Harden stars in Philadelphia home debut, leads 76ers to win

March 3, 2022 GMT
Charlotte Hornets' Miles Bridges (0) shoots against Cleveland Cavaliers' Jarrett Allen (31) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, March 2, 2022, in Cleveland. The Hornets won 119-98. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Charlotte Hornets' Miles Bridges (0) shoots against Cleveland Cavaliers' Jarrett Allen (31) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, March 2, 2022, in Cleveland. The Hornets won 119-98. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Charlotte Hornets' Miles Bridges (0) shoots against Cleveland Cavaliers' Jarrett Allen (31) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, March 2, 2022, in Cleveland. The Hornets won 119-98. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
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Charlotte Hornets' Miles Bridges (0) shoots against Cleveland Cavaliers' Jarrett Allen (31) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, March 2, 2022, in Cleveland. The Hornets won 119-98. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
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Charlotte Hornets' Miles Bridges (0) shoots against Cleveland Cavaliers' Jarrett Allen (31) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, March 2, 2022, in Cleveland. The Hornets won 119-98. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — James Harden scored had 26 points, nine assists and nine rebounds in his Philadelphia home debut to help the 76ers beat the New York Knicks 123-108 on Wednesday night.

Joel Embiid had 27 points and 12 rebounds, and Tyrese Maxey scored 25 points.

But the night belonged to the Beard.

Philadelphia moved to 3-0 with Harden in the lineup and his dynamic duo hookup with Embiid has suddenly stamped the 76ers as legitimate contenders in the Eastern Conference.

RJ Barrett had 30 points for the Knicks. They’ve lost 13 of 15.

SUNS 120, TRAIL BLAZERS 90

PHOENIX (AP) — Cam Johnson scored 20 points, Deandre Ayton added 18 and Phoenix became the first NBA team to 50 wins this season by easily beating Portland.

Phoenix won without its All-Star backcourt of Chris Paul and Devin Booker. Paul’s been out since Feb. 16 because of a broken thumb and could miss the rest of the regular season. Booker was placed in the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols Wednesday.

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Johnson was 6 of 8 from the field, and Ayton 9 of 12 to help Phoenix end a two-game losing streak and break a tie with Golden State for the NBA’s best home record at 27-6. Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder each added 15 points, with Bridges shooting 6 of 9.

Brandon Williams had a career-high 14 points for Portland.

BUCKS 120, HEAT 119

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Jrue Holiday banked in a driving layup with 1.9 seconds left and Milwaukee overcame a 14-point deficit in the final six minutes to beat Miami.

The Bucks outscored Miami 21-6 down the stretch to snap the Heat’s four-game winning streak.

Giannis Antetokounmpo Antetokounmpo had 28 points, 17 rebounds and five assists for the Bucks. Khris Middleton scored 26, and Holiday had 25.

Gabe Vincent had 21 points for the Heat.

THUNDER 119, NUGGETS 107

DENVER (AP) — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 29 points, Isaiah Roby added a career-high 26 and injury-depleted Oklahoma City beat Denver.

The Thunder entered the game last in the league from 3-point range at 31.2%. But they hit 16 of 29 and Gilgeous-Alexander’s step-back deep shot with 1:27 left sent the fans to the exits.

Nikola Jokic led Denver with 22 points and 16 rebounds.

PELICANS 125, KINGS 95

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Brandon Ingram scored 33 points on 15-of-19 shooting and New Orleans beat Sacramento for its third straight victory.

Ingram scored 28 of his points before being briefly forced out of the game by an elbow to the face from Damian Jones. But he returned in the fourth quarter to make a tough turnaround, a transition 3-pointer and a couple of heady assists that helped New Orleans snuff out any hope the Kings had of coming back.

Jonas Valanciunas had 17 points and 14 rebounds, and CJ McCollum had 17 points and a season-high nine assists for the Pelicans.

De’Aaron Fox scored 25 points for the Kings.

JAZZ 122, ROCKETS 127, OT

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HOUSTON (AP) — Donovan Mitchell had 37 points and Mike Conley scored nine points in overtime to help Utah outlast Houston.

Rudy Gobert added 27 points and 17 rebounds to help the Jazz win their third straight and ninth in 10 games.

Jalen Green scored 27 points for Houston. They have lost 11 in a row.

HORNETS 119, CAVALIERS 98

CLEVELAND (AP) — Terry Rozier scored 29 points and carried Charlotte’s backcourt with LaMelo Ball in foul trouble, leading the Hornets past Cleveland.

Cleveland got back All-Star Darius Garland from a bone bruise in his back, but lost for the fifth time in six games. Garland had 33 points in 33 minutes.

Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff was slapped with two technical fouls and ejected by referee Natalie Sago in the third quarter.

PACERS 122, MAGIC 114, OT

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) —Malcolm Brogdon had 31 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists and Indiana overcame a 15-point deficit in the fourth quarter and beat Orlando in overtime.

Tyrese Haliburton had 21 pints and six assists. He scored five of Indiana’s 12 points in overtime.

Franz Wagner led Orlando with 28 points.