James has 37, new-look Cavs avenge loss to Thunder
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — LeBron James scored 37 points, and the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers got a much different result this time against the Oklahoma City Thunder in a 120-112 victory on Tuesday night.
It was Cleveland’s second straight win since adding George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. in trades, and their fourth straight victory overall.
J.R. Smith added 18 points for the Cavaliers, who lost to the Thunder 148-124 on Jan. 20 with a very different roster.
Paul George scored 25 points and Carmelo Anthony 24 for the Thunder. Steven Adams added 22 points and 17 rebounds, and Russell Westbrook scored 21 points. Westbrook and Anthony had missed the past two games with sprained ankles.
ROCKETS 126, TIMBERWOLVES 108
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — James Harden had 34 points, 12 assists and six rebounds, and Houston beat Minnesota for its ninth straight victory.
Ryan Anderson scored 21 points off the bench as the Rockets (43-13) snapped Minnesota’s 13-game home winning streak and pulled within a half-game of the Golden State Warriors for the best record in the NBA. Houston has won for the 16 of its last 18 games.
The Rockets made 10 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, when they scored 42 points.
Karl-Anthony Towns had 35 points and 12 rebounds in Minnesota’s first home loss since Dec. 16 against Phoenix. Jeff Teague added 25 points and eight assists, and Jamal Crawford came off the bench to score 11 points after starting 0 for 6 from the floor.
RAPTORS 115, HEAT 112
TORONTO (AP) — DeMar DeRozan scored 27 points, Kyle Lowry had 22 and Toronto beat Miami for its sixth straight win.
Toronto (40-16) improved its NBA-best home record to 24-4 and ensured it will be the top team in the Eastern Conference at the All-Star break.
Serge Ibaka had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors, who also won six straight between Nov. 25 and Dec. 10 and again between Dec. 13 and 23.
C.J. Miles added 11 points, but the Raptors failed to extend its franchise-record five-game streak of winning by 15 or more points.
Goran Dragic scored 28 points and James Johnson had 16 for the Heat, who lost for the sixth time in seven games. Dwyane Wade had 10 points and 11 rebounds, and Hassan Whiteside collected 10 points and 10 boards.
NUGGETS 117, SPURS 109
DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic had 23 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists, Will Barton scored 20 points and Denver beat struggling.
Jokic notched his fourth triple-double of the season to lead the Nuggets to their fifth win in six games. Denver outscored the Spurs 30-19 in the fourth quarter to rally from seven down late in the third.
Joffrey Lauvergne scored a career-high 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Tony Parker had 17 points for San Antonio. The Spurs have lost five of six heading into their All-Star break.
San Antonio was again without two of its top players in Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge. Leonard has missed all but nine games and Aldridge sat for the second straight night to rest his sore right knee.
BUCKS 97, HAWKS 92
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Khris Middleton had 21 points to lead a balanced attack for Milwaukee, and All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo hit two key buckets in the final three-plus minutes.
Tyler Zeller added 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting in his first game in Milwaukee since joining the team on the road before the trade deadline last week. The Bucks improved to 9-2 since Joe Prunty took over as interim coach following the firing of Jason Kidd, getting back in the race for a top-four playoff seed in the East.
Dennis Schroder scored 18 points for the Hawks, and Ersan Ilyasova had nine of his 15 points in the fourth quarter. Ilyasova spearheaded a late rally in which Atlanta erased a 12-point deficit and tied it at 84 on Kent Bazemore’s 3-pointer with 3:30 left.
KINGS 114, MAVERICKS 109
DALLAS (AP) — Zach Randolph scored 22 points, and Sacramento used a big first half to beat Dallas.
Bogdan Bogdanovich added 19 points for the Kings, who have won four of five in Dallas after losing 22 in a row here from 2003 to 2016. Seven Kings scored in double figures.
J.J. Barea led the Mavericks with 19 points, and Harrison Barnes and Dwight Powell each scored 18.