Lakers rip Wolves, stretch win streak

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    NIFTY MOVE: Lakers star LeBron James tries to score off the Timberwolves’ Anthony Edwards and Jaylen Nowell in first half play. REUTERS PHOTO

    LEBRON James recorded a second consecutive triple-double to reach 99 for his career Tuesday night (Wednesday in Manila), delivering the Los Angeles Lakers to a 137-121 victory over the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves.

    James and Montrezl Harrell led six players in double figures with 25 points apiece as the Lakers completed a back-to-back sweep after having dispatched the Golden State Warriors 128-97 in San Francisco.

    Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards paced the Timberwolves with matching game highs of 29 points.

    James, who had only three triple-doubles in his first 37 games this season, followed up Monday’s 22-point, 10-rebound, 11-assist effort with 25 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists. It’s the 11th streak of two or more consecutive triple-doubles for James.

    His career-best run has been a three-gamer, compiled three times, most recently in November 2019.

    With 99 career triple-doubles, James moved within one of becoming just the fifth in NBA history to reach 100. Those who have achieved the milestone ahead of him are Oscar Robertson (181), Russell Westbrook (157), Magic Johnson (138) and Jason Kidd (107).

    In other games, it was the Blazers 125, Pelicans 124; Jazz 117, Celtics 109; Bulls 123, Thunder 102; Hawks 119, Rockets 107; Heat 113, Cavs 98; and Sixers 99, Knicks 96.

    Blazers 125, Pelicans 124

    Damian Lillard made two free throws with 1.2 seconds left to cap a season-best 50-point effort as the Portland Trail Blazers rallied from a 17-point, fourth-quarter deficit to post a dramatic home win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

    Lillard, who also had 10 assists, was fouled by Eric Bledsoe before making both attempts.

    New Orleans’ Zion Williamson saw his short bank shot bounce off the rim as time expired.

    The 50-point game was the 12th of Lillard’s career, tying him with LeBron James for seventh on the all-time list. The only players above them: Wilt Chamberlain (118), Michael Jordan (31), Kobe Bryant (25), James Harden (23), Elgin Baylor (23) and Rick Barry (14).

    Jazz 117, Celtics 109

    Donovan Mitchell scored 21 points and Jordan Clarkson added 20 off the bench to lead Utah to a victory at Boston.

    Rudy Gobert had 16 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks for the Jazz, who swept the season series against Boston. Mike Conley chipped in 17 points and five assists.

    Jayson Tatum scored 29 points and Jaylen Brown added 28 to lead the Celtics. Daniel Theis had 15 points, 11 rebounds and six assists while Robert Williams III chipped in 14 points and nine boards off the bench.