James, Lakers rip Rockets anew

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    UNDER SIEGE: Rockets center Christian Wood tries to elude the tight, double-teaming defense of the Lakers’ Montrezl Harrell and Dennis Schroder in first half action. REUTERS PHOTO

    LEBRON James scored 22 of his game-high 26 points in the first half and the Los Angeles Lakers posted their second runaway victory over the Houston Rockets in as many games, rolling to a 117-100 victory on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) at the Toyota Center in Houston.

    The Lakers led wire to wire while remaining perfect on the road, combining stingy defense with blistering perimeter shooting in the first quarter to build a 35-14 lead entering the second.

    James made 4 of 9 3-pointers and added eight rebounds and five assists. Five other Lakers joined James in double figures, with Anthony Davis posting 19 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots in just 29 minutes.

    Christian Wood paired 18 points with eight rebounds while James Harden added 16 points, seven rebounds, and six assists for Houston. The Rockets continued their poor shooting from deep, finishing 12 of 40 on 3-point attempts while shooting just 39.2 percent overall. Harden missed 5 of 6 treys and shot 5 of 16 overall.

    In other games, it was the Sixers 137, Heat 134 (OT); Nets 122, Nuggets 116; Jazz 117, Cavaliers 87; Spurs 112, Thunder 102; Pacers 104, Warriors 95.

    Sixers 137 – Heat 134 (OT)    

    Joel Embiid scored 35 of his 45 points in the second half and overtime to lift the host Philadelphia 76ers past the Miami Heat.

    Embiid was 13 of 13 from the free-throw line, including two with 8.9 seconds left in overtime, to go along with 16 rebounds, five steals and four assists. Danny Green tied a franchise record with nine 3-pointers on his way to 29 points, and he added 10 rebounds as the Sixers snapped a three-game losing streak.

    Tyler Herro led the Heat with 34 points, Duncan Robinson added 26 and Gabe Vincent had a career-high 24. Precious Achiuwa contributed 17 points and 13 rebounds, and Kelly Olynyk had 15 points.

    Both teams were without a number of key players, including the Sixers’ Tobias Harris, Seth Curry, Shake Milton and Matisse Thybulle and the Heat’s Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic and Kendrick Nunn, due to health and safety protocols.

    Brooklyn Nets 122 – Denver Nuggets 116

    Kevin Durant totaled 34 points, 13 assists and nine rebounds as Brooklyn overcame an 18-point deficit to post a victory over Denver in New York.

    Caris LeVert added 20 points and Bruce Brown contributed six of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, including a baseline 10-footer that snapped a 113-113 deadlock with 1:44 left. Joe Harris contributed 15 points for the Nets, who shot 60.8 percent in their fourth straight game without Kyrie Irving (personal reasons).