Devin Booker scored 37 points and Kevin Durant added 23 in his Phoenix debut as the Suns beat the host Charlotte Hornets 105-91 on Wednesday night.
Durant, who was in the starting lineup for his first action since Jan. 8 with the Brooklyn Nets, racked up 23 points and six rebounds. He missed almost two months because of a ligament strain in his right knee, during which time he was traded to the Western Conference contenders.
Booker was 15-for-26 from the field, while Deandre Ayton supplied 16 points and 16 rebounds.
With LaMelo Ball lost for the season following ankle surgery earlier in the day, Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 22 points in the second half to lead Charlotte with 26 points. The loss ended the Hornets’ season-best five-game winning streak.
Bucks 139, Magic 117
Giannis Antetokounmpo collected 31 points, seven rebounds and six assists to fuel streaking Milwaukee’s victory over visiting Orlando.
Antetokounmpo made 10 of 14 shots from the floor to send the Bucks to their 16th win in a row overall and 11th straight victory at home. Milwaukee sits four wins shy of matching its franchise record overall win streak, set during the 1970-71 season. Jrue Holiday contributed 23 points and nine assists and Brook Lopez added 18 points for the Bucks, who made a season-high 26 3-pointers.
Orlando’s Cole Anthony scored a season-high 28 points off the bench and Markelle Fultz recorded 21 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Wendell Carter Jr. had 19 points and 10 rebounds and Franz Wagner added 18 points for the Magic, who have lost 13 in a row to the Bucks.
Lakers 123, Thunder 117
With LeBron James and Anthony Davis out, Dennis Schroder scored 26 points to lift Los Angeles over host Oklahoma City for its fifth win in its last seven games.
Also missing D’Angelo Russell (sprained right ankle), the Lakers got a balanced offensive effort, as five other players scored in double figures, and four Lakers players hit at least three 3-pointers, including four from Troy Brown Jr. James missed his second consecutive game with a foot injury, and Davis sat out with a stress injury in his right foot.
Jalen Williams led Oklahoma City with 24 points and chipped in seven assists, while Josh Giddey added 22 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds. The Thunder were without All-Star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for the fourth consecutive game with an abdominal strain. Gilgeous-Alexander also remains in the league’s health and safety protocol.
Knicks 142, Nets 118
Jalen Brunson scored 30 of his 39 points during a blistering first half for New York, which continued its surge with a rout of visiting Brooklyn.
The Knicks, who have won seven straight to move into fifth place in the Eastern Conference, scored 47 points in the first quarter, one shy of the franchise record for an opening period. New York tied a franchise record by hitting 14 3-pointers in the first half, and its 142 points were a season high.
Mitchell Robinson (13 points, 10 rebounds) posted his fourth consecutive double-double while Julius Randle added 21 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Knicks. Cameron Johnson scored 33 points for the Nets, who have lost four straight and are 2-8 since dealing Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks on Feb. 6, shortly before Kevin Durant was traded to the Phoenix Suns.
Bulls 117, Pistons 115
Zach LaVine poured in 41 points and DeMar DeRozan added 21 as Chicago won thanks in part to a strange finish to beat host Detroit for the 14th consecutive time.
Bojan Bogdanovic pumped in 34 points for the Pistons, who have lost six straight. Hamidou Diallo had 19 points and Jaden Ivey contributed 18, but Ivey called an illegal timeout in the closing seconds, stifling Detroit’s comeback bid.
With the Pistons trailing 114-112 and just under 10 seconds left in the game, Ivey called timeout when Detroit had none left. LaVine hit a technical free throw with 9.7 seconds left, then DeRozan made two free throws with 8.8 seconds to play to put the game away. Cory Joseph hit a 3-pointer in the closing seconds for the game’s final points.
76ers 119, Heat 96
Tyrese Maxey, who was inserted into the starting lineup in place of injured star Joel Embiid, finished with game highs of 27 points and seven assists to lead Philadelphia to a road win over Miami.
Philadelphia improved to 9-4 this season without Embiid, who sat out with a sore left foot. Embiid ranks second in the NBA in scoring at 33 points per game. The 76ers, who snapped a two-game skid that included a home loss to the Heat, also got 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists from James Harden.
Miami, which had a height advantage, lost for the fifth time in its past six games. The Heat were led by Bam Adebayo (20 points, eight rebounds). Jimmy Butler added 16 points, but he had just six after the first quarter.
Celtics 117, Cavaliers 113
Jayson Tatum overcame a slow start to score 41 points as Boston beat visiting Cleveland.
Tatum had two points after the first quarter, but heated up for 15 in the second and 18 in the third. He began the night averaging 30.1 points per game. He added 11 rebounds and eight assists, and Boston survived a 44-point performance by Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell, who scored 29 points in the second half.
The Cavaliers were outscored 41-26 in the third quarter and trailed 96-78 entering the fourth, but Darius Garland (29 points) made back-to-back 3-pointers that pulled the Cavaliers within five points with 27.5 seconds to play. He hit another trey to cut the deficit to four points with 12.3 seconds on the clock, but that basket capped the scoring.
Grizzlies 113, Rockets 99
Desmond Bane scored 21 of his 30 points in the second half as Memphis snapped an eight-game road losing streak with a win over Houston.
Ja Morant had 20 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for Memphis, which led by as many as 28 and won its third straight. Jaren Jackson Jr. added 17 points and five blocks, and Dillon Brooks scored 16 ppoints. Memphis, which leads the NBA in third-quarter points (31.2), led by three at the half before outscoring Houston 38-24 in the third.
Jalen Green scored 20 points to lead Houston, while Kenyon Martin Jr. added 19 and Alperen Sengun had 11 points, eight rebounds and five assists. The Rockets have lost 11 straight games and 31 of their past 35. Houston shot 40 percent from the field and 11 of 34 (32.4 percent) from beyond the arc.
-Field Level Media