In the news:
Trail Blazers beat Rockets, improve to 19-4
LaMarcus Aldridge had 31 points and a career-high 25 rebounds, prompting Portland fans to chant “MVP! MVP!” during the Trail Blazers’ 111-104 victory over the Houston Rockets on Thursday night.
The Associated Press
PORTLAND — LaMarcus Aldridge had 31 points and a career-high 25 rebounds, prompting Portland fans to chant “MVP! MVP!” during the Trail Blazers’ 111-104 victory over the Houston Rockets on Thursday night.
Robin Lopez added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Blazers, who sit atop the Western Conference standings at 19-4.
Dwight Howard had 32 points and 17 rebounds for the Rockets, who beat the Blazers 116-101 on Nov. 5. That was one of just two losses at home this season for Portland.
The Trail Blazers led by 10 early in the fourth quarter, but Chandler Parsons hit a three-pointer to narrow it to 93-88 with 7:07 left. Houston closed to 97-95 after James Harden made a layup and a free throw with 4:45 to go.
Nicolas Batum’s three-pointer pushed Portland’s lead to 102-95 before Wesley Matthews’ layup and free throw made it 108-96 with 2:04 left and all but put the game out of reach.
The Blazers have scored 100 or more points in 10 consecutive games.
NEW YORK — Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett share a championship with Doc Rivers and a bond that didn’t break when they ended up on opposite coasts.
“I’ll always have a special place for Doc,” Garnett said.
Now the two veterans are trying to teach a new team what they learned from their old coach.
Andray Blatche and Joe Johnson each scored 21 points in the Brooklyn Nets’ 102-93 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, making Pierce and Garnett winners in their first matchup with Rivers.
Brook Lopez had 16 points and Deron Williams 15 for the Nets, who won their season-high third straight. Pierce scored 10 points off the bench in his second game back from a broken hand.
Chris Paul scored 20 points but had just two assists as the Clippers lost for the first time in nine games this season when he reaches 20.
Pierce and Garnett went 2-0 in a reunion tour of ex-Celtics this week. They helped the Nets beat Boston on Tuesday, then Rivers made an emotional return to Boston on Wednesday.
• LeBron James is the early top vote-getter for the NBA All-Star Game, edging Kevin Durant.
• The New York Knicks said point guard Raymond Felton is expected to miss two to three weeks with a strained hamstring.
• Golden State Warriors backup center Jermaine O’Neal is scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery on his right wrist Friday.
• Steve Blake will be out at least six weeks with a torn ligament in his right elbow, leaving the Los Angeles Lakers without all three of their injured point guards. Steve Nash (nerve damage in his back) and Jordan Farmar (torn hamstring) also are sidelined.