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Best of NBA: Stephen Curry hits NBA-record 13 3-pointers in Warriors' win

Best of NBA: Stephen Curry hits NBA-record 13 3-pointers in Warriors' win

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Stephen Curry made an NBA-record 13 3-pointers on the way to 46 points, grabbing back the spotlight from new Golden State star Kevin Durant in the Warriors' 116-106 victory against the winless New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night.

The two-time reigning MVP hit 13 of 17 3s in his seventh career game with double digit 3-pointers and shot 16 for 26 overall. He raised his right arm and pounded his chest, then let out a "Whoo!" when he reached the record with 2:23 to go.

It was his first 40-point performance this season after he led the NBA with 13 such games last season. Fans chanted "M-V-P!"

Durant did just fine for himself, too, finishing with 22 points.

Klay Thompson scored 24 points as the Splash Brothers looked far more in sync from long range at last (see full recap).

Hornets top Pacers, off to franchise-best start
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Kemba Walker had 24 points and 10 assists to help the Charlotte Hornets beat the Indiana Pacers 122-100 on Monday night for their best start in franchise history.

The Hornets (5-1) scored on their first 12 possessions and led by as many as 21 in the first quarter.

Charlotte tied a 23-year franchise record with 75 points in the first half on 56.5 percent shooting. The team's starters were 17 of 25 from the field before intermission as the Hornets built a 20-point lead and never looked back.

Charlotte scored 35 points off 18 Indiana turnovers (see full recap).

James Harden scores 32 points in Rockets' win
WASHINGTON -- James Harden set aside a rough first quarter to finish with 32 points and 15 assists, leading the Houston Rockets past the struggling Wizards 114-106 on Monday night. Washington's John Wall broke the franchise record for career assists before getting ejected in the final minute.

Harden shot just 1 for 4 and had five turnovers in the opening period, which ended with Washington ahead 30-23. But he got more and more involved at the offensive end and scored eight consecutive Houston points in one stretch of the fourth quarter, including half of a 12-0 run that gave the Rockets a 106-95 lead with a little more than 3 1/2 minutes left.

This was his fourth consecutive game with at least 30 points and 10 assists for Harden, who entered the day leading the NBA in assists at 12.3 per game and fourth in scoring average at 31.5 points.

Spencer Hawes had 13 points and 13 rebounds and Cody Zeller chipped in with 13 points.

C.J. Miles led the Pacers with 23 points, while Al Jefferson had 12 points and nine rebounds in his return to Charlotte (see full recap).

Enes Kanter's 24 leads Thunder past Heat
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Enes Kanter had 24 points and 10 rebounds to help the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Miami Heat 97-85 on Monday night.

Kanter made 10 of 12 shots in 21 minutes off the bench. Victor OIadipo scored 17 points, rookie Domantas Sabonis had a season-high 15 to go with 10 rebounds, and Russell Westbrook added 14 points and 11 assists for the Thunder. Oklahoma City improved to 6-1, the best seven-game start for the franchise since moving to Oklahoma City in 2008.

Miami's Hassan Whiteside, who entered averaging 20 points and 14.2 rebounds, finished with five points on 1-for-9 shooting and 12 rebounds.

James Johnson led Miami with 18 points. The Heat shot just 36.9 percent from the field (see full recap).

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

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USA Today Images

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).

'Playing like a high school team' plaguing Sixers during losing streak

'Playing like a high school team' plaguing Sixers during losing streak

NEW ORLEANS — The Sixers have hit a four-game skid and there is not a clearly defined way out of it thanks to a laundry list of injuries.

“I think it’s painfully obvious,” Brett Brown said of what needs to be done. “Let’s get our better players back in a uniform.”

The Sixers have to play their best with their pieces available down two starters (Joel Embiid, Robert Covington) and a key bench player (T.J. McConnell).

There are adjustments that can be made to prevent a losing streak from spiraling the Sixers down in the standings.

“We need to be just smarter,” Dario Saric said. “I know we are a young team. I know are playing without Joel, without our very important players … we need to find a way. We need to be more calm down, don’t be nervous, especially on defense.” 

Saric pointed to the Sixers’ late-game defense in their 131-124 loss to the Pelicans (see observations). They were tied with eight minutes to play before the Pelicans hit threes on their next four straight possessions. Jrue Holiday drained four treys himself during a five-minute stretch to push the lead to 11. The Sixers were outscored 44-29 in the fourth quarter.

“In that situation, to me, we are playing like a high school team,” Saric said. “That cannot happen. We need to be smarter at that point. I hope we will grow up and we will be mentally ready for that last five, six, seven minutes.”

The Sixers also were in the position to come back Saturday in Cleveland. They trailed the Cavaliers, 99-98, with 1:39 to play and did not score after that point.

It was during that final stretch when Covington landed out of bounds and suffered a lower back contusion. A day later, Embiid was a late scratch because of lower back tightness (see story). McConnell has missed five of the last six games with a left shoulder injury.

“We’ve got to be consistent with making the right plays every time,” Ben Simmons said. “It’s hard to make mistakes without those guys there. When you make mistakes and you don’t have Jo or Cov and guys like that to make up for that, it’s tough. But we’ve got to just come together as a team and get through it.” 

The Sixers don't have it easy their next two games. They face the Timberwolves (16-11) Tuesday in Minnesota when Embiid said he expects to play but has not been cleared. Covington is doubtful, while McConnell's status is to be determined. The Sixers return home Friday from a three-game road trip to host the Thunder (12-13).