NBA Wrap: Birthday boy James leads Lakers to win, Celtics beats Grizzlies

On his 36th birthday, Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James scored in double figures for the 1,000th consecutive game, expanding his NBA-record streak.

LeBron James scored 26 points on the night.   -  TWITTER/NBA

LeBron James scored 26 points, including two key baskets down the stretch, to lead the visiting Los Angeles Lakers to a 121-107 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.

On his 36th birthday, James scored in double figures for the 1,000th consecutive game, expanding his NBA-record streak. He added eight assists and five rebounds.

 

Dennis Schroder scored 21 points for Los Angeles, Davis hit for 20, Wesley Matthews had 18 and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrell contributed 10 each for the Lakers. Harrell grabbed a game-high nine rebounds.

The Lakers played without guard Alex Caruso for the second straight game under the NBA's health protocols. He is the first Los Angeles player to miss a regular-season game because of COVID-19.

 

Dejounte Murray led all scorers with 29 points and added seven rebounds and seven assists for the Spurs. DeMar DeRozan scored 23, Patty Mills had 12 and Lonnie Walker IV pitched in 11 points for San Antonio, which was without center LaMarcus Aldridge (sore left knee).

The two teams play again in San Antonio on New Year's Day.

CELTICS 126, GRIZZLIES 107

Jaylen Brown scored 18 of his 42 points in the second quarter and Boston pulled away to its 10th straight victory over Memphis.

Brown matched his career best of 34 points with three minutes left in the third and tied a career-high with seven 3-pointers made. Jayson Tatum scored 16 points, and Marcus Smart had 14.

 

Hours after announcing they will be without leading scorer and reigning Rookie of the Year Ja Morant for three to five weeks because of a sprained ankle, the Grizzlies lost for the third time in four games. Jonas Valanciunas had 20 points and 11 rebounds for Memphis.

HEAT 119, BUCKS 108

The Miami Heat engineered a 58-point turnaround against the Milwaukee Bucks in 24 hours. And just like that, an embarrassing loss was avenged.

Goran Dragic scored 26 points, Bam Adebayo finished with 22 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds and the Heat beat the Bucks a day after Milwaukee made an NBA-record 29 3-pointers on the way to a 47-point romp on Miami’s home floor.

 

Tyler Herro had 21 points and grabbed a career-best 15 rebounds for Miami, which trailed by 14 early in the second half and rallied to get a split of the two-game, two-night series against the team that finished with the NBA’s best record in each of the past two regular seasons.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had a triple-double — 26 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists — for the Bucks.

NETS 135, HAWKS 141

Kyrie Irving shook off three rough quarters to score 17 of his 25 points in the fourth, Kevin Durant had 33 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, and Brooklyn handed Atlanta its first loss.

In the opener of a two-game series between the teams that was almost entirely about offense — the third game in Nets franchise where both teams had 100 points through three quarters — Irving couldn’t get into the act. He was just 3 for 16 from the field and getting badly outplayed by point guard counterpart Trae Young. But he made three 3-pointers in the final period after missing all seven through three as the Nets rallied to win after dropping two straight following their 2-0 start.

 

Young had 30 points, 11 assists and six rebounds, and John Collins had 30 points and 10 rebounds. The Hawks won their first three for the first time since 2016.

HORNETS 118, MAVERICKS 99

LaMelo Ball scored 22 points, Miles Bridges had 20 points and 16 rebounds and Charlotte blew out Dallas in the Mavericks’ home opener.

Terry Rozier, who scored 18 points, hit a pair of 3-pointers early in a 14-0 run to start the second half, giving the Hornets a 25-point lead coming off their first win, over Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets.

 

Charlotte silenced Luka Doncic and the Mavericks, who are still without European sidekick Kristaps Porzingis as the 7-foot-3 Latvian recovers from knee surgery. Doncic had 12 points.

CLIPPERS 128, TRAIL BLAZERS 105

Kawhi Leonard scored 28 points in his return from a two-game absence, Paul George added 23 points, and Los Angeles breezed past Portland.

It was the Clippers’ second straight blowout win to close out the year.

 

George had 10 rebounds, while he and Leonard had seven assists each. Six Clippers scored in double figures. Lou Williams added 15 points off the bench.

CJ McCollum scored 25 points, making seven 3-pointers, to lead the Blazers, whose two-game winning streak ended. Damian Lillard made 14 of 15 free throws to finish with 20 points after missing 11 of 14 shots from the field. He was 0 of 8 from 3-point range.

 

(WITH INPUTS FROM REUTERS)

  Dugout videos