James Harden shook off a sluggish shooting start and took control late, leading the host Houston Rockets to a 122-119 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Thursday.
Harden finished with 33 points and eight assists, and he had a hand in the final 18 points for the Rockets, who won for the first time this season.
John Wall added 22 points and nine assists in his Rockets debut. Wood had 21 points and 12 rebounds, and DeMarcus Cousins, also making his Rockets’ debut, scored eight points. Wall and Cousins sat out two games due to COVID-19 contact tracing.
Harrison Barnes scored 24 points to pace the Kings, who got 22 points from De’Aaron Fox, 22 points and 13 rebounds from Richaun Holmes and 19 points and from Buddy Hield.
Philadelphia 76ers 116 – Orlando Magic 92
Joel Embiid scored 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds, Seth Curry also scored 21 points and visiting Philadelphia crushed the previously undefeated Orlando. Curry made five 3-pointers and the Sixers converted 15 of 33 attempts from long range (45.5 percent).
Tobias Harris contributed 20 points and nine rebounds while Shake Milton scored 14 points for the Sixers, who won their second in a row and improved to 4-1. Ben Simmons contributed nine points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
Nikola Vucevic led the Magic with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while rookie Cole Anthony added 16 points. Orlando, which played its fifth game of the season, became the last team in the league to lose. The Sixers had dropped their last four meetings at Orlando.
New Orleans Pelicans 113 – Oklahoma City Thunder 80
Brandon Ingram scored 20 points to lift New Orleans to a win at Oklahoma City. Ingram wasn’t around for the last quarter-plus, however, after being ejected in the third quarter for a flagrant foul.
The Pelicans dominated the end, though, outsourcing the Thunder 28-7 in the fourth quarter to open up what had been a tight game. Steven Adams, playing in Oklahoma City as a visitor for the first time after spending his first seven NBA seasons with the Thunder, scored eight of his 14 points in the first quarter. He added 10 rebounds.
Al Horford led Oklahoma City with 17 points, going 7 of 9 from the floor.
Indiana Pacers 119 – Cleveland Cavaliers 99
Domantas Sabonis led six Indiana scorers in double-figures with 25 points and Indiana closed the calendar year with a rout of Cleveland at Indianapolis.
One game after they let a 17-point second-half lead slip away in a loss to the Boston Celtics, the Pacers saw a 22-point fourth-quarter lead sliced in half midway through the period thanks to the Cavaliers’ backcourt duo of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. Sexton scored a game-high 28 points, and Garland added 21 in the first of six consecutive road contests for Cleveland.
Victor Oladipo knocked down the fourth and final of his 3-pointers with 5:11 remaining to set off a decisive 10-2 run for Indiana down the stretch and turn a 101-90 lead into a 111-92 advantage. Oladipo had 16 points as all five Pacers starters were in double figures. Malcolm Brogdon was next with 17 points.
Toronto Raptors 100 – New York Knicks 83
Fred VanVleet scored 10 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter and Toronto won for the first time this season, beating New York at Tampa, Fla.
Toronto forward Pascal Siakam watched the game in street clothes, and team sources said the move was for disciplinary reasons. Siakam fouled out of the Raptors’ loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday with 25 seconds to play and marched directly to the locker room instead of to the bench.
Norman Powell made his first start of the season in Siakam’s place and scored 17 points. Kyle Lowry added 20 points for the Raptors. Julius Randle scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Knicks before limping off the court with 3:24 left in the game. Kevin Knox II added 16 points for New York.
Chicago Bulls 133 – Washington Wizards 130
Otto Porter Jr. had 28 points and 12 rebounds while Zach LaVine added 22 points as Chicago won at Washington to earn a sweep of the teams’ back-to-back series.
The Wizards lost their fifth consecutive game to open the season despite the fourth triple-double in as many contests from Russell Westbrook, who finished with 22 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.
Chicago finally was able to exhale after emerging from a fourth quarter that included six lead changes in the final five minutes. Coby White had 16 points and a career-high 10 assists for the Bulls.
Phoenix Suns 106 – Utah Jazz 95
Devin Booker hit a couple of clutch shots in the final minutes and scored a game-high 25 points to lead Phoenix past Utah in Salt Lake City.
Jae Crowder and Mikal Bridges each added 16 points while Chris Paul contributed 11 points and eight assists as the Suns won their third game in a row.
Donovan Mitchell hit just 9 of 23 shots but still scored a team-high 23 points for the Jazz. Rudy Gobert (18 points and 14 rebounds) tallied his fourth consecutive double-double to open the season.
–Field Level Media