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story.lead_photo.caption Oklahoma City Thunder guard Luguentz Dort (5) grabs a rebound surrounded by Miami Heat forward Duncan Robinson (55), forward Jimmy Butler (22) and guard Tyler Herro (14), during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

HOUSTON — Luka Doncic had 33 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists, and Tim Hardaway Jr. added 30 off the bench as the Dallas Mavericks used a big fourth quarter run to pull away in a 113-100 win over the Houston Rockets.

Dallas was on top by 3 with about seven minutes remaining before using a 14-3 spurt, with seven points from Hardaway, to extend the lead to 106-92 with about 2 minutes remaining.

Houston couldn't get anything going as the Mavericks took over. The Rockets missed five shots and had two turnovers in that span.

Hardaway, who made 8 of 10 3-point attempts, added another 3-pointer down the stretch to put the game out of reach.

Christian Wood had 23 points to lead the Rockets and James Harden added 21.

Both Doncic and Harden were back after sitting out in their team's last game with injuries. Doncic returned after missing Sunday's loss to Chicago with a bruised quadriceps. Harden played after sitting out on Saturday against the Kings because of a sprained ankle.

The Mavericks led by seven points to start the fourth before Houston opened the quarter with an 8-1 run to tie it with about 10 minutes remaining. Eric Gordon made three free throws to get things going and Sterling Brown had a 3 that tied it.

Dallas had a 16-point lead after a three-point play by Doncic with about eight minutes left in the third quarter. The Rockets then scored the next 14 points to get within 72-70 four minutes later. Harden had a step back 3-pointer in that stretch and Jae'Sean Tate capped it with six straight points.

Doncic struggled during that time, turning the ball over three times and receiving a technical foul.

The Mavericks finally ended a scoring drought with a 3-pointer by Hardaway with less than three minutes left in the quarter.

Another 3-pointer by Hardaway later in the third extended the lead to six points before Gordon hit a 3 for Houston. But Doncic scored the last four points of the quarter to put the Mavericks up 84-77 entering the fourth.

DeMarcus Cousins was ejected after receiving two technical fouls in about three minutes in the second quarter. The first one came when he and Willie Cauley-Stein both got one after jawing at each other after fighting for a rebound.

Cousins was ejected when he yelled at an official after not getting a foul call after a layup with about nine minutes left in the first half. Houston coach Stephen Silas was clearly unhappy with the call and stood inches away from a referee pointing and arguing about it for a couple of minutes before he was pushed away by Harden.



MIAMI — Kelly Olynyk became the latest option in Miami's starting lineup. He made a case to stick around.

Olynyk made five 3-pointers on his way to 19 points, Bam Adebayo led all scorers with 20 on 9-for-10 shooting and the Heat beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 118-90 on Monday night.

Miami has played six games, alternating losses then wins in all six, and has used a different starting five every time.

Jimmy Butler scored 18 points for Miami, which used a 20-0 third quarter run to turn what was a four-point game into a runaway. Olynyk had 11 points in that spurt, including three 3-pointers, and the Heat stretched the lead to 35 — their biggest such cushion of the young season.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 18 points for the Thunder, who sat their starters in the fourth quarter. Darius Bazley scored 16 and Luguentz Dort scored 12 for Oklahoma City — which saw its chance slip completely away during that five-minute stretch of the third quarter.

Adebayo became the fourth player to have multiple games shooting 9-for-10 or better in Heat history, joining Hassan Whiteside (five times), Alonzo Mourning (four) and Udonis Haslem (three). Adebayo also went 9 for 10 on Jan. 5, 2020 against Portland.



TAMPA, Fla. — Jayson Tatum scored 40 points and the Boston Celtics rolled to a 126-114 win over the Toronto Raptors on Monday night.

Playing without three of their top guards, the Celtics shook off a slow start to lead by as many as 26 points in the second half. They shot 48.8% overall.

Tatum turned the game around with 21 points in the second quarter. He hit five 3-pointers on the night and converted all 13 free throws, finishing one point short of his career high set against New Orleans last January.

Rookie guard Payton Pritchard had 23 points and eight assists for the Celtics (5-3), and Jaylen Brown scored 19. Robert Williams III came off the bench to contribute 11 points and 13 rebounds.

Fred VanVleet led the Raptors (1-5) with 35 points and eight rebounds.

VanVleet scored 14 in the first quarter and Toronto made seven of its first nine 3s to lead 28-15 through the first eight minutes. But the Raptors missed their next 13 tries from 3-point territory, and by the time VanVleet hit one with 7:24 left in the third quarter, they were down by 15.

Tatum took over late in the first half, scoring 13 points during an 18-2 Boston run. He finished the half with four straight free throws to put the Celtics up 61-46. They stretched the lead to 23 in the third quarter, and when Tatum went to the bench with five fouls with 9:52 left in the game, Boston led 109-83.

The Raptors, who have held double-digit leads in every game this season, shot 40% overall and finished 13 for 37 from behind the arc.



ATLANTA — Julius Randle scored 28 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, Austin Rivers hit a huge 3-pointer and the New York Knicks rallied to beat the Atlanta Hawks 113-108 on Monday night.

Taking their second straight home loss after a 4-1 start to the season, the Hawks squandered a 13-point lead early in the second half and faded in the the closing minutes.

De'Andre Hunter brought Atlanta to 107-106 on a 3-pointer with 1:40 remaining, but Rivers answered with a trey of his own to give the Knicks some breathing room. Randle sealed it, tipping in an offensive rebound after Rivers missed on a drive.

RJ Barrett had 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Knicks.

Immanuel Quickley, who added 17 points, put New York ahead to stay on a pair of free throws that made it 103-101. But his biggest play came with the shot clock running down, when he got off a wild 3-pointer that had no chance but drew a foul from Trae Young.

Quickley made all three free throws with 2:34 remaining, pushing the Knicks ahead 106-101.

Young had 31 points and 14 assists for the Hawks. Hunter chipped in with 23 points.

New York raced to an early double-digit lead, forcing the Hawks to call a timeout after Barrett's dunk off a pass from Elfrid Payton gave the Knicks a 24-14 edge.

Atlanta finally found its offensive rhythm late in the first quarter and led 58-54 at halftime.

The Hawks started the second half on a 15-6 spurt led by Young, who dished out four assists and scored three points himself. He set up a pair of dunks by Clint Capela and a pair of 3-pointers by Hunter and Cam Reddish to give Atlanta a 73-60 lead.

But the Hawks couldn't put New York away.



ORLANDO, Fla. — Free of the minutes' restriction that had been placed on him early this season as he recovered from a hamstring injury, Orlando forward Aaron Gordon made the most of his extra time on the floor.

Gordon broke out of a shooting slump Monday night, hitting six of nine 3-pointers on the way to a season-high 24 points as the Magic beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 103-83.

Orlando snapped a two-game losing streak that had followed four straight victories to open the season. The Magic made a season-high 15 3-pointers, easily surpassing their previous season high of 11. Orlando entered the game 30th in the NBA in 3-point makes per game with nine.

Gordon entered having made just three of 20 3-point attempts. He tied a career best with the six made 3s midway through the third quarter. Gordon scored 13 points in the third as the Magic broke open a close game. He also grabbed a season-best 11 rebounds in 28 minutes.

"They bumped me up a little bit and I think I'm around 28 or 30 minutes now, and I want to be on the floor as much as I possibly can," said Gordon, who is still nursing a hamstring injury from late last season. "I don't want to be limited in any way. I just want to go out there and be free and play in the game's flow."

Up two points at the break, Orlando outscored Cleveland 38-18 in the third period, pushing its lead to 89-67. The Magic made six of 10 shots from beyond the arc in the third period and posted their second-highest scoring quarter of the season.

"We were better in the second half, but they're hard to play against," Magic coach Steve Clifford said of Cleveland's zone defenses. "They switch things up, which takes away your rhythm. In the second half, we did a better job of taking care of the ball and Aaron Gordon was great."

Nikola Vucevic scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while Terrence Ross chipped in 15 points off the bench. Khem Birch added 12 points and 12 rebounds, while rookie guard Cole Anthony added nine points, five rebounds and four assists.

Cleveland lost its fifth straight to Orlando, a streak that dates to 2019. The Cavaliers are 1-3 since starting the season 3-0.

Cleveland guard Collin Sexton scored 24 points and tied LeBron James' franchise record for consecutive games with at least 20 points to open a season. Sexton, who came into Monday 10th in the NBA in scoring at 26 points per game, has scored at least 20 points in all seven games. James scored at least 20 in seven straight to open the 2004-05 season.

Cedi Osman scored 13 of his 18 points in the first half and added seven rebounds and seven assists. Andre Drummond had 10 points and 14 rebounds for his seventh straight double-double.


76ERS 118, HORNETS 101

PHILADELPHIA — Joel Embiid wore a sweatshirt with "The Process" emblazoned on the front, his nickname that's a nod to the path the 76ers took from a forlorn franchise to one that has the best record in the NBA.

And just maybe, the best player, too.

Embiid had 14 points and 11 rebounds, Tobias Harris scored 22 points and Philadelphia beat the Charlotte Hornets 118-101 on Monday night for their fourth straight win.

"The main thing we have is Joel," coach Doc Rivers said. "Joel sets the table for us."

The Sixers swept the two-game set necessitated on the schedule this season because of the pandemic and beat the Hornets for the 13th straight time. Philadelphia has not lost to Charlotte since Nov. 2, 2016.

Embiid has been the biggest reason the Sixers are off to a 6-1 start in Rivers' first season. Perhaps motivated by the birth of his son, reinvigorated under a new coaching staff or both, the 26-year-old has seemingly harnessed his talent and developed into a workload-heavy force on both sides off the ball.

Gone are the days when Embiid's minutes were limited because of injuries — Sixers fans still cringe at "load management" — and he needed to sit out just one game of a back-to-back set to rest up. Embiid entered Monday night averaging 33.4 minutes (and 25.0 points), the most on the Sixers.

"He can handle it," Rivers said. "I think he played the other night almost 37, I didn't like that, but that's going to happen. You go through the year and it evens out, that 34, 33. I don't really have a minutes barometer, I just know where I'd like to keep it."

Embiid added a personal chef, nutritionist, physical therapist and massage therapist — making $29.5 million this season, he can afford the staff — to help turn those flashes of greatness into a sustained MVP campaign.

"Everything I've been doing, I guess has been working," Embiid said. "I'm glad to have the support I put in place. I've got to keep on doing it. We've got to keep on doing it.'

Want rim protection? Embiid can do it. Gordon Hayward learned on a drive late in the third when he saw Embiid's outstretched arm and tossed a wild shot high above the rectangle. Embiid grabbed one of his 10 defensive boards.

Also in the third, Embiid ran straight into a double team out on the wing. He didn't force his way into making a play that wasn't there — he kicked it to Seth Curry for a wide open 3 and a 61-45 lead.

"Any time they come from any angle, we're putting guys in spots where Joel can see them and make easy decisions," Rivers said. "All great players are going to get trapped. I have this attitude, if you trap us, we will score. You can feel the guys believing it."

Embiid even hit a little fadeaway in the third as the Sixers turned this one into a rout and he got his rest at just 25 minutes

Ben Simmons was steady with 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Danny Green hit three 3s for 13 points.

Hayward had 18 points and struggling Devonte' Graham added 15 for the Hornets, who also lost Saturday in Philly 127-112.

"We couldn't score tonight," Hornets coach James Borrego said. "We couldn't find the bucket and it bled over into our transition defense. Until we figure out the offense and find guys that can score and put the ball in the hole, we're going to have to play defense consistently."

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