Malik Beasley, Nikola Jokic lead Nuggets past Rockets

Denver’s Nikola Jokic had 31 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, Malik Beasley had a career-high 35 points and the host Nuggets beat the Rockets 136-122 on Friday night.

Houston’s James Harden scored 30 points to extend his streak to 25 games of scoring 30 or more points. He needed a late 3-pointer to keep the streak alive, and it came well after the game was in hand for Denver.

The Nuggets couldn’t stop Harden, but they ended a nine-game losing streak against Houston.

Harden’s streak started with a 50-point night against the Los Angeles Lakers on Dec. 13, and nearly ended on a tough shooting night for the reigning league MVP. He was 5-for-6 with 15 points in the first quarter but then went cold. He missed 10 of his next 11 shots and also missed four free-throw attempts.

He hit two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to pull Houston within nine points, but Jokic scored six straight points to put it away. Harden’s step-back 3-pointer with 1:05 left gave him 30.

Torrey Craig had 22 points for the Rockets, who scored 43 points in the first quarter. The Nuggets responded in the second with a 48-point outburst. They had 35 of those in the final 7:31 when they transformed a five-point deficit into an 83-71 lead at halftime.

Thunder 118, Heat 102: Paul George made 10 3-pointers en route to 43 points, Dennis Schroder scored 24 of his 28 points in the second quarter and visiting Oklahoma City extended the NBA’s longest winning streak to seven games by beating Miami. Thunder guard Russell Westbrook got his fifth straight triple-double and 18th of the season, finishing with 14 points, 12 rebounds and 14 assists. Kelly Olynyk scored 21 for the Heat.

Celtics 113, Knicks 99: Kyrie Irving had 23 points, 10 rebounds and six assists before a Madison Square Garden crowd eager to start the free agent wooing five months early, and Boston beat New York in the Knicks’ first game since trading Kristaps Porzingis. The deal with Dallas gave the Knicks money to chase two top free agents this summer, and fans showed Irving that they want him to be one of them, cheering him before and during his return from a two-game absence with a hip injury.

Hornets 100, Grizzlies 92: Kemba Walker scored 23 points, Marvin Williams hit two key 3-pointers and Bismack Biyombo swatted away two late shots, leading host Charlotte past Memphis. The Grizzlies, who suited up just 10 players, were without guard Mike Conley because of soreness in his left knee. Former Cal center Ivan Rabb scored 15 points for Memphis.

Jazz 128, Hawks 112: Rudy Gobert had 25 points and 13 rebounds to lead Utah over visiting Atlanta. Ricky Rubio added 22 points and 11 assists, and Joe Ingles chipped in 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Trae Young had 28 points and nine assists to lead the Hawks.

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