Lakers down Warriors without LeBron, Kings win in overtime over Mavericks

LOS ANGELES: The Los Angeles Lakers, with LeBron James sidelined and their new recruits still getting up to speed, snapped a three-game skid with a 109-103 victory over the NBA-champion Golden State Warriors on Saturday. The back-and-forth battle in San Francisco was just one of the close games on a Saturday that saw the Sacramento Kings triumph in overtime to spoil recent Mavericks acquisition Kyrie Irving’s first game alongside new teammate Luka Doncic.

Dennis Schroder led the Lakers with 26 points. Rui Hachimura added 16 and D’Angelo Russell-newly arrived in a trade deadline deal – chipped in 15 with five rebounds and six assists. Anthony Davis had a quiet scoring night with just 13 points on five-of-19 shooting. James’s absence with a sore ankle less than a week after he became the NBA’s all-time leading scorer and the injury absence of Warriors star Stephen Curry robbed the contest of some glamor, but there was plenty of drama.

It was tied with 5:01 to play, but a Hachimura three-pointer put the Lakers up for good. While he was not an offensive force, Davis grabbed 13 rebounds and came up with two of his three blocked shots in the final two minutes. “One thing about me, I’m able to shift my mind on the defensive end,” Davis said. “So I’m not getting foul calls, I’m not making shots, I never give up on the other end. Rebounds, blocked shots, whatever my team needs me to do.”

In Sacramento, De’Aaron Fox’s 36 points included 14 in overtime as the Kings beat the Mavericks 133-128. Kings center Domantas Sabonis scored 22 points and pulled down 14 rebounds for his league-leading 44th double-double of the season. Irving, playing his third game for the Mavs since he was acquired in a trade from the Brooklyn Nets, scored 28 points. He teamed up for the first time with Mavs star Doncic, who scored 25 points and pulled down nine rebounds as he returned from a bruised heel.

Dallas had led wire-to-wire in a 122-114 victory over the Kings on Friday. A day later the Kings led by as many as 13 points in a game that featured 14 lead changes. Back-to-back baskets from Fox put the Kings up 121-117 with 2:53 left in overtime. Irving’s three-pointer with 24.6 seconds remaining pulled the Mavs within 127-126 but Fox made six free throws as the Kings sealed the win.

The Miami Heat pulled off a second nail-biting victory in as many nights, beating the Magic 107-103 in overtime in Orlando. One night after Jimmy Butler’s buzzer-beating dunk gave Miami a win over Houston, the Heat escaped again. They trailed by 10 midway through the fourth quarter, and even though this time Butler saw a potential game-winner miss at the buzzer in regulation time, they had enough in the tank in the extra session.

Tyler Herro scored 23 points, Butler added 22 and Gabe Vincent scored 20 for Miami, who played their 40th “clutch” game of the season – a game with a five-point margin at any stage of the final five minutes. “Home or away it’s must-see,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra quipped of his team’s penchant for late-game drama.

Sixers edge Nets

The victory moved the Heat within one and a half games of the Brooklyn Nets for fifth in the Eastern Conference after the Nets fell 101-98 at home to the Philadelphia 76ers. Sixers center Joel Embiid scored 37 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and James Harden scored 29 points in his first game in Brooklyn since he was traded to the Sixers by the Nets last year. Harden, who was traded at his own request, shrugged off the boos of the crowd.

“I don’t get caught up in homecomings or the outside distractions,” Harden said. “I think our focus was just to come here and win a game and we did a good job of that tonight.” Denver’s two-time reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic delivered his league-best 20th triple-double of the season in a 119-105 victory over the Hornets in Charlotte. – AFP

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