NBA Wrap: Denver down the Cavs on Harris’ 32pts

Gary Harris scored 32 points, Will Barton added 23 and the Denver Nuggets did most of their damage behind the 3-point arc in a 126-117 win over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night.

The Nuggets made 19 of 35 3-pointers, including three in the final 2:26, to hold off a second-half charge from the Cavs, who are struggling as they try to blend in four new players on the fly.

James finished with 25 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds — his 13th triple-double this season — but Cleveland’s lack of a dependable No. 2 scorer with Kevin Love out with a broken left hand continues to be a major problem.

J.R. Smith scored 19 points — all in the second half — in his return from a one-game suspension for throwing a bowl of soup on Cavs assistant coach Damon Jones. With Smith and James carrying the scoring load, the Cavs pulled within 115-114 with 2:40 left.

Eric Gordon scored 29 points off the bench, James Harden had 26 points and 10 assists as the Rockets outlasted the Celtics 123-120 to extend their winning streak to a season-high 15 games.

Houston trailed by six before using a 10-2 run, with the last five points coming from Trevor Ariza, to take a 117-115 lead with 1:16 remaining. Ariza made a 3-pointer before stealing the ball from Kyrie Irving and finishing with a basket on the other end to cap the run.

Al Horford missed shots on Boston’s next two possessions before Chris Paul made two free throws with 15 seconds left to push the lead to four. Irving made a layup seconds later, but Harden made one of two free throws with 7.4 seconds left to make it 120-117.

Irving and Paul hit two free throws each before Irving made one and purposely missed the second with 2.8 seconds left. Gordon made one of two free throws to make it 123-120 with 2.3 seconds remaining, and Marcus Smart’s 3-point attempt bounced off the rim at the buzzer to give Houston the win.

Houston’s winning streak ties the second-longest in franchise history, accomplished twice during Hakeem Olajuwon’s tenure in the 1990s, and trails only a 22-game run the Rockets had in the 2007-08 season. It’s their second long winning streak of the season after the NBA-leading Rockets won 14 in a row from Nov. 16 to Dec. 18.

Marcus Morris had 21 points off the bench for the Celtics, who had won four in a row since the All-Star break.

Paul, who sat out with an injury in the previous game against the Celtics, added 15 points and Ariza had 21.

Kelly Olynyk and Josh Richardson each scored 17 points as Miami enhanced its playoff hopes with a 105-96 win over Detroit.

James Johnson scored 14 points, Goran Dragic and Justise Winslow each had 13 and Dwyane Wade added 11 for Miami. Hassan Whiteside grabbed 19 rebounds for the Heat, who won for only the fourth time in their last 13 games.

Blake Griffin scored 31 points and Andre Drummond finished with 22 points and 18 rebounds for the Pistons, who were playing their fifth game in seven nights — four of those on the road.

Reggie Bullock scored 11 points for the Pistons, who have lost eight of their last 10 overall — and 13 of their last 14 on the road.

Evan Fournier broke a tie on a long 3-pointer with 22.5 seconds left, and Orlando rookie Jonathan Isaac helped preserve the lead with his third block of the game as the Magic beat the Grizzlies 107-100 to stretch Memphis’ losing streak to 13 games.

Fournier added two free throws with 8.2 seconds remaining to finish with 19 points. Nikola Vucevic also scored 19 for Orlando, which had six players in double figures.

Ben McLemore scored a game-high 20 for Memphis, which has the NBA’s longest skid of the season. Jarell Martin added 19 points and 11 rebounds.

Memphis led 84-77 early in the fourth quarter, the biggest lead for either team until Orlando (20-43) matched it in the final seconds.

Lonzo Ball hit a career-best six 3-pointers and Julius Randle had 25 points as the Los Angeles Lakers rallied in the final two minutes to beat the San Antonio Spurs 116-112.

Ball made three shots from beyond the arc in the final three minutes to give the Lakers their fifth straight victory. Ball finished with 18 points, and Isaiah Thomas added 21 points.

The Spurs lost their second straight game in which they never trailed until the final two minutes.

CJ McCollum scored 28 points and Damian Lillard had 20 as the Portland Trail Blazers won their sixth straight game with a 108-100 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Rookie forward Zach Collins added 12 points for the Blazers, as matters remained tight between the Thunder, Spurs and Timberwolves in the Western Conference standings.

Russell Westbrook had 30 points and 11 rebounds for Oklahoma City, but he couldn’t prevent the defeat, one that breaks a three-game winning streak. Paul George also added 21 points.

All the scores from Saturday’s NBA action:

Orlando Magic 107-100 Memphis Grizzlies
Miami Heat 105-96 Detroit Pistons
Cleveland Cavaliers 117-126 Denver Nuggets
Houston Rockets 123-120 Boston Celtics
San Antonio Spurs 112-116 Los Angeles Lakers
Portland Trail Blazers 108-100 Oklahoma City Thunder
Sacramento Kings 91-98 Utah Jazz

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