James Harden scored 25 points, dished seven assists and added four steals as the visiting Houston Rockets pulled away for a 96-88 win over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.
Carmelo Anthony (17 points) and James Ennis III (15 points) were among three other Rockets to finish in double figures. Houston earned its second win in a row after losing the previous four.
Zach LaVine led the Bulls with 21 points during an unusual night in which he shot 4 of 16 from the field and 12 of 13 from the free-throw line. Jabari Parker added 15 points on 6-for-12 shooting for the Bulls, who have dropped four in a row.
Harden, playing in his first game after missing three straight because of a strained left hamstring, scored 11 points unanswered during the third quarter. He hit back-to-back 3-pointers, sank a pair of free throws and made another 3-pointer to increase Houston’s lead from 60-59 to 71-59.
Pacers 102, Celtics 101
Victor Oladipo capped a wild finish with a go-ahead 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds remaining, delivering host Indiana a tight victory over Boston.
After sweeping two games at Indiana last season, the Celtics appeared headed for another road success when Kyrie Irving hit consecutive 3-pointers in the final 1:08, the second putting Boston up 101-97 with just 38.1 seconds remaining.
But after Oladipo (24 points, 12 rebounds) cut the deficit in half with two free throws with 29.2 seconds left, the Pacers got a shot at the win after Irving couldn’t complete a drive with 11.7 seconds to go. Oladipo got the defensive rebound and, a few seconds later, connected from 27 feet for the game-winner.
76ers 109, Pistons 99
Joel Embiid poured in 32 of his game-high 39 points in the first half, helping host Philadelphia avenge an earlier overtime loss to Detroit with an easy victory.
Embiid outdueled Blake Griffin, who totaled 38 points, as the 76ers won for the fourth time in their last five games. The Pistons were dealt their fourth straight defeat.
Embiid scored Philadelphia’s first seven points in what turned into a 25-11 game-opening run that gave the 76ers a lead they never relinquished.
Hawks 123, Heat 118
Veteran Vince Carter scored the go-ahead basket and added an assist and a free throw in the final minutes to help Atlanta seal a victory over visiting Miami.
The win snapped a four-game losing streak for Atlanta while extending Miami’s skid to three games.
Carter (12 points) knocked down a jumper with 2:39 left to give Atlanta a 120-118 lead, then set up Kent Bazemore’s bucket with 2:00 left to put the Hawks ahead for good. Atlanta also got 24 points and 15 assists from Trae Young, who suffered through a 2-for-8 shooting night on 3-pointers.
Spurs 109, Pelicans 95
LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan paced the way for host San Antonio, which handed New Orleans its fifth straight loss.
Aldridge scored 22 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out six assists, and DeRozan recorded 26 points as the Spurs won their fourth straight. Patty Mills and Marco Belinelli added 15 and 14 points, respectively, off the bench.
Jrue Holiday led the Pelicans with a season-high 29 points and eight assists. Nikola Mirotic had a 22-point, 16-rebound double-double, and Anthony Davis scored 17 points on 5-of-13 shooting for New Orleans, which began the season 4-0 before its skid.
Nuggets 103, Jazz 88
Gary Harris scored 20 points, Jamal Murray had 19 and host Denver used a big fourth quarter to beat Utah.
Nikola Jokic had 16 assists and 10 rebounds, but missed a triple-double with just seven points for Denver, which outscored Utah 35-15 in the final quarter.
The Jazz, who have lost three in a row, got a scare when Donovan Mitchell was helped off the court midway through the fourth. He was favoring his left leg but returned a few minutes later. Mitchell, who sat out Friday’s loss to Memphis with a right hamstring injury he tweaked Wednesday at Minnesota, scored 16 points.
Hornets 126, Cavaliers 94
Jeremy Lamb scored a season-high 19 points, and host Charlotte rolled to an easy victory over struggling Cleveland.
The Hornets were able to snap a nine-game losing streak to the Cavaliers and had lost 13 of 14 to Cleveland during LeBron James’ second run with the team. The Cavs are 1-8 to start this season.
The Hornets led by as many as 13 in the first half but settled for a 59-52 halftime lead. Then came the deluge as Charlotte outscored Cleveland 34-21 in the third period for a 93-73 lead. From there, the lead increased to as many as 32 in the fourth quarter.
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