Melton and Harden lead 76ers to win, Bulls snap Nets, game round ups

By DJ Arthurs

January 05, 2023

NBA Philadelphia 76ers Team Logo

NBA betting results and game round ups for the full schedule of games played on Wednesday 4th January 2023, including the Bulls snapping the Nets' winning streak, and Paulo Banchero leading Magic to a win against Thunder. Over in Philadelphia, the Sixers who were missing Embiid, beat the Pacers in an end-to-end high scoring game.

All odds provided are courtesy of PlayUp, Australia's best NBA sportbook.

Indiana Pacers 126, Philadelphia 76ers 129 - OT

Betting Results:
Head to Head: Philadelphia 76ers, odds 1.33
Line: Indiana Pacers (+7.5), odds 1.91
Total Points: Over (232.5), odds 1.93 - by a long way, helped by OT

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — De’Anthony Melton hit a go-ahead 3-pointer late in overtime and James Harden scored 26 points to help a Philadelphia 76ers team playing without Joel Embiid beat the Indiana Pacers 129-126 on Wednesday night.

Melton put the Sixers ahead 125-124 with 2:16 left in OT. He finished with 19 points.

Montrezl Harrell followed with a rim-rattling dunk, and the Sixers held on for their 11th straight home win. Harrell also had 19 points on 8-for-9 shooting.

“It was one of those games that was almost out of control with the way everyone was playing,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said.

Embiid, who had been playing with a sore lower back, sat out with a sore left foot. Embiid hurt his foot in Monday’s win against New Orleans and was ruled out hours before tipoff against Indiana.

Embiid is day to day, with missed games about the only aspect slowing down his MVP push. Embiid won the NBA scoring title last season, and his 33.5 average this season has him just behind Dallas star Luka Doncic’s league-best 34.3 average.

He was named Eastern Conference player of the month for December. Embiid led all players in scoring at 35.4 points in the month on 55% shooting from the floor and 42% from 3-point range.

Without Embiid, the Sixers needed more production off the bench — and got it, notably from backup center Harrell. Harrell, the NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 2019-2020 when Rivers still coached the Los Angeles Clippers, made all five baskets in the first half and scored 12 points.

“With Joel being out, Montrezl was playing well on both ends of the ball,” Harden said. “He’s a true vet.”

Harden missed two free throws with 28 seconds left in OT and the Sixers up one. But he had a big blocked shot late that preserved the lead and set up two Sixers free throws that essentially sealed the win.

Buddy Hield led the Pacers with 24 points, and Bennedict Mathurin had 19. Tyrese Haliburton had 16 points and 12 assists.

The Pacers stormed back in the fourth, keyed by Hield’s 3 that pulled them within one and a Mathurin bucket on a goaltending call during a 10-0 run.

The Sixers pulled ahead on Melton’s fourth 3 of the game, but Hield hit a 3 and Myles Turner scored for a 120-116 lead.

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Without Embiid, the Sixers tied the game in regulation on Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris buckets in the final 37 seconds.

The Pacers outscored the Sixers 36-23 in the fourth but couldn’t hold on in the final minutes.

“We never should have been in overtime. We know that,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “We need to grow stronger from this. We’ve got to learn from some of the things that happened and we’ve got to build on some of the good things, especially down the stretch.”

Harris had 19 points and 10 rebounds. Maxey scored 17 points in his return to the starting lineup after he missed about six weeks with a broken foot.

“He doesn’t have his rhythm yet but it’s coming,” Rivers said. “You can see it. He’ll be back very soon.”


Pacers: Former 76ers guard and Pittsburgh native T.J. McConnell wore a Damar Hamlin jersey to the game. “I just wanted to show support for a fellow Pittsburgh native and athlete, and let him and his family know that all of us here are thinking of him and praying for him,” McConnell said.

76ers: Harden has at least 20 points and five assists in six straight games. ... Won their third OT game of the season ... Improved to 15-1 after leading at halftime.


Pacers: Host Portland on Friday.

76ers: Host Chicago on Friday. Rivers said he didn’t know if Embiid would play Friday.

Phoenix Suns 88, Cleveland Cavaliers 90

Betting Results:
Head to Head: Cleveland Cavaliers, odds 1.48
Line: Phoenix Suns (+4.5), odds 1.93
Total Points: Under (221.5), odds 1.93 - one of the lowest scoring games of the year

CLEVELAND (AP Tom Withers) — Evan Mobley couldn’t remember the last time he made a winning shot. He’ll never forget his first one in the NBA.

“Hopefully,” he said, “more to come.”

Mobley’s 14-foot jumper with four seconds left — off an assist from Donovan Mitchell — helped the Cleveland Cavaliers rally for a 90-88 victory Wednesday night over the slumping Phoenix Suns, who lost their fourth straight.

Mitchell finished with just 20 points two nights after scoring 71 — the seventh player in league history to score at least seven. But on Cleveland’s final possession, he drove and fed Mobley, who calmly knocked down his mid-range shot in his return after missing two games with a sore ankle.

Mobley was just 1 of 8 from the floor before knocking down the biggest shot of his young career.

“What people aren’t going to talk about is him relocating,” Mitchell said of his 21-year-old teammate. “He got into my vision and he was right there in that moment, naturally. That’s what makes him special.”

The Suns had a chance to tie it, but Mikal Bridges missed a jumper in the final second. Mitchell snared the rebound and fired the ball to the other end in celebration as the NBA’s top defensive team got one last stop.

Caris LeVert scored 21 points to lead the Cavs, who spent most of the night chasing the Suns.

Mitchell was just 6 of 20 from the field (3 of 12 on 3s) after his historic performance, but he made a critical 3-pointer with 40 seconds left to tie it 88-all.

“I really didn’t have my legs tonight,” he said. “I was trying to will myself just to be solid.”

Chris Paul scored 25 points and Deandre Ayton added 15 points and 18 rebounds for Phoenix, which went just 1-5 on a trip and dropped to 4-12 since Dec. 5. The Suns have struggled without injured All-NBA guard Devin Booker, out with a groin strain.

“It’s been that kind of trip,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “That was a hard way to lose a game. The guys are hurting after a game like that we should have won.”

Cleveland was without All-Star guard Darius Garland, who missed his third straight game with a sprained right thumb.

Before the game, Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff acknowledged the possibility of an “emotional hangover” for his players following Mitchell’s memorable night.

That was certainly the case in the first half as the Cavs came out flat and missed their first 15 3-point attempts while scoring a season-low 33 points before halftime.


Despite the Suns’ recent slide, which has only worsened without Booker, Williams has been pleased with his team’s togetherness. Practices have stayed spirited and he’s seeing a team determined to fix things.

“We’re just waiting for the breakthrough,” he said. “No splintering. We keep plugging away and that has been our mentality from the jump. That’s what I keep telling the guys, ’keep pushing.”


While Mitchell’s 71-point outburst is the highest in the league this season, 40- and 50-point games have become a regular occurrence.

Bickerstaff believes the scoring spike is a combination of factors, including defensive rules that allow offensive freedom and a generation of elite players who began working on their individual skills at a young age.

“The league is in a wonderful place as far as talent,” he said. “It literally seems like every night you’re seeing somebody do something spectacular.”


Suns: Booker has missed five straight games since reinjuring the groin Dec. 25 at Denver. ... G Cameron Payne didn’t play in the second half due to right foot discomfort. ... Bridges played in his 348th consecutive game, the league’s current longest Ironman streak. He has never missed a game as a pro or at Villanova.

Cavaliers: Mitchell added 11 assists Monday, meaning he accounted for 99 points — the second most in league history behind Wilt Chamberlain’s 104 in 1962. ... Reserve G Raul Neto gave the Cavs a lift with a season-high 14 points. ... Garland took part in the team’s morning shootaround, wearing a protective wrap on his thumb. It’s possible he’ll return later this week.


Suns: Host Miami on Friday night.

Cavaliers: Open a five-game trip Friday night at Denver.

Memphis Grizzlies 131, Charlotte Hornets 107

Betting Results:
Head to Head: Memphis Grizzlies, odds 1.35 - another short odds favourite win
Line: Memphis Grizzlies (-6.5), odds 1.88 - still by absolute yards
Total Points: Over (221.5), odds 1.88

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP Steve Reed) — Ja Morant had 23 points and eight assists playing in front of relatives and friends, Desmond Bane added 19 points and 10 rebounds and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Charlotte Hornets 131-107 on Wednesday night for their fourth straight win.

Dillon Brooks scored 18 points and Jaren Jackson Jr. added 17 points and nine rebounds for the Grizzlies. Steven Adams had 15 rebounds for Memphis, which improved to 9-10 on the road.

LaMelo Ball had 23 points and 12 assists and Terry Rozier added 21 points for the Hornets, who’ve lost 14 of 17 games.

The Hornets were outmatched from the start.

Morant is a South Carolina native whose family lives about 90 minutes from Charlotte — and plenty of them make the trek to Spectrum Center to watch him play.

“I had a lot of people come here and support me, as you could hear when I run out of the tunnel or if I score,” Morant said. “It’s definitely love here. I’m happy every time I get to come back and it’s even better when you win.”

Morant didn’t play in the fourth quarter after the Grizzlies stretched their lead to 37.

The Grizzlies jumped out to a 40-26 lead in the first quarter behind their All-Star point guard, who set the tone with 12 points and four assists.

Memphis didn’t let up after Morant took a seat on the bench to start the second quarter, opening with a 20-9 run and eventually pushing the lead to 29 at the half.

“We always preach about throwing that first punch and we have to have that mindset, whether we’re home and away, and we have to keep punching until the opposing team is knocked out,” Morant said.

Morant had no problem slicing his way through Charlotte’s defense. And when he missed, it seemed either Adams or Jackson was there to grab the offensive rebound for a put-back.

The Grizzlies dominated the Hornets on the glass 59-44 and outscored them 64-52 in the paint.

Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said the team’s offense is continuing to evolve, and Morant is evolving with it.

“I mean he’s always progressing,” Jenkins said. “The sky’s the limit for the kid. He wants to be coached, he wants to be pushed, just seeing him from year one. Just seeing his work that he’s putting on his 3-point shot, seeing him come out tonight firing early, taking more time at the free-throw line, working at that, knowing that he’s a force, he’s going to get foul calls. His playmaking, and getting on the same page as his teammates.”

The frustration was evident for the Hornets with Ball, Dennis Smith Jr. and Jalen McDaniels picking up technical fouls.

The Hornets struggled to find offense outside of Ball and Rozier with Gordon Hayward (hamstring) and Kelly Oubre (hand) out with injuries. Coach Steve Clifford said it’s been difficult battling so many injuries to key players this season, but he’s trying to stay positive.

“On the flip side, if we get these guys back things can change,” Clifford said. “It’s just hard. Every time we start to play better ...”


Grizzlies: Attempted 28 free throws in the first half, 20 more than the Hornets. ... Played without Brandon Clarke (hip) and Ziaire Williams (knee).

Hornets: Cody Martin returned after missing 37 games with a left knee injury. Martin was injured in the team’s season opener and hadn’t played since. Martin had four points on dunks, but had two shots blocked. He said he felt out of rhythm because he hasn’t been able to play any 5-on-5 with his teammates in practice. “This was my first run and obviously I’m not excited about it,” Martin said. “But I am excited to get back out there.”


Grizzlies: At Orlando on Thursday night.

Hornets: Open a four-game trip at Milwaukee on Friday night.

Oklahoma City Thunder 115, Orlando Magic 126

Betting Results:
Head to Head: Orlando Magic, odds 1.75
Line: Orlando Magic (-2.5), odds 1.92
Total Points: Over (228.5), odds 1.88

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP Dick Scanlon) —  Paolo Banchero, who discusses NBA debut here had 25 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, and the Orlando Magic beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 126-115 on Wednesday night.

Orlando, playing without four suspended players, broke a three-game losing streak.

Gary Harris and Terrence Ross each scored 18 points for the Magic. Wendell Carter Jr. added 13 points and 13 rebounds in his first start since Nov. 18.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, back in the lineup after missing Tuesday’s 150-117 win at Boston due to a non-COVID-19 illness, scored 33 points for the Thunder.

In setting their franchise scoring record Tuesday night, the Thunder scored 70 points in the paint. The Magic held them to 30.

“That’s our calling card as a team,” Banchero said. “If we’re playing good defense, we’re usually playing good offense. Tonight keeping them out of the paint was the biggest thing we had to do. They hit some 3s, but at the end of the day they kill teams in the paint. That was our main focus and we did a good job.”

Banchero scored the first five points in a 10-0 run that lifted Orlando’s lead into double figures midway through the second quarter. Caleb Houston hit a couple of 3-pointers late in the period and scored on a putback with two seconds left, leaving the Magic with a 70-53 halftime lead.

“There was definitely a conscious effort on their part to attack and protect the paint. They did in the first half and they built a 17-point cushion,” Oklahoma City coach Mark Daigneault said. “We tried to fight back into the game in the second half but it was a hard deficit to overcome, a small margin for error.”

Three free throws by Harris stretched the lead to 80-58 with 8:11 left in the third.

Gilgeous-Alexander and Isaiah Joe scored the final nine points of the third to get the Thunder back within seven at 95-88. But the rally fizzled from there.

“Consistency is something we’ve got to get better at,” said Josh Giddey, who scored 16 for the Thunder. “Last night we beat one of the better teams in the league comfortably, and then we come in here and lose by 15.”


Thunder: C Jaylin Williams left with a left ankle sprain early in the second half. ... After shooting 59.5% on Tuesday night, the Thunder shot 40.9% against Orlando. ... Gilgeous-Alexander went 17 for 18 at the free-throw line.

Magic: G Franz Wagner, G Kevon Harris and F Admiral Schofield were sidelined by one-game suspensions, and C Mo Wagner sat out the second game of his two-game suspension for their involvement in an altercation in a game at Detroit on Dec. 29. ... F Bol Bol missed his first game of the season after entering the NBA’s health and safety protocol. ... The Magic had a 49-32 rebounding edge.


Magic coach Jamal Mosley appreciated Banchero’s seven assists.

“The great part about him is his ability to trust his teammates to find the open man, to want to make the right play,” Mosley said. “Anytime he’s out there he’s looking to make and create for his team, and make winning plays.”


Thunder: Play at home against Washington on Friday night.

Magic: Play at home against Memphis on Thursday night.

San Antonio Spurs 114, New York Knicks 117

Betting Results:
Head to Head: New York Knicks, odds 1.25
Line: San Antonio Spurs (+8.5), odds 1.95
Total Points: Over (227.5), odds 1.93

NEW YORK (AP Brian Mahoney) — Asked before the game about his team’s victory over the Knicks last week, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was quick to note that Jalen Brunson didn’t play.

What a difference he made in the rematch.

Brunson scored a career-high 38 points, Julius Randle had 25 points and 13 rebounds, and New York beat San Antonio 117-114 on Wednesday night.

Brunson added seven rebounds and six assists for the Knicks, who won their third straight since a 122-115 loss in San Antonio last Thursday.

“He’s got it all,” Popovich said. “He’s got the skill, but he’s got the toughness. He’s got the basketball IQ to go with it. Just a hell of a competitor.”

Brunson missed three games last week with a sore right hip, but returned with 24 points in a victory over Phoenix on Monday. He made the big plays late in this one to surpass his previous regular-season best of 34 points.

“Whatever it takes to win,” Brunson said. “I could have 38 or I could have three points. If we win that’s all I really care about.”

Brunson made the go-ahead basket with 3:02 to play, then knocked down a pair of jumpers to push the lead to 116-112 with 1:17 to go.

The Spurs cut it to two and forced the ball out of Brunson’s hands to regain possession with a chance to tie, but they were called for a 5-second violation trying to get the ball in with 5.7 seconds remaining. Evan Fournier made one free throw to make it 117-114, but the Spurs couldn’t get off a last 3-point attempt in time.

“The bottom line is getting the win,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “We’ve just got to scratch wins out.”

Keldon Johnson scored 26 points for the Spurs, and Josh Richardson had 20. Zach Collins added 16 points and Doug McDermott finished with 15, but the Spurs gave up 25 second-chance points.

The Knicks led by 13 in the first quarter before settling for a 39-29 advantage. The Spurs charged ahead with a 13-0 run in the second to go ahead 44-41, but the Knicks recovered and were up 62-55 after Brunson had two baskets in the final 35 seconds of the first half.

Both teams shot better than 60% in the third quarter, with Randle’s jumper as time expired making it 94-89.


Spurs: G Devin Vassell was out again because of left knee soreness. He played Monday after missing the previous two games for the same problem. ... The Spurs practiced at Baruch College while in the city and Popovich joked he looked for a picture of U.S. Rep.-elect George Santos in the gym. Santos has admitted to lying about having earned a degree in finance and economics at the school. “I thought maybe he had played sports or something while he was there,” Popovich said. “Because that’s where he went to school, right?”

Knicks: Obi Toppin and Derrick Rose were active but did not play. Toppin had been inactive the previous 13 games because of a nondisplaced fracture of his right fibula. Thibodeau said he needed to do more at practice before he was ready to get into a game. Thibodeau said the backup forward would play when ready, but stopped short of assuring a return to his previous minutes, with Randle flourishing with a heavier workload.


The Spurs said more than 53,000 tickets have been sold for their Jan. 13 game at the Alamodome against Golden State, guaranteeing it to be the third-largest attendance for an NBA game. The record is 62,046 at the Georgia Dome for a Bulls-Hawks game on March 27, 1998.


Spurs; Host Detroit on Friday.

Knicks: At Toronto on Friday.

Brooklyn Nets 112, Chicago Bulls 121

Betting Results:
Head to Head: Chicago Bulls, odds 2.65
Line: Chicago Bulls (+5.5), odds 1.88
Total Points: Under (235.5), odds 1.88

CHICAGO (AP Mark Gonzales) — DeMar DeRozan and Patrick Williams each scored 22 points, and the Chicago Bulls stopped Brooklyn’s 12-game win streak with a 121-112 victory over Kevin Durant and the Nets on Wednesday night.

Durant scored 44 points, but Chicago had six players score in double figures. Nikola Vucevic had 21 points and 13 rebounds, and Ayo Dosunmo finished with 17 points. The Bulls had dropped two in a row.

“They came to play,” Brooklyn coach Jacque Vaughn said. “They were pretty desperate to get a win, and we needed that same desperation.”

Durant rested at the beginning of the fourth quarter and Chicago put together an 8-0 run. Dosunmu stole a pass at midcourt and went in for the jam for a 106-95 lead with 6:46 left.

“Ayo brought it defensively,” Bulls guard Zach LaVine said. “Bring the energy, getting steals, getting blocks.”

Williams and DeRozan each hit two foul shots in the final minute to help close it out.

Durant scored a season-high 28 points in the first half, but Brooklyn trailed 69-59 at the break. He went 15 for 22 from the field for the game, finishing one point shy of his season high against Orlando on Nov. 28.

The Bulls, playing without reserve Javonte Green, lost another key guard when Alex Caruso sprained his right ankle with 3:11 left in the first quarter. Caruso missed three games earlier this season due to a concussion and shoulder sprain.

LaVine scored 13 points for Chicago, and Coby White finished with 10.

“Their top two guys (DeRozan and LaVine) were 12 for 31 for 35 points,” Durant said. “We can live with that. But Pat Williams made some shots and easy rolls to the rim. Ayo is playing great this year and put pressure on the rim.”

Kyrie Irving scored 25 points for Brooklyn, and Seth Curry had 22. Irving went 1 for 8 from 3-point range.

“We could not get over the hump, and a big part of it was that we were playing catchup,” Vaughn said. “A 40-point first quarter (by Chicago) set the tone. A little uncharacteristic by our group.”

Nets forward Yuta Watanabe, who entered the game leading the league with a 52.1 3-point percentage, played only six minutes because of foul trouble and scored one point.


Nets: Vaughn shared a text message he received from a friend following his selection as the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for December. “‘What’s so special about a turtle sitting on top of a fence post? He didn’t get there on his own.’ So I’m very smart to know that award is the performance of the team, the coaching staff, at the end of the day it was the players,” Vaughn said.

Bulls: Coach Billy Donovan stressed that LaVine has been an option on several last-second plays that have went to DeRozan. “I totally trust Zach, and I have no problem with Zach with the ball in his hands and no problem with Zach shooting the ball at the end of games,” Donovan said. “But I think everyone would agree with what DeMar has done at the end of games has been very powerful.” ... Green (right knee soreness) was placed in a treatment program to determine the extent of his injury with hopes of him returning soon, Donovan said.


Nets: Visit Pelicans on Friday.

Bulls: Visit Sixers on Friday.

Milwaukee Bucks 104, Toronto Raptors 101

Betting Results:
Head to Head: Milwaukee Bucks, odds 2.15
Line: Milwaukee Bucks (+2.5), odds 1.91
Total Points: Under (230.5), odds 1.93

TORONTO (AP Ian Harrison) — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 30 points, 10 assists and a season-high 21 rebounds for his second triple-double of the season, Grayson Allen hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 11.6 seconds to go in overtime and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Toronto Raptors 104-101 on Wednesday night.

Antetokounmpo, who scored a career-high 55 points Tuesday night against Washington, came in having posted at least 40 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in each of his past three games. The two-time MVP shot 7 for 18 against Toronto, making 1 of 3 from 3-point range and 15 of 21 at the free throw line.

“On a back-to-back, he used a lot of energy both last night and tonight,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “They (Toronto) are very physical. For him to find a way to get us over the top was huge.”

Milwaukee improved to 4-0 in the second game of a back-to-back.

“Obviously your body is tired,” Antetokounmpo said. “It’s more mental than physical, just being about to go out there and get the job done on a back-to-back always feels good.”

The Bucks led 90-69 with 3:50 left in the fourth quarter, but Toronto cut it to 97-94 with 25 seconds to go before Milwaukee’s 26th turnover gave the Raptors the ball back, allowing Gary Trent Jr. to hit a tying 3 with 0.8 seconds left. Antetokounmpo couldn’t convert an alley-oop at the buzzer.

“That was an experience, but a loss is a loss,” Toronto’s Fred VanVleet said of the back-and-forth game.

Antetokounmpo assisted on Allen’s clinching jump shot from the corner late in OT.

“It felt like it was a dart to Grayson,” Budenholzer said. “It hit him right in the shooting pocket. Big-time play, big-time pass.”

Allen praised Antetokounmpo for his precision pass.

“He was driving and falling down with three people on him,” Allen said. “It was a pretty amazing pass to make that accurately. It made it an easy shot for me.”

VanVleet missed a 3 at the other end and Antetokounmpo grabbed his 21st rebound.

Allen scored 16 points, Bobby Portis Jr. had 14 points and 12 rebounds and Pat Connaughton scored 15 points for the Bucks. Milwaukee won for the third time in four games since losing a season-high four straight.

VanVleet had 28 points and 12 assists, Trent scored 22 points and Scottie Barnes had 17 but the struggling Raptors lost for the sixth time in seven home games. Toronto has lost 10 of 13 overall.

“I think everybody’s well aware we’re going through a really difficult patch, maybe the most difficult patch we’ve been through,” coach Nick Nurse said.

Toronto missed its first 15 shots before VanVleet made a driving layup with 4:36 left in the first quarter. Earlier, a few fans booed after VanVleet missed a 3, Toronto’s 13th consecutive miss to open the game.

The Raptors shot 2 for 23 in the first and Milwaukee went 5 for 24 as the teams combined for more turnovers (10) than made baskets. The Bucks led 13-12 after one. According to ESPN, it was the lowest-scoring quarter in the NBA this season.


Bucks: Antetokounmpo had 18 rebounds in a Dec. 11 loss at Houston. … Brook Lopez had 19 rebounds. … G Jrue Holiday (non-COVID illness) and F Joe Ingles (left knee) were out after playing Tuesday at Washington. G George Hill (non-COVID illness) sat for the fourth straight game. … F Khris Middleton (right knee) missed his 10th straight game. … Antetokounmpo had five turnovers in the first half. He finished with 12 of Milwaukee’s 28.

Raptors: All of Barnes’ points came in the fourth quarter and overtime. … Took a season-high 116 field goal attempts. … Scored seven bench points for the second consecutive game, both losses.


The Raptors began the game with 13 missed 3-pointers before VanVleet connected in the second quarter. Toronto finished 9 for 46 from distance, its worst shooting percentage from 3-point range this season


Toronto’s Pascal Siakam shot 4 for 18 and finished with 11 points, snapping a career-best eight-game streak of scoring 25 points or more. Siakam matched Vince Carter’s 2001 franchise record.


Bucks: Host Charlotte on Friday night.

Raptors: Host New York on Friday night.

Houston Rockets 108, New Orleans Pelicans 119

Betting Results:
Head to Head: New Orleans Pelicans, odds 1.33
Line: New Orleans Pelicans (-7.5), odds 1.95
Total Points: Over (223.5), odds 1.88

NEW ORLEANS (AP Brett Martel) — CJ McCollum scored 28 points and the short-handed Pelicans opened up a 31-point lead en route to a 119-108 victory over the struggling Houston Rockets on Wednesday night.

Jonas Valanciunas had 16 points and 17 rebounds for New Orleans. The Pelicans snapped a two-game skid in their first game since learning star power forward Zion Williamson would be sidelined about three weeks by a strained right hamstring.

“No one person is going to replace what he does,” McCollum said. “It’s about everybody collectively playing better, playing smarter, executing the game plan and understanding our room for error is smaller.”

McCollum’s ability to set the tone with other top producers out of the lineup is “the reason he’s the leader he is,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “He was locked in from the start on both ends of the floor, sharing the basketball, making shots. He understands the situation.”

Jalen Green and Kenyon Martin Jr. each scored 16 points for Houston, with Martin hitting all seven of his shots.

Jabari Smith Jr. had 14 points and 13 rebounds, while Eric Gordon and Alperen Sengun each added 13 points for the Rockets. They dropped their fifth straight game and lost for the 10th time in 11 contests.

New Orleans raced to a 45-22 lead in the first quarter, during which Rockets coach Stephen Silas was ejected for arguing and gesticulating angrily toward officials.

“I don’t necessarily think me being off the floor makes us play better, but we needed something,” Silas said. “ I was disappointed with how we started the game.”

Kevin Porter Jr. said he was gratified to see Silas “fighting for his players.”

“The game started off with a bunch of questionable calls and coach’s frustration came out,” Porter said. “We love that he fought for us and he doesn’t want us to be the one to be ejected or getting technicals. So, he took that one for us.”

The Pelicans’ led 63-32 after one of Jose Alvarado’s three 3-pointers. New Orleans led 75-52 at the half and 98-73 after the third quarter before stagnating so much in the final period that Green had to bring McCollum and Valanciunas back into the game with 7:41 to go.

The Rockets continued to close the gap, getting as close as 115-108 on Josh Christopher’s driving scoop with 47 seconds left.

“We have to be better closing out games,” Green said. “We had three quarters where we dominated and we looked like us and we kind of let of the gas in the fourth quarter.”

Naji Marshall scored 16 points, while Trey Murphy III and Willy Hernangomez each added 14 points for New Orleans, which is off to its best start at home in franchise history at 17-4.

Murphy highlighted his performance with a sequence in which he blocked Sengun’s shot from behind, then ran the length of the court to convert a bounce-pass from Marshall into a reverse dunk.

Alvarado finished with 13 points.

“It’s never good when you see somebody go down, but that’s why we have 12 players on the team,” Valanciunas said. “I’m really proud of our group.

“We just enjoy playing, no matter who’s on the court,” Valanciunas continued. “We’re just having fun. That’s the best way to play, I think.”


Rockets: Porter scored 11 points. ... Shot 44.3% (39 of 88) overall and 31.6% (12 of 38) from 3-point range. ... Finished with 41 bench points. ... Fell to 4-16 on the road.

Pelicans: F Brandon Ingram missed his 19th straight game because of a left great toe contusion. ... F Larry Nance Jr. missed his fourth straight game with a sore right shoulder. ... Converted 13 Rockets turnovers into 25 points. ... Shot 36.8% (14 of 38) from deep.


Rockets: Host Utah on Thursday night.

Pelicans: Host Brooklyn on Friday night.

Portland Trail Blazers 113, Minnesota Timberwolves 106

Betting Results:
Head to Head: Portland Trail Blazers, odds 1.95
Line: Portland Trail Blazers (-0.5), odds 1.95
Total Points: Under (229.5), odds 1.92

MINNEAPOLIS (AP Brian Hall) — Anthony Edwards scored 13 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter, Rudy Gobert had 17 points and 12 rebounds, and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Portland Trail Blazers 113-106 on Wednesday night.

Luka Garza added 14 points off the bench for Minnesota, which saw another halftime lead slip away in the third quarter but held on for its second straight win after a six-game skid.

“I thought defensively we were great pretty much all night long,” Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said. “We gave them a lot of different looks and to close out the game, a lot of winning plays really.”

Jerami Grant scored 20 of his 26 points in the first half for Portland, which trailed by as much as 13 in the opening half while Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons combined for three points.

Lillard finished with 27 points and Simons had 16 for the Trail Blazers, who had 18 turnovers that led to 22 points for the Timberwolves.

“I was never really happy from the start of the game,” Portland coach Chauncey Billups said. “Our mindset from the very start wasn’t right. It just wasn’t right. That’s our inconsistency. Sometimes, we come out with the right type of mindset, set the tone, be the aggressor on both sides of the floor. When we don’t, you come back and you want to counterpunch, you put yourself in a tough spot.”

Minnesota has had no trouble getting ahead, such as in Monday’s win against Western Conference-leading Denver. Holding those leads has been the issue, like when the Timberwolves led NBA-worst Detroit by 18 in an eventual loss Saturday.

With Lillard and Simons finding their way, the Trail Blazers erased a seven-point halftime deficit early in the third quarter.

“I think we’re just really inconsistent right now,” Lillard said. “Not only from game to game but from quarter to quarter. We’re just not able to sustain that level of focus, that level of urgency, the energy.”

Jusuf Nurkic gave the Trail Blazers a 92-91 lead with 9:33 remaining in the fourth.

Veteran teammates have implored the young Edwards to take control of games at certain points and he did so again. He scored six points as the Wolves went on an 11-3 run to pull back in front for good, and the offense ran through Edwards late in the fourth.

“I’m always ready for the fourth,” Edwards said. “When the fourth come, I’m like, ‘Man, it’s showtime now.’ So, I’m getting kind of used to it now.”


Garza provided the early boost, scoring 11 points in the first quarter. When the seldom-used, second-year player replaced Gobert, Minnesota went on a 14-1 run for a 25-12 lead. Garza had nine points during the run, capping it with a wide-open 3-pointer.

“His offense was carrying us there for a little bit and we were feeding him,” Finch said. “He’s a very gifted offensive player, but defensively he was outstanding.”


Minnesota’s Taurean Prince returned after missing 20 games with a right shoulder subluxation. His impact was limited due to foul trouble, but he finished with 11 points in 21 minutes. The seven-year veteran also provided energy and defense off the bench.

“I feel like I bring a presence that’s infectious,” Prince said. “So, I guess that’s something that plays to a benefit when I’m able to play.”


Trail Blazers: Grant missed time in the second half with a left quad contusion but finished the game. ... Gary Payton II, who made his season debut on Monday, was held out with a right ankle sprain. Payton had recovered from offseason core muscle surgery. Justise Winslow missed his fifth straight game with a left ankle sprain. ... Nurkic and fellow center Drew Eubanks each fouled out.

Timberwolves: D’Angelo Russell returned after missing Monday’s game due to an illness. ... Naz Reid missed his second straight game with back spasms and Bryn Forbes was out with right shoulder soreness. ... Minnesota entered the day being outscored by a league-high 122 points in the third quarter.


Trail Blazers: At Indiana on Friday.

Timberwolves: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.

Atlanta Hawks 120, Sacramento Kings 117

Betting Results:
Head to Head: Atlanta Hawks, odds 1.95
Line: Atlanta Hawks (-0.5), odds 1.95
Total Points: Under (243.5), odds 1.90

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP Cameron Salerno) — De’Andre Hunter and John Collins each scored 22 points and the Atlanta Hawks beat the Sacramento Kings 120-117 on Wednesday night to end a four-game slide.

“Feels great,” Hawks coach Nate McMillan said. “That’s what we have been talking about. We have to close out games and make plays down the stretch.”

Collins also grabbed 12 rebounds as Atlanta bounced back after losing 143-141 in double overtime at Golden State on Monday night. Trae Young and Dejounte Murray each scored 21 points.

“It’s been a long week, dropping four games,” Murray said. “This is the NBA. It’s a long season. You get to redeem yourself. …we are going in the right direction.

The Hawks trailed 117-113 with 1:16 left. But Young converted a layup and a foul shot, and Murray made two free throws and a layup as part of a game-ending 7-0 run for Atlanta.

“We couldn’t get the necessary stops down the stretch,” Kings coach Mike Brown said. “They basically just went at what they thought was the mismatch and got layups.”

Sacramento had the ball in the final seconds, but De’Aaron Fox had a floater blocked by Onyeka Okongwu and Domantas Sabonis also missed a jumper.

The Hawks had dropped five of six.

Fox led Sacramento with 25 points. Kevin Huerter made four 3-pointers on his way to 24 points, and Harrison Barnes scored 22. Sabonis had 20 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists.

“We fouled too much late,” Huerter said. “I think just a lot of mental mistakes at the end of the game there. We got a lead and just didn’t lock in.”

The Kings were 25 of 25 at the free-throw line before Sabonis missed a pair in the final minute.


Hawks: C Clint Capela was ruled out before the game with a right calf strain. ... Young and coach Nate McMillan both received technical fouls with 2:54 left in the second quarter.

Kings: Sabonis recorded his 15th consecutive double-double, tying DeMarcus Cousins for the longest double-double streak in franchise history. His 28 double-doubles leads the NBA this season.


Hawks: At Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.

Kings: Host Lakers on Saturday night.

Detroit Pistons 119, Golden State Warriors 122

Betting Results:
Head to Head: Detroit Pistons, odds 3.25 - long odds!
Line: Detroit Pistons (+7.5), odds 1.93
Total Points: Over (230.5), odds 1.88

SAN FRANCISCO (AP Janie McCauley) — The final play had been drawn for Bojan Bogdanovic, then Saddiq Bey suddenly found the ball in his hands with no time to think, so he just let it fly.

Bey hit a 3-pointer falling backward as time expired after Golden State’s Klay Thompson tied it on a 3 with 2.3 seconds left, sending the Detroit Pistons past the Warriors 122-119 on Wednesday night.

“It was tough, I don’t even remember I kind of blacked out a little bit,” Bey said. “I had one second so I didn’t have that much time to think, so I had to shoot it so I’m just grateful it went in.”

Detroit ended the injury-plagued defending champions’ season-best winning streak at five. Reigning NBA Finals MVP Stephen Curry missed his 10th straight game with a partially dislocated left shoulder and is set to be re-examined Saturday at the two-week mark from his last evaluation.

“I just told the guys how proud I am of them for holding down the fort these last couple weeks,” coach Steve Kerr said.

Bey made another key 3 late and wound up with 17 points, Bogdanovic hit his first five 3-pointers and one with 3:42 left on the way to 29 points to lead six Pistons in double figures.

“Saddiq popped back to get open and had the presence of mind to get it off quick enough,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said.

Thompson secured a defensive rebound with 27 seconds left but Jordan Poole turned the ball over before the Warriors could attempt a shot. Thompson scored on a layup with 40 seconds left to pull Golden State to 117-116 then delivered again — and the Warriors appeared headed to overtime for a second straight game after holding off Atlanta 143-141 in double-OT on Monday night.

“It never feels good,” Thompson said. “I thought we fought very hard tonight.”

Extra basketball might have been welcome with an atypical severe winter rain and windstorm hitting the Bay Area to greet fans afterward.

Thompson missed his first six 3-point tries then hit two big ones down the stretch on the way to 30 points, but the Warriors couldn’t make the key defensive plays late on the perimeter against Detroit’s shooters. Thompson made a go-ahead dunk with 7:33 to play and finally hit his first 3-pointer with 5:15 remaining coming off his season-best 54-point performance against the Hawks.

Draymond Green was ejected with 1:24 to play for his second technical of the game.

Poole added 24 points in his seventh straight 20-point game to go with six assists and five rebounds as the Warriors dropped to 17-3 at home as their six-game winning streak at Chase Center ended.

Jalen Duren added 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Pistons, coming off a 135-106 loss at Portland on Monday night.

Undermanned Golden State again demonstrated its amazing depth — Ty Jerome scored 18 points off the bench and Anthony Lamb added 17.

Lamb credited Bey for getting through the Warriors’ switching defense: “He had just enough time to get it off, a turnaround shot, a great shot by him.”

Killian Hayes hit a key 3-pointer with 6:21 left and contributed 13 assists and nine points while returning to Detroit’s starting lineup following a three-game suspension for his actions scuffling against Orlando last week.


Pistons: F Marvin Bagley III missed the game after breaking a bone in his right hand. ... F Isaiah Livers went through some drills Wednesday with the training staff as he rehabs a right shoulder sprain. “He’s coming along well,” Casey said. ... The Pistons improved to 6-17 on the road. ... Detroit had lost the last two on the Warriors’ home floor and 10 of 12 before prevailing.

Warriors: Durable Kevon Looney, whose tip-in at the buzzer sealed the double-OT victory against Atlanta, played his 150th consecutive regular-season game, second-longest active streak behind Suns forward Mikal Bridges. It’s 172 in a row for Looney including playoffs. ... Donte DiVincenzo’s streak of at least one steal ended at 13 games.


Pistons: Wrap up a five-game trip at San Antonio on Friday night.

Warriors: Host Magic on Saturday night having lost two straight meetings but with wins vs. Orlando in the last nine at home.

Miami Heat 109, LA Lakers 112

Betting Results:
Head to Head: LA Lakers, odds 2.45
Line: LA Lakers (+4.5), odds 1.93
Total Points: Under (224.5), odds 1.90

LOS ANGELES (AP Greg Beacham) — Dennis Schröder scored 14 of his season-high 32 points in the fourth quarter and the undermanned Los Angeles Lakers improbably overcame LeBron James’ absence for a 112-109 victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday night.

Russell Westbrook had 21 points, nine assists and eight rebounds for the Lakers, who rallied from a six-point deficit in the fourth quarter and held off Miami without their top three scorers. James stayed home with a cold, while Anthony Davis and Lonnie Walker are injured.

Thomas Bryant added 21 points and nine rebounds, while Schröder was brilliant down the stretch. The German point guard scored nine points in the final 2:35, and his 9-for-9 performance at the free throw line in the fourth quarter sealed the Lakers’ fourth victory in five games.

“I’ve got to be more aggressive anyway, even when AD and Bron are coming back, to open up things for AD and Bron,” Schröder said. “Hearing that Bron is sick and AD is out as well, everybody just gave a little bit more.”

Schröder rolled his ankle midway through the fourth quarter, and Lakers coach Darvin Ham intended to take him out of the game — but Schröder’s teammates said he insisted on staying in.

“He didn’t want to come out,” Bryant said. “He said, ‘No. Let’s be great.’”

Bam Adebayo had 30 points and 13 rebounds, and Jimmy Butler had 27 before missing a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the Heat, who lost for only the fourth time in 12 games.

“They were rolling,” said Kyle Lowry, who had 11 points. “They were confident in what they were doing. We were a little bit of a step slow tonight.”

One week after beating the Lakers in Miami and two days after rallying to beat the Clippers in Los Angeles, Miami blew a late lead and couldn’t catch up to the Lakers’ reserves and role players.

“It’s been extremely disappointing every time we get a little bit of footing on the season, and then we have a disappointing loss,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That’s what this was tonight, but you have to credit the Lakers. They played with a great motor, with spirit with their guys out. We’ve had some wins like that as well, where we’ve had guys out and you can catch a team.”

After trailing for much of the first three quarters, Miami appeared to be moving toward a victory before the Lakers made a 14-3 rally and eventually went up 102-96 on Schröder’s three consecutive free throws with 2:35 to play.

After Adebayo trimmed Los Angeles’ lead to one point on a putback basket, Schröder hit two free throws and then drove for a vicious layup with 20.3 seconds left for a 108-104 lead.

Adebayo got another putback with 15.4 seconds left, but Austin Reaves found Westbrook with a beautiful inbounds pass for a layup. Westbrook missed a free throw and Max Strus hit a 3-pointer with 4 seconds to play, but Schröder hit two more free throws and Butler missed a tough 3-pointer.

“Everybody just banded together and continued to fight, and that’s what we have to be about,” Ham said. “That’s what our identity has to be.”


Heat: The loss overshadowed a third straight 30-point game for Adebayo, who has hit 61% of his shots and grabbed 34 rebounds in that stretch. ... Dewayne Dedmon, the USC product from Lancaster, California, had two points in his return from a six-game absence with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. ... Tyler Herro had nine points on 4-of-14 shooting in his lowest-scoring game since Dec. 12.

Lakers: Walker missed his third straight game, but the team changed his injury designation from a tailbone contusion to left knee soreness. Ham said the soreness is “normal” for a player with Walker’s explosiveness and leaping ability. ... Troy Brown Jr. missed the second half with a quadriceps strain. He had two points in 14 minutes.


Heat: At Phoenix on Friday night.

Lakers: Host Atlanta on Friday night.

All betting results and odds provided by PlayUp, Australia's best NBA sportsbook.

By Tom Withers, Steve Reed, Dick Scanlon, Brian Mahoney, Mark Gonzales, Ian Harrison, Brett Martel, Brian Hall, Cameron Salerno, Janie McCauley, Greg Beecham, The Associated Press and DJ Arthurs | 01/05/23

Follow DJ Arthurs on Twitter at @DJArthursJourno

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