HOUSTON (AP) – The Houston Rockets overcame the absence of three starters to beat Memphis 105-96 on Wednesday, moving within one game of the Grizzlies, who sit atop the NBA’s Southwest Division.
In the day’s other notable results, Dallas’ Monta Ellis came up with the clutch shot for the second straight night as the Mavericks edged Milwaukee, San Antonio’s eight-game winning streak ended in an overtime loss at Brooklyn, and Philadelphia finally got its first win of the season after 17 straight defeats.
Houston played without three starters, including Dwight Howard who missed his seventh straight game with a strained right knee.
James Harden scored 21 points, and Trevor Ariza and Jason Terry added 16 as the Rockets ended Memphis’ run of five straight losses.
The Grizzlies’ only two prior losses this season had been by a combined five points but they were never in the contest this time. They trailed by a competitive 12 points at half time, but that ballooned out to 26 entering the fourth quarter.
Dallas won 107-105 at Milwaukee, thanks to a wild, fallaway jumper at the buzzer by Monta Ellis.
The same player had, the previous match, sunk clutch baskets at the end of regulation and in double overtime to beat Chicago.
Ellis scored 23, with eight in the final two minutes on what otherwise had been a bad shooting night for the Mavericks’ top scorer, playing against his former team.
The Mavericks won their fifth in a row while resting Dirk Nowitzki because of a sore back.
Brandon Knight scored 25 points for the Bucks in their third straight loss.
Brooklyn’s Mirza Teletovic had a season-high 26 points and a career-best 15 rebounds starting in place of Kevin Garnett, leading the Net past San Antonio 95-93 in overtime.
The Nets regrouped in overtime after blowing a 14-point lead in the final 5 minutes of regulation and for the first time this season managed to beat a team with a positive win-loss record.
Danny Green had 20 points, 10 rebounds and the tying 3-pointer with 2.4 seconds left in regulation for the Spurs. Philadelphia avoided tying the record for the worst start to a season in NBA history, ending their 0-17 skid with an 85-77 victory over Minnesota.
Michael Carter-Williams had 20 points, nine rebounds and nine assists and Robert Covington added 17 points to keep Philadelphia from tying the 0-18 start by the New Jersey Nets in 2009-10.
The Sixers shot just 39 percent against the worst defence in the league, turned the ball over 19 times and scored only nine points in the second quarter, but finally managed to break through.
Gorgui Dieng had 15 points and 16 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who shot just 35.7 percent.
Atlanta handed Miami another home-court loss, with Jeff Teague scoring 27 points in a 112-102 win for the Hawks.
Kyle Korver scored 18 for Atlanta, which went on an 18-5 run to end the third quarter in a decisive burst that set up a fourth-straight victory.
Dwyane Wade scored 28 points for Miami, which is struggling in the post-LeBron James era and has lost six of its past eight home games.
The Los Angeles Clippers extended their winning run to six games by cruising past Orlando 114-86, with Blake Griffin scoring 21 points and JJ Redick 20 before both were rested for the fourth quarter.