Cleveland Cavaliers

Best of NBA: Harden's career-high 56 points lead Rockets past Jazz

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Best of NBA: Harden's career-high 56 points lead Rockets past Jazz

HOUSTON — James Harden scored a career-high 56 points and added 13 assists in just 35 minutes to lead the Houston Rockets to a 137-110 victory over the Utah Jazz on Sunday night.

Harden finished 19 of 25 from the field after missing his last three attempts. The MVP runner-up was a perfect 7 for 7 from beyond the arc until he missed a step-back 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter as the shot clock was about to expire.

Even when the Jazz could deny Harden his shot, he dished it off for someone else to score. Eric Gordon scored 20 points, Trevor Ariza had 14 and Nene scored 13 off the bench.

Harden received a standing ovation from the Toyota Center crowd, which rained down "MVP! MVP!" chants at multiple points during the game. He had 22 points in both the first and third quarters, 30 at halftime and sat for the final 7:32 of the blowout.

Porzingis pours in 40, Knicks come from 19 down to beat Pacers
NEW YORK — Kristaps Porzingis scored a career-high 40 points, carrying the New York Knicks back from a 19-point deficit to a 108-101 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday night.

Porzingis added eight rebounds and six blocked shots in his seventh 30-point performance in nine games this season.

Rookie Frank Ntilikina made the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 1:34 remaining as the Knicks won for the fifth time in six games after an 0-3 start. He had 10 points and seven assists off the bench. Tim Hardaway Jr. had 16 points.

Thaddeus Young scored 18 points and Victor Oladipo had 17 for the Pacers, who led 84-65 with under 2 minutes remaining in the third quarter (see full recap).

Beal scores 38 as Wizards beat Raptors without Wall
TORONTO — Bradley Beal scored 38 points, Otto Porter Jr. had 19 and the Washington Wizards overcame the absence of All-Star point guard John Wall to beat Toronto 107-96 on Sunday night, winning for the second time in 11 meetings with the Raptors.

Marcin Gortat had 11 points and 12 rebounds, and Markieff Morris and Kelly Oubre Jr. each scored 10 points for the Wizards, who had lost four of their previous five.

Wall sat out because of a sprained left shoulder sustained in Friday's 130-122 loss to Cleveland. He is expected to return for Tuesday's home game against Dallas.

Toronto lost its starting point guard when Kyle Lowry was ejected with 8:08 remaining in the second quarter after picking up two technical fouls in quick succession for arguing. Lowry finished with two points in 12 minutes (see full recap.) 

Schroeder, Hawks end 8-game skid, beat Cavaliers 
CLEVELAND —Coming off LeBron James' 57-point performance, it appeared the Cavaliers had finally gained some momentum.

A team that hadn't won since its season opener proved otherwise.

Dennis Schroeder scored 28 points and the injury-riddled Atlanta Hawks ended an eight-game losing streak, beating skidding Cleveland 117-115 on Sunday.

The Hawks hadn't won since beating Dallas on Oct. 18 and were missing five players, but the Cavaliers went down to yet another puzzling loss.

James, who had 26 points and 13 rebounds, was soaking his feet in a tub of ice water and had ice wraps on both knees and his right elbow following the game. He didn't have an explanation for why there was no carry-over from Friday's 130-122 win over Washington (see full recap).

Best of NBA: LeBron James erupts for 57 points as Cavs snap skid

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Best of NBA: LeBron James erupts for 57 points as Cavs snap skid

WASHINGTON -- Just in case there were any questions about Eastern Conference supremacy, LeBron James poured in 57 points -- the second-highest total of his career and an NBA-best this season -- to help the Cleveland Cavaliers end a four-game losing skid by beating the Washington Wizards 130-122 Friday night.

James hadn't scored this much since getting a career-high 61 for the Miami Heat on March 3, 2014, against the Charlotte Hornets.

And the four-time league MVP did it efficiently Friday, making 23 of 34 field-goal tries and all nine free throws, while adding 11 rebounds and seven assists. James did it with style, too. He hurdled over a seated Bradley Beal while dribbling, swatted a shot by John Wall off the backboard, and looked for a camera to wag both index fingers in the midst of a three-point play.

James didn't need much help, but teammates Derrick Rose (20 points) and Jae Crowder (17) each managed to top their season highs before the third quarter was done.

Cleveland finally looked like a team that has been to the NBA Finals three consecutive years, thanks in large part to James (see full recap).

Celtics ride 2nd-half surge to 7th straight win
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Kyrie Irving scored 22 of his 25 points in the second half and the Boston Celtics rallied from 18 down to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 101-94 on Friday night for their seventh straight victory.

Al Horford scored 17 of his 20 points after halftime and Jaylen Brown added 10 points and 12 rebounds for the Celtics. Boston has allowed 94 or fewer points in every game during its winning streak.

Paul George had 25 points and 10 rebounds, and Russell Westbrook added 19 points and 11 assists for the Thunder. Carmelo Anthony had 10 points and 14 rebounds but shot just 3 of 17.

In a play that seemingly summarized the first half, Irving drove hard to the hoop in the closing seconds of the second quarter and went for a layup before Andre Roberson emphatically swatted it to the ground as time expired with the Thunder leading 55-37. Irving was 1 of 9 from the field before the break.

Boston chipped away at Oklahoma City's lead throughout the third quarter and cut it to a point. Irving had nine points in the period to help the Celtics shave their deficit to 71-67.

A 3-pointer by Semi Ojeleye with just under six minutes to play tied it at 79, and a 3-pointer by Horford put the Celtics ahead 82-79 (see full recap).

Lopez, Lakers spoil Russell’s LA return
LOS ANGELES -- Brook Lopez hit six 3-pointers and scored a season-high 34 points against his former Brooklyn teammates, and rookie Kyle Kuzma had 21 points and 13 rebounds during his first career start in the Los Angeles Lakers' 124-112 victory over the Nets on Friday night.

D'Angelo Russell had 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in his first game against the Lakers since they traded him to Brooklyn last summer in the four-player deal that brought Lopez and Kuzma to Los Angeles.

Lopez, the leading scorer in Nets history, had 23 points in the second half and added 10 rebounds while the Lakers stayed comfortably ahead of Brooklyn, which has lost four straight. Jordan Clarkson added 19 points and Brandon Ingram had 18.

Allen Crabbe scored 25 points for the Nets in the opener of a five-game road trip, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson added 21.

Lopez had spent his entire nine-year NBA career with the Nets before the trade, becoming the top scorer in franchise history while leading the Nets in scoring during each of the past five seasons. But the 7-foot North Hollywood native will be a free agent next summer, and Brooklyn shipped him home after he put up 20.5 points per game last season.

While most Staples Center fans paid attention to the still-popular Russell's return, Lopez calmly posted his biggest offensive game yet for his new team He hit four 3-pointers in the third quarter, and punctuated the performance with a series of ferocious dunks in the final minutes (see full recap).

Best of NBA: Balanced Pacers hand Cavaliers 4th straight loss

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Best of NBA: Balanced Pacers hand Cavaliers 4th straight loss

CLEVELAND -- Thaddeus Young scored 26 points, Darren Collison had 25 and the Indiana Pacers sent the Cleveland Cavaliers to their fourth straight loss, 124-107 on Wednesday night.

LeBron James had 33 points and 11 assists, but it wasn't enough to keep Cleveland from losing for the fifth time in six games and falling to 3-5.

The Cavaliers held a lengthy meeting before Tuesday's practice to discuss their struggles, but the defending Eastern Conference champions have lost by a combined margin of 58 points in their losing streak.

James was upbeat about the meeting, but the Cavaliers still have issues to work out, especially on the defensive end. Cleveland led 69-68 in the third quarter, but Indiana hit four straight 3-pointers and built an eight-point lead.

Indiana was 16 of 26 from 3-point range. Cleveland had allowed the second most 3-pointers in the league going into the game.

Victor Oladipo scored 23 points for the Pacers. Bojan Bogdanovic added 17, and Domantas Sabonis had 15 points and 12 rebounds (see full recap).

Irving, Brown spark Celtics to 6th straight win
BOSTON -- Kyrie Irving and Jaylen Brown each scored 22 points in three quarters, and the Boston Celtics coasted past the skidding Sacramento Kings 113-86 on Wednesday night for their sixth straight victory.

It was the Celtics' 11th consecutive win over the Kings in Boston, dating to their last loss on Jan. 19, 2007. Terry Rozier added 12 points, and Daniel Theis had 10 points with 10 rebounds.

Buddy Hield scored 17 points and Zach Randolph 16 for the Kings, who lost their sixth in a row -- the last three by an average of 24 points.

Boston led 58-45 at halftime and took complete control early in the third quarter, pushing it to 66-47 on Irving's second 3-pointer in the opening two minutes.

Brown hit consecutive 3-pointers -- 27 seconds apart -- during a 17-2 run that made it 87-56 late in the third. Irving had seven points during the spree, including his third from beyond the arc in the quarter.

The Celtics led 89-60 after three (see full recap).

Hornets top Bucks despite Middleton’s 43 points
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Kemba Walker had 26 points, rookie Malik Monk had a huge fourth quarter and the Charlotte Hornets put the clamps on the NBA's leading scorer to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 126-121 on Wednesday night.

Walker was 8 for 12 from the field, including 3 for 4 from 3-point range and 7 for 7 from the foul line as Charlotte won its third straight game. Monk, the team's first-round draft pick from Kentucky, had 18 of his 25 points in the pivotal fourth quarter to help the Hornets build a double-digit lead with Giannis Antetokounmpo forced to sit out with five fouls.

Antetokounmpo came in averaging 33.7 points per game, but struggled with foul trouble and finished with a season-low 14 points along with 13 rebounds. He was limited to five points in the final three quarters.

Khris Middleton led Milwaukee with 43 points on 15-for-28 shooting and Malcolm Brogdon added 20.

The Hornets trailed 86-85 when Antetokounmpo picked up his fifth foul with 36 seconds left in the third quarter.

The Hornets went on a 21-9 run to start the fourth quarter behind rookies Monk and Dwayne Bacon. Monk had four 3-pointers early in the fourth and Bacon made some clutch shots to help stretch the lead (see full recap).