SAN ANTONIO — Guard Damian Lillard scored a career-high 43 points, making one clutch shot after another, helping Portland to a 129-119 victory over San Antonio in triple overtime.
For the Trail Blazers (21-6), it was their second victory against the Spurs in five days.
San Antonio (17-10), meanwhile has lost four of its last five games, the last two in triple overtime. The Spurs are 0-4 in overtime games this season.
Forward LaMarcus Aldridge supplemented Lillard with 32 points, 16 rebounds and five steals.
Guard Wesley Matthews scored 16, and forward Dorell Wright made four 3-point baskets in the second half and overtime periods.
Forward Tim Duncan had 32 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks for the Spurs. Guard Danny Green scored 27.
Portland scored the first 11 points of the third overtime.
Nuggets 109, Clippers 106
DENVER — Forward Wilson Chandler scored seven of his 16 points late in the fourth quarter, and Denver rallied after blowing a big halftime lead and held on to beat Los Angeles.
Guard Nate Robinson had 20 points off the bench and guard Ty Lawson had 10 points and 14 assists for the Nuggets, who ended a three-game skid.
Denver led by 18 in the first half but had to withstand a strong second half from the Clippers. Forward Blake Griffin had 32 points and 12 rebounds and guard Chris Paul had 17 points and 15 assists for the Clippers, who had a furious sequence to end the game.
Wizards 105, Heat 103
MIAMI — Washington won its sixth straight game defeating Miami at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Miami has lost five straight home games, its longest skid since March of 2008. Miami has also lost eight of its past nine home games.
Power forward Nene came off the bench to lead Washington with 20 points. Wizards point guard John Wall had 20 points and 10 assists — his 16th double-double of the season.
Bulls 103, Grizzlies 97
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Guard Jimmy Butler posted a double-double with 31 points and 10 rebounds and rookie forward Nikola Mirotic scored a career-high 27 points off the bench as Chicago defeated Memphis at the FedExForum.
Mirotic also made a career-best six 3-pointers — without a miss — and grabbed eight rebounds.
Chicago led by as many as 12 points in the third quarter but settled for a 73-66 lead going into the fourth.
Cavaliers 95, Nets 91
CLEVELAND — Mike Miller’s head feels just fine. His shot looks good, too.
Miller scored 21 points — all on 3-pointers — in his first start and the Cavaliers held on for the win.
The Nets had a chance to tie, but forward Kevin Garnett missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds after guard Joe Johnson couldn’t get a clean look at a 3.
Cavs forward LeBron James had 22 points and nine assists, guard Kyrie Irving had 16 points and four assists and forward Kevin Love added six points and 14 rebounds on a night when all three of the Cavs’ stars struggled offensively. Love made just 1 of 10 shots from the field.
Raptors 110, Pistons 100
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Jonas Valanciunas led a balanced attack with 17 points and seven rebounds and Eastern Conference-leading Toronto won its fifth straight with a thumping of sputtering Detroit at The Palace.
Valanciunas, the starting center, scored 11 of his points in the third quarter when Toronto, which never led in the first half, outscored Detroit 29-18. Point guard Kyle Lowry supplied 15 points and seven assists for the Raptors, who were playing a virtual home game as a large contingent of fans crossed the border to cheer them. Point guard Lou Williams added 15 points off the bench, while forward James Johnson had 12 points and eight rebounds.
Point guard Brandon Jennings had 22 points and eight assists to lead the Pistons, who have lost a single-season, franchise-record 12 straight home games. Shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 18 points and power forward Greg Monroe contributed 17 points and seven rebounds for Detroit.
Jazz 101, Magic 94
ORLANDO, Fla. — Forward Derrick Favors had 23 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Jazz over Orlando at the Amway Center.
The Jazz, who beat the Heat in Miami on Wednesday night, never trailed after early in the first quarter, leading by as many as 17 points in the third.
Guard Gordon Hayward had 20 points, including 18 in the second half when he repeatedly stopped each Magic surge. He added six assists. Center Enes Kanter and guard Trey Burke each had 11 points.
Celtics 114, Tiomberwolves 98
BOSTON — The Boston Celtics said goodbye to their captain and then said hello to their third straight win on Friday night.
With Rajon Rondo in Dallas courtesy of a trade that brought the Celtics three players and two draft picks, his old team responded with a spirited victory over injury-ravaged Minnesota.
Forward Kelly Olynyk, on fire during Boston’s run of three wins in five nights, came off the bench to lead six Celtics in double figures with 21 points (to go with eight rebounds and three assist) as Boston improved to 10-14.
Hornets 109, Sixers 91
PHILADELPHIA — Guard Kemba Walker scored a season-high 30 points and center Al Jefferson added 20 points and 12 rebounds as Charlotte built a 24-point third-quarter lead en route to an easy victory over Philadelphia.
Charlotte, which was without guard Lance Stephenson (pelvic sprain), ended streaks of four straight losses and six straight road defeats. The Hornets are 2-10 on the road this season, with their other victory coming Nov. 14 at Phoenix.
Forward Robert Covington and guard Tony Wroten had 19 points each to lead the Sixers, who are 0-14 at home and 2-23 overall. The NBA record for consecutive home losses to begin a season is 19, by the 1993-94 Dallas Mavericks.
Thunder 104, Lakers 103
LOS ANGELES — Point guard Russell Westbrook scored 31 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, leading Oklahoma City to a victory over the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center.
Guard Reggie Jackson came off the bench to score 25 points as the Thunder (13-14) won for the eighth time in nine contests. The Lakers (8-18) dropped their second in a row.
Forward Ed Davis led six Lakers in double figures with 18 points and nine rebounds, while forward Carlos Boozer finished with 14 points. Kobe Bryant had nine points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Bryant, though, missed a game-winning jumper shortly before the final horn went off.
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.
NBA notebook: Clippers’ Griffin cleared to return
Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin, out the last 15 games with an elbow injury, was cleared to return Sunday against the Houston Rockets.
Griffin had surgery five weeks ago to remove a staph infection in his right elbow.
“He said, ‘I’m ready,'” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said before Sunday’s game. “Yesterday the trainers called me and said, ‘If he can go, he can go. He’s been cleared.'”
Rivers said timing likely will be an adjustment for Griffin.
“Timing is timing,” Rivers said. “You lose it when you don’t play in an NBA game. Sometimes you come back and you play great the first game and then you lose your timing. Sometimes it doesn’t. As far as the way we play, it won’t be hard for him at all.”
In 51 games this season, Griffin is averaging 22.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists.
–Spurs guard Manu Ginobili had to be helped off the floor late in the third quarter against Minnesota on Sunday. Ginobili went down with 43 seconds left in the quarter and with the Spurs leading the Timberwolves by 30 points.
He was helped off the floor and immediately was led to the locker room. He did not put any weight on his right leg as he was carried off the court.
Up to that point, Ginobili had scored 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting in 19 minutes. He battled a stomach illness last week, forcing him to miss a game against Toronto and play limited minutes against Cleveland on March 12.
–Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr sent emails to three fans who were disappointed that he rested several prominent players, including All-Star guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, in Friday’s loss to the Nuggets in Denver.
“There’s two really good sides to the story,” Kerr said, according to the Associated Press report. “Nobody’s wrong here. … I can’t argue with them.”
Kerr received an email from a family that drove from South Dakota to Denver to see Curry, Thompson and the entertaining Warriors play. But Curry, Thompson, center Andrew Bogut and reserve guard Andre Iguodala did not play so they could be rested, and the Warriors lost 114-103.
“I heard from some fans. I received a few emails, stories about driving in from a long distance off and spending a lot of money on tickets,” Kerr said. “I have great sympathy for those people. I really do. It’s a tricky one. It’s something that I think Adam Silver is trying to address through the scheduling shuffling that he’s talking about.
–The Dallas Mavericks recalled center/forward Dwight Powell from the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League on Sunday.
The 6-foot-11, 240-pound Powell played in one game during his most recent assignment to the D-League and finished with 28 points, five rebounds and two assists to lead the Legends in a 115-89 win over the Austin Spurs on Saturday night.
Powell has appeared in 19 games for the Mavericks this season, averaging 3.5 points and 2.2 rebounds in 10.0 minutes per game.
–The Atlanta Hawks signed forward Austin Daye to a 10-day contract Sunday.
Daye appeared in 26 games (four starts) earlier this season with the San Antonio Spurs, averaging 4.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in 10.3 minutes.
In 10 games this season with the Erie BayHawks of the NBA Development League, Daye has averaged 16.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.1 blocks in 28.5 minutes.
–The Miami Heat recalled guard Zoran Dragic from the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA Development League on Sunday.
Zoran appeared in four games (one start) and averaged 16.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.50 steals, helping the Skyforce to a 3-1 record over that span.
Ginobili sprains ankle as Spurs rout Timberwolves
SAN ANTONIO — The fourth and final meeting of the season between the San Antonio Spurs and the Minnesota Timberwolves looked a lot like the first three.
Forward Kawhi Leonard scored a team-high 15 points as San Antonio defeated Minnesota 123-97 Sunday night at the AT&T Center. The only downside for the Spurs was losing guard Manu Ginobili due to a sprained right ankle.
Leonard was one of seven San Antonio players to score in double figures as the Spurs (41-24) completed a season sweep of Minnesota (14-51). The average margin of victory in the games as 23.
The Spurs earned their seventh win in eight games.
Guard Kevin Martin scored 19 points and guard Zach LaVine added 18 for the Timberwolves, who were missing many players on the final game of a four-game road trip. Minnesota lost its fourth game in a row.
“We moved (the ball) well, but it wasn’t a fair fight,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “Their guys are devastated by their injuries, so I thought we had good focus under the circumstances. They still played the right way, so that was the best part of the game.”
The Spurs pulled away in the third quarter behind a 13-0 run. The Wolves only shot 27.3 percent in the third, and the Spurs made 63.6 of their field goals while outscoring Minnesota 33-13 in the period.
“That’s what great teams do,” Martin said. “We knew they were going to do that. Kawhi Leonard had a first half that he probably didn’t want to have, and I’m sure Pop let him know about it. He came out in the second half and changed the whole game.”
Ginobili had to be helped off the court late in the third quarter, and he did not return. He was hurt with 43 seconds left in the quarter and with the Spurs up by 30 points.
Ginobili was taken immediately to the locker room and did not put any weight on his right leg, and he will be out for a to 10 days, Popovich said. Ginobili finished the game with 11 points in 19 minutes.
San Antonio forward Jeff Ayres sustained a rib contusion in the second half and also sat out the rest of the contest.
Sunday night marked the first time San Antonio stepped back on the court since a 128-125 overtime loss to the Cavaliers on Thursday that included a 57-point performance by Cleveland guard Kyrie Irving. The loss snapped the Spurs’ six game winning streak.
Minnesota dressed only eight players. Forward Kevin Garnett (knee), guard Ricky Rubio (ankle) and center Nikola Pekovic (ankle) were all ruled out by coach Flip Saunders before the game.
“It wasn’t a fair fight,” Saunders said. “We just weren’t alert mentally, as far as trying to play. They just mauled us basically.”
The Spurs took advantage of Minnesota’s depleted lineup and jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead behind guard Tony Parker, who made his first four shots of the game and finished the night with 11 points and eight assists. Minnesota trailed 60-50 at halftime.
The Spurs led by as many as 39 points in the fourth quarter.
Even though San Antonio was facing a team without a full complement of players, forward Tim Duncan said the final game of a 5-1 homestand was a sign of good things to come.
“We’re turning that corner,” said Duncan, who finished with 10 points, six rebounds and six assists. “I think we’re heading the right direction. The huge loss last game, I felt like we gave that one away. But other than that, we’re on the right track.”
San Antonio will hit the road for back-to-back games in New York on Tuesday and in Milwaukee on Wednesday. The Timberwolves head home to face the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night.
NOTES: San Antonio moved percentage points ahead of the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Clippers for fifth place in the Western Conference standings. The Clippers lost Sunday, while the Mavericks were idle. … Minnesota F Kevin Garnett (knee) missed his fourth game in a row. … Spurs G Manu Ginobili was back in action against Minnesota after battling a stomach illness that caused him to miss the team’s game against Toronto on Tuesday and play less than 10 minutes against Cleveland on Thursday.