Hawks beat Rondo-less Mavericks 104-87
ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Hawks seized control with a 13-0 run during the third quarter and went on to win 104-87 on Wednesday against a Dallas Mavericks team which struggled in the absence of suspended point guard Rajon Rondo.
The Hawks stretched their lead in the NBA Eastern Conference to eight games while the Mavericks missed a chance to make up ground in the more hard-fought Western Conference playoff race.
The day’s other key games were in the West: Houston ended a run of outs against the Los Angeles Clippers; Portland won against slumping San Antonio, and Memphis suffered a surprisingly one-sided loss at Sacramento.
Dallas suspended Rondo before the game at Atlanta for conduct detrimental to the team. Rondo had a heated exchange on the court with coach Rick Carlisle in the third quarter of the previous night’s game against Toronto.
Carlisle said the one-game suspension was an “organizational decision” and said Rondo will start against Brooklyn on Saturday.
In a tight defensive struggle, Dennis Schroder top-scored for Atlanta with just 17 points, while Dallas’ Monta Ellis all scorers with 19.
Houston ended a run of six straight losses to the Clippers by downing Los Angeles 110-105.
James Harden had 21 points while Corey Brewer scored 13 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter for the Rockets, who entered the final quarter with a 15-1 run to take a 99-86 lead. With the second unit in, Brewer starred in that stretch, scoring 10 points, with two 3-pointers.
Jamal Crawford led Los Angeles with 24 points.
Portland’s Wesley Matthews scored 31 points to lead the Trail Blazers to a 111-95 victory over San Antonio.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 11 points and 13 rebounds for the Blazers, who took their first win since the All-Star break.
Tim Duncan shot 9 of 12 and scored 20 points to lead the Spurs, who have lost four in a row.
Sacramento won 102-90 at home against Memphis, with Rudy Gay scoring 28 points for the Kings.
DeMarcus Cousins added 16 points and nine rebounds. He overcame foul trouble — and a confrontation with Grizzlies big man Zach Randolph — to lead Sacramento’s 10-0 spurt to start the fourth quarter. He added six assists in just 24 minutes before fouling out.
Randolph had 20 points and five rebounds but that was not enough for a Grizzlies team that had won 16 of its previous 19.
Charlotte deepened the woe surrounding Chicago by taking a 98-86 road win as the Bulls dwelled on life without Derrick Rose, who required yet another knee operation.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist contributed 18 points and 12 rebounds while Mo Williams scored 17 points for the Hornets, who won comfortably despite having lost their previous five.
The Bulls revealed the previous day that Rose has a torn meniscus in his right knee, fueling more doubts about whether he can ever return to being the player that won the 2011 NBA MVP.
Phoenix too ended a five-game skid with an impressive road win, with the Suns prevailing 110-96 at Denver.
Brandon Knight hit two key late 3-pointers and had 19 points while Eric Bledsoe added 18 points for a Suns team that had lost its previous seven road games. Phoenix grabbed 65 rebounds, most in the NBA this season.
Will Barton scored 22 points for the undermanned Nuggets. Already Already without forwards Kenneth Faried (bruised thumb) and Wilson Chandler (groin strain), Denver lost starter Darrell Arthur to a knee strain in the first quarter and center Jusuf Nurkic rolled an ankle in the fourth quarter.
New Orleans’ Quincy Pondexter scored a career-high 25 points as the Pelicans beat Brooklyn 102-96 for their third straight victory.
Minnesota’s prodigal son Kevin Garnett made an emotional return to the Timberwolves after eight years away, and the hosts won 97-77 against Washington.
Miami rallied to force overtime after having trailed by eight points in the final minute of regulation, and then beat Orlando 93-90.
Milwaukee built a big early lead and defeated Philadelphia 104-88, giving new signing Michael Carter-Williams a victory over his previous team.
The Los Angeles Lakers rallied from a double-figure deficit and won 100-97 at Utah, with Jordan Clarkson scoring a career-high 22 points.
Boston scored 20 unanswered points during the second half and ran away to a 115-94 win against New York, as Evan Turner notched his first career triple-double with 10 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.