NEW YORK (AP) — James Harden scored 30 points, carrying Houston on a night when Dwight Howard did little after fighting with Kevin Garnett, and the Rockets beat the slumping Brooklyn Nets 113-99 on Monday.
Garnett was ejected in the first quarter after head-butting Howard in the face and throwing the ball at him, while Howard received a technical foul after appearing to punch or slap Garnett in the neck.
Howard had a quiet night otherwise, finishing with eight points and five rebounds, but the Rockets didn’t need much in the middle while dominating from the outside with 16 3-pointers in 40 attempts.
Mason Plumlee scored a career-high 24 points for the Nets, who lost their sixth straight.
Houston has won four in a row, all by double digits, and blew away a Nets team that had held its previous eight opponents under 100 points, the longest streak in the NBA this season.
MAGIC 121, BULLS 114
CHICAGO (AP) — Nikola Vucevic had 33 points and 11 rebounds as Orlando ended a six-game losing streak with a victory over Chicago.
Orlando shot a season-high 59 percent from the field in its first win in Chicago since an 83-82 victory on Dec. 16, 2013. The Magic had lost three in a row and 12 of 15 against the Bulls since the start of the 2010-11 season.
Victor Oladipo also scored 33 points for the Magic, and rookie Elfrid Payton added 10 points and seven assists.
Vucevic was 16 for 24 from the field in his NBA-best 23rd double-double of the season.
Pau Gasol paced Chicago with 28 points and 14 rebounds, and Derrick Rose had 18 points and seven assists. Jimmy Butler finished with 17 points.
PISTONS 114, RAPTORS 111
TORONTO (AP) — Brandon Jennings had 34 points and 10 assists, and Detroit won for the ninth time in 10 games.
Greg Monroe had 22 points and 10 rebounds as the Pistons ended a four-game losing streak against Toronto. Jodie Meeks scored 11 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter and Jonas Jerebko had eight of his 10 in the final period.
Jonas Valanciunas scored a career-best 31 points and had 12 rebounds for the Raptors, who lost for the fifth time in six games. Kyle Lowry had 10 points and 12 assists, Greivis Vasquez scored 16 and Lou Williams had 15.
Andre Drummond also had a double-double in Detroit’s sixth consecutive road win, finishing with 10 points and 14 rebounds.
CELTICS 108, PELICANS 100
BOSTON (AP) — Jared Sullinger had 27 points and 10 rebounds for Boston, and rookie Marcus Smart nailed a key 3-pointer in the closing minute.
The Celtics won for the third time in their last 12 games. Jae Crowder scored 22 points, Marcus Thornton had 13 and Brandon Bass finished with 12.
Anthony Davis led the Pelicans with 34 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Eric Gordon scored 21 points, and Tyreke Evans had 19 points and eight boards.
Clinging to a 101-100 lead, Avery Bradley’s shot was blocked by Davis in the lane, before Smart nailed a 3 from the left corner, falling into the seats as the shot swished through the basket with 39.7 seconds left.