The Boston Celtics nearly blew a 15-point fourth-quarter lead Thursday night, but they took advantage of a missed free throw by Eric Bledsoe with 12.8 seconds left to hand the visiting Milwaukee Bucks their first loss of the season, 117-113.
The Celtics used 3-point shooting to begin each half with dominant runs, allowing them to lead most of the way en route to their fourth straight win.
Horford and Gordon Hayward had 18 points apiece and Marcus Morris 17 for the Celtics, who swept a two-game homestand that began with a win over Detroit on Tuesday.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was the game’s leading scorer with 33 points and leading rebounder with 11 for the Bucks, who were playing just their third road game of the season.
Trail Blazers 132, Pelicans 119
Damian Lillard scored 26 points as Portland beat visiting New Orleans, who were without big man Anthony Davis for the third time in four games.
Jusuf Nurkic scored 20 points and collected nine rebounds, and Al-Farouq Aminu contributed a season-high 17 points and 10 boards for the Trail Blazers, who won their third straight game. Evan Turner added a season-high 14 points, seven rebounds and seven assists off the Portland bench.
Julius Randle scored a season-high 29 points to lead the Pelicans, who lost for the fourth straight time after a 4-0 start to the season. Davis missed back-to-back games with a sprained right elbow before playing 41 minutes against Golden State on Wednesday.
76ers 122, Clippers 113
Joel Embiid had a season-high 41 points to go along with 13 rebounds and four blocked shots to lift Philadelphia past visiting Los Angeles.
It was Embiid’s sixth game this season with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds. JJ Redick added 18 points, Ben Simmons had 14 points and 11 assists, and Landry Shamet scored 13 points for the Sixers.
The Sixers have won 15 straight home games, the longest active streak in the league and their longest since they won 24 straight in the 1982-83 season.
Nuggets 110, Cavaliers 91
Juan Hernangomez came off the bench to score 23 points and Paul Millsap had 16 points and six rebounds as Denver overcame a sluggish first quarter to beat host Cleveland.
Gary Harris scored 14 as the Nuggets won their third in a row and second in as many nights. Denver’s star center, Nikola Jokic, had only four points on 2-of-5 shooting, but his production was not needed.
Jordan Clarkson scored 17 points and Cedi Osman had 13 for Cleveland. After winning Tuesday in the first game since Tyronn Lue was fired, the Cavaliers could not make it two straight with acting head coach Larry Drew on the bench.
Thunder 111, Hornets 107
Russell Westbrook narrowly missed his first triple-double of the season with 29 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds, and Oklahoma City rallied from a 19-point second-half deficit to beat host Charlotte.
Westbrook scored 13 of his points in the fourth quarter as the Thunder stormed back after trailing 66-47 midway through the third quarter. Westbrook’s drive with 35.1 seconds remaining gave the Thunder a 108-102 lead, and the Hornets never got closer than three from there.
Alex Abrines added 25 points for the Thunder, Dennis Schroder scored 21, Paul George finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Jerami Grant scored 10. The Thunder have won three straight.
Kings 146, Hawks 115
Sacramento, behind a triple-double from De’Aaron Fox and 27 points from Buddy Hield, coasted past host Atlanta to increase its winning streak to five games.
The Kings won in Atlanta for the first time since 2006, breaking an 11-game road losing streak. Sacramento also got 19 points from Nemanja Bjelica and 18 points and five rebounds from first-round draft pick Marvin Bagley III.
The Hawks lost their fourth straight game. Atlanta got a season-high 23 points from Jeremy Lin, who was 8-for-13 from the field. Rookie Trae Young and Kent Bazemore each scored 14 for the Hawks. Young had 10 assists, but committed eight of the team’s 22 turnovers.