James Harden scored a game-high 40 points, and Russell Westbrook, playing against his former team for the first time, finished an assist shy of his second consecutive triple-double, but it was the two-way prowess of PJ Tucker that led the Houston Rockets to a 116-112 win over the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.
Tucker had 17 points and nine rebounds, and he regularly assumed the challenge of defending opponents big and small. His corner 3-pointer with 54.8 seconds left provided the Rockets the six-point cushion they needed down the stretch.
Westbrook finished with 21 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists while Harden added seven assists. Harden made 21 of 22 foul shots. Tucker was 5 of 7 on 3-point attempts. Clint Capela contributed 15 points for Houston.
Dennis Schroder and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 22 apiece for the Thunder while Danilo Gallinari added 17. Chris Paul posted 15 points in his return to Houston, and Nerlens Noel also scored 15.
Knicks 105, Bulls 98
Reserve Bobby Portis hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:47 remaining and scored 11 of his season-high 28 points in the fourth quarter as New York rallied from 18 points down to beat Chicago.
Portis’ clutch performance was part of a game-ending 15-0 run for the Knicks, who avoided their first 0-4 start since 2005-06. The former Chicago forward shot 10 of 14 from the floor and hit all four of his 3-point shots while also grabbing 11 rebounds.
Rookie RJ Barrett added 19 points and 15 rebounds for his first career double-double for the Knicks, who got 14 points from Kevin Knox and 13 points and 14 rebounds from Julius Randle. Zach LaVine scored 21 points and Wendell Carter Jr. had 20 for the 76ers.
76ers 105, Hawks 103
Joel Embiid scored 36 points, including the decisive two free throws with 5.3 seconds left, and Vince Carter’s potential game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer hit the back rim as Philadelphia edged host Atlanta.
Embiid showed no ill effects of the right ankle sprain that forced him to miss the last game. He shot 12-for-19 from the field, including 2-for-6 on 3-point tries, and 10-for-10 from the foul line. He added 13 rebounds, five assists and three steals to help the Sixers improve to 3-0.
Atlanta was led by Trae Young with 25 points, but only six of those came in the second half. Young also had a game-high nine assists. John Collins had 16 points before fouling out in the final minute, and De’Andre Hunter scored 14.
Clippers 111, Hornets 96
Kawhi Leonard amassed 30 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three blocks as Los Angeles posted a victory over visiting Charlotte. The Clippers won for the third time in four games this season.
Lou Williams added 23 points and Montrezl Harrell scored 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds for Los Angeles. Landry Shamet scored all 16 of his points in the first half, and Ivica Zubac recorded a career-high five blocks.
Terry Rozier finished with 17 points to lead six Hornets in double digits. Cody Zeller chipped in 14 points and 13 rebounds. Reserve guard Devonte’ Graham had 14 points and 12 assists for Charlotte, which took its third consecutive loss.
Pistons 96, Pacers 94
Christian Wood scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds off the bench, and Derrick Rose overcame a cold shooting night to score the go-ahead basket in the final minute as host Detroit defeated Indiana for the second time in six nights.
Andre Drummond supplied 18 points and 18 rebounds, while Luke Kennard tossed in 14 points for Detroit, which had lost its previous two games. Bruce Brown added 11 points and seven rebounds, and Rose scored 10 on 4-for-16 shooting with six assists off the bench.
Domantas Sabonis led the Pacers, who dropped to 0-3, with 21 points and 14 rebounds. T.J. Warren had 19 points and five steals, Myles Turner scored 16 points, and Malcolm Brogdon added 15 points and 11 assists.
Spurs 113, Trail Blazers 110
DeMar DeRozan poured in 27 points and led a huge midgame charge for San Antonio Spurs, which beat visiting Portland to complete a sweep of its season-opening, three-game homestand.
The Spurs roared back from a 19-point, first-quarter hole to take the lead midway through the third on the way to an 82-71 advantage heading into the final 12 minutes. San Antonio outscored the Trail Blazers 63-38 over the second and third quarters, but Portland forged its own comeback late, pulling to within 109-108 on Damian Lillard’s dunk with 1:10 to play.
Lillard scored 18 of his 28 points over the game’s final 3:50, but he missed a 3-point attempt that would have tied the game with 16.3 seconds to play. After a foul and two missed free throws by DeRozan, Portland had two more chances to pull even, but Lillard missed twice from beyond the arc, with the final attempt rolling around the rim and out at the buzzer.
Bucks 129, Cavaliers 112
Khris Middleton led seven players in double figures with 21 points as Milwaukee gradually pulled away from visiting Cleveland.
Coming off a home loss to Miami, the Bucks also got 19- and 17-point efforts off the bench from George Hill and Pat Connaughton, respectively, while also getting double-figure scoring from starters Brook Lopez (16), Giannis Antetokounmpo (14), Eric Bledsoe (14) and Wes Matthews (14).
Collin Sexton led Cleveland with 18 points.
Jazz 96, Suns 95
Bojan Bogdanovic hit four 3-pointers en route to 29 points, and Donovan Mitchell added 25 points and made the first of two free throws with 0.4 seconds left in the game to give Utah a narrow win over host Phoenix.
Rudy Gobert contributed 15 points and 18 rebounds, and made eight consecutive free throws in the fourth quarter to help the Jazz overcome a seven-point deficit in the final nine minutes for their eighth straight win in the series.
Devin Booker had 21 points despite playing through foul trouble, Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 18 points, and Ricky Rubio had 10 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in his first game against Utah after spending the previous two seasons with the Jazz. The Suns were looking to start 3-1 for the first time since 2014-15.
Nuggets 101, Kings 94
Gary Harris contributed a pair of baskets, including a 3-pointer, to an 11-0, third-quarter burst that allowed Denver to overtake host Sacramento before holding on to improve to 3-0.
Playing the front end of a back-to-back, the Nuggets managed to give 10 players at least 17 minutes apiece and no one more than 31. The Nuggets host the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night.
Richaun Holmes recorded a 24-point, 13-rebound double-double to pace the Kings, who fell to 0-4. De’Aaron Fox had 20 points and a game-high nine assists to support Holmes for Sacramento.
Raptors 104, Magic 95
Kyle Lowry scored 26 points, including a key 3-pointer and five free throws late in the fourth quarter, and Toronto held off visiting Orlando.
Pascal Siakam added 24 points and nine rebounds for the Raptors, who got double-digit scoring from all five starters. Fred VanVleet had 14 points, OG Anunoby added 12 points and eight rebounds, and Marc Gasol contributed 10 points and 10 rebounds. Serge Ibaka had nine points and 10 rebounds off the bench.
Jonathan Isaac led the Magic with 24 points, Evan Fournier added 18 points, and Markelle Fultz and Terrence Ross added 13 and 11 off the bench, respectively.
Warriors 134, Pelicans 123
Stephen Curry scored 26 points and Draymond Green had a triple-double as the visiting Golden State defeated New Orleans in a matchup of previously winless teams.
Green had 16 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists, D’Angelo Russell scored 24 points, and Damion Lee added 23 off the bench. The Warriors outrebounded the Pelicans 61-41.
Brandon Ingram had 27 points and 10 rebounds while leading New Orleans in scoring for the fourth consecutive game, and Jaxson Hayes added 19 points.
—Field Level Media