NBA Wrap

NBA Notes: Kyrie Irving returns as Celtics run win streak to 13

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NBA Notes: Kyrie Irving returns as Celtics run win streak to 13

NEW YORK -- Kyrie Irving returned to the lineup and scored 25 points while wearing a mask, and the Boston Celtics beat the Brooklyn Nets 109-102 on Tuesday night for their 13th straight victory.

The Celtics remained unbeaten since an 0-2 start heading into their showdown Thursday in Boston against the NBA champion Golden State Warriors.

Marcus Morris added 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Jayson Tatum scored 19 points for the Celtics.

Irving missed one game with a minor facial fracture after he was hit by teammate Aron Baynes on Friday. He fiddled with the mask frequently, but it didn't seem to affect his play much. He made a jumper with 3:40 left after the Nets had closed within four points and drove for another basket about 35 seconds later.

Boston then finally put it away with Jaylen Brown's alley-oop feed to Tatum before Irving hit two free throws to make it 106-96.

Joe Harris scored 19 points and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Nets, who are without leading scorer D'Angelo Russell because of a bruised left knee. Allen Crabbe and Caris LeVert added 15 points apiece (see full recap).

Raptors ride huge early lead to win over Rockets
HOUSTON -- DeMar DeRozan scored 27 points and the Toronto Raptors built a big lead in the first half and held on for a 129-113 win over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.

James Harden had 38 points and made 19 of 19 foul shots for the Rockets, who ended a six-game winning streak.

Houston scored six straight points, including three free throws from Harden, to make it 108-103 with about 7 1/2 minutes left.

Delon Wright made a free throw for the Raptors soon after that, and OG Anunoby connected for Toronto's first field goal in more than three minutes on a 3-pointer with 6:25 remaining. After Wright's layup, Kyle Lowry stole the ball from Harden, and DeRozan finished on the other end with a dunk to make it 116-103.

Harden got Houston going again with a four-point play. The free throw was his 19th, setting a franchise record for most foul shots without a miss in a game.

DeRozan and Serge Ibaka had back-to-back dunks after Harden's big play to make it 120-107 with about three minutes left and send many of the home fans toward the exits.

Harden had 11 assists and six rebounds. He has scored at least 20 points and had seven or more assists in every game this season (see full recap).

Spurs beat Mavs to give Popovich milestone victory
DALLAS -- LaMarcus Aldridge scored a season-high 32 points in his hometown and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Dallas Mavericks 97-91 on Tuesday night.

Gregg Popovich became the fastest NBA coach to 500 road wins. He got there in 835 away games, 41 fewer than Pat Riley.

Aldridge, a product of Dallas' Seagoville High School, scored eight points during a decisive stretch of the fourth quarter. Patty Mills added a season-high 19 points for the Spurs.

Rookie Dennis Smith Jr. led Dallas with a career-high 27 points, and J.J. Barea and Harrison Barnes had 16 each. The Mavericks are 2-13 for the second straight season and fifth time overall.

Just like in a loss to Cleveland on Saturday, the Mavericks cut a double-digit second-half deficit to one point, but couldn't gain the lead.

After Dallas got within 62-61 early in the fourth, Mills hit a long 3 and a driving layup, then Aldridge scored eight of his team's next 13 points to put the Spurs up 82-71 with 5:03 to play. Dallas never got closer than four points down the stretch (see full recap).

Best of NBA: Cavaliers complete incredible rally to beat Knicks

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Best of NBA: Cavaliers complete incredible rally to beat Knicks

NEW YORK -- LeBron James had 23 points and 12 assists, Kyle Korver scored 19 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter to spark a huge comeback, and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the New York Knicks 104-101 on Monday night.

James also had a technical foul after a first-quarter altercation with Frank Ntilikina and Enes Kanter, which seemed to charge up the Knicks as they built what became a 23-point lead late in the third quarter.

But the Cavaliers made nine 3-pointers in the fourth after hitting just seven through three quarters, charging back for their eighth straight victory at Madison Square Garden.

Tim Hardaway Jr. had 28 points and 10 rebounds, and Kanter added 20 points and 16 boards. But Kristaps Porzingis shot only 7 for 21 while scoring 20 points as the Knicks blew their chance to beat the Cavs for the second time this season.

New York led by 15 after three but the Cavs surrounded James with plenty of perimeter shooting and the Knicks couldn't contain them. Cleveland tied it on Channing Frye's 3 with 2:15 to go before James made it 100-97 with another 1:23 left.

The game was just two days after James, following a victory in Dallas, said Mavericks rookie Dennis Smith Jr. should be a Knick. The Knicks passed on Smith in the draft, taking Ntilikina one spot earlier at No. 8 (see full recap).

Curry-less Warriors surge to win over Magic
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Kevin Durant had 21 points, a season-high eight assists and seven rebounds, Shaun Livingston scored a season-best 16 points in place of the injured Stephen Curry, and the Golden State Warriors pulled away in the second half to beat the Orlando Magic 110-100 on Monday night for their seventh straight win.

Draymond Green had a season-high 20 points, five assists, four rebounds and two steals as the Warriors completed an unbeaten four-game homestand.

Nikola Vucevic scored 20 points, Evan Fournier had 16 and Aaron Gordon added 10 points and 10 rebounds in the Magic's fourth defeat over six games.

Livingston also had six assists on a night they were without Curry as he nursed a bruised right thigh from where he took a knee Saturday night. Durant sat out with the same injury to his left leg last Wednesday against Minnesota.

Coach Steve Kerr called them similar injuries and is being cautious with two-time MVP Curry, who sat out on his bobblehead giveaway night and has only been receiving treatment on the leg without any on-court work.

"If it was a playoff game he would play, but he's pretty sore," Kerr said. "We've got two days before our next game so this gives us the chance to really get him healthy and right. ... It's a no-brainer to rest him" (see full recap).

Miller’s late threes rescue Pelicans
NEW ORLEANS -- Darius Miller hit four three pointers in the fourth quarter, when he scored 14 of his 21 points, and the New Orleans Pelicans survived a sloppy performance to beat struggling Atlanta 106-105 on Monday night.

DeMarcus Cousins had 22 points and 16 rebounds, and Anthony Davis added 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots for the Pelicans, who've won five of six. E'Twaun Moore tied a career high with 24 points for New Orleans.

Kent Bazemore scored 22 points for the Hawks, who led by as many as 14 points before fading to lose their fourth straight.

Bazemore also missed a critical free throw with 37.1 seconds left. Atlanta still had a chance to take a late lead, but Dennis Schroder's errant pass toward Tyler Cavenaugh sailed out of bounds with 3.2 seconds to go.

Davis' late turnover -- New Orleans' 19th in the game -- gave Atlanta one last desperation shot with about a second left, but Bazemore was unable to get a clean look at his 3-point attempt over Jrue Holiday, and the shot fell short.

Atlanta took advantage of Pelicans mistakes to keep it close and was accurate from deep, hitting 17 of 36 from 3-point range. Cavanaugh, Luke Babbitt and Marco Belinelli each hit four 3s. Cavanaugh finished with 16 points, while Belinelli had 14 and Babbitt 12 (see full recap).

Best of NBA: Bucks snap 4-game skid in Eric Bledsoe's debut

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Best of NBA: Bucks snap 4-game skid in Eric Bledsoe's debut

SAN ANTONIO -- Giannis Antetokounmpo had 28 points and 12 rebounds, and Milwaukee snapped a four-game skid with a 94-87 victory over San Antonio on Friday night in Eric Bledsoe's debut with the Bucks.

Bledsoe started in his first game with Milwaukee three days after being acquired in a trade with Phoenix. Bledsoe made his first attempt, a runner from 13 feet, and he finished with 13 points and seven assists on 6-for-15 shooting.

The Bucks won for the first time in November and snapped the Spurs' three-game winning streak.

Antetokounmpo and San Antonio forward LaMarcus Aldridge played to an early stalemate in a battle of the teams' star big men.

Aldridge muscled his way to the basket and scored 20 points on 8-for-14 shooting. Antetokounmpo elevated to the rim for a series of layups and dunks in shooting 12-for-24.

The Bucks' length and quickness, especially Antetokounmpo's, created havoc for the Spurs. San Antonio had 18 turnovers, two short of its season worst (see full recap).

Celtics overcome Irving injury for 11th straight win
BOSTON -- Jayson Tatum had 16 points, Shane Larkin added 16 off the bench and the Boston Celtics overcame an injury to Kyrie Irving and a 12-point, fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Charlotte Hornets 90-87 on Friday night.

Terry Rozier finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists, playing an increased role after Irving left the game in the first quarter after taking an elbow to the face. Jaylen Brown added 10 points and 13 rebounds.

The Celtics extended their win streak to 11 games. Charlotte has lost four straight.

Celtics center Aron Baynes' elbow inadvertently struck Irving when Baynes was landing after a rebound attempt. Irving fell to the floor and was bleeding from the nose as he was escorted back to the locker room. Irving was ruled out for the rest of the game while he was monitored for possible concussion symptoms.

Kemba Walker led the Hornets with 20 points and 11 assists.

Celtics trailed by 12 after three quarters, but opened the fourth on a 16-3 run and took the lead with 4:05 to play on a basket by Brown (see full recap).

George’s 42 points help Thunder snap skid
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Paul George scored 42 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Los Angeles Clippers 120-111 on Friday night to snap a four-game losing streak.

It was George's highest points total since joining the Thunder in an offseason trade. He made 13 of 22 shots and had nine rebounds and seven assists.

Russell Westbrook had 22 points and eight assists and Carmelo Anthony and Alex Abrines each scored 14 points in the Thunder's highest-scoring game of the season.

Lou Williams scored 35 points for the Clippers, and Blake Griffin had 17 points on 5-for-19 shooting. Los Angeles has lost four straight.

The Thunder led 63-55 at halftime behind 21 points by George and 17 by Westbrook. The Clippers shot 54 percent before the break, but they turned it over 11 times and were outscored 17-12 at the free throw line.

The Thunder continued their surge early in the third quarter. A 3-pointer by Anthony pushed Oklahoma City ahead by 15. The Thunder increased their lead to 20 before the Clippers chipped away late in the quarter to cut their deficit to 94-86 at the end of the period. A 3-pointer by Austin Rivers tied it at 105 midway through the fourth.

The Thunder held the Clippers to one field goal in the final three minutes (see full recap).