HOUTON: James Harden finished one rebound shy of a 40-point triple-double, and the host Houston Rockets erased a 15-point deficit to beat the Charlotte Hornets 125-110 on Tuesday. Harden was exceptional throughout but especially down the stretch, fueling a 12-3 run in the fourth quarter that enabled Houston to secure control.
He finished with 12 assists, nine rebounds and three steals as the Rockets prevailed despite the absence of Russell Westbrook (thumb) and Clint Capela (heel). Danuel House Jr. had 22 points and nine rebounds for Houston while P.J. Tucker posted 13 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and three steals. Miles Bridges and Terry Rozier scored 20 apiece for the Hornets, who have dropped four in a row and 12 of their past 13 games. Bridges added a game-high 15 rebounds.
MILWAUKEE BUCKS 120 – NEW ORLEANS PELICANS 108
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 34 points and 17 rebounds, and visiting Milwaukee used a third-quarter surge to pull away from New Orleans. The Bucks trailed for most of the first half and were down 61-58 at halftime before outscoring the Pelicans 42-24 in the third quarter. Antetokounmpo scored 16 in the period. Fellow All-Star Khris Middleton added 20 points for Milwaukee. All-Star forward Brandon Ingram led New Orleans with 32 points, and rookie Zion Williamson scored 20 (although on 5-of-19 shooting).
LOS ANGELES LAKERS 129 – SAN ANTONIO SPURS 102
LeBron James scored 19 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter as host Los Angeles overcame a slow start shooting from the field and cruised past San Antonio. Anthony Davis and Kyle Kuzma scored 18 points each, and Kuzma added 12 rebounds as the Lakers won at home for the first time since the death of former Laker Kobe Bryant and eight others in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash. DeMar DeRozan scored 28 points and Bryn Forbes added 13 for the Spurs, who lost on back-to-back nights in Staples Center after falling to the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday. The Spurs have dropped five of their past seven games.
DENVER NUGGETS 127 – PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS 99
Nikola Jokic had 29 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, Jamal Murray scored 20 in his return to the lineup after missing 10 games, and host Denver beat Portland. Jerami Grant scored 17 points, Will Barton added 16, and Malik Beasley scored 14 for the Nuggets, who have won all three meetings with Portland this season. Denver won for the third time in four games overall. Damian Lillard was held to 21 points, his lowest output since Jan. 9, and CJ McCollum had 20 for Portland. The Trail Blazers had their four-game winning streak snapped. – Reuters