Capela finished with 18 points, 16 rebounds, three steals and tied a career high with six blocks.

Magic 105, Suns 99

ORLANDO, FLA.

Aaron Gordon had 29 points and 11 rebounds to help the Orlando Magic hold off the free-falling Phoenix Suns. Nikola Vucevic added 24 points and nine rebounds, and D.J. Augustin nearly had his first triple-double of the season with 15 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds. The Magic had lost three in a row. Phoenix has lost 11 straight and 26 of 28. Josh Jackson led the Suns with 18 points, Alex Len had 15, and Tyler Ulis and former Magic guard Elfrid Payton added 14 apiece.

Pistons 117, Bulls 95

DETROIT

Anthony Tolliver scored 25 points, and the Detroit Pistons made 13 3-pointers in the first half on their way to a victory over the Chicago Bulls. Andre Drummond had 15 points and 20 rebounds for Detroit. It was his 16th game this season with at least 20 rebounds and the 50th of his career. The Pistons had eight players in double figures — and nobody else scored at all for them. Chicago had seven in double figures, with Denzel Valentine leading the way with 18. Bobby Portis was held to 10 points for the Bulls, snapping a streak of seven straight games with at least 15.

76ers 120, Timberwolves 108

PHILADELPHIA

Ben Simmons had a triple-double, Joel Embiid dazzled while getting the better of Karl-Anthony Towns, and the Philadelphia 76ers inched closer to their first playoff berth in six years with a victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Simmons had 15 points, 12 rebounds and 13 assists for the 10th triple-double of his rookie season. Embiid scored 19 points, and had a left-handed block of Towns, a 3-pointer and a windmill dunk in the Sixers’ 20-4 run to start the third quarter. Dario Saric added 18 points as the Sixers (42-30) won their sixth straight game, ensured a winning season. Andrew Wiggins scored 16 points, and Towns had 15 points and 11 rebounds, but shot just 3 of 15 from the field for Minnesota as its two-game winning streak was snapped.

Lakers 100, Grizzlies 93

MEMPHIS, TENN.

Kyle Kuzma scored 15 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter and had 10 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers overcame a slow start to beat the Memphis Grizzlies. Julius Randle added 20 points and 11 rebounds to help the Lakers end a four-game losing streak. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 18 points, and Lonzo Ball had 12 points and 10 assists. Andrew Harrison led the Grizzlies with 20 points and nine assists. Marc Gasol had 18 points, and JaMychal Green added 17 points and matched his season high with 16 rebounds. Memphis, which lost its fourth straight, was stymied by converting only 5 of 29 shots from outside the arc. Los Angeles, which trailed by double-digits early, used an 11-2 run in the fourth, fueled by seven straight points from Kuzma. That led to an 84-79 lead for the Lakers and Memphis would never get the lead back.

Hornets 102, Mavericks 98

DALLAS

Dwight Howard had 23 rebounds and 18 points and the Charlotte Hornets held off the Dallas Mavericks for their third straight victory. Charlotte led by as many as 15 points, but Dallas cut it to 87-86 on two of Yogi Ferrell’s 11 fourth-quarter points. The Mavericks had a chance to win after rebounding a miss by Charlotte’s Jeremy Lamb, but Kemba Walker stole the ball from Dennis Smith Jr. and Dallas had to foul Marvin Williams with five seconds left. He made both free throws.

Associated Press

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