NBA 2016-17

NBA: Houston Rockets register eighth successive win, Nets rally to defeat Thunder

In-form James Harden scored 29 points while Caris LeVert scored 21 points and 10 assists to steer his side to a thrilling victory.

The Houston Rockets, fueled by 29 points from James Harden, posted their eighth straight NBA victory on Thursday, 112-101 over the Utah Jazz. Ryan Anderson scored 23 points and Chris Paul added 18 points, 13 assists and nine rebounds for Houston, the Western Conference leaders who have now won 14 of their last 15 games.

The Jazz coughed up eight turnovers in the first half, leading to 13 points for the Rockets. Nevertheless, the Jazz twice managed to take the lead in the first half – but both times the Rockets powered back in front.

Houston pulled away in the second half, building a 74-53 lead early in the third with a 13-2 run that included Clint Capela’s three-point play and a dunk. The Rockets led by as many as 25 in the second half en route to the victory. Paul would have preferred it if the margin hadn’t dwindled.

“We just started giving up wide open threes down the stretch,” he said. “We know we’ve got to be better, but we’ll take the win.”

In Philadelphia, Brandon Ingram drained a three-pointer with eight-tenths of a second remaining to lift the Los Angeles Lakers to a 107-104 victory over the 76ers. Ingram led the Lakers with 21 points. Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson added 16 each off the bench for Los Angeles, who snapped a five-game losing streak in front of a raucous Philadelphia crowd.

Joel Embiid had 33 points to lead the 76ers. Rookie guard Ben Simmons contributed the third triple-double of his career with 12 points, 13 rebounds and 15 assists.

Philadelphia trailed 85-70 early in the fourth quarter, but roared back to level the score as Embiid scored 16 of his points in the final period and backup forward Richaun Holmes poured in 11 of his 13 in the fourth. Holmes’ dunk, off a pass from Embiid, tied the game at 101-101 wit 2:22 to play.

Los Angeles regained the lead before the Sixers tied it again at 104-104 with 39.8 left. On the Lakers’ final possession, rookie Lonzo Ball began a drive from the right corner but pitched the ball to Ingram, who was wide open on the right wing and swished his three-pointer.

“I had the confidence to shoot it,” Ingram said. Ball “sucked the defense in and kicked it out. I think he made a great pass.”

Nets silence Thunder in Mexico

Caris LeVert scored 21 points with 10 assists as the Brooklyn Nets erased a 16-point deficit en route to a 100-95 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Mexico City.

The game was the first of two in Mexico City for the Nets, who will face the Miami Heat in the Ciudad de Mexico Arena on Saturday.

LeVert, playing on the first anniversary of his NBA debut, connected on six of 10 shots and was effective in guarding Thunder star Russell Westbrook, who scored 31 points but made just 10 of his 27 shots from the floor.

Westbrook scored only five points in the fourth quarter and was harried by LeVert into a turnover with 2:11 to play.

The Thunder missed three straight shots in the space of seven seconds, and LeVert sealed the Nets fourth win in six games with four free-throws in the final 19 seconds.

In Phoenix, Wizards guard Bradley Beal followed up his 51-point outburst in Portland with 34 points in Washington’s 109-99 victory over the Suns. Beal continued to pick up the offensive slack as Wizards point guard John Wall missed his seventh straight game with knee trouble. “I took advantage of what they gave me,” Beal said.

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