Spurs blast Nuggets, still perfect at home

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Kawhi Leonard AFP PHOTO

Kawhi Leonard AFP PHOTO

There were no surprises in San Antonio, where Kawhi Leonard scored 20 points and the Spurs improved to 17-0 at home with a 101-86 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) in the NBA.

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The Spurs are off to the best home start for a Western Conference team since the 1988-89 Lakers won their first 17.

Their club record home winning streak is now at 26 games dating back to last season.

Trail Blazers humble Cavs, 76ers nab rare win
The Portland Trail Blazers crushed LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, 105-76, on a topsy-turvy that saw the Philadelphia 76ers notch their second win of the season.

In Portland, Allen Crabbe scored 21 of his career-high 26 points in the first half to put the Trail Blazers on the road to ending a five-game losing streak.

Guard CJ McCollum had 16 points and six assists for Portland, who held Cleveland’s “King” James to just 12 points—which matched his season low.

James missed his first four shots and had just six points by halftime.

Kevin Love had 13 points for the Cavaliers, with Australia’s Matthew Dellavedova and Richard Jefferson contributing 10 points apiece. The Cleveland team was coming off an 89-83 loss to Golden State in Oakland, in a Christmas rematch of the NBA Finals won by the Warriors.

Portland never trailed after the opening minute and led by 29 at halftime.

Shortly after a McCollum free throw midway through third put Portland up 78-46, Cavs coach David Blatt pulled his starters for the remainder of the game.

Sixers out-shine Suns
New arrival Ish Smith, playing his first game with the Philadelphia 76ers, had 14 points and five assists while directing the league’s stragglers to their first road win of the season—a 111-104 triumph over the Suns in Phoenix that put Philadelphia’s record at 2-30.

“I think everybody can see how dynamic a player Ish is,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said of the point guard acquired from New Orleans on Thursday. “Giving a player of that caliber the ball at the end of the game was great for us.”

Smith’s finger roll gave the 76ers a 108-100 lead with 1:52 remaining, and the Suns never got the deficit below six points from there.

Guard Isaiah Canaan scored 22 points and reserve guard Nick Stauskas had 17 for Philadelphia, whose only other win was a 103-91 victory against the visiting Los Angeles Lakers on December 1.

Brandon Knight scored 21 points for the Suns, who lost point guard and leading scorer Eric Bledsoe to a left knee sprain in the second quarter. The Suns have now lost four straight and six of their last seven.

“It’s pretty embarrassing, point blank, period,” Suns forward PJ Tucker said.

Howard milestone in defeat
In New Orleans, Pelicans guard Eric Gordon’s 26 points included six three-pointers, and Anthony Davis added 24 points and 13 rebounds in a 110-108 victory over Houston that spoiled a milestone night for Rockets big man Dwight Howard.

With seven points, all in the first half, Howard moved to 15,001 for his career.

The 30-year-old is the fourth-youngest player to reach 15,000 points and 10,000 rebounds in an NBA career.

Eddie makes an entrance
Washington Wizards rookie guard Jarell Eddie, signed on Wednesday, drained four three-pointers as he delivered 12 points off the bench in his NBA debut to help his new team to a 111-96 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.

“It’s just an amazing feeling,” said Eddie, who spent the last two seasons with the Austin Spurs of the NBA Development League. “You prepare so much and to go out there and be able to knock down shots when you’re open and teammates find you, it’s a blessing.”

AFP

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