James Harden became the 45th player in NBA history to score 20,000 career points, as the Houston Rockets rolled to a 139-109 victory over the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday.
Harden drilled a stepback 3-pointer with 6:30 remaining in the first half to reach the milestone and finished with 32 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. He also recorded 11 turnovers, all in the first half, but his wayward ball-handling did little to stem the offensive onslaught.
Houston has won 21 of its last 25 meetings with the Timberwolves, including 13 straight at home. The Rockets blistered Minnesota despite playing without center Clint Capela (heel) and losing forward P.J. Tucker to a stinger early in the first quarter.
The Timberwolves were without center Karl-Anthony Towns for a 13th consecutive game. Josh Okogie paced seven Wolves in double figures with 16 points. Rookie Jarrett Culver added 15 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
Milwaukee Bucks 122 – Portland Trail Blazers 101
Giannis Antetokounmpo recorded 32 points, 17 rebounds and six assists to help visiting Milwaukee roll over Portland.
Khris Middleton added 30 points, and Eric Bledsoe scored 29 as the Bucks won for the eighth time in the past nine games and reached the halfway point of the season with a 35-6 record. That puts Milwaukee on pace to win 70 games and surpass the franchise-best 66-16 mark set by the 1970-71 squad led by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Damian Lillard scored 26 points, and CJ McCollum added 20 as the Trail Blazers lost for the eighth time in 10 games.
Los Angeles Lakers 125 – Oklahoma City Thunder 110
Kyle Kuzma scored a season-high 36 points as Los Angeles won its eighth straight game.
The Lakers led by as many as 32 points in the second half, but the Thunder cut the lead to just 11 with less than three minutes remaining before Kuzma hit back-to-back shots to put the game firmly in control once again.
Rajon Rondo added 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers. Danilo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 24 points each to lead the Thunder, who lost for just the second time in nine games.
Mavericks 109 – 76ers 91
Luka Doncic and Dwight Powell scored 19 points each as host Dallas used a dominating third quarter to send Philadelphia to its fifth loss in its last seven games.
Dorian Finney-Smith scored 16 points as the Mavericks erased a 12-point deficit in the first half and recovered after trailing 50-41 at halftime by outscoring the Sixers 32-16 in the third quarter.
Tobias Harris scored 20 points, and Josh Richardson and Al Horford added 16 each as the Sixers fell to 1-1 without Joel Embiid, who is out for as much as two weeks following a finger injury that required surgery this week.
Boston Celtics 140 – New Orleans Pelicans 105
Jayson Tatum scored a career-high 41 points in three quarters as host Boston crushed New Orleans to snap a season-long three-game losing streak.
Tatum shot 16 of 22 from the field with a career-best six 3-pointers, and Enes Kanter added season highs of 22 points and 19 rebounds.
Frank Jackson had a team-high 22 points off the bench for the Pelicans, who lost for just the third time in their last 10 games. Rookie Jaxson Hayes scored a career-high 20 points, and Lonzo Ball (10 points, 13 rebounds) fell an assist shy of a triple-double.
Cleveland Cavaliers 111 – Denver Nuggets 103
Collin Sexton scored 25 points, Kevin Love had 19 points and 15 rebounds, and Cleveland won at Denver.
Tristan Thompson had 18 points and 13 rebounds, Cedi Osman had 11 points and 12 boards and Darius Garland scored 18 for the Cavaliers.
Jamal Murray scored 24 points, Nikola Jokic had 19 points and 12 rebounds and Will Barton scored 18 points for Denver, which trailed 85-71 entering the fourth quarter but rallied to take a brief lead with about five minutes to go before Cleveland reasserted control.
Bulls 108, Pistons 99
Zach LaVine had 25 points and six assists as visiting Chicago snapped a six-game losing streak by defeating Detroit.
Chicago completed a sweep of the four-game season series for the first time since the 2011-12 season.
Detroit center Andre Drummond was ejected with 10:42 remaining in the third quarter. Chicago rookie Daniel Gafford scored an inside basket and was whistled for a technical after saying something to Drummond, who retaliated by throwing the ball off the back of Gafford’s head.
–Field Level Media