LOS ANGELES: The Los Angeles Lakers snapped their four-game NBA losing streak on Sunday (Jan 7), clawing out a 106-103 victory in a cross-town tussle with the LA Clippers – one of the hottest teams in the league.
LeBron James scored 25 points, Anthony Davis added 22 and 10 rebounds and the Lakers got a big lift from their reserves, including 13 points from D’Angelo Russell.
The Lakers seized the first double-digit lead of the contest on Russell’s three-pointer early in the fourth quarter.
The Clippers, taking advantage of a spate of Lakers turnovers, pulled level on three free throws from Norman Powell with 2:19 remaining.
Taurean Prince drained a three-pointer to put the Lakers back up for good, Powell missing a potential game-tying three-pointer in the final second.
Paul George and Ivica Zubac scored 22 points apiece for the Clippers, who were riding a five-game winning streak and came into the contest with the best record in the league since December 1.
“We still slipped in some detail things,” James said. “If we could continue to get better with our details we could be a really good team.
“Tonight was a good step in the right direction.”
Elsewhere, Kyrie Irving scored 35 points and Luka Doncic added 34 as the Dallas Mavericks thwarted a Minnesota rally to beat the Western Conference leading Timberwolves 115-108.
The Timberwolves, owners of the second-best record in the league, trailed by nine going into the fourth quarter but took a 106-100 lead on an Anthony Edwards basket with 3:53 to play.
Mavs coach Jason Kidd called being down by six “a great test of character and trust” and Dallas passed it with flying colors.
The Mavs responded with a 13-0 scoring run. Irving drained a three-pointer to tie it at 106-106, then poked the ball away from Rudy Gobert for a steal and delivered another three-pointer from the corner and the Mavs held on for the win.
“I was just letting him cook,” Doncic said of Irving. “When he stays aggressive he’s an amazing player.”
Other tight finishes included overtime victories for Portland and Orlando, and Cleveland’s 117-115 victory over San Antonio.
There were blowout wins for the New Orleans Pelicans and the Toronto Raptors, who took full advantage of an off-night for Stephen Curry in a victory over the Golden State Warriors.
RJ Barrett scored a season-high 37 points for the Raptors, who led wire-to-wire in a 133-118 victory over the Warriors in San Francisco.
Warriors’ star Curry made just two of his 14 shots from the field, missing all nine of his three-point attempts on the way to nine points.
Klay Thompson scored 25 points for Golden State, whose best news on the day was the appearance of Draymond Green at the pre-game walkthrough as he prepares to return from an NBA suspension that lasted 12 games.
New Orleans’ CJ McCollum scored 30 points to lead seven Pelicans players in double figures in a 133-100 rout of the Kings in Sacramento.
The Pelicans pushed their lead to as many as 50 points in the fourth quarter, both teams resting their starters for most or all of the final period.
“I feel sorry for the fans that spent their money coming to watch the game today,” Kings coach Mike Brown said.
“GOT IT ALL”
In Cleveland, Jarrett Allen scored 29 points to fuel the Cavaliers, who held off a late challenge from Victor Wembanyama and the Spurs.
Allen added 16 rebounds and Caris LeVert scored 23 points off the bench for the Cavs, who handed the Spurs a fifth straight defeat.
French prodigy Wembanyama scored 24 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and blocked five shots in less than 25 minutes on court.
“He’s talented,” Allen said. “He can take people off the dribble, excellent shot-blocker, post-up – he’s got it all.”
They needed overtime to settle it in Brooklyn, where the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Nets 134-127.
Portland guard Anfernee Simons scored 19 of his 38 points in the fourth quarter and overtime to help the Trail Blazers withstand a 42-point performance from Brooklyn’s Mikal Bridges.
In Orlando, Paolo Banchero scored 35 points to lead the Magic to a 117-110 overtime victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
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