Damian Lillard made two free throws with 1.2 seconds left to cap a season-best 50-point effort as the Portland Trail Blazers rallied from a 17-point, fourth-quarter deficit to post a dramatic 125-124 home win over the New Orleans Pelicans.
Lillard, who also had 10 assists, was fouled by Eric Bledsoe before making both attempts. New Orleans’ Zion Williamson saw his short bank shot bounce off the rim as time expired.
The 50-point game was the 12th of Lillard’s career, tying him with LeBron James for seventh on the all-time list. The only players above them: Wilt Chamberlain (118), Michael Jordan (31), Kobe Bryant (25), James Harden (23), Elgin Baylor (23) and Rick Barry (14).
Gary Trent Jr. scored 22 points for Portland, and CJ McCollum scored 10 points in 26 minutes in his return from a fractured left foot that cost him 25 games. Brandon Ingram scored 30 points, Williamson had 28 points and a career-best eight assists and Lonzo Ball contributed a career-best 17 assists for the Pelicans.
Los Angeles Lakers 137 – Minnesota Timberwolves 121
LeBron James recorded a second consecutive triple-double to reach 99 for his career, delivering Los Angeles a victory over visiting Minnesota.
James moved within one of becoming just the fifth in NBA history to reach 100. James and Montrezl Harrell led six Lakers in double figures with 25 points apiece, and James added 12 rebounds and 12 assists.
Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards paced the Timberwolves with matching game highs of 29 points.
Utah Jazz 117 – Boston Celtics 109
Donovan Mitchell scored 21 points and Jordan Clarkson added 20 off the bench to lead Utah to a victory at Boston.
Rudy Gobert had 16 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks for the Jazz, who swept the season series against Boston. Mike Conley chipped in 17 points and five assists.
Jayson Tatum scored 29 points and Jaylen Brown added 28 to lead the Celtics. Daniel Theis had 15 points, 11 rebounds and six assists while Robert Williams III chipped in 14 points and nine boards off the bench.
Chicago Bulls 123 – Oklahoma City Thunder 102
Zach LaVine scored 40 points and Lauri Markkanen added 22 to boost host Chicago to a rout of Oklahoma City.
LaVine reached the 40-point plateau for the third time this season, shooting 15-for-20 in just under 31 minutes. Thaddeus Young put together 17 points, nine rebounds and six assists for the Bulls.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led Oklahoma City with 21 points, ending a streak of three straight games with at least 30. Moses Brown finished with 20 points and 16 rebounds.
Atlanta Hawks 119 – Houston Rockets 107
Danilo Gallinari scored a team-high 29 points, and he and Atlanta teammate Tony Snell each hit five 3-pointers to lead the visiting Hawks to a win over Houston.
The Rockets matched a franchise record with their 17th consecutive loss while Atlanta extended its season-best win streak to six games and improved to 6-0 under interim coach Nate McMillan.
Kevin Huerter added three 3-pointers and scored 16 points while John Collins (20 points, 10 rebounds) and Trae Young (13 points, 14 assists) recorded double-doubles for the Hawks. Victor Oladipo scored 34 points, Kevin Porter Jr. paired 22 points with eight assists and rookie Jae’Sean Tate tallied a career-high 25 points for Houston.
Miami Heat 113 – Cleveland Cavaliers 98
Jimmy Butler had 28 points and a season-high-tying 12 rebounds to carry host Miami past Cleveland.
It was Butler’s seventh straight game with at least 27 points. The Heat, who won their fifth straight and improved to 11-1 in their past 12 games, got 17 points from Kelly Olynyk and 15 from Tyler Herro.
Cleveland, which has lost four straight games, was led by Collin Sexton, who had 21 points. JaVale McGee added 16 points and eight rebounds.
Philadelphia 76ers 99 – New York Knicks 96
Tobias Harris scored 30 points as host Philadelphia rallied past New York.
Seth Curry added 20 and Ben Simmons contributed 16 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists for the Sixers, who earned a season-best sixth win in a row.
The Knicks’ Julius Randle compiled 19 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists. Alec Burks added 19 points and RJ Barrett had 17.