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NBA scores, highlights: LeBron-less Lakers fall on buzzer-beater in Sacramento; Surging Rockets take down Celtics

The Houston Rockets continued their recent winning ways against the Boston Celtics on Thursday night. Thanks to yet another monster performance from reigning NBA MVP James Harden (45 points, six assists) the Rockets got their eighth win in their last nine games, and continued to climb up the standings in the Western Conference. 

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers were without LeBron James for the first time since the 2018-19 season began in Sacramento against an upstart Kings team. James suffered a left groin strain in Tuesday’s game against the Golden State Warriors and is expected to miss several games, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst. Without James, the Lakers couldn’t increase their win total. 

NBA scores for Thursday, Dec. 27

*All times Eastern

Bogdanovic sinks Lakers

Things ended in a disappointing manner for the away team in Sacramento on Thursday night, as Kings forward Bogdan Bogdanovic buried a step-back 3-pointer as time expired to propel the Kings to a comeback win over the LeBron-less Lakers. 

Embiid does work against the Jazz

Joel Embiid did some serious work early on against the Utah Jazz, as he finished the first half with 15 points and seven rebounds. Embiid’s play — on both ends of the floor — has been key to the Sixers’ success this season, and that was no different in Utah. 

Gianns leads Bucks past Knicks

Giannis Antetokounmpo continued his MVP-caliber play against the Knicks on Thursday night as he dropped 31 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, and dished out eight assists to help lead the Bucks to a 112-96 win. With under two minutes left in the game, Antetokounmpo threw down an alley-oop from Khris Middleton that served as an exclamation point on the win.  

Pain tolerance will determine when Rondo returns

Lakers guard Rajon Rondo recently returned to the court after suffering a broken hand earlier this season. However, Rondo suffered a right ring finger sprain on Christmas Day and is now out of the lineup. On Thursday, head coach Luke Walton confirmed that Rondo could be out for a few more days or for “awhile.” It’s going to depend on how Rondo can deal with any type of pain that he might have as he works his way back from the injury. Rondo had played in the team’s last three games after missing 17 consecutive games.

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