Denver Nuggets

Rockets fly to 15th straight win by beating Celtics

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Rockets fly to 15th straight win by beating Celtics

HOUSTON -- Eric Gordon scored 29 points off the bench, James Harden had 26 points and 10 assists, and the Houston Rockets outlasted the Boston Celtics 123-120 on Saturday night to extend their winning streak to a season-high 15 games.

Houston trailed by six before using a 10-2 run, with the last five points coming from Trevor Ariza, to take a 117-115 lead with 1:16 remaining. Ariza made a 3-pointer before stealing the ball from Kyrie Irving and finishing with a basket on the other end to cap the run.

Al Horford missed shots on Boston's next two possessions before Chris Paul made two free throws with 15 seconds left to push the lead to four. Irving made a layup seconds later, but Harden made one of two free throws with 7.4 seconds left to make it 120-117.

Irving and Paul hit two free throws each before Irving made one and purposely missed the second with 2.8 seconds left. Gordon made one of two free throws to make it 123-120 with 2.3 seconds remaining, and Marcus Smart's 3-point attempt bounced off the rim at the buzzer to give Houston the win (see full recap).

Harris scores 32 as Nuggets roll LeBron, Cavs 
CLEVELAND -- Gary Harris scored 32 points, Will Barton added 23 and the Denver Nuggets did most of their damage behind the 3-point arc in a 126-117 win over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night.

The Nuggets made 19 of 35 3-pointers, including three in the final 2:26, to hold off a second-half charge from the Cavs, who are struggling as they try to blend in four new players on the fly.

James finished with 25 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds -- his 13th triple-double this season -- but Cleveland's lack of a dependable No. 2 scorer with Kevin Love out with a broken left hand continues to be a major problem.

More troublesome, though, is the Cavs' defense or lack of it. Whenever Denver needed a big basket, the Nuggets got it by making the extra pass and exploiting holes in Cleveland's defense (see full recap).

Ball, Randle rally Lakers past Spurs late
SAN ANTONIO -- Lonzo Ball hit a career-best six 3-pointers, Julius Randle had 25 points and the Los Angeles Lakers rallied in the final two minutes to beat the San Antonio Spurs 116-112 on Saturday night.

Ball made three shots from beyond the arc in the final three minutes to give the Lakers their fifth straight victory. Ball finished with 18 points, and Isaiah Thomas added 21 points.

The Spurs lost their second straight game in which they never trailed until the final two minutes (see full recap).

Nuggets make it rain in Milwaukee

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Nuggets make it rain in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE -- Nikola Jokic had a triple-double wrapped up in the first half, and the Denver Nuggets put together one of the best 3-point shooting nights in league history in a 134-123 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night.

Denver matched a franchise record with 24 3-pointers, one shy of the NBA record, on 40 attempts.

Jokic finished with 30 points, 15 rebounds and a career-high 17 assists, reaching a triple-double with 1:54 remaining in the second quarter.

Giannis Antetokounmpo also recorded a triple-double, finishing with 36 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists for his ninth career triple-double, passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most in Bucks history.

Gary Harris added 28 points and Jamal Murray had 26 points for the Nuggets, who led by double digits for most of the fourth quarter.

Denver scored 74 points in the first half for its second-highest scoring half of the season. The Nuggets had 82 points in the second half of a 146-114 win over New Orleans on Nov. 17.

It also marked the most points allowed by the Bucks in a half this season (see full recap).

Gibson, Butler spark Timberwolves’ comeback
MINNEAPOLIS -- Taj Gibson scored a season-high 28 points and Jimmy Butler added 24, providing the Minnesota Timberwolves with the production and energy for a 119-111 comeback victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.

Jeff Teague pitched in 20 points and Jamal Crawford added 15 for the Timberwolves, who rallied from a deficit as large as 15 points in the second quarter and 12 points late in the third to raise their home record to 24-7 on an emotional evening that started with a tribute to former coach and executive Flip Saunders.

Julius Randle had 23 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers before fouling out, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Brandon Ingram each scored 17 points.

Ivica Zubac, who went 8 for 8 from the floor for a season-high 19 points, threw down a dunk for a 99-98 lead for the Lakers, but that was essentially their last momentum-creating play of the game.

Butler and Gibson, the former Chicago Bulls teammates, muscled their way to the basket with a fierce determination down the stretch. Butler drove along the baseline and flicked a short pass to Gibson in the lane, where he dropped in a layup and converted a three-point play for a 110-104 lead with 3:59 left.

Then Butler came up with crowd-pleasing blocks of Randle and Isaiah Thomas on consecutive possessions in the closing minutes, putting his stamp on yet another winning performance with his new team (see full recap).

Celtics survive near-dramatic finish against Nuggets

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Celtics survive near-dramatic finish against Nuggets

DENVER -- Kyrie Irving scored 10 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter, Jaylen Brown hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 34 seconds remaining and the struggling Boston Celtics edged the Denver Nuggets 111-110 on Monday night.

Denver had a chance to win in dramatic fashion at the end but Torrey Craig's tip-in of Will Barton's long attempt from 3-point range was too late.

Irving finished 11 of 17 from the field to lead the Celtics to just their second win in seven games. Jayson Tatum added 20 points and Marcus Morris had 14 off the bench.

Boston blew a 20-point lead and trailed heading into the final period. Then the Celtics couldn't hold onto a six-point advantage in the final two minutes as the Nuggets tied the game at 108 with 43 seconds to go.

Nikola Jokic had a double-double by the first minute of the second half for Denver, finishing with 24 points and 11 rebounds. Barton scored 19, Gary Harris 15 and Jamal Murray 14.

Mason Plumlee had 16 points and eight rebounds before he left with a leg injury in the fourth.

The Celtics beat Denver for the second time this season, also prevailing 124-118 on Dec. 13.

Boston made 10 of its first 16 shots from beyond the perimeter to go up 51-31 in the second quarter and led 56-45 at halftime. Irving led the way with 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting.

The Nuggets climbed back on the strength of a 14-5 run to end the half and outscored Boston 37-24 in the third to go up 82-80 (see full recap).

Oladipo, Pacers pull away for win over Hornets
INDIANAPOLIS -- Victor Oladipo scored 25 points, Myles Turner added 22 and the Indiana Pacers pulled away late for a 105-96 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night.

The Pacers have won two in a row and four of five.

Kemba Walker finished with 23 points and a trio of 3-pointers to lead the Hornets, who have lost two straight and four of six.

Dwight Howard had 22 points and 11 rebounds for Charlotte. Nicolas Batum made five 3s and wound up with 22 points.

Both teams had chances to take control throughout the first 3 quarters. Neither could until Oladipo's 19-footer spurred a 13-4 run, which finally gave Indiana a 94-86 lead with six minutes to go.

After that, it was no contest.

Turner's 3-pointer started a 7-0 run that extended the lead to 103-89 with 2:46 left -- the biggest advantage of the game for either team.

Charlotte couldn't cut the deficit to single digits until the final minute in a game that featured 18 lead changes and 16 ties (see full recap).

Whiteside helps Heat sweep Mavs yet again
DALLAS -- Hassan Whiteside had 25 points and 14 rebounds as the Miami Heat completed another season series sweep of the Dallas Mavericks with a 95-88 victory Monday night.

The Heat never trailed after Goran Dragic had a steal that led to Tyler Johnson's tiebreaking 3-pointer to make it 38-35 just under 4 1/2 minutes left in the first half. Their lead went to double-digits again after Whiteside had consecutive baskets midway through the third quarter.

Harrison Barnes had 20 points and Wesley Matthews 19 for the Mavericks (16-35), who have dropped four games in a row and seven of eight overall.

This is the 14th time in their 30 seasons that the Heat, who beat Dallas 113-101 at home on Dec. 22, have swept the regular-season series. These teams twice met in the NBA Finals, with Miami getting its first championship in 2006 and the Mavs winning their only title in 2011.

Miami (29-21) led 51-41 when Josh Richardson hit a 3-pointer with 41 seconds left in the first half. But the Mavs trimmed that in half when rookie Dennis Smith Jr. made a defended buzzer-beating 3-pointer from about 27 feet to make it 51-46. James Johnson had a hand up in front of Smiths' face with Whiteside coming from the side.

Richardson had 14 points for the Heat, while Gragic had 13 and Kelly Olynyk 12.

Smith scored 14 for Dallas, and Nowitzki 10 (see full recap).