A round-up of Wednesday night’s NBA action, as LeBron James celebrated his 36th birthday by helping the Lakers to a 121-107 win over the Spurs.
Miami Heat turned the tables on the Milwaukee Bucks with a second-half turnaround, while Jaylen Brown scored a career-high 42 points to help the host Boston Celtics to a 126-107 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.
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Wednesday night’s NBA results
Los Angeles Lakers 121-107 San Antonio Spurs
LeBron James scored 26 points, including two key baskets down the stretch, to lead the visiting Los Angeles Lakers to a 121-107 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.
On his 36th birthday, James scored in double figures for the 1,000th consecutive game, expanding his NBA-record streak. He added eight assists and five rebounds.
The Lakers took charge in the first quarter and never let San Antonio back in the game, forging as much as an 92-74 advantage late in the third period.
The Spurs cut the deficit to 10 points heading into the final quarter and to eight points in the final three minutes. However, San Antonio could not get any closer as James and Anthony Davis hit big shots to close out the win.
The two teams play again in San Antonio on New Year’s Day.
Portland Trail Blazers 105-128 Los Angeles Clippers
Kawhi Leonard recorded 28 points, seven assists and three steals in his return to the lineup, and he led the Los Angeles Clippers to a 128-105 victory over the visiting Portland Trail Blazers.
Paul George added 23 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists as Los Angeles posted its second straight blowout victory following a franchise-worst, 51-point loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.
Leonard sported a mask after missing two games due to a mouth laceration that required eight stitches. He took an elbow to his face from teammate Serge Ibaka last Friday in a victory over the Denver Nuggets.
CJ McCollum made 7 of 11 3-point attempts while scoring 25 points for the Trail Blazers. Damian Lillard scored 20 points but was just 3 of 14 from the field, including missing all eight of his shots from behind the arc.
Los Angeles has won each of its past two games by 23 points, as it posted a 124-101 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday.
Atlanta Hawks 141-145 Brooklyn Nets
Kevin Durant scored 33 points and Kyrie Irving added 17 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter as the Brooklyn Nets outlasted the Atlanta Hawks for a wild 145-141 victory in New York.
Durant registered his first double-double as a Net by adding 11 rebounds, and he missed his 13th career triple-double by two assists. After sitting out for the first time Monday, Durant shot 11 of 22 from the floor and made all nine of his free throws.
Irving’s 3-pointer put Brooklyn up 137-132 with 2:01 remaining and the lead was down to 137-136 after John Collins hit two free throws with 45 seconds left. On the next possession, Irving hit a 10-foot fadeaway in the lane over De’Andre Hunter with 32.5 seconds left for a 139-136 edge.
After Bogdanovic missed a 3-pointer with 26.9 seconds left, Allen seized the rebound and Irving connected with Durant for a baseline dunk that made it 141-136 with 15.6 seconds left. A 3-pointer by Hunter made it 141-139 with 8.8 seconds remaining but Durant iced it at the line with 6.3 seconds remaining.
Atlanta appeared to be getting separation late in the third when a 3-pointer by Solomon Hill gave them a 103-94 lead with 1:16 left. Brooklyn quickly countered with an 8-1 spurt on two layups by Prince sandwiched around a Durant 3-pointer and Atlanta led 104-102 entering the fourth.
Charlotte Hornets 118-99 Dallas Mavericks
First-round draft pick LaMelo Ball had his first strong outing in the NBA and his 22 points helped the Charlotte Hornets thump the Dallas Mavericks 118-99.
Miles Bridges, a reserve, contributed 20 points and a career-high 16 rebounds and Terry Rozier had 18 points for the Hornets, who’ve won in four of their past five visits to Dallas.
P.J. Washington and Gordon Hayward posted 11 points apiece and Jalen McDaniels added 10 points for the Hornets, who won for the first time in two road games this season.
Charlotte led by 31 points in the third quarter.
For the Mavericks, who were in their home opener after a 1-2 stretch on the road to begin the season, it was an unremarkable turnaround from their previous game – a 51-point romp past the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.
Tim Hardaway Jr.’s 18 points, Jalen Brunson’s 16 points and Maxi Kleber’s 12 points were tops for Dallas. Luka Doncic was held to 12 points on 4-for-10 shooting from the field in just 24 minutes.
Ball, a guard coming off the bench, had 15 first-half points. He finished the game with nine rebounds, five assists and 7-for-10 shooting from the field (including 4-for-5 on 3s). Across the first three games of his career, Ball managed a total of 19 points.
Milwaukee Bucks 108-119 Miami Heat
Reserve Goran Dragic had a game-high-tying 26 points as the Miami Heat recovered from a miserable performance against Milwaukee to beat the visiting Bucks 119-108.
The game was a much more competitive rematch of the Tuesday contest, a Bucks 144-97 victory. The Bucks set an NBA record in that game with 29 3-pointers, hitting 56.9 percent from long range.
On Wednesday, Miami’s Bam Adebayo had 22 points and 10 assists while Tyler Herro put up 21 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. Herro and Dragic – Miami’s top two point guards – combined for 47 points, 20 rebounds and six assists in 55 minutes.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee with 26 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, recording his 19th career triple-double.
By half-time, though, Milwaukee had surged on top 56-51.
The Bucks took their largest lead of the game, 72-58, with eight minutes left in the third quarter on an Antetokounmpo dunk. Antetokounmpo had 14 points in the period, but Miami made a run and went into the fourth trailing 91-88 as Herro hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
That momentum carried through to the fourth quarter as the Heat pulled out to a 112-99 advantage with 4:39 left and cruised from there.
Memphis Grizzlies 107-126 Boston Celtics
Jaylen Brown scored a career-high 42 points before sitting out the fourth quarter to send the host Boston Celtics to a 126-107 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Brown made 15 of 21 shots from the floor – including 7 of 10 from 3-point range – to stake Boston to a comfortable 96-71 lead after three quarters. His 26 points over the first two quarters served as a career high for a half.
Brown’s previous best total for a game was 34 points, set during the Celtics’ 129-117 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Dec. 27, 2019. He also had 34 points in Boston’s 104-102 loss at the Milwaukee Bucks in a playoff game on April 22, 2018.
Jayson Tatum scored 16 points and Marcus Smart made four 3-pointers to finish with 14 points for the Celtics, who have won 10 in a row against the Grizzlies. Boston’s last loss to Memphis was a 101-98 decision on Jan. 10, 2016.
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