Lakers snap Portland losing skid, Oladipo powers Pacers
By Agence France-Presse
LeBron James scored 28 points as the Los Angeles Lakers snapped a 16-game losing streak to the Portland Trail Blazers by holding on for a 114-110 win on Saturday.
James also added seven assists and Rajon Rondo came off the bench to deliver 17 points and 10 assists for the Lakers who led by 17 points in the third quarter.
The Lakers would squander that big lead but somehow managed to overcome their late mistakes and hold on for the win thanks to James’ free-throw shooting and some clutch baskets by JaVale McGee.
The Trail Blazers had won 16 straight against the Lakers dating to December 2014.
“We haven’t had a lot of success against this team either at home or away for long time so this is a really good win,” said James.
“We haven’t played that well on the road. It was good for us to come into one of most hostile buildings in the Western Conference and win.”
Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum each scored 30 points for Portland.
The Lakers seized a 17-point lead in the third after a 16-0 run but the Blazers answered with a 22-8 surge to cut the margin to just six points with 3:34 left on the clock
Sloppy play once again came back to hurt the Lakers as they committed seven turnovers in the fourth quarter and finished with 20 overall, but somehow managed to hang on.
Elsewhere, Victor Oladipo drained a clutch three pointer with three seconds left on the clock as the Indiana Pacers cooled off the red-hot Boston Celtics with a dramatic 102-101 victory.
The second year all-star Oladipo finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds for the Pacers who trailed by four points with 37 seconds to go before charging back.
Marcus Morris had a team-high 23 points and six rebounds for the Celtics, who shot 43 percent overall in a tightly-contested game in front of a crowd of 17,500 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse arena.
Indiana trailed 101-97 after Boston’s Kyrie Irving hit a three-pointer with 37 seconds remaining.
Oladipo was fouled by Jaylen Brown with 29 seconds left and made both free throws to cut the Celtic lead to 101-99.
With the clock winding down, Oladipo seized a defensive rebound and dribbled up the court before stopping on the right side and nailing a three pointer over top of Boston center Al Horford.
On the next Boston possession, Gordon Hayward inbounded and had his pass deflected and stolen by Oladipo, who tossed the ball up to begin the victory celebration.
“We were really calm,” Oladipo said. “The crowd was excited, but we were calm. We knew we needed one more stop.”
– Harden returns –
Elsewhere, James Harden scored 25 points in his return to the Houston lineup, and the Rockets defeated the Chicago Bulls 96-88.
The NBA’s reigning MVP Harden scored 11 straight points in a two minute span of the third quarter as the Rockets went on a 15-0 run.
Harden had missed three games with a sore left hamstring, suffering the injury in a loss to Utah on October 24.
Harden started slowly in his return to the lineup. He didn’t score until completing a driving layup with 3:55 left in the second quarter. Then he hit back-to-back shots from beyond the arc.
Houston won their second game in as many nights after beginning the season a dismal 1-5.
In Philadelphia, Joel Embiid continued to manhandle other teams around the NBA, scoring a game high 39 points and snagging 17 rebounds to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 109-99 win over the Detroit Pistons.
Embiid scored 32 points in a dominating first half which also saw him make eight of nine shots and 15 of 17 free throws.
Detroit got as close as five with 4:48 remaining before an Embiid layup and JJ Redick’s three-pointer which pushed the lead to a comfortable 10 points.