NBA

NBA: Rockets defeat Bulls for 7th straight victory

By Sports Desk March 21, 2024

Jalen Green scored 26 points and Dillon Brooks added 23 before he was ejected as the Houston Rockets stretched their winning streak to seven games with a 127-117 win over the Chicago Bulls on Thursday.

Jock Landale had 17 points and Aaron Holiday added 14 off the bench for Houston, which has gone 9-1 in March to get within 2 ½ games of Golden State for the final play-in spot in the Western Conference.

Chicago’s DeMar DeRozan and Brooks were ejected for their part in an on-court scrum in the third quarter.

With 6:02 left in the third quarter, DeRozan committed a foul on Green that caused Brooks to become upset. DeRozan turned and subsequently elbowed Brooks in the chin, which prompted the melee.

Ayo Dosunmu scored 35 points on 13-of-18 shooting and DeRozan finished with 16 on 4-of-15 shooting as Chicago failed to win a third straight.

 

Jokic notches triple-double in Nuggets’ win

Nikola Jokić recorded his 22nd triple-double of the season with 30 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists as the surging Denver Nuggets topped the New York Knicks, 113-100.

Jokic’s triple-double was the 127th of his career, a total bettered only by Russell Westbrook (198), Oscar Robertson (181) and Magic Johnson (138).

Michael Porter Jr. had 31 points on 13-of-16 shooting with eight rebounds and Jamal Murray added 23 points to help Denver win for the 13th time in 15 games. The Nuggets are percentage points behind Oklahoma City for first place in the Western Conference.

Porter also had three 3-pointers to give him 193 on the season and break Dale Ellis’ single-season team mark set in 1996-97.

Jalen Brunson scored 26 points for the Knicks, who had a four-game winning streak stopped.

 

Streaking Magic handle Pelicans

Paolo Banchero had 20 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists for his second career triple-double and the Orlando Magic defeated the New Orleans Pelicans, 121-106, for their fifth straight win.

Banchero missed his first 10 shots, two of them free throws, but rallied to finish 9 of 18 from the field.

Jalen Suggs added 22 points and Franz Wagner had 18 for Orlando, which clinched its second winning season in 12 years by winning for the 18th time in 23 games.

Trey Murphy III scored 21 points and Zion Williamson tallied 20 points and seven rebounds but also had a season-high eight turnovers.

New Orleans, which had won seven of eight, lost forward Brandon Ingram early in the second half to an apparent left knee injury.

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    The Lakers entered Friday's game – their penultimate outing of the regular season – on a two-game losing streak and jockeying for position with the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors. 

    However, James put up 37 points, nine rebounds and five assists, while Davis added 35 points as the injury-hit Grizzlies failed to hold on after going 118-117 up with one minute and six seconds left.

    James sank six points in the final minute to lift Los Angeles one game clear of Sacramento and Golden State, both of whom suffered defeats later on Friday.

    "Every game matters. Every seed matters. Wherever you fall, you can't play in the past," James said.

    "I can't say I would much rather be where we are today than be the number one seed. That would be a lie. Seeds matter, and wherever you fall, you take that challenge."

    The Lakers emerged from the Play-In Tournament to reach the Western Conference Finals last year before being dispatched by the eventual NBA champions, the Denver Nuggets.

    With coach Darvin Ham plotting a route through the postseason, he left James out on the court for 41 minutes on Friday, while Davis played 43 minutes on his return from a left eye injury which kept him out of Tuesday's loss to the Warriors. 

    Asked about the risks of keeping the duo out there, Ham said: "In the moment, you're not worried about that. You're worried about securing the victory you came to get. 

    "Everyone knows what time it is. It's that time of the year. Everyone knows what's at stake. 

    "Whatever we need, and however long we need to push guys, we've got to have it, and they understand that."

    Memphis are guaranteed to end a frustrating campaign 13th in the West, and Scotty Pippen Jr. said they were simply playing for future opportunities after scoring a career-high 28 points.

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    Joel Embiid shook off an apparent injury to finish with 32 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists and the Philadelphia 76ers extended their winning streak to seven with a 125-113 victory over the Orlando Magic on Friday.

    Embiid had 21 points, nine boards and seven assists in the first 17 minutes but appeared to land awkwardly on his left knee late in the first half. He limped to midcourt and gave up on the play.

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