NBA roundup: LeBron helps Lakers conquer Rockets

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LeBron James goes for a junk over James Harden

LeBron James produced his 31st double-double while Kyle Kuzma chipped in with 23 points as the visiting Los Angeles Lakers turned a third-quarter defensive clinic into a 124-115 win over the Houston Rockets on Saturday.

The Lakers delivered an efficient offensive display without their leading scorer, Anthony Davis, by following James’ lead. James paired a team-high 31 points with a game-high 12 assists to steward the Lakers.

Their defensive might turned the tide in the third, which they won 32-17.

JaVale McGee and former Rockets center Dwight Howard recorded three blocks each, while Danny Green had four steals. The Lakers posted 13 steals and nine blocks while limiting the Rockets to 12-for-37 shooting from behind the arc.

Russell Westbrook (35 points, nine rebounds, seven assists) and James Harden (34 points, seven assists) paced the Rockets, who have dropped three straight and four of five. Houston committed 20 turnovers.

Los Angeles Clippers 133 – 130 New Orleans Pelicans

Kawhi Leonard scored 39 points while Lou Williams had 32 as visiting Los Angeles defeated New Orleans in Leonard’s fifth consecutive game with more than 30 points, in the absence of second-leading scorer Paul George.

Los Angeles Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard (R) shoots over New Orleans Pelicans’ Lonzo Ball (L)

Montrezl Harrell added 24 points, and Landry Shamet scored 11. The Clippers outscored New Orleans 31-20 in the fourth quarter.

Derrick Favors (10-for-10 from floor) had 22 points and 11 rebounds, Brandon Ingram scored 21, JJ Redick tallied 19 while Lonzo Ball had a triple-double with 18 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for New Orleans.

Toronto Raptors 122 – 112 Minnesota Timberwolves

Fred VanVleet scored 29 points in his return from a hamstring injury, and Kyle Lowry added 28 points as visiting Toronto used a third-quarter charge to earn a victory over Minnesota.

Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (L) drives against Minnesota Timberwolves guard Josh Okogie (R)

Norman Powell scored 20 points, and Pascal Siakam added 14 as the Raptors continued to get their regulars back on the court. Powell and Siakam returned from injury last weekend. Marc Gasol returned Friday.

VanVleet was the latest to see the court again after missing the last five games.

Jarrett Culver scored 26 points, and Robert Covington added 22 as the Timberwolves lost their fifth consecutive game. Karl-Anthony Towns scored 12 for Minnesota in his second game back from a 15-game absence because of a sore knee.

Andrew Wiggins had a triple-double in the defeat, scoring 18 points with 10 rebounds and 11 assists.

Other NBA results

Phoenix Suns 123 – 119 Boston Celtics

Oklahoma City Thunder 119 – 106 Portland Trail Blazers

Milwaukee Bucks 117 – 97 Brooklyn Nets

Philadelphia 76ers 90 – 87 New York Knicks

Utah Jazz 123 – 101 Sacramento Kings

Detroit Pistons 136 – 103 Atlanta Hawks

Golden State Warriors 109 – 95 Orlando Magic

Chicago Bulls 118 – 116 Cleveland Cavaliers

 

Chidi Nwoke.