Best of NBA

Best of NBA: Celtics surge past Warriors for 14th straight win

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Best of NBA: Celtics surge past Warriors for 14th straight win

BOSTON -- Kyrie Irving had 11 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, including two free throws that put Boston ahead in the closing seconds, and the Celtics beat the Golden State Warriors 92-88 on Thursday night for their 14th straight victory.

Jaylen Brown had 22 points and seven rebounds, and Al Horford added 18 points and 11 rebounds.

Kevin Durant has 24 points for Golden State. The defending champion Warriors had won seven in a row.

Playing his second game since suffering a facial fracture, Irving shed his protective mask in the second quarter. Then, with the game tied at 88, he was fouled on his layup attempt and calmly made a pair of free throws. Durant then came up empty on his jumper on the other end.

Golden State led by as many as 17, but had to lean heavily on its reserves as its trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Durant struggled offensively.

Curry, who returned to action after missing a game with a bruised right thigh, was the most ineffective. He was 3 of 14 from the field -- 2 of 9 from the 3-point line -- and had nine points (see full recap).

Harden’s 48 points ignite Rockets’ rout of Suns
PHOENIX -- James Harden had 23 of his 48 points in the second quarter while the Houston Rockets scored 90 points in the first half en route to a 142-116 win over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night.

Houston dominated with Chris Paul back in the lineup after missing 14 games with a knee injury. The Rockets made 61 percent of their first-half shots to get the second-most points in a first half in NBA history.

Houston came up 14 points shy of the franchise record for points in a game. The Rockets knocked down 21 of 44 3-point attempts, and Harden made all 18 of his free throws (see full recap).

Harden, the NBA's leading scorer, had 33 points at halftime. Houston used a 13-1 over the final 3:08 of the first quarter to take control and was never threatened after that, leading 45-23 going into the second.

Paul, who hadn't played since the season opener, got the start and didn't miss a beat, scoring 11 points and handing out 10 assists in limited action.

Coach Mike D'Antoni said before the game that getting the two stars, Harden and Paul, in sync will "take care of itself over the next week or so." D'Antoni planned to play Paul for 20 minutes; Paul saw 21 minutes of action and sat out most of the fourth quarter.

Ryan Anderson added 24 points for the Rockets, who have won seven of eight (see full recap).

Best of NBA: Cavaliers hold off Hornets for 3rd straight win

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Best of NBA: Cavaliers hold off Hornets for 3rd straight win

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- LeBron James scored 31 points, Kevin Love had 22 points and 10 rebounds and the Cleveland Cavaliers continued their dominance against the Charlotte Hornets with a 115-107 victory Wednesday night.

The Cavaliers have won seven straight against the Hornets and 11 of 12. James is 40-6 in the regular season against Charlotte.

Kyle Korver's 3-pointer with 1:06 left in the third quarter put the Cavaliers ahead for good at 86-84. They extended the lead to 10 points three times in the fourth quarter, first when James drove into the lane and hit a stepback baseline jumper to make it 105-95.

Jeff Green added 13 points for Cleveland, Korver had 11 and J.R. Smith 10. The Cavaliers have won three straight and four of five.

The loss was Charlotte's fifth in a row since a five-point win at Milwaukee on Nov. 1. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist shot 10 of 14 from the field and led Charlotte with a season-high 22 points, three shy of his career best. Point guard Kemba Walker had 20.

Hornets guard Nicolas Batum played his first game of the season after a tearing a ligament in his left elbow last month. He started and scored 16 points in 32 minutes, including seven straight in the second half as the Hornets took a 58-52 lead (see full recap).

Raptors ride hot 3-point shooting to victory
NEW ORLEANS -- DeMar DeRozan scored 25 points and the Toronto Raptors kept hitting 3s to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 125-116 on Wednesday night.

The Raptors shot 16 for 34 on 3-pointers, with C.J. Miles going 5 for 9.

Kyle Lowry had 22 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 21 and Miles 17 for Toronto. Serge Ibaka added 12 points and Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet each had 10.

DeMarcus Cousins scored 25 points for the Pelicans and Anthony Davis had 19.

New Orleans had a 64-42 scoring advantage in the paint, but couldn't match Toronto's outside shooting. The Raptors shot 59 percent overall and won for the fourth time in five games.

The Pelicans lost for the second time in their last seven games.

Toronto turned a one-point halftime edge into a 98-86 lead after three quarters, boosted by DeRozan's 11 points.

Lowry scored on an offensive rebound and Miles made a 3-pointer as Toronto built the lead to 110-93 early in the fourth quarter (see full recap).

Pacers build big lead early, hold on late for win
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Darren Collison scored a season-high 30 points, Victor Oladipo had 21 and the Indiana Pacers built an early lead before holding off a late rally to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 116-113 on Wednesday night.

Collison added eight assists, made all 12 of his foul shots and connected on 8 of 13 from the field, including 2 of 4 from outside the arc.

Memphis lost its third straight. It had a chance to tie it after a review of an out-of-bounds call gave the Grizzlies the ball with 9 seconds left. Marc Gasol's 3-pointer with 3 seconds remaining was off the mark.

Gasol led Memphis with 35 points and 13 rebounds. Tyreke Evans added 18 points and nine assists, while Chandler Parsons scored 13 points.

Bojan Bogdanovic finished with 16 points for Indiana, including a 3-pointer that momentarily stalled a fourth-quarter surge by Memphis.

The Grizzlies trailed by 17 early in the fourth but scored 10 straight points to cut the deficit to 105-98 before Bogdanovic's 3.

Memphis played without starting point guard Mike Conley, who has a sore left Achilles tendon. Despite shooting well at times, Memphis' offense seemed in disarray and committed fifteen turnovers (see full recap).

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).