LOS ANGELES (AFP) – James Harden scored 44 points and had eight rebounds as the Houston Rockets beat the Indiana Pacers 111-102 on Friday night to stretch their winning streak to six games.
Harden scored 40-plus points for the fourth time in six games.
When he needed a rest in the third quarter, Ben McLemore picked up the slack, scoring 10 of his season-high 21 points in the third.
In the late game, Anthony Davis made a clutch defensive play at the buzzer just moments after LeBron James hit the go-ahead free throws as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Sacramento Kings 99-97.
Harden scored 12 straight points in the fourth to give Houston a double-digit lead at one point. He also tallied five assists and four steals.
Houston played without Clint Capela (concussion), Eric Gordon (right knee surgery) and Danuel House Jr (sore back).
Russell Westbrook had 17 points but shot just five of 21 from the floor for the Rockets.
Domantas Sabonis finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds for the Pacers, who shot just eight for 33 from beyond the arc.
In Los Angeles, Davis blocked Harrison Barnes’ layup with two seconds left, allowing the Lakers to beat the Kings and win their 10th game in the last 11.
James scored 18 of his 29 points in the second half and recorded 11 assists and Davis finished with 17 points. Davis missed the previous game with a sore shoulder.
He has played a lot of minutes for the Lakers this season and Friday was no exception as he finished with 39.
“There are going to be games where I got to play high minutes. The coach doesn’t want that so we got to try to keep those minutes down. I felt really good tonight,” he said.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 16 points for Los Angeles, and Kyle Kuzma chipped in 13, all in the first half.
Elsewhere, Malik Monk nailed a 26-foot three-pointer at the buzzer as the Charlotte Hornets stepped up their game at both ends of the floor for a 109-106 win over the Detroit Pistons.
Marvin Williams and Monk each had a three-pointer in the last 24 seconds after Langston Galloway hit a shot from beyond the arc to give Detroit a three-point lead with 50 seconds remaining in the fourth.
Pistons Derrick Rose turned the ball over with one second on the clock to give Charlotte an opportunity to steal the win.
Monk took the inbound pass from teammate Cody Martin and drained the winning shot to snap the Hornets’ four-game losing streak.
Monk and Terry Rozier scored 19 points apiece for the Hornets.
Devonte’ Graham poured in 18 points, PJ Washington added 11 points, and Cody Zeller and Bismack Biyombo each had 10 points as Charlotte’s balanced scoring was backed up by some superb defence.
Galloway scored 32 points and Blake Griffin finished with 19 for the struggling Pistons, who have lost four straight games.
Evan Fournier hit two clutch three-pointers in the final two and a half minutes to boost the Orlando Magic to a 111-109 win over the San Antonio Spurs.
The Spurs led by as many as 16 points in the first half but Orlando stormed back and turned the game into a see-saw contest.
Fournier finished with 26 points as the host Magic won their third game in the last four.
Aaron Gordon hit two free throws with 13 seconds to play and Nikola Vucevic added another less than a second later to make it 110-106 and give the Magic a comfortable lead.
Terrence Ross added 20 points off the bench for the Magic, with Gordon scoring 14. Al-Farouq Aminu and Markelle Fultz added 13 points each.
DeMar DeRozan led the Spurs with 21 points, with Rudy Gay scoring 14 and LaMarcus Aldridge and Patty Mills scoring 13 points each for the Spurs, who have lost four conse- cutive games.