LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Luka Doncic scored 27 points to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a 115-98 NBA victory in Brooklyn on Saturday, snapping the short-handed Nets’ eight-game winning streak.
James Harden scored 29 points for the Nets but ran out of steam late as he carried the load in the absence of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Durant missed his seventh game with a strained left hamstring while Irving sat out to rest his surgically repaired right shoulder.
Harden had just four points in the second half, sitting out most of the fourth quarter in which Dallas led by as many as 22.
The Mavs were buoyed by the return of Kristaps Porzingis, who scored 18 points in his first contest since missing three games with back trouble.
“We played like a team today,” said Doncic, who was able to celebrate the victory on the eve of his 22nd birthday.
“They have an amazing team,” added Doncic, who added that even with two stars out the Mavs knew the Nets remained a dangerous adversary.
“We just kept going as a team,” he said.
Brooklyn remained half a game behind Eastern Conference leaders Philadelphia, who fell 112-109 to the Cleveland Cavaliers in overtime in a rare home defeat.
Guard Collin Sexton scored 28 points and Darius Garland added 25 with nine assists for the Cavaliers, who came into the contest missing half a dozen players due to injury or personal reasons.
Despite having just nine players in uniform, Cleveland led 28-23 after the first quarter and 56-47 at halftime.
An 18-9 third-quarter run saw the Sixers pull level at 65-65 and the lead changed hands eight times in the fourth.
Joel Embiid’s dunk with 1:38 left in regulation knotted the score at 92-92, but he missed a potential game-winner at the buzzer.
The Cavs scored the first five points of overtime and never trailed, claiming the win despite a 42-point, 16-rebound performance from Embiid.
“I thought we had one quarter with energy, the third quarter,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said. “Other than that, they basically got the shots they wanted all game. If they didn’t they got the offensive rebounds. They got the back cuts when they needed them.”
The league-leading Utah Jazz wasted no time in bouncing back from a disorganised defeat to the Miami Heat, cruising past the Magic 124-109 in Orlando.
Donovan Mitchell scored 25 of his 31 points in the second half as the Jazz improved to 27-7.
Joe Ingles, starting at point guard in place of Mike Conley, scored 17 points and handed out seven assists and Rudy Gobert chipped in 12 points and 16 rebounds for the Jazz, who had 18 points off the bench from Jordan Clarkson.
Centre Nikola Vucevic led the Magic with 34 points, but Utah out-scored the hosts 70-59 in the second half to roll to victory.
In Washington, Bradley Beal scored 34 points and Russell Westbrook added 19 in his 10th triple-double of the season to propel the Wizards to a 128-112 victory over the hapless Minnesota Timberwolves, who lost their seventh straight.
Westbrook added 14 rebounds and 12 assists to help the Wizards to their seventh win in eight starts.
Westbrook’s 10 triple-doubles lead the NBA and with just 24 games under his belt since arriving in Washington he has a club record for most triple-doubles in a season.
The Denver Nuggets routed the Oklahoma City Thunder 126-96 on the back of 26 points from Jamal Murray and a triple-double of 19 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists from Nikola Jokic – his eighth triple-double of the season.