Christmas Day: Un-Official Start Of The NBA
Rondo leads Celtics past Nets 93-76
NEW YORK (AP) — Rajon Rondo scored 19 points in his first full game against Brooklyn this season, and the Boston Celtics beat the Nets 93-76 on Tuesday in another game with some heated moments between the division rivals.
Rondo, hurt in the first meeting and thrown out of the second after shoving Nets forward Kris Humphries into the courtside seats, outplayed counterpart Deron Williams and helped the Celtics take control early.
Rookie Jared Sullinger tied a season high with 16 points and Jeff Green had 15 for the Celtics (14-13), who avoided falling under .500 with just their second victory in six games.
Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez each scored 15 for the Nets, who have lost four of five.
New York at L.A. Lakers, 3 p.m.
Lakers beat Knicks 100-94 to get to .500
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kobe Bryant engineered a second-half comeback, helping the Los Angeles beat the New York Knicks 100-94 on Tuesday and extend the Lakers’ winning streak to five games while lifting them to .500.
Bryant scored 34 points in his NBA-record 15th Christmas Day game and Metta World Peace added 20 points and seven rebounds while defending Carmelo Anthony, whose 34 points led the Knicks. Bryant, the league’s leading scorer, has topped 30 or more points in nine straight games.
The Lakers improved to 14-14 — 9-9 under new coach Mike D’Antoni — and upped their holiday record to 21-18, including 13-9 at home.
The Knicks controlled most of the game behind Anthony and J.R. Smith, who had 24 points. But they struggled offensively in the fourth, when Anthony was limited to seven points and Smith had five.
MIAMI (AP) — LeBron James finished with 29 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, Dwyane Wade scored 21, and the Miami Heat survived a frantic finish to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 103-97 in an NBA Finals rematch on Tuesday.
Mario Chalmers scored a season-high 20 for the Heat, who matched the franchise’s best 25-game start at 19-6. Chris Bosh added 16 for Miami, which has beaten the Thunder five straight times going back to last June’s title series.
Kevin Durant scored 33 points and Russell Westbrook added 21 for Oklahoma City, but both Thunder stars missed potentially game-tying 3-point attempts in the final seconds. Serge Ibaka and Kevin Martin each added 15 for the Thunder, who have dropped two straight for the first time this season.
The Heat went 19 for 19 from the foul line, the second-best effort in franchise history. They were 30 for 30 at Boston on March 24, 1993.
Houston at Chicago, 8 p.m.
Rockets surge past Bulls 120-97
CHICAGO (AP) — James Harden scored 26 points and Jeremy Lin added 20 points and 11 assists to lead the Houston Rockets to a 120-97 win over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night.
Omer Asik returned to the United Center and had a double-double with 20 points and 18 rebounds in his first trip back to Chicago since signing with the Rockets in the offseason.
The Rockets starters all scored in double figures. Chandler Parsons added 23 points and Marcus Morris had 10.
Houston has won six of seven.
The Rockets had been just 3-7 on the road entering Tuesday, but a strong second quarter turned the holiday matchup into a blowout. The Rockets outscored the Bulls 31-19 in the period to break the game open.
Denver at L.A. Clippers, 10:30 p.m.
Clippers beat Nuggets 112-100 for 14th win in row
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jamal Crawford led a dominant performance by the Los Angeles reserves with 22 points and the Clippers defeated the Denver Nuggets 112-100 on Tuesday night, extending their franchise-record winning streak to 14 games.
Matt Barnes added 20 points — one off his season high — as the bench outscored the Clippers starters 64-48 in claiming the NBA’s best record at 22-6, one win better than Oklahoma City which lost to Miami earlier Tuesday.
Kosta Koufos and Jordan Hamilton scored 16 points each for Denver in the finale of a Christmas Day doubleheader at Staples Center. The Lakers, who play the Nuggets on Wednesday night in Denver, beat the Knicks 100-94 in the first game.
Ty Lawson added 15 points for the Nuggets, who fell to 7-13 on the road, where 22 of their first 32 games are being played.