HOUSTON (AP) — John Wall had 22 points and nine assists in his first game since 2018, James Harden had a big finish to score 33 points and the Houston Rockets beat the Sacramento Kings 122-119 on Thursday night.
Late in the fourth, Wall found James Harden in transition for a deep 3-pointer that gave Houston a one-point lead. The two celebrated with a high-five at midcourt.
Sacramento cut Houston’s lead to 118-117 with 22.4 seconds remaining on Tyrese Haliburton’s 3-pointer, but Harden answered with two free throws. Sacramento missed two close 3s in the final seconds and Houston held on.
Harden also had eight assists and six rebounds in the first of a two-game set with the Kings. They will meet again Sunday in Houston.
The Rockets were playing their first game with Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Gordon, who missed the first two games due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Houston’s scheduled opener on Dec. 23 against Oklahoma City after COVID-19 quarantine protocols depleted the roster below the eight players required by the NBA to play a game.
Wall, acquired from Washington for Russell Westbrook, scored his first points since Dec. 26, 2018, on a thunderous left-handed dunk in transition. In 14 minutes, Cousins had eight points and three assists in his Rockets debut. Christian Wood had 21 points and 12 rebounds, and Gordon added 17 points.
Harrison Barnes led the Kings with 24 points, and De’Aaron Fox and Richaun Holmes each had 22.
SUNS 106, JAZZ 95
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Devin Booker had 25 points and seven assists and Phoenix beat Utah for its first 4-1 start since 2009.
Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder added 16 points apiece for the Suns. They never trailed over the final three quarters and shot 51.5% from 3-point range.
Donovan Mitchell scored 23 points for the Jazz. Rudy Gobert had 18 points and 14 rebounds, and Mike Conley added 16 points. The Jazz are 0-2 at home to start the 2020-21 season.
Phoenix has won three straight and 12 of 13 dating to last season.
BULLS 133, WIZARDS 130
WASHINGTON (AP) — Otto Porter scored 28 points, Zach LaVine added 22 and Chicago, playing without four players who were in the NBA health and safety protocol, beat winless Washington.
The Bulls played without Lauri Markkanen, their second-leading scorer and top rebounder, as well as forward Chandler Hutchison and guards Ryan Arcidiacano and Tomas Satoransky.
Russell Westbrook had his fourth straight triple-double in his four games with Washington, finishing with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists. Thomas Bryant and Bradley Beal each had 28 points for Washington (0-5).
PACERS 119, CAVALIERS 99
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Domantas Sabonis had 25 points and made two of Indiana’s 16 3-pointers in the Pacers’ victory over Cleveland.
Indiana, playing seven of its first nine at home, improved to 4-1.
Sabonis made both of his 3-point tries, shot 10 of 14 overall and had 11 rebounds. All-Star guard Victor Oladipo hit four 3-pointers, reserves Doug McDermott and Aaron Holiday each had three and the Pacers finished 16 of 35 from long range.
Collin Sexton led the Cavaliers with 28 points.
76ERS 116, MAGIC 92
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Joel Embiid had 21 points and nine rebounds in three quarters and Philadelphia handed Orlando Magic its first loss in five games this season
Philadelphia made eight of its first 12 attempts from beyond the arc and built a first-half lead as large as 37 points. Seth Curry added 21 points and five 3-pointers, and Tobias Harris chipped in 20 points, nine rebounds and three 3-pointers to help the 76ers improve to 4-1.
Nikola Vucevic had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Magic.
RAPTORS 100, KNICKS 83
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Fred VanVleet scored 25 points and Toronto, playing without star forward Pascal Siakam, beat New York for its first victory of the season.
New York’s bid for a three-game win streak was ruined by 3-for-36 shooting from 3-point range.
Siakam, who left the court promptly in frustration Tuesday night after fouling out of a game at Philadelphia, was on the Toronto bench but not in uniform. Norman Powell started at small forward and finished with 17 points after making three of Toronto’s first four baskets.
Julius Randle had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Knicks.
PENICANS 113, THUNDER 80
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Brandon Ingram had 20 points and seven rebounds before being ejected in the third quarter and New Orleans beat Oklahoma.
Eric Bledsoe added 17 points, and Lonzo Ball had 16 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. Steven Adams, in his first game against the Thunder after being traded during the offseason, had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Josh Hart added 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Al Horford led the Thunder with 17 points and six rebounds.