Thunder thump Cavs 148-124, keep LeBron shy of 30,000 points
CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James couldn’t get to 30,000 career points and he and his Cleveland teammates couldn’t stop Paul George, Russell Westbrook or Carmelo Anthony as the Oklahoma City Thunder thumped the Cavaliers 148-124 on Saturday for their fourth straight win.
Oklahoma City tied the record for the most points scored against Cleveland in a regulation game. Philadelphia scored 148 back in 1972.
George scored 36, Westbrook had 23 and 20 assists and Anthony scored a season-high 29 as the Thunder embarrassed the Eastern Conference champions, whose defensive issues aren’t improving. Cleveland has lost 10 of 14.
James finished with 18 points and is seven shy of becoming the seventh player in NBA history to reach the 30,000-point plateau. His next chance is Tuesday when the Cavs visit San Antonio.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Joel Embiid had 29 points and nine rebounds and Philadelphia pulled away from undermanned Milwaukee for its seventh win in eight games.
Ben Simmons added 16 points and nine assists, and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot added 16 points in a rare start as the Sixers (22-20) moved past Milwaukee (23-22) for sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
Khris Middleton had 23 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists for the Bucks in their second straight loss. They were without top scorer Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was sitting out the first of two games to rest a sore right knee.
Fellow starter Malcolm Brogdon (family matter) also wasn’t available. Tony Snell (15 points) and Sterling Brown (14 points) moved into the lineup, and the Bucks rallied from 16 points down to tie it before fading in the fourth quarter.
PELICANS 111, GRIZZLIES 104
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Jrue Holiday scored 13 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter, DeMarcus Cousins had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and New Orleans beat Memphis.
Anthony Davis had 21 points and 12 rebounds but did not score his first points of the second half until he dunked with 1:15 to go in the game, giving the Pelicans a 108-102 lead.
Darius Miller added 12 points in a reserve role for New Orleans, which never trailed but very nearly blew a 21-point lead.
ATLANTA (AP) — Robin Lopez scored 20 points, Lauri Markkanen added 19 and Chicago easily beat Atlanta.
The Bulls, coming off a 7-point home loss to defending NBA champion Golden State three days ago, have won four of five. They never trailed, taking an 11-pont lead midway through the first quarter on Lopez’s dunk and going up 17 on Markkanen’s dunk in the closing seconds of the first half.
Dennis Schroder scored 18 points and Dewayne Dedmon had 11 for Atlanta, which showed why it’s spent the season at or near the bottom of the NBA standings.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kelly Olynyk scored 14 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, including a free throw with 0.2 seconds left, to help Miami erase a five-point deficit in the final 34 seconds and stun Charlotte.
Wayne Ellington had 26 points on six 3-pointers, Joe Johnson had 22 points and Olynyk was brilliant down the stretch.
Nic Batum scored a season-high 26 points and Kemba Walker had 22 for Charlotte, which had a two-game winning streak snapped.