League’s mighty fall as Rockets halt Warriors’ streak, Cavs lose

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James Harden  AFP PHOTO

James Harden
AFP PHOTO

LOS ANGELES: James Harden’s triple-double lifted the Houston Rockets to a 132-127 double-overtime triumph over Golden State on Thursday (Friday in Manila) that snapped the Warriors’ 12-game NBA winning streak.

Harden drained a three-pointer and converted a brace of free throws and Eric Gordon added a short jump shot as the Rockets finally separated themselves in the second overtime period of a game that included 14 lead changes, almost as many ties and plenty of early-season drama.

“Big-time win on the road,” said Harden, who finished with 29 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists, his fourth triple-double of the season.

Ryan Anderson matched Harden’s team-high point total and Gordon added 23 off the bench for the Rockets.

Kevin Durant scored 39 points and pulled down 13 rebounds for the Warriors, who hadn’t lost since November 4.

Stephen Curry scored 28 points for the Warriors, but the NBA Most Valuable Player fouled out in the second extra period.

“We had our moments,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Especially in the first overtime we had a cushion — I think we were up four. We kind of let it slip away at that point. They played a great game. I thought they deserved to win — they out-played us.”

Clippers rout Cavs
It wasn’t even close in Cleveland, where the Los Angeles Clippers humbled the reigning champion Cavaliers 113-94 to snap a three-game skid.

Defeats at Detroit, Indiana and Brooklyn had the Clippers reeling, but on Thursday they looked more like the team that started the season 14-2.

The Clippers handed out a season-high 33 assists, 11 of them by Blake Griffin.

They held the Cavaliers to 40.6 percent shooting, with Cavs superstar LeBron James making five of his 14 shots. They limited Cleveland to just nine three-pointers, the Cavs’ first game in 16 this season with fewer than 10 from beyond the arc.

Up by eight at halftime, the Clippers out-scored the Cavaliers 27-15 in the third quarter to seize control of the contest.

“Defensively, we were just locked in,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “The reason was we respected them. They’re the Cleveland Cavaliers. And, they get your respect. They get your attention.”

But the Cavaliers never really fired.

“It was a weird game,” James said. “Especially in that first half, the second quarter the whistle was blowing so much we couldn’t get in a rhythm. The game just kind of unravelled, we got in foul trouble … they just broke our rhythm.”

Things were a lot more tense in Memphis, where the Grizzlies rallied from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Orlando Magic 95-94.

Marc Gasol scored the game-winning points at the free-throw line with 12.2 seconds remaining, finishing with a team-high 25 points and five blocked shots.

In Salt Lake City, Goran Dragic scored 27 points and James Johnson chipped in 24 off the bench to help the Miami Heat escape with a 111-110 victory over the Jazz.

Wayne Ellington contributed 17 points off the bench for Miami, who weathered a late Jazz comeback bid to earn their third straight road victory.

Gordon Hayward scored a season-high 32 points — his second straight game with at least 30 — and Joe Johnson added 18 to pace the Jazz.

Utah boasts of solid defense, but they couldn’t keep the determined Heat from scoring 64 points in the paint.

“We’ve been getting in the paint a lot this season,” guard Wayne Ellington said. “That’s one of our strong suits is getting in the paint. We’ve (also) been getting it done from the outside, which opens up the paint even more for us.”

AFP

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