MINNEAPOLIS — The Philadelphia 76ers avoided a dubious place in the NBA record books on Wednesday, as they snapped a 17-game losing streak with their first victory of the season in an 85-77 defeat of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Philadelphia entered the night one loss away from tying the 2009-10 Nets for the worst start to a season in NBA history, but a game-high 20 points from Michael Carter-Williams helped the 76ers preserve their first win.
Philadelphia was 5-of-24 from 3-point range, but forward Robert Covington converted on three shots from long-distance en route to posting 17 points.
Forward Thaddeus Young, who was traded to the Timberwolves in the offseason as part of a three-team deal that sent Kevin Love to Cleveland, opened 0-of-4 from the floor before finishing with 16 points against his former team. Luc Mbah a Moute, who was also part of the Love deal, was one rebound shy of a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds for the 76ers.
Nets 95, Spurs 93 (OT)
NEW YORK — Brooklyn forward Mirza Teletovic led his team with 26 points in a win over San Antonio, snapping the defending NBA champions’ eight-game win streak.
Brooklyn also received 17 points and nine assists from guard Deron Williams and 16 points and 15 rebounds from center Brook Lopez. Guard Bojan Bogdanovic added 14 points.
San Antonio was led by guard Danny Green, who scored 20 points while guard Manu Ginobili added 15 points.
Bulls 102, Hornets 95
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Pau Gasol led the way with 19 points and 15 rebounds, and fellow big men Joakim Noah and Nikola Mirotic also had double-doubles in a solid performance from start to finish as Chicago topped Charlotte.
Noah finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds and Mirotic had 11 points and 12 rebounds, giving all three Chicago big men double-doubles. Chicago also got 15 points each from guards Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose, and 12 points from guard Kirk Hinrich.
Guard Kemba Walker scored 23 and guard Lance Stephenson had 20 points and eight rebounds for Charlotte. But leading scorer Al Jefferson was held to 13 points and seven rebounds.
Wizards 111, Lakers 95
WASHINGTON — Guard Kobe Bryant scored 29 points, but the Los Angeles Lakers’ modest winning streak ended as Bradley Beal’s scoring, John Wall’s passing and Kris Humphries’ rebounding carried Washington to a victory.
Beal had 27 points and backcourt partner Wall finished with 17 points and a season-high 15 assists for Washington. Starting at power forward for the injured Nene, Humphries grabbed 20 rebounds. Forward Paul Pierce added 14 points, but he limped to the locker room in the third quarter and did not return with an injured right big toe.
For Los Angeles, guard Nick Young scored 21 points but guard Jeremy Lin missed all 10 of his field-goal attempts.
Hawks 112, Heat 102
MIAMI — Atlanta won its fourth game in a row, defeating Miami at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Atlanta was led by guards Jeff Teague (27 points), Kyle Korver (18 points) and reserve guard Dennis Schroeder (a career-high 16 points).
Miami was led by forward Chris Bosh (27 points, 11 rebounds) and guard Dwyane Wade (a season-high 28 points). Guard Mario Chalmers added 19 points and 11 assists.
Celtics 108, Pistons 102 (OT)
BOSTON — Forward Jared Sullinger scored 10 in overtime as Boston handed Detroit its 10th loss in a row.
Forward Jeff Green finished with 32 points, forward Kelly Olynyk came off the bench with 20 points and seven rebounds, Sullinger had 14 points and eight rebounds and center Tyler Zeller had eight points and 10 boards.
Swingman Greg Monroe, coming off the bench, had 29 points and seven rebounds, while center Andre Drummond posted 27 points and 14 rebounds For Detroit. Forward Josh Smith had 12 points and 11 rebounds and guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 15 points.
Rockets 105, Grizzlies 96
HOUSTON — With all five members of their revamped starting lineup scoring in double figures, Houston ran past league-leading Memphis at Toyota Center.
Guard James Harden scored a game-high 21 points while rookie center Tarik Black recorded his first career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds for Houston. Guard Jason Terry and forward Trevor Ariza scored 16 points apiece.
Guard Mike Conley paced Memphis with 15 points and six assists while swingman Tony Allen added 10 points, two steals and two blocks.
Mavericks 107, Bucks 105
MILWAUKEE — Monta Ellis scored on a 10-foot fadeaway jumper as time expired, giving Dallas a victory over Milwaukee at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Ellis scored 10 of his team-leading 23 points in the final quarter. Center Tyson Chandler scored 18 points for Dallas, which also got 14 from forward Chandler Parsons, 13 each from forward Al-Farouq Aminu and point guard Jameer Nelson and 10 off the bench from forward Richard Jefferson.
Forward Khris Middleton hit his first six from the field and finished 21 points, while guard Brandon Knight went 8-for-16 from the floor and led Milwaukee with 25 points.
Raptors 123, Jazz 104
SALT LAKE CITY — Guard Kyle Lowry led Toronto to its second win in as many nights, scoring a career-high 39 points in a victory over Utah at EnergySolutions Arena.
Lowry (15 first-half points) and Greivis Vasquez (14 of his 17 points) help established control before halftime as Toronto shot 64 percent took a lead to the locker room.
The Jazz got strong offensive contributions from their frontcourt, as both center Derrick Favors and power forward Enes Kanter finished with 19 points. Rookie forward Joe Ingles scored a career-high 12 points off the bench for Utah.
Clippers 114, Magic 86
LOS ANGELES — Forward Blake Griffin had 21 points, eight rebounds and six assists, leading the Los Angeles Clippers to a 114-86 rout of Orlando at Staples Center.
Shooting guard J.J. Redick scored 20 points and point guard Chris Paul added 19 points, 10 assists and five rebounds for Los Angeles, which captured its sixth consecutive win. Forward Matt Barnes, the only Los Angeles starter to play in the final period, finished with 17 points.
Forward Tobias Harris led Orlando with 16 points and eight rebounds.
Rockets spoil Griffin’s return in testy affair
If James Harden needed any extra motivation against the Los Angeles Clippers, he found it in the first half.
Harden scored 34 points, and the Rockets held on for a 100-98 victory over the Clippers in a sometimes testy affair on Sunday at Staples Center.
Point guard Chris Paul, who finished with 23 points, missed a contested shot at the buzzer that would have forced overtime.
“It was very important for us just to go out there and play well,” said Harden, who hit seven of 16 shots from the floor, three of five from 3-point range and 17 of 18 free throws. “The last two games we kind of struggled a little bit, but we got our pop back a little bit today, and it was a good win for us.”
Harden provided much of that pop, particularly in the second quarter after Clippers forward Matt Barnes was whistled for a flagrant-1 foul after pushing Harden to the court at 6:02. Harden scored 15 of his 18 points in the period after that, leading the Rockets to a 58-50 halftime lead.
Did the flagrant foul add more fuel for the Rockets’ All-Star guard and MVP candidate?
“Yeah. Things like that are fun,” said Harden, who had 24 points in the first half. “We have fun, we got boosted off of that.”
The win ended a two-game skid for the Rockets (44-22). Houston forward Trevor Ariza scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while forward Terrence Jones added 16 points and 12 boards.
“This was a win that we needed, especially on the road,” Ariza said. “Going into the home stretch, these are the types of games we have to win.”
Los Angeles forward Blake Griffin returned after missing 15 games due to surgery on his right elbow. Griffin had 11 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, but committed five turnovers in 41 minutes.
“I didn’t think I played well,” said Griffin, who managed 4-of-10 shooting. “I was out of rhythm. Way too many turnovers, obviously.”
Barnes scored 19 points and guard J.J. Redick had 15 for the Clippers (42-24), who fell into a tie for the No. 5 spot in the Western Conference standings with the Dallas Mavericks.
Paul lamented a host of turnovers in the defeat, including a critical one involving center DeAndre Jordan.
“I had some bad turnovers,” said Paul, who committed three of the Clippers’ 20 miscues compared to 13 for the Rockets. “On one, I drove it off DeAndre’s foot, the other one I lost towards the end of the half. We have to take better care of the ball. We still had an opportunity to win, but we just didn’t do it.”
The Clippers came back from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit. Paul scored seven straight points, capping it with a 3-point basket to tie the score at 96 with 3:05 left in the game. Houston got a 3-pointer by Jones, but Barnes countered with a basket to keep Los Angeles within 99-98 with 1:35 left. Los Angeles, though, never scored again.
Griffin got a steal as Ariza attempted a pass to Harden, but Ariza drew a charging foul as Griffin bolted to the bucket with 12 seconds remaining. Griffin remained unhappy about the call after the game.
“If I speak on that, I’ll get fined,” Griffin said.
Harden hit one of two foul shots with 8.9 seconds left, capping the scoring before Paul failed to connect on a jumper in the lane with Ariza defending.
The Rockets outscored Los Angeles 36-20 in the second quarter despite making just 38.5 percent of their shots compared to 44.4 percent for the Clippers. Overall, the Clippers hit 43.9 percent to 37.2 percent for the Rockets. They also held an edge in 3-point shooting, converting 12 of 26 attempts to seven of 30 for Houston. The Rockets, though were 29 of 36 from the foul line to 14 of 24 for Los Angeles.
Jordan finished with 20 rebounds and four blocks.
NOTES: F Blake Griffin’s return benefits PG Chris Paul as much as any Clipper. “Teams have been able to trap (Paul) far more than they can when Blake is on the floor because of (Griffin’s) ability to pass,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “I’m sure CP is the happiest of all to have him back.” … Rivers isn’t sure if injured G Jamal Crawford would return before the playoffs. Crawford has missed six games with a right calf contusion. … Rockets C Dwight Howard sat out his 18th game with a right knee edema. “He’s doing everything he can, he’s trying to get better, but until you’re on the floor, it’s impossible to say,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said regarding Howard’s return. … Both clubs resume play Tuesday. Houston hosts the Orlando Magic, while Los Angeles plays the Charlotte Hornets at Staples Center.
Irving leads Cavaliers to rout of Magic
ORLANDO — Cleveland guard Kyrie Irving is in the midst of an incredible shooting zone. And he’s loving every minute of it. Irving followed his NBA-best, 57-point scoring burst on Thursday with a more-efficient, 33-point effort Sunday, leading the Cavaliers to a 123-108 victory over the outmatched Orlando Magic.
Irving was sensational again.
In the last two games, Irving has made 12 of 13 shots from 3-point range. He has made 32 of 47 shots overall. He made the Cavs look unstoppable.
“It’s just a feel, an overall body feel right now,” Irving said. “The basketball feels a little bit better. It’s a fun game right now, and it’s fun to be part of something like this.”
Irving made 12 of his 15 shots Sunday and hit five of six from 3-point range, finding time to add four rebounds and four assists in leading the Cavs (43-25) to their fourth consecutive victory.
“Someone did ask me (before the game), what does he do for an encore (after his 57 point effort),” said Cavs coach David Blatt. “I didn’t have a good answer, But 12 of 15 from the field, in 34 minutes. That’s a pretty good encore. And he played right, which is the most important thing. It’s not the scoring as much as it is him just being engaged, locked in.”
LeBron James happily provided the perfect complement and setup man. He had 21 points, 13 assists, eight rebounds, and three steals, creating opportunities for everyone else. The Cavs buried the Magic by making 18 of 35 3-point shots, most of which were wide open.
Guard J.R. Smith scored 25 points, leading the 3-point onslaught by making six of his 10 from long range.
“I thought LeBron seemed to be seeing everyone in the gym tonight,” Blatt said. “And he threw it to them in the shooting pocket, and it seemed like that made every one. It seemed like he found guys in the eighth row that could make an open shot tonight.”
The Cavs received a brief scare midway in the third period when James went up to contest a shot and landed awkwardly, twisting his right knee. He continued to play and looked fine, but he raised the issue about his availability for Monday’s game in Miami.
“A scary moment for myself obviously,” he said. “I’ll see how I feel tomorrow and go from there. I haven’t had one of those falls in a pretty long time. I was happy to stay in the game.”
The Cavs made 45 of 76 shots (59.2 percent). The Magic (21-47) made 42 of 88 (47.7 percent, but they never seriously challenged in the second half, even though they closed to nine points twice in the fourth quarter.
Magic guard Victor Olidipo had 25 points and seven assists. Center Nikola Vucevic had 22 points and 15 rebounds. Rookie point guard Elfrid Payton had 13 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists. Forward Tobias Harris had 24 points and eight rebounds. Reserve guard Luke Ridnour had a season-high 15 points.
Irving made his first four 3-point attempts, giving him 11 consecutive 3-pointers without a miss, dating back to his 7-for-7 effort Thursday against San Antonio. He finally missed from 3-point range midway in the third period.
The Magic twice fouled Smith while he was shooting beyond the 3-point line, accounting for all five of his free throws.
“That’s a tough team. You have to give them credit,” Harris said. “They have a lot of options out there, and guys who can make tough shots. It’s just overall tough for us against a team like that.”
The Cavaliers led 100-86 going into the fourth quarter. Smith made a trio of 3-pointers in the third period, helping hold off every Magic charge in the period.
Smith hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Cavaliers a 84-68 lead. Irving hit a pair of 3-pointers earlier in the period.
The Cavaliers led 66-55 at intermission, riding a red-hot shooting start and a 40-point second quarter. They made 26 of 42 shots (61.9 percent) and eight of their 16 3-point attempts in the first half.
Irving hit both of his 3-pointers in the first half. The Magic held a 28-16 rebound edge in the first half, but they couldn’t keep pace with the Cavaliers, who exploded in the second period when they made 16 of their 20 shots.
The Magic led the entire first quarter. Forward James Jones gave the Cavaliers their first lead when he opened the second with a 3-pointer.
Vucevic and Harris each had 14 points by halftime. James had 15 points and six assists before intermission. Irving made six of his first seven shots for 14 points.
NOTES: The Cavaliers were without PF Kevin Love (sore back), but they were helped by the return of veteran Shawn Marion, who missed the past three weeks with a strained hip muscle. F Tristan Thompson started in Love’s place. … The Magic were without reserve G Willie Green, who missed his third consecutive game with lower back spasms and F Evan Fournier, who missed his eighth consecutive game with a sore right hip. … A quirk in the schedule gave the Cavs two-plus days in balmy Orlando before the game Sunday. The extra time gave one fan of James the opportunity to invite him Friday to his wedding reception Saturday night at the posh hotel where the Cavs were staying. James politely declined.
Spurs’ Ginobili sprains ankle
SAN ANTONIO — Guard Manu Ginobili was helped off the floor late in the third quarter of the San Antonio Spurs’ game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday due to a sprained right ankle.
Ginobili went down with 43 seconds left in the quarter and with the Spurs leading the Timberwolves by 30 points. He was immediately was led to the locker room, and he did not put any weight on his right leg as he was carried off the court. He did not return to the game.
In 19 minutes during the Spurs’ 123-97 win over the Timberwolves, Ginobili scored 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting. He battled a stomach illness last week, forcing him to miss a game against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday and leading him to play limited minutes against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday.