NBA Wrap: LeBron's Lakers beats Doncic's Mavericks, Pelicans downs Rockets

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers were too good for the Dallas Mavericks, while Lonzo Ball starred for New Orleans against the Houston Rockets.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James became the ninth player in history to reach 9,000 assists and the first to do it with a minimum of 9,000 rebounds.   -  Getty Images

LeBron James bested Luka Doncic as the Los Angeles Lakers eased to a 108-95 win over the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA.

Two MVP candidates went head-to-head at Staples Center on Sunday and Lakers superstar James emerged on top after making history on his way to a double-double of 13 points and 13 assists.

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One day out from his 35th birthday, the three-time NBA champion became the ninth player in history to reach 9,000 assists and the first to do it with a minimum of 9,000 rebounds.

ALSO READ | LeBron breaks new ground with 9,000th NBA assist

Doncic, making his 100th appearance in the league, needed treatment after a heavy fall in the first quarter, although he still led the Mavs with 19 points and seven assists.

Dallas (21-11) is now four and a half games adrift of the Western Conference-leading Lakers (26-7) and two games behind the second-placed Denver Nuggets, which prevailed 120-115 against the Sacramento Kings.

Nikola Jokic made a clutch fadeaway jumper in the fourth quarter and finished with 17 points, while Will Barton and first-time starter Michael Porter Jr had 19 apiece for the Nuggets (23-9).

 

Lonzo leads Pelicans past Rockets

Lonzo Ball starred in James Harden's absence as the New Orleans Pelicans topped the Houston Rockets 127-112 to notch a fourth consecutive victory. Rockets guard Harden joined Russell Westbrook on the sideline due to a toe problem and Ball – the former number two draft pick – took advantage with 27 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander consigned defending champion the Toronto Raptors to a third loss in four games, his 32 points, plus 25 and 11 rebounds from Chris Paul, lifting the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 98-97 triumph at Scotiabank Arena.

Dillon Brooks went eight of 13 from the floor for 20 points as the Memphis Grizzlies overcame the Charlotte Hornets 117-104.

 

Rivers dries up

The Rockets needed scoring production from elsewhere with star pair Harden and Westbrook unavailable, but Austin Rivers struggled to step up against the Pelicans. The 27-year-old guard managed nine points and five assists in 29 minutes, hitting one of four three-point attempts and just two of seven from the floor.

 

Jokic shows off skills

Denver big man Jokic showcased his slick handles with two brilliant behind-the-back dribbles in the Nuggets' five-point win against the Kings.

 

Sunday's results

Oklahoma City Thunder 98-97 Toronto Raptors
Memphis Grizzlies 117-104 Charlotte Hornets
New Orleans Pelicans 127-112 Houston Rockets
Denver Nuggets 120-115 Sacramento Kings
Los Angeles Lakers 108-95 Dallas Mavericks

 

Bucks at Bulls

The Milwaukee Bucks (29-5) will hope Giannis Antetokounmpo can overcome back soreness in time for Monday's trip to the improving Chicago Bulls (13-20).