James explodes for 44 pts as Cavs topple Hornets
LeBron James scored 17 of his season-high 44 points in the fourth quarter and reached another career milestone as the Cleveland Cavaliers won their fourth straight, 116 -105 over the Charlotte Hornets in the NBA on Saturday. James did it all, adding 10 assists and nine rebounds in 43 minutes. He took over in the fourth, scoring 13 straight during one stretch to help the Cavs hold on. James, who moved into ninth place on the career scoring list Friday, recorded his 7,000th assist in the first half, becoming the first frontcourt player in NBA history to reach the plateau. James is the only player with 27,000 points and 7,000 assists. Cleveland shot a season-best 58 percent from the field and beat Charlotte for the sixth straight time at home. Kemba Walker scored 24 to pace the Hornets, playing the first of five consecutive road games.
GRIZZLIES 110, WARRIORS 89
Marc Gasol and Tony Allen scored 19 points each, and Memphis rolled over Golden State for its sixth straight win. The Grizzlies led by as many as 30 points in the second half - the biggest advantage for any Warriors opponent this season. Seven Memphis players finished in double figures. Kevin Durant led Golden State with 21 points, and Stephen Curry added 17. Curry and backcourt mate Klay Thompson (eight points) were a combined 8 of 28 from the field, including 3 of 14 outside the arc. Golden State’s four-game winning streak ended. The Warriors had won 16 of 17, the lone loss in that stretch coming in double overtime to Houston on Dec. 1.
BULLS 105, HEAT 100
Jimmy Butler scored 31 points, Dwyane Wade added 28 against his former team and Chicago held off struggling Miami. Butler scored Chicago’s final 10 points to help the Bulls come out on top after Miami pulled within one. Wade keyed a big third-quarter run in his second game against the Heat, and the Bulls hung on after handing San Antonio its first road loss two nights earlier. Goran Dragic led Miami with 21 points and 11 assists. An energetic Hassan Whiteside added 20 points after being benched for part of Friday’s blowout loss in Cleveland. Tyler Johnson scored 15, but the Heat dropped their fifth straight.
CLIPPERS 133, PELICANS 105
Chris Paul had 20 points and a season-high 20 assists, and Los Angeles beat New Orleans with its highest offensive output of the season. It was the first 20-20 game of Paul’s career, and he became the first player since at least 1977-78 - when turnovers were first recorded for individual players to have 20 points, 20 assists and no turnovers, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Clippers shot a season-best 57.4 percent and made a season-high 17 3-pointers on 36 attempts to end a two-game skid. Jamal Crawford scored 22 points and DeAndre Jordan had 19 points and nine rebounds for Los Angeles, which won for the third time in eight games after opening 14-2. The Pelicans, playing without a resting Anthony Davis, lost their fifth straight. New Orleans gave up its season high in points and fell to 2-9 away from home.
ROCKETS 109, MAVERICKS 87
James Harden had 18 points, 16 assists and nine rebounds as Houston beat Dallas for its sixth straight victory. Eric Gordon added 18 points and Trevor Ariza scored 17 to give the Rockets their first six-game winning streak since Oct. 28 to Nov. 6, 2014. Patrick Beverley scored all 15 of his points in the fourth quarter. Wesley Matthews had 26 points to lead the Mavericks.
SPURS 130, NETS 101
Kawhi Leonard had 30 points in three quarters and San Antonio rebounded from its first road loss of the season with a home romp over Brooklyn. Five other San Antonio players scored in double figures, led by 16 points from Patty Mills. The Spurs set season highs for points, points in a quarter, points in a half, assists and 3pointers in winning their 14th straight at home over the Nets. San Antonio also matched its largest margin of victory, set in a season-opening win over Golden State. The Spurs led by as many as 38 three days after what coach Gregg Popovich deemed a poor effort in a 95-91 defeat at Chicago.
JAZZ 104, KINGS 84
Rudy Gobert had 17 points, 14 rebounds and a season-high six blocks, helping Utah overcome a flood of turnovers to beat Sacramento. Gordon Hayward scored 26 points after sitting out a game with an injured finger, and Trey Lyles added 14 points and five rebounds for the Jazz. Utah had 22 turnovers but won for the eighth time in 10 games. Rudy Gay scored 20 points and DeMarcus Cousins had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Kings, who lost for the seventh time in nine games.
WIZARDS 110, BUCKS 105
John Wall had 24 points and 11 assists, Bradley Beal scored 20 and Washington used a late 11-0 run to beat Milwaukee. Kelly Oubre Jr. added a career-high 19 points for the Wizards, who have won three of four. Giannis Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee with 28 points and 13 rebounds. His two free throws gave the Bucks a 100-95 lead with 4:28 left, but the Wizards rallied while Milwaukee went cold. Wall scored nine points in the fourth quarter. The Bucks, who committed 20 turnovers, have lost three of four.
NUGGETS 121, MAGIC 113
Danilo Gallinari scored 21 points, and Kenneth Faried had 19 points and 10 rebounds off the bench to help Denver defeat Orlando. Jusuf Nurkic added 17 points on 8-of-11 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds for the Nuggets, who lost their previous two games. Will Barton scored 16. The Nuggets outscored short-handed Orlando 64-34 in the paint. Magic center Nikola Vucevic did not suit up because of an injury. Evan Fournier led Orlando with 24 points. Serge Ibaka had 22 points and four blockedshots.
PACERS 118, TRAIL BLAZERS 111
Paul George scored a season-high 37 points and Indiana rallied past Portland after trailing by 20. George made five 3-pointers and Thaddeus Young hit six 3s while putting up 24 points and nine rebounds. Myles Turner added 14 points for the Pacers, who had lost five straight regular-season games to Portland. C.J. McCollum drained a career-high seven 3s and had a season-best 34 points for the Trail Blazers. Damian Lillard scored 33 points, including five 3s. George scored 13 straight points in the fourth quarter for Indiana. He was fouled on the go-ahead basket with 4:36 remaining and completed the threepoint play to give the Pacers a 108105 lead.
CLEVELAND: Cleveland Cavaliers’ J.R. Smith (5) drives around Charlotte Hornets’ Marco Belinelli (21) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, in Cleveland.