By now, we know that James Harden is going to get his points. Thirty-one straight games with 30 or more points is evidence of that. Only Wilt Chamberlain has a longer scoring streak in league history. But will the Houston Rockets get the win?
Harden -- with rookie Georgia Tech product Josh Okogie acting as chief irritant and making it tough down the stretch -- still scored 42. He had 30-plus midway through the third quarter, with many of the shots over Okogie. But it wasn't an easy 42 points, and Karl-Anthony Towns noted after the Timberwolves' 121-111 win that Okogie had made Harden work for it.
A key moment came late in the third quarter. Okogie had stripped Harden a few plays earlier, and Harden was in position for one of his trademark step-back 3-point attempts. Okogie, rather than taking the drive-forward bait, anticipated the move and leaped forward, blocking the shot before it could leave Harden's hands. It was a rare stuff of Harden's patented step-back.
Okogie also did well offensively, scoring 16 points. But it was his defensive effort, combined with Towns' 25 points and Jeff Teague's 27 points and 12 assists, that lifted the Timberwolves.
Golden State has won 15 of its last 20, but the reigning champs appeared to run out of gas in a chippy contest with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry each scored 32 points, but neither star scored in the fourth quarter and the Blazers moved ahead for a 129-117 win. With Damian Lillard leading the Blazers' balanced attack, the Warriors were outscored 35-12 in the fourth.
Lillard scored 29 points as DeMarcus Cousins rested for the Warriors. Seven other players scored in double-figures for Portland, including all the starters.
Portland led 110-103 before Draymond Green was called for a flagrant foul on Zach Collins with 3:54 left. Collins and Klay Thompson exchanged words earlier, and were separated.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr went into a tirade following the flagrant-one call on Green, throwing down his clipboard and yelling red-faced at the officials before he was ejected.
On an 11-game night with several of the league's best teams matched up, you might not have expected a meeting of the Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers to take the spotlight.
But a triple-overtime tends to grab attention. This one had it all, stellar play in overtime and desperation shots that fell to extend the game. DeMarre Carroll, who drove to the wing after being double-teamed near the corner, drilled a three at the second-overtime buzzer to tie it up again.
D'Angelo Russell, who will be playing in his first All-Star Game this weekend, scored 14 points in the third overtime for the Nets and finished with 36. Joe Harris contributed 25 and Carroll totaled 18 as the Nets outlasted the Cavaliers 148-139 in their final games before the All-Star break.
Jordan Clarkson poured in a career-high 42 for the Cavaliers.
Isaiah Thomas was greeted with a standing ovation from Nuggets fans when he entered an NBA game for the first time in 11 months.
Thomas' last appearance was March 22, with the Los Angeles Lakers, before undergoing an arthroscopic procedure to fix his troublesome hip, which he first injured while with the Boston Celtics a year prior. The Nuggets signed him to a one-year contract in the offseason and have allowed him time to recover.
The diminutive guard saw limited action, playing 13 minutes in the Nuggets' thrilling 120-118 win over the Kings. He finished with eight points, including this 3-pointer.
On the NBA field of battle, sometimes you're the conqueror -- and other times you're the vanquished.
Last season's Kia Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons, no slouch when it comes to dunking, found himself on the posterized side of the ledger on back-to-back nights this week as he tried to deny opponents at the rim.
Wednesday night, Knicks rookie Kevin Knox skied and dropped a two-handed smash on Simmons.
Tuesday night, in case you missed it, Simmons was victimized by the Celtics' Jayson Tatum, who drove, spun and rose for a nice tomahawk slam.
As he should, Dwyane Wade is having a lot of fun in his "last dance" season with the Miami Heat. Before the Heat vs. Dallas Mavericks tipoff, Wade relived one of the best moments of his 15-year career: the ball launch beginning the celebration of the Heat's 2006 NBA Finals victory over the Mavs.
Another memory was made when Wade and Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki, 41 and possibly in his final season as well, exchanged jerseys after the game. During the Heat's 112-101 victory, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle had Nowitzki enter the game when he saw Wade at the scorer's table. The pair shared a laugh upon entering the game.
Wade was a factor, scoring 22 points in 22 minutes. It was the eighth time he's scored 20-plus this season.
It didn't take long for the Toronto Raptors to put Jeremy Lin to work after he was signed Wednesday afternoon.
The crowd in Toronto, which remembers Lin from the splash he made with the New York Knicks in the 2011-12 season, greeted Lin with a warm ovation when he entered the game vs. the Wizards in the first quarter Wednesday night.
Lin, now a much-traveled veteran, electrified the league in 2012 when he fired up the Knicks and became the first player in NBA history to record at least 20 points and seven assists in his first five starts (Feb. 6-14, 2012).
Lin finished with eight points, five assists and five rebounds in his Raptors debut, a 129-120 victory.
Just how bad is it for the Knicks after their 18th straight loss, this one a 126-111 drubbing at the hands of Joel Embiid and the 76ers at Madison Square Garden? Well, 38 other sports teams and an animal have more wins at MSG since the Knicks last home victory.
Joel Embiid came close to taking out Oscar-nominated actress Regina King as he chased a loose ball, jumping all the way over her and grazing her hair after tossing the ball back on court.
For her part, King was also relieved: