James’ missed free throws give Rockets victory over Cavs

(The Sports Xchange) – LeBron James capped a nightmare performance at the free-throw line with a pair of misses in the closing seconds of overtime as the Houston Rockets held on for a 105-105 points win.

James finished 3-for-11 at the charity stripe, with his final failures coming with the Cavaliers (37-24) trailing by one. James still finished with a game-high 37 points plus eight rebounds, three steals and three blocks.

Rockets guard James Harden finished with 33 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals as Houston (41-18) claimed its fifth consecutive win.

Cavaliers forward Kevin Love added 21 but the battle was between MVP candidates James and Harden. The two players were tangled up late resulting in Harden kicking James near the groin and earning a technical foul.

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Warriors 106, Celtics 101

The Golden State Warriors, the team with the best record in the NBA, spotted the Boston Celtics a 26-point first-half lead but roared from behind and ended the Celtics’ three-game winning streak.

The Warriors (46-11) out-scored Boston by 16 in the fourth quarter to complete the comeback.

Stephen Curry had 37 points but it was driving layups by forward Harrison Barnes and guard Andre Iguodala that brought the visitors from a point down to a three-point lead with 26.2 seconds left.

Isaiah Thomas finished with 20 for Boston.

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Clippers 96, Bulls 86

Chris Paul scored 28 points with 12 assists to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to victory over the Chicago Bulls.

Jamal Crawford added 16 points for the Clippers (39-21), who earned their sixth win in the past eight games. Center DeAndre Jordan scored nine points and pulled down 26 rebounds.

Rookie forward Nikola Mirotic came off the bench to lead Chicago with a career-high 29 points.

But injury woes continue for the Bulls (37-23) as All-Star guard Jimmy Butler sprained his left elbow in the third quarter.

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Trail Blazers 110, Kings 99

Damian Lillard scored 31 points and LaMarcus Aldridge had 26, leading the Portland Trail Blazers to a victory against the Sacramento Kings.

Aldridge added 15 rebounds for his 30th double-double of the season for Portland (39-19).

Rudy Gay led the Kings with 24 points.

The Kings were without All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins, their leading scorer and rebounder, who missed his second straight game with a sprained left ankle and left hip contusion.

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Thunder 108, Lakers 101

Despite playing without injured All-Stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Oklahoma City Thunder had little trouble with the Los Angeles Lakers.

D.J. Augustin and Serge Ibaka scored 18 points apiece, and the Thunder (33-27) snapped a two-game skid.

Jeremy Lin came off the bench to score 20 points and dished out eight assists to lead the Lakers (16-42), who lost for the first time in four games.

Westbrook missed his first game since undergoing surgery on a fractured right cheekbone sustained in Friday’s loss at Portland. His return is unknown. Durant, whose status also is up in the air, was out again with a sore right foot.

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Pacers 94, 76ers 74

George Hill scored 17 points, and center Roy Hibbert contributed 14 points, a season-best-tying 15 rebounds and five blocked shots in the Indiana Pacers’ victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.

Indiana, which won for the eighth time in 10 games, finished on a 13-0 run.

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Hornets 98, Magic 83

Mo Williams scored 23 points and added a game-high 11 assists to lead the Charlotte Hornets to victory over the Orlando Magic.

The Bobcats (24-33), who are battling to stay in playoff contention, had a well-balanced attack with all five starters scoring at least 11 points.

Victor Oladipo led the Magic attack with 21 points and five assists.

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Pelicans 99, Nuggets 92

Tyreke Evans had 22 points, guard Eric Gordon scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Denver Nuggets.

The Pelicans (32-27) have been winning despite the absence of three of their top four scorers — forward Anthony Davis, center Ryan Anderson and guard Jrue Holiday.

Evans, Gordon and forward Quincy Pondexter have picked up the scoring slack the last four games.

Danilo Gallinari scored 21 points and guard Randy Foye had 19 for the Nuggets, who have lost 19-of-21 overall.

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