ATLANTA (AP) — LeBron James scored a season-high 47 points on his 38th birthday with many of the sellout crowd at State Farm Arena cheering his every move and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Atlanta Hawks 130-121 on Friday (Dec. 30) night.
James, a four-time NBA MVP and an 18-time All-Star, finished with 10 rebounds and nine assists. He had 16 points in the second quarter, 13 in the third and 16 in the fourth. James began the game ranked ninth in scoring with a 27.8 average.
The Hawks blew a 15-point lead but regained a 101-100 lead on Aaron Holiday’s 3-pointer with 10:50 remaining. James hit a 3 from the right wing to make it 103-101 and Los Angeles never trailed again. The Lakers went up 108-105 on James’ straightaway 3.
Thomas Bryant had 19 points and a season-high 17 rebounds for the Lakers, and Russell Westbrook had 14 points and 11 assists. Trae Young led Atlanta with 29 points and Dejounte Murray had 20.
BUCKS 123, TIMBERWOLVES 114
MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 43 points and 20 rebounds and Milwaukee beat Minnesota to snap a four-game losing streak.
Antetokounmpo finished two points off his season high and also had five assists to join Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor as the only players in NBA history with back-to-back games of at least 40 points, 20 rebounds and five assists. Chamberlain did it five times and Baylor once, with Chamberlain the last to do it Jan. 6-7, 1966.
Antetokounmpo has topped 40 points in four of the last six games.
Bobby Portis added 22 points for Milwaukee.
Anthony Edwards led Minnesota with 30 points on 10-of-20 shooting. Luka Garza and Jaylen Nowell each had 16 points in the Timberwolves’ fifth straight loss. Minnesota center Rudy Gobert sat out because of a non-COVID illness and star forward Karl Anthony-Towns did not play because of a strained right calf.
NUGGETS 124, HEAT 119
DENVER — Jamal Murray scored seven of his 14 points over the final two minutes, Nikola Jokic had his eighth triple-double of the season and Denver rallied to beat Miami.
Jokic finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists. The two-time reigning NBA MVP was 8 of 15 from the floor, marking his team-record 26th straight game shooting 50% or better. He has 84th career triple-doubles.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the Nuggets with 20 points on 7-of-7 shooting from the floor.
Tyler Herro had 26 points and 10 rebounds for Miami. Bam Adebayo added 22.
PELICANS 127, 76ERS 116
NEW ORLEANS — CJ McCollum scored 42 points, making a franchise-record and career-high 11 3-pointers, and Zion Williamson added 36 to power New Orleans past Philadelphia.
McCollum hit 3-pointers on three consecutive possessions in a 42-second span of the second quarter, giving the Pelicans a 56-40 lead. McCollum finished the half 7 of 11 from long range and 11 of 16 for the game.
Joel Embiid finished with 37 points on 14-for-22 shooting. He scored 15 of Philadelphia’s first 24 points and had 20 first-half points on 8-of-9 shooting. James Harden added 20 points.
KINGS 126, JAZZ 125
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Kevin Huerter hit a 3-pointer with 9.2 seconds left and Sacramento held off Utah when Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen missed a jumper in the final seconds.
Huerter scored 30 points to help Sacramento improve to 19-15, with coach Mike Brown returning after missing the past two games because of COVID-19. Domantas Sabonis added 28 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, and De’Aaron Fox had 24 points and 10 assists.
Markkanen scored 36 points for Utah. Jordan Clarkson had 25 points and nine assists.
WARRIORS 118, TRAIL BLAZERS 112
SAN FRANCISCO — Jordan Poole scored 41 points, Klay Thompson made a key 3-pointer with 1:36 left and added 31 and Golden State beat Portland to improve the NBA’s best home record to 16-2.
Damian Lillard did his best to rally the Trail Blazers after halftime and finished with 34 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
Poole had his second 40-point game in the past 15 contests.
RAPTORS 113, SUNS 104
TORONTO — Gary Trent Jr. matched his season high with 35 points, Pascal Siakam had 26 and Toronto beat short-handed and sloppy Phoenix to snap a five-game home losing streak.
Siakam has scored at least 25 points in seven consecutive games. Vince Carter did it in a franchise-record eight straight in February and March 2001.
Chris Paul had 20 points and 12 assists, but had six of the Suns’ season-worst 27 turnovers that led to 34 points for the Raptors.
Mikal Bridges scored 21 points and Torrey Craig had 13 as Phoenix lost for the fifth time in its past six. The Suns played their third straight game without All-Star guard Devin Booker, who is expected to miss at least four weeks because of a strained left groin.
BULLS 132, PISTONS 118
CHICAGO — Zach LaVine scored a season-high 43 points and Chicago beat Detroi.
LaVine looked more like his old explosive self than the guy managing his left knee following offseason surgery. And the Bulls ended the game on a 17-3 run after getting all they could handle from the team with the NBA’s worst record.
DeMar DeRozan scored 22 points. Nikola Vucevic added 19 points and nine rebounds and the Bulls won for the fifth time in six games.
Jaden Ivey led Detroit with 22 points. The Pistons were down two players, with guard Killian Hayes starting a three-game suspension for striking Orlando’s Moritz Wagner in the back of the head in Wednesday and forward Hamidou Diallo serving a one-game punishment.
WIZARDS 119, MAGIC 100
ORLANDO, Fla. — Kristaps Porzingis had 30 points and 13 rebounds and Washington routed short-handed Orlando for its fourth straight victory.
Kyle Kuzma added 23 points and Rui Hachimura had 16 points and seven rebounds. The Wizards played without star guard Bradley Beal for the second straight game because of a strained hamstring.
Franz Wagner had 28 points and eight assists for Orlando. The Magic had only eight players available after suspensions by the NBA in the wake of an incident at Detroit on Wednesday night.