NBA wrap: Carmelo Anthony's first start for Rockets ends in loss to Clippers

Houston had to make some adjustments to its lineup with both James Harden and James Ennis out, and Anthony was the next man up.

Houston Rockets' forward Carmelo Anthony takes an inside shot while Los Angeles Clippers' forward Danilo Gallinari defends during the first quarter.   -  USA TODAY Sports

He's back. Well, he never left. But Friday, Carmelo Anthony got his first start with the Houston Rockets with an injured James Harden (hamstring) and James Ennis (hamstring) out of the rotation.

Anthony's team-high 24 points wasn't enough to push Houston past the visiting Los Angeles Clippers, and Clippers pulled away with a 133-113 victory.

Anthony gave the struggling Rockets (1-4) squad some life early, but the Clippers slowly began pulling away with the help of their bench.

Three starters scored in double figures — Danilo Gallinari (16), Tobias Harris (15), and Avery Bradley (14) — but the Clippers reserves powered them as they improved to 3-2. Former Rocket Montrezl Harrell and 13-year veteran Lou Williams led the Clippers with a combined 53 points. Harrell finished with a game-high 30 points and was most efficient from the charity stripe, hitting 14-of-15 free throws. Williams added 23 points and shot 7 of 9 from the field and 3 of 4 from 3-point range. 

Just look at this teamwork.

 

STUDS OF THE NIGHT

Kemba Walker pushed the Charlotte Hornets to 3-3 after netting 30 points in Charlotte's 135-106 win over Chicago Bulls. In Friday's contest he hit 11-of-18 shots, including half of his 3-point attempts (5 for 10). Walker has averaged 31 points in six games this season.

The Golden State Warriors enjoyed a 51-point night from Stephen Curry on Wednesday, but Friday night was Kevin Durant's turn to stun Golden State's opponent. In the 128-100 win over the New York Knicks, Durant finished with 41 points, including 25 fourth-quarter points as Golden State took control. He finished hitting 17 of his 24 field goals and 5-of-9 3-pointers.

Toronto earned its first-ever 6-0 start behind the efforts of Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry in a a 116-107 win over the Mavericks. Leonard scored 21 points and Lowry followed with 20 points and 12 assists — it was the first time in Lowry's career he's had four consecutive double-doubles. 

DUD OF THE NIGHT

The entire Bulls lineup recorded points in the loss to the Hornets, except one player. Chandler Hutchison missed four field goals, one 3-pointer and two free throws. The rookie got the starting nod in place of an injured Bobby Portis, and did grab seven rebounds.

HIGHLIGHTS

An unforced turnover by the Nets gave the Pelicans possession down one point with seven seconds left on the clock. Jrue Holiday cashed it in for the go-ahead basket to add to his game-high 26 points. New Orleans won 117-115 to remain undefeated.

 

Don't step in Giannis Antetokounmpo's way. He helped keep the Bucks undefeated with 15 points in Milwaukee's 125-95 win over Minnesota.

 

WHAT'S NEXT?

Pacers (3-2) at Cavaliers (0-5), 7:30 p.m. ET — Cleveland will host Indiana as the Cavaliers search for their first win of the season. The Pacers are coming off a 20-point victory versus the Spurs, and have been led by guard Victor Oladipo. The fifth-year player has averaged 21.4 points per game. Cavaliers veteran Kevin Love and company hope to contain Oladipo, who scored a game-high 21 points in the Pacers' most recent win. Love is leading Cleveland with 19 points per game despite shooting only 32.3 percent from the field.