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James Harden, NBA stars Antetokounmpo and Davis fire

James Harden scored 32 points and Clint Capela added a career-high 31 as the Houston Rockets beat the Denver Nuggets 125-113 but the real talking point was the ankle-breaking move Harden put on Denver guard Jamal Murray.

Harden had 14 assists, six 3-pointers and scored at least 30 points for the 13th straight game.

The Rockets led 70-60 at halftime after Harden made two 3-pointers in the last 90 seconds of the second quarter. The first of those shots saw him send a hapless Murray falling to the court, trying to guard him before Harden stepped back for the basket and the foul.

PJ Tucker also had a career high with seven 3-pointers and scored a season-high 21 points to help Houston win for the 12th time in 14 games. Capela had 19 points by halftime as Harden fed him again and again when Denver double teamed him behind the three-point line.

Houston was up by 11 after two free throws by Torrey Craig with about five minutes left before Tucker and Harden made 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to make it 117-100 about a minute later.

Gerald Green had 21 points and made six 3s on a night Houston made 22 3s for its sixth game this season with at least 20.

Nikola Jokic scored 24 points for the Nuggets, who had a five-game winning streak snapped.

GIANNIS GETS FREAKY AGAINST JAZZ

Joe Ingles and the Jazz went to Milwaukee intent on beating the Bucks, and they even led at the end of the third quarter before Giannis Antetokounmpo came up huge.

Antetokounmpo had 30 points, nine in the final term and Malcolm Brogdon scored 21 to lead the Milwaukee Bucks past the Jazz 114-102.

Thon Maker also added a season-high 15 points off the bench for the Bucks, who were coming off a 123-116 loss to Toronto on Saturday night.

Donovan Mitchell scored 26 points and Rudy Gobert had 14 points and 15 rebounds for the Jazz, who lost starting point guard Ricky Rubio to a right hamstring injury less than five minutes into the game.

Antetokounmpo, who grabbed 10 rebounds, fouled out with 42.9 seconds remaining.

DAVIS GOES BIG AS PELS SINK GRIZZLIES

Anthony Davis had 36 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots, and the New Orleans Pelicans pulled away down the stretch for a 114-95 victory over the reeling Memphis Grizzlies.

Second-year pro Frank Jackson scored a career-high 17 points for New Orleans, which had won two straight for the first time since winning three in a row in mid-November.

Mike Conley had 22 points and 10 assists for Memphis, but that was not nearly enough to stem what is now a six-game slide.

Davis’ thunderous jam on a feed from Jahlil Okafor along the baseline gave New Orleans the first double-digit lead in the game for either team at 76-66 with 2:15 left in the third quarter.

Jackson’s fast-break layup capped a 10-point outburst in a less than three- minute span that included two 3s and a reverse layup, putting the Pelicans up 83-71. And Holiday’s step-back 3 made it 86-73 as the third quarter expired.

Davis dunked seven times, the last after he received an underhanded, no-look pass from Holiday as he cut down the lane. The soaring, one-handed slam made it 107-85 with a little more than three minutes left, and New Orleans’ perennial All-Star went to the bench for good shortly afterwards.

New Orleans dominated the inside, outscoring Memphis 70-42 in the paint and outrebounding the Grizzlies 40-36.

AP

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