Sacramento Kings

Russell Westbrook hits dagger at the buzzer

USA Today Images

Russell Westbrook hits dagger at the buzzer

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Russell Westbrook made a 3-pointer as time expired, lifting the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 110-107 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Thursday night.

The Thunder blew a 23-point lead and trailed 105-102 with 4 minutes remaining before closing the game on an 8-2 run.

Westbrook, who notched his 18th triple-double of the season, made three free throws sandwiched around a bucket in the paint by Steven Adams to put Oklahoma City up 107-105.

Justin Jackson's 6-foot jumper off an offensive rebound tied the game. After a timeout, the Thunder got the ball in front of Sacramento's bench and Carmelo Anthony found Westbrook atop the 3-point line for the winner.

Westbrook lifted the Thunder from what would have been a devastating loss after a fast start in their first game since the All-Star break. They set a season high with 44 points in the first quarter and made 12 3-pointers but still had to rally in the final minutes to win.

Anthony matched his season high of seven 3-pointers and Paul George had three from beyond the arc, ending his five-game streak with five or more 3s. It was the second-longest streak in NBA history behind George McCloud's six-game streak in 1996 (see full recap).

Curry scores 44 as Warriors hold off Clippers
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Stephen Curry swished a beautiful buzzer-beater from way back early and hit another timely 3-pointer late on the way to scoring 44, and the Golden State Warriors returned from the All-Star break and had to hold off the Los Angeles Clippers 134-127 on Thursday night.

Kevin Durant had 21 points and eight assists, Klay Thompson added 19 points, and Draymond Green contributed 13 points, seven rebounds, six assists and two steals.

Curry shot 14 for 19, including 8 of 11 from deep, in his third 40-point game of the season.

Coach Steve Kerr challenged the defending champions to begin games better on the defensive end, which they did. Then the Clippers nearly came back with a surge down the stretch in what became an entertaining back-and-forth in the closing minutes (see full recap).

Wizards spoil home debut for new-look Cavs
CLEVELAND -- Bradley Beal scored 18 points, Kelly Oubre Jr. added 17 and tried to untie the sneakers of one of Cleveland's new players, and the Washington Wizards withstood a late assault by LeBron James to beat the new-look Cavaliers 110-103 on Thursday night.

The Wizards nearly blew a late 11-point lead as James scored 14 straight points to pull the Cavs within 106-103. But Beal hit a driving layup and James missed a free throw and committed a lane violation while intentionally missing the second one and the Wizards held on.

Washington is 8-2 since star guard John Wall went down with a knee injury. Tomas Satoransky, who has been starting in Wall's spot, added 17 points and eight assists.

James, back from winning MVP honors at the All-Star Game, scored 32 -- 14 in the fourth -- for the Cavs, who dropped to 2-1 since acquiring four new players before the trade deadline. J.R. Smith added 15 for Cleveland.

The Wizards spoiled the home debuts for Larry Nance Jr., George Hill, Rodney Hood and Jordan Clarkson, four new faces the Cavs are hoping can get them back to the NBA Finals (see full recap).

Fox goes dunk hunting in final seconds for Kings' win

USA Today Images

Fox goes dunk hunting in final seconds for Kings' win

MIAMI -- De'Aaron Fox's rebound dunk with 3 seconds left capped a huge comeback by the Sacramento Kings, who rallied from a 12-point, fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Miami Heat 89-88 on Thursday night.

The Kings outscored the Heat 17-4 in the final 5:46, winning at Miami for the first time since 2001.

Buddy Hield scored 24 points for Sacramento, which got 14 from Fox, 11 from Bogdan Bogdanovic and 10 from Zach Randolph.

Goran Dragic scored 23 points for Miami, and he was the only Heat starter to finish in double figures. Wayne Ellington had 20 and Justise Winslow added 11 for the Heat.

Miami gave the game away in the fourth, and fell apart in the final moments. Hassan Whiteside fouled out with 21 seconds left while trying to set a screen for Dragic, and the Kings -- down one -- decided to run the clock down as much as they could on the ensuing possession.

Bogdanovic missed a jumper from the right wing, but Fox swooped in for a rebound slam that became the game-winner. Josh Richardson missed a wild jumper as time expired, the capper to his 2-for-13 shooting night (see full recap).

Thunder win behind Westbrook’s season-high 46
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Russell Westbrook scored a season-high 46 points, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Washington Wizards 121-112 on Thursday night for their sixth straight victory.

Westbrook made 19 of 29 field goals in one of his most efficient shooting performances of the season. Paul George scored 18 points and Steven Adams added 12 points and 10 rebounds for Oklahoma City, which has won 20 of 28 after an 8-12 start. The Thunder shot 52 percent from the field.

Bradley Beal scored 41 points and Markieff Morris added 20 for the Wizards, who committed 23 turnovers.

The Thunder took a 54-40 lead into halftime, but Washington trimmed its deficit to a point in the third quarter before the Thunder rallied. Raymond Felton hit back-to-back 3-pointers to put the Thunder up 10, and Oklahoma City led 82-74 at the end of the period.

A powerful right-handed jam by Westbrook gave the Thunder a 92-85 lead in the fourth, and a steal by George led to a dunk by Westbrook that put Oklahoma City up 99-89 with just under seven minutes to play. Westbrook punctuated his performance with a two-handed breakaway jam with about a minute remaining (see full recap).

Nuggets continue home dominance over Knicks
DENVER -- Gary Harris scored 23 points, Trey Lyles had 21 and the Denver Nuggets beat the New York Knicks 130-118 on Thursday night.

Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic added 18 points apiece for the Nuggets, who defeated the Knicks for the 10th time in a row in Denver. New York hasn't won in the Mile High City since 2006.

Seven Nuggets scored in double figures.

Kristaps Porzingis, returning to action after missing Tuesday's loss at Golden State with a sore knee, and Michael Beasley each scored 21 points for the Knicks. Enes Kanter had 20 and Trey Burke 18.

Trailing by 13 at the half, the Knicks pulled to 87-79 on a jumper by Burke with 4:55 left in the third quarter. They trailed 99-92 heading into the final period after Burke connected on a fadeaway shot.

The Nuggets, though, scored 10 straight points to start the fourth quarter, including 3-pointers by Will Barton and Lyles to rebuild Denver's lead to 109-92.

New York put together a 9-0 burst to pull to 114-106 but Porzingis fouled out with just under 5 minutes remaining and Murray drained a key 3-pointer with 2:41 remaining to put the Nuggets back up by 11 points. Harris added a jumper a little more than a minute later to quash the Knicks' comeback bid (see full recap).

This is how bad it can be without Joel Embiid

This is how bad it can be without Joel Embiid

The 76ers missed Joel Embiid’s defensive presence Tuesday night, as the seven-footer was held out for a second straight game with back soreness since playing 48 minutes in last Friday’s triple-overtime loss to the Thunder (see story).

Zach Randolph took advantage of his absence, scoring 27 points as the Sixers blew a 16-point lead and lost to the Kings, 101-95, at home (see observations).

“We were going to start him out [on Randolph],” Brett Brown said of Embiid. “We learned later this afternoon that Joel was not going to play. I think it was about [2 p.m.] that we learned that and our intention was to start Joel on Zach. I think he did a pretty good job in Sacramento with his length. I’m sure that hurt us not having that defensive matchup.”

Without Embiid, Amir Johnson, Trevor Booker and Richaun Holmes were tasked with stopping Randolph all night. The Sixers took care of the Kings’ big men on the boards, outrebounding them, 53-39, but couldn’t stop their low-post game.

Randolph started off the game hot, finishing two and-one buckets and knocking down a three-pointer in the first quarter to spark the Kings' 15-11 start. The second quarter was a different story, as the Sixers held the veteran forward scoreless.

Brown credited Holmes for the defensive spark off the bench.

“I thought Richaun did a pretty good job of battling him in the first half,” Brown said. “Physically, like moving his feet and sort of chesting up and not forcing us to get into a scramble and double-team type mode.”

Johnson helped the Sixers extend their lead at the start of the second half, finishing multiple baskets at the rim to make it 65-49. However, Randolph responded with 10 points in the period and the Kings trimmed the Sixers’ big lead to just seven points by the start of the fourth.

“[We just have to] hope he misses,” T.J. McConnell said. “He’s a really good player and he’s been doing the same thing for a long time. We had a game plan for him, but it doesn’t always work out.

“Like I said, he’s a really good player, so he’s going to get to his spots, it’s just about making things tough for him.”

In the fourth quarter, the Sixers allowed Willie Cauley-Stein to score six points and grab a few rebounds down low, while Randolph’s jump shot over Ben Simmons with 2:02 left helped seal the Sixers’ seventh loss in their last eight games.

“[We miss Embiid] a lot every game [he's out],” Simmons said. “But you know, we've got to learn to play without him. When he’s in, it’s great, but when he’s not here, we still have to play and compete, which is what we do. But we have to learn how to close out games.”