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Best of NBA: Andre Drummond dominates as Pistons edge Celtics

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Best of NBA: Andre Drummond dominates as Pistons edge Celtics

BOSTON -- Andre Drummond scored 26 points with 22 rebounds -- both season highs -- and Tobias Harris scored 31 to lead the Detroit Pistons to a 118-108 victory on Monday night and send the Celtics to their first loss in Boston since their home opener.

Drummond had 10 rebounds in the first quarter and 11 points in the last 5:36 to help Detroit win the matchup of old-school rivals who are once again the top teams in the Eastern Conference. Reggie Jackson scored 20 points with seven assists for the Pistons, who have won three of their last four.

Marcus Smart scored 23 points, making 6 of 9 from 3-point range, and Kyrie Irving had 18 with nine assists for the Celtics. Boston has lost two of four since a 16-game winning streak.

Detroit led by 11 points in the first quarter, but it was tied 100-all with 5:36 left before the Pistons pulled away thanks to eight straight points from Drummond. With just over three minutes left, the Pistons center stole a lazy inbound pass at midcourt and drove for the dunk, drawing a foul from Irving.

The three-point play made it 109-102.

It was 114-108 when Smart's long, leaning 3-point attempt rimmed out with 34 seconds left (see full recap).

Harden drops 37 as Rockets win 5th straight
HOUSTON -- James Harden scored 20 of his 37 points in the first quarter to lead the Houston Rockets to a 117-103 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night.

Harden added 10 rebounds and eight assists to guide the Rockets to their fifth straight win. When he took a break with 1:28 remaining in the first quarter, he was outscoring the Nets 20-17 by himself, not to mention four assists at that point. He was 5-for-5 from 3-point range in the first quarter and finished 8-for-13.

Clint Capela added 20 points for Houston, and Chris Paul had a season-high 14 assists on "Chris Paul Bobblehead Night" at the Toyota Center.

For the Nets, Isaiah Whitehead led scorers with 24 points off the bench. Spencer Dinwiddie had 14 points, Caris LeVert had 13 and Sean Kilpatrick added 12. Coming off of a 98-88 win in Memphis on Sunday night, Brooklyn has lost four of its last five.

Houston led 66-55 at halftime and entered the fourth quarter with a 16-point lead.

Brooklyn's bigger lineup outscored the Rockets 54-40 in the paint and had 43 rebounds to Houston's 42. But the Nets struggled to guard the sharpshooting Rockets on the perimeter. Houston made 20 of 50 3-pointers, good for 40 percent (see full recap).

Lillard, Blazers top Knicks to end road trip
NEW YORK -- Damian Lillard scored 32 points and the Portland Trail Blazers wrapped up a strong five-game road trip with their third straight victory, beating the New York Knicks 103-91 on Monday night.

Pat Connaughton added 17 for the Trail Blazers, who also won at Memphis, Brooklyn and Washington while losing only in Philadelphia. They needed to come from 17 down in the fourth quarter to beat the Wizards last time out but were in charge of this one most of the way.

Kristaps Porzingis returned from a one-game absence and scored 22 points, but the Knicks were without starting center Enes Kanter for a third straight game because of back spasms. They lost all three, falling back to .500 at 10-10.

The Knicks blew big early leads in the last two losses, in Atlanta and Houston, but mostly played from behind -- sometimes way behind -- Monday. New York never led by more than two and trailed by as much as 26.

Lillard made the last basket of the third quarter and he won't have any easier ones all season. Shabazz Napier stole the ball while the Knicks were on the fast break and threw it down to Lillard, who had remained behind on the other end. He dunked the ball with no other players on that side of the court to make it 90-64 (see full recap).

Joel Embiid, Robert Covington, T.J. McConnell questionable

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Joel Embiid, Robert Covington, T.J. McConnell questionable

UPDATED: 2:10 P.M.

The Sixers might get some reinforcements back to help try to halt their losing streak.

Joel Embiid, Robert Covington and T.J. McConnell are listed as questionable tonight in Minnesota (9:30 p.m./NBCSP+).

Embiid (back tightness) sat out Saturday night’s loss because of load management and then was a last-minute scratch against the Pelicans Sunday. Covington (lower back contusion), who was injured diving into the stands for a loose ball against the Cavs Saturday, also missed Sunday night’s loss. McConnell suffered a sprained AC joint in the Sixers’ win over the Wizards back on Nov. 29. He came back and played 18 minutes in the team’s loss to the Lakers, but then missed the first two games of the road trip in Cleveland and New Orleans.

Embiid’s injury is not believed to be serious. The big man himself didn’t seem too concerned.

“If it was the Finals, I'm sure I could have gone,” Embiid said Sunday. “But we've got 82 games and they don't want me to push if I'm not a hundred percent, so that's what I did.”

The Sixers will look to snap a four-game losing streak — their longest of the season — against the reloaded Timberwolves (16-11). 

Best of NBA: Rockets rally past Pelicans in high-scoring affair

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Best of NBA: Rockets rally past Pelicans in high-scoring affair

HOUSTON -- Clint Capela had a career-high 28 points and James Harden scored 12 straight points for Houston in the fourth quarter as the Rockets rallied for a 130-123 victory to extend their winning streak to 10 games on Monday night.

The game was tied with about three minutes remaining after Harden made two free throws. Those were the first of seven straight points by Harden that put Houston's up 124-119 with 1:30 left.

Jrue Holiday made a basket after that, but Harden hit a 3-pointer seconds later to push the lead to 127-121. Harden stole the ball from E'Twaun Moore after a timeout by New Orleans. He was fouled and made both free throws to make it 129-121 with 34 seconds left.

After scoring 48 points in Houston's last game, Harden finished with 26 on Monday, but he tied a career-high with 17 assists, finding the 6-foot-10 Capela under the basket again and again.

Holiday had a season-high 37 points for the Pelicans. Moore had a career-high 36 points and made a career-most six 3-pointers on a night New Orleans set a franchise record with 18 3-pointers (see full recap).

Mirotic, Portis help Bulls blow out Celtics
CHICAGO -- Nikola Mirotic scored 24 points, Bobby Portis added a career-high 23 and the Chicago Bulls blew out Boston 108-85 on Monday night with Celtics star Kyrie Irving sidelined because of a bruised left quadriceps.

Owners of the NBA's worst record, the Bulls built an 18-point lead in the second quarter against the Eastern Conference leaders. And when Boston cut it to 12 in the fourth, the Bulls simply pulled away for their third straight win.

Mirotic made his first start of the season with leading scorer Lauri Markkanen sidelined because of back spasms. The 6-foot-10 forward hit 9 of 14 shots and grabbed eight rebounds in his third appearance.

Portis shot 10 of 15 and nailed all three 3-pointers.

Before Monday night, Mirotic and Portis had only made headlines together this season for the wrong reasons. Mirotic missed the first 23 games with facial fractures he suffered in a fight at practice with Portis.

Al Horford scored 15 for Boston. Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier added 13 points apiece in the Celtics' most lopsided loss of the season (see full recap).

Howard, struggling Hornets roll past Thunder
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Dwight Howard scored 23 points to help the Charlotte Hornets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 116-103 on Monday night.

Kemba Walker had 19 points for the Hornets, who had lost seven of eight. Marvin Williams scored 18, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist finished with 17 points.

It was Charlotte's second road win of the season in 12 tries.

Russell Westbrook had 30 points and seven assists and Paul George scored 20 points for the Thunder after missing the previous two games with a right calf contusion.

Charlotte shot 53 percent from the field against one of the league's best defensive teams. The Bobcats made 13 of 25 3-point attempts (see full recap).