James carries Cavs, Harden rallies Rockets

AFP
James had a hand in Cleveland's final 22 points of the game as he finished with 30 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists in 39 minutes.
AFP
Reuters

Houston Rockets guard James Harden shoots over Portland Trail Blazers forward Ed Davis in the first half of their NBA game at Moda Center in Portland, Oregon, on December 9, 2017. The Rockets won 124-117.

LeBron James posted his third triple double of the season and 58th of his career as the Cavaliers defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 105-98 in Cleveland on Saturday night.

James had a hand in Cleveland's final 22 points of the game as he finished with 30 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists in 39 minutes.

James' late-game productive streak is the most points scored or assisted on for any player this season to close out a game.

"That's a crazy stat," said James. "I didn't know that, that's for sure.

"I don't need to score to be productive and to help win a game. I just stay with it. I was able to get to the free-throw line tonight. I was able to get some rebounds and my teammates made some huge shots for me."

Jeff Green, Kyle Korver, and Dwyane Wade all came off the bench to score 13 points each. Jae Crowder tallied 12, including a clutch 3-pointer from James with 40 seconds left for a 104-98 lead. 

JJ Redick and Robert Covington led Philadelphia with 19 points each. Covington was hurt trying to save the ball out of bounds with 68 seconds remaining and did not return.

JR Smith moved ahead of Kobe Bryant (1,827 3-pointers) for 12th place on the NBA's all-time 3-point list by draining two from beyond the arc on Saturday for Cleveland.

In Portland, Oregon, James Harden scored 48 points and the Houston Rockets won their ninth straight, overcoming a 14-point, fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Portland Trail Blazers 124-117.

Harden was 16 of 29 from the field and had 8 rebounds to help the Rockets (20-4) win for the 12th time in 13 road games this season. Chris Paul added 24 points, and Trevor Ariza had 13.

Damian Lillard tied a franchise record with 9 3-pointers and had 35 points for Portland (13-12). CJ McCollum had 28 points, and Al-Farouq Aminu added 15, all on 3-pointers.

Portland put Houston in a hole early in the third quarter, scoring 11 consecutive points to take a 78-72 lead. The lead grew was at 14 late in the third quarter when Lillard limped to the bench, favoring his right foot. With Lillard's foot on ice, Houston launched a rally, pulling to 103-98 when Lillard returned with 7 minutes remaining. But the Rockets had momentum, and took a 110-109 lead on Ariza's 3-pointer.

The Rockets never trailed again, outscoring Portland 14-6 during the final three minutes.

Elsewhere in the NBA on Saturday, it was: Thunder 102, Grizzlies 101, OT; Clippers 113, Wizards 112; Heat 101, Nets 89 (in Mexico City); Lakers 110, Hornets 99; Spurs 104, Suns 101; Bulls 104, Knicks 102; Bucks 117, Jazz 100; and Hawks 117, Magic 110.


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