LOS ANGELES — The New Orleans Pelicans got off to a hot start even without star center Anthony Davis and cruised to a 128-115 victory against the visiting Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night.
The Pelicans scored 42 points in the opening quarter, the most in any quarter this season, as Anthony Davis rested after playing Friday night at the Indiana Pacers.
Jrue Holiday had 27 points and seven assists for New Orleans, and Julius Randle scored 24 points against Los Angeles, the team that drafted him in the first round five years ago, but wouldn’t re-sign him last summer.
Cheick Diallo matched his season high with 18 points off the bench, his sixth game in double figures this month after previously having three games in double digits this season. Ian Clark scored 17 off the bench and Elfrid Payton finished with 14 points and nine assists for New Orleans.
Brandon Ingram scored 29 points to lead the Lakers after he was limited to six points in six first-half minutes because of foul trouble. LeBron James had 27 points, 12 assists and four steals, and Kyle Kuzma finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Lakers, who committed 23 turnovers.
The Lakers made their first seven shots and both teams shot better than 66 percent from the floor in the first quarter, but it was the Pelicans who scored the final seven points to take a 42-35 lead into the second.
New Orleans, which led by 20 points in the first half Friday night at the Pacers before losing 126-111, took its first double-figure lead two minutes into the second quarter. The Pelicans closed the quarter strong again, outscoring the Lakers 12-3 over the final four minutes to take a 69-57 lead into the break, and Los Angeles never got back within single digits.
The Pelicans expanded their lead to as many as 17 points in the third quarter before taking a 100-84 lead into the fourth.
Eric Gordon led five players in double figures with 25 points Saturday night as the Houston Rockets, playing without star James Harden, used superior depth to stun the Golden State Warriors 118-112 in Oakland, Calif.
The win was the Rockets’ third in three meetings with the two-time defending champions this season after Golden State won a seven-game showdown last May in the Western Conference Finals.
This victory was accomplished without Harden, who has scored 30 or more points in 32 consecutive games, the second-longest run in NBA history.
After having been bothered by a sore neck in Thursday’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, Harden was listed as questionable for the game even before waking up Saturday morning with what was labeled as flu-like symptoms.
The absence was just his fourth of the season. The Rockets had suffered defeats while he sat out two of his first three times.
With Chris Paul (23 points, 17 assists), Kenneth Faried (20 points, 10 rebounds) and P.J. Tucker (18 points, 10 rebounds) all contributing double-doubles, the Rockets ran off to a 20-point lead in the first half and retained a 110-96 advantage after a Clint Capela hoop with 5:42 remaining.
But the Warriors, who lost Draymond Green to a sprained ankle in the fourth quarter, used 3-pointers by Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry to get within 116-112 with still 30.4 seconds to play.
Golden State had to foul, however, and Tucker iced the win with two free throws with 18.1 seconds left.
Gordon, Paul and Tucker hit four 3-pointers apiece for the Rockets, who outscored Golden State 48-42 from beyond the arc en route to snapping a two-game losing streak.
Gerald Green added 10 points for Houston, while Capela had a game-high 15 rebounds to complement eight points.
Durant had 29 points, Curry 25 and Thompson 20 for the Warriors, who lost for just the third time in their last 20 games.
Cousins finished with a 13-point, 14-rebound double-double for Golden State, which had a five-game home winning streak snapped.
The Rockets wasted no time taking charge, scoring the game’s first 15 points. Gordon contributed a pair of 3-pointers and a layup to the crowd-silencing start.
The Warriors went 4:15 without a point, starting the game 0-for-3 on 3-pointers, 0-for-2 on two-pointers and 0-for-2 on free throws, mixing in three turnovers along the way.
A Thompson 3-pointer finally got the Warriors on the scoreboard, but that didn’t derail the Rockets, who went onto lead by as many as 16 in the first quarter and 20 in the second.
The Warriors rallied within 61-54 at halftime, then opened the second half with a 10-2 burst to take their first lead of the game at 64-63 in the third minute of the third period. Durant and Cousins had 3-pointers in the early run.
But again the Rockets responded, this time to go up by as many as nine before period’s end.
Khris Middleton scored 28 points, and Giannis Antetokounmpo added 27 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists on Saturday night as the Milwaukee Bucks won for the 16th time in their last 18 games, beating the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves 140-128.
The Bucks got off to a fast start en route to reaching 140 points for the fourth time this season. Antetokounmpo drove the lane for a dunk 14 seconds into the game and had 11 points in the opening 3:09.
Milwaukee went on to its fourth consecutive victory and second in a row since the All-Star break.
Derrick Rose scored 23 points, and Taj Gibson added 20 for the Timberwolves, who saw their three-game winning streak come to an end.
Minnesota was playing without All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns for the second consecutive game after the All-Star was in a car accident Thursday that left him with a concussion. Towns is day-to-day in advance of Monday’s home game against the Sacramento Kings.
In a game where the offense flowed, the Bucks took a 35-32 lead after one quarter, but the Timberwolves worked their way back to take a 70-69 lead at halftime on a floating jumper in the lane by Rose in the final seconds before the buzzer.
Minnesota stayed aggressive on offense, carrying a 109-107 lead into the final period in a game where both teams scored at least 32 points in each of the first three quarters.
It wasn’t until early in the fourth quarter that the Bucks took control. They grabbed the lead for good at with a 9-0 run early in the final period, eventually extending the run to 18-2 for a 129-115 advantage.
Andrew Wiggins scored 18 points and Anthony Tolliver had 17 for Minnesota, going 5 of 7 from 3-point range. Tolliver also had a monstrous block of an Antetokounmpo dunk attempt. Josh Okogie had 14 points.
Brook Lopez had 19 points, and Nikola Mirotic added 17 in his second game with the Bucks after coming over in a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans. Malcolm Brogdon and Eric Bledsoe each had 16 for Milwaukee.
George Hill played just three minutes for the Bucks and did not return after the first quarter because of a left adductor strain.
The Bucks play eight of the next 10 games on the road. They are 20-9 away from home this season. — Reuters