In James Harden’s NBA comeback, the Philadelphia 76ers were shocked by the Houston Rockets, losing 123-132 on the road in double overtime. Both teams struggled to get on the scoreboard the entire game, including the first overtime when Kevin Porter Jr. narrowly missed a free throw that gave the home team the victory. However, Houston opened the second overtime period with back-to-back threes from Eric Gordon and Porter Jr., improving to 7-17 the rest of the way.
Porter Jr. had 24 points and six rebounds and Jalen Green led the Rockets with 27 points on 9 of 10 shooting and seven assists.
After missing 11 games, Harden should be limited to a certain number of minutes. Instead, he played 38 minutes, scored 21 points and dished out seven assists.
Joel Embiid led the Sixers with 39 points, seven rebounds, two steals and two blocks to his credit, but he and Harden were responsible for 12 of the team’s 19 turnovers.
The Sixers’ third straight loss dropped their overall record to 12-12.
Kawhi came back with the game-winner
Kawhi Leonard is sorely missed by the LA Clippers.
After missing six games with a sprained ankle, Leonard hit the game-winning shot to lead the Clippers to a crucial 119-117 road victory over the Charlotte Hornets.
Paul George led LA with 19 points and seven assists after recovering from a leg ailment.
The Clippers’ bench helped them get back into the game in the fourth quarter, with Leonard’s arrival in the final few seconds creating a tense atmosphere.
With 1:34 remaining, Leonard tied the game with a put-back layup after Marcus Morris’ missed three-point attempt after Terry Rozier’s jumper had placed Charlotte up 117-115.
In an isolation play, Leonard then recovered possession of the ball, dribbled right, and sank his trademark mid-range jumper to give the Clippers a 119-117 lead with 1.4 seconds remaining.
The Hornets were forced to call a timeout after their initial inbounds attempt led to a nearly five-second violation before PJ Washington missed a fadeaway jumper to give the Clippers the win. With that, the Clippers improved to 5-1 this season and 14-11 overall when Leonard was on the court with 16 points and 6 rebounds in 28 minutes. After the game, Leonard commented, “It was great.
“My teammates put their faith in me. They (Charlotte) passed Rozier on me initially, but they did a fantastic job.
“I was able to put the ball where I wanted and shoot the ball with confidence.
“I feel good. I can’t wait to play in a rhythm and play more minutes, but I’m taking it as a challenge and I’m glad we won tonight,” said the player.
Washington added 26 points, while Kelly Oubre Jr. scored a game-high 28 points, but it wasn’t enough in the end, as the Hornets fell to 7-17.
MAVS win as Green explodes in first half
Aussie for the Dallas Mavericks, Josh Green is still learning the ropes.
Green exploded for 14 of his 16 points on 5-for-5 shooting from the field and 3-of-3 at the foul line in the first half of the Mavs’ 130-111 win over the Phoenix Suns. He added two rebounds, three assists and two steals in just 16 minutes off the bench.
As a result of widespread praise from the basketball community on social media, the Australian young gun helped Dallas take a 67-41 lead into the main break.
In a lopsided contest at American Airlines Center, Phoenix never really recovered in the second half. Dallas was led by Luka Doncic, who finished with 33 points, six rebounds and eight assists. Spencer Dinwiddie chipped in with 21 points and five three-pointers. Dallas improved to 12-11 as a result, while the Suns dropped to 16-8.
On Monday, Jayson Tatum scored 17 of his team-high 31 points as the Boston Celtics continued their winning ways with a 116-110 win over the gritty Toronto Raptors.
The Celtics, who trailed 62-56 at halftime, outscored the Raptors 35-18 in the third quarter to build a nine-point lead, and extended their lead to 13 in the fourth when they went as far as 20. 5, the best record in the league.
The Milwaukee Bucks beat the Orlando Magic 109-102 behind two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 34 points and 13 rebounds, two games behind the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference standings.
Jaylen Brown scored 22 points and Tatum added 12 rebounds as the Celtics won their eighth straight game in Toronto despite the absence of Al Horford and Malcolm Brogdon due to injury.
Marcus Smart, the Defensive Player of the Year, contributed 18 points and Blake Griffin had 13, including a tip-in by Tatum that extended Boston’s lead to 115-108 with 26.8 seconds left. Despite Scotty Barnes’ 21 points and Pascal Siakam’s 29 points, Toronto lost at home for just the third game this year.
According to Tatum, the Celtics chose to “work out” at halftime. He explained, “The second night of a back-to-back against a team that plays exceptionally well at home.” We played very slowly. We just want to make a change because we are very concerned about the managers.
“We came out and had a different excitement to start the third quarter.” The Celtics need this kind of success, according to Tatum, if they want to reach the NBA Finals and win the champion ship, they were denied against Golden State the previous season.
“When we put our mind to it, we can beat anybody,” he declared. This is a decision we have to make. The Bucks in Orlando overcame a slow start to take a 54-45 halftime lead and never looked back, fending off a late Magic drive that cut the margin to four points with two minutes remaining.
The Bucks won thanks to a free throw from Antetokounmpo and a driving layup from him. In 40 attempts, Milwaukee made 13 three-pointers and with 31 assists, they kept their offense going. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 35 points for Oklahoma City and Josh Gidde added 12 of his 17 points in the final frame as the Thunder overcame a significant deficit to beat the Hawks 121-114 in Atlanta.