NBA roundup: Harris scores 32 as Nuggets roll Cavs
CLEVELAND (AP) — 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.
More troublesome, though, is the Cavs’ defense or lack of it. Whenever Denver needed a big basket, the Nuggets got it by making the extra pass and exploiting holes in Cleveland’s defense.
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.
But the Nuggets came right back as Paul Millsap drilled a 3-pointer and Harris made two more from outside to put it away. Jamal Murray and Wilson Chandler added 16 points apiece for the Nuggets, who are 9-3 since Feb. 1.
heat 105, pistons 96
MIAMI (AP) — Kelly Olynyk and Josh Richardson each scored 17 points, and Miami enhanced their 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.
The win gave Miami a four-game cushion over No. 9 Detroit for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, with both clubs having 19 games remaining. There’s no shortage of shifting still possible in a jampacked East race for home-court advantage — with this win, No. 8 Miami got within three games of No. 4 Washington.
Rodney McGruder’s 3-pointer with 7:19 remaining put Miami up by eight, and Wade tried to set him up for another on the next Heat possession. Instead, McGruder made the extra pass to Olynyk for another 3 — and in a span of about 30 seconds, a five-point lead swelled to 94-83.
That was Miami’s first double-digit lead of the final quarter, and the Heat kept control the rest of the way.
magic 107, grizzlies 100
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Evan Fournier broke a tie on a long 3-pointer with 22.5 seconds left, and Orlando rookie Jonathan Isaac helped preserve the Magic’s lead with his third block of the game in a 107-100 win that stretched 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.
A midcourt steal and dunk by Mario Hezonja with 8:10 to go sparked a Magic rally, and Aaron Gordon’s layup with 3:17 left restored a one-point lead for Orlando.
The lead changed hands six times in the final 3:03.
The game was tied at 52 after a first half in which the Magic shot 54 percent.
Memphis (18-44) entered as the NBA’s lowest-scoring team (98.9 points per game) and played without its top three scorers.