Anthony Davis scored a season-high 44 points, LeBron James overtook Magic Johnson on the NBA’s career assists list as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 133-129 in a thriller Friday night.
Davis and James helped give Lakers coach Darvin Ham a triumphant return to Milwaukee. Ham worked on Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer’s staff from 2018-22, and the two former colleagues shared a big hug before the game.
Ham, an assistant coach on Milwaukee’s 2021 championship team, also played for the Bucks from 1999-2002.
Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James tries to get past Milwaukee Bucks’ Jrue Holiday
The Lakers withstood a 40-point night from Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, who also had seven rebounds and five assists. The Lakers also spoiled the 2022-23 debut of Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton, who had 17 points and seven assists in his return from offseason wrist surgery.
During a fourth quarter that featured three ties and six lead changes, James put the Lakers ahead for good by sinking a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 3:22 left.
James finished with 28 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds. He improved his career assist total to 10,144 and moved into sixth place on the all-time list, ahead of Johnson’s 10,133.
The Bucks missed two potential tying 3-point attempts in the final 20 seconds.
After Davis missed a fadeaway jumper, the Bucks called a timeout with 21.4 seconds left and then found an open Grayson Allen, whose 3-point attempt went off the side of the rim.
Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers prepares to shoot a free throw against the Bucks
The Lakers’ Russell Westbrook missed two free throws with 13.3 seconds remaining, but Jrue Holiday couldn’t connect on a 3-pointer with just over five seconds left. Davis made a clinching free throw with 4.5 seconds left.
Los Angeles shot 53.6 percent from the floor against a Milwaukee team that led the NBA in defensive rating, though the Bucks did make two big stops that helped them tie the game in he fourth quarter.
The Bucks trailed 112-110 with 7½ minutes left when Antetokounmpo appeared to dribble the ball off his foot, leading to a steal by James. He raced toward the basket and seemed to have an easy layup until Antetokounmpo came from nowhere to block the shot.
Los Angeles still led by two when Milwaukee’s Brook Lopez blocked Davis on a dunk attempt. That led to Antetokounmpo’s dunk on the other end that tied the game 114-all with 6:10 left.
The teams spent the next few minutes exchanging baskets before James finally put the Lakers up for good.
Holiday had 28 points for the Bucks, and Bobby Portis added 15 points and 10 rebounds. Westbrook had 15 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds for the Lakers.
James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts against the Milwaukee Bucks
HEAT 120, CELTICS 116, OT
Bam Adebayo scored 28 points, Tyler Herro had 26 and Miami completed a split of two games in Boston, beating the Celtics after Boston’s Jaylen Brown banked in a long 3-pointer to force overtime.
Heat scoring leader Jimmy Butler returned to the lineup and had 25 points in 36 minutes after missing the previous seven games with a sore right knee. He added 15 rebounds.
Kyle Lowry chipped in with 20 points before fouling out in OT for the Heat, who sent Boston to just its second loss in 16 games.
Brown sent the game to overtime by banking in his long 3 with 1.7 seconds to play in regulation. He finished with 37 points.
Boston star Jayson Tatum scored just 14 points on a cold shooting night, going 5 of 18 from the floor, including 0 of 7 on 3-point attempts. He had 49 points in the Celtics´ 134-121 victory on Wednesday night.
Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat dunks the ball against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden
ROCKETS 122, SUNS 121
Jalen Green scored 21 of his 30 points in the second half and the Houston Rockets overcame a 16-point deficit to stun the short-handed Phoenix Suns 122-121 on Friday night.
Houston won after blowing a six-point lead in the final two minutes. Devin Booker and Cameron Payne made back-to-back 3-pointers to tie it at 121, but the Rockets pushed ahead by a point when Green made one of two free throws with 28.8 seconds remaining.
That set up a frantic final possession that included four missed shots by the Suns, including a 16-foot jumper by Booker at the buzzer.
Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green (4) reacts after defeating the Phoenix Suns by one point
HAWKS 117, NUGGETS 109
Dejounte Murray scored 34 points, rookie A.J. Griffin tied a career high with 24 subbing for injured Trae Young and short-handed Atlanta beat Denver.
Denver star Nikola Jokic, the two-time defending NBA MVP, had just four points in the first half on 2-of-5 shooting, but finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
The Hawks were riddled with injuries before the game with Young, their leading scorer, sidelined by soreness in his right shoulder and John Collins out at least two weeks and De’Andre Hunter out at least one week. In all, Atlanta had eight players listed on the injury report.
Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray (5) reacts after a basket against the Denver Nuggets
HORNETS 117, WIZARDS 116
Terry Rozier scored 25 points, Kelly Oubre Jr. added 22 and Charlotte held off a second-half rally by Bradley Beal and Washington to hand the Wizards their fifth loss in six games.
P.J. Washington had 21 points and Mason Plumlee added 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Hornets. They have won three of their last four.
Beal scored 33 points, but turned the ball over twice and missed an open jumper in the final minute with Washington trailing by one.
Charlotte Hornets guard Terry Rozier (3) takes a free throw against the Washington Wizards
NETS 114, RAPTORS 105
Kyrie Irving scored 27 points and Brooklyn built a huge lead in beating Toronto for its fourth victory in a row.
Brooklyn led by 36 points midway through the second quarter and held a 93-72 advantage at the start of the fourth.
Kevin Durant had 17 points and Nic Claxton added 15 for the Nets.
Pascal Siakam scored 24 points for Toronto.
Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) dribbles past Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3)
PELICANS 117, SPURS 99
Zion Williamson scored 30 points and matched a career high with 15 rebounds and New Orleans past San Antonio, with the Spurs without coach Gregg Popovich.
Jonas Valanciunas added 21 points and 11 rebounds for New Orleans, which has won three straight and eight of 10 to remain atop the Southwest Division ahead of Memphis.
San Antonio has lost 10 straight, matching the franchise’s longest losing streak set in 1987.
Popovich was at the AT&T Center but missed the game due to a minor medical procedure. He will also miss a home game Sunday against Phoenix. Former Philadelphia coach Brett Brown coached the Spurs in Popovich’s absence.
Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans prepares to shoot a free throw during the game
GRIZZLIES 117, 76ERS 109
Ja Morant had 28 points and eight rebounds, Jaren Jackson Jr. added 22 points and four blocks – one in the closing minute – and Memphis beat Philadelphia.
Dillon Brooks finished with 17 points to help Memphis win for third time in four games.
Joel Embiid had 35 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for Philadelphia. Tobias Harris added 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Shake Milton had 17 points and six assists.
The Grizzlies led by 18 early in the fourth, but the 76ers had another push left, cutting the Memphis lead to single digits with about five minutes left and to 111-106 with three minutes to go.
Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies drives to the basket against the Philadelphia 76ers
CAVALIERS 107, MAGIC 96
Donovan Mitchell scored 34 points, Evan Mobley had 19 points and 13 rebounds and Cleveland beat Orlando.
Mitchell poured in 16 points in the first nine minutes, outscoring Orlando himself by one, and the Cavaliers never relinquished control. Cleveland eventually led by 20 in winning for the 10th time in 11 home games this season.
Rookie forward Paolo Banchero scored 22 points for NBA-worst Orlando. They have lost seven straight to fall to 5-18.
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (45) drives to the basket against Orlando Magic
JAZZ 139, PACERS 119
Lauri Markkanen had 24 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Utah Jazz to a 139-119 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Friday night.
Rookie center Walker Kessler scored a career-high 20 points on 7-of-7 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds for Utah. Jordan Clarkson had 19 points and Collin Sexton added 18 as the Jazz shot 55 percent from the field and matched a season high for points.
Myles Turner scored 18 points to lead Indiana. Tyrese Haliburton and Jalen Smith added 14 apiece, but the Pacers lost for the third time in four games on their road trip.
Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (23) shoots a three-point shot against Los Angeles Clippers
WARRIORS 119, BULLS 111
Jordan Poole came off the bench to score 30 points with a season-high seven 3-pointers to take some pressure off Stephen Curry, as the Golden State Warriors beat the Chicago Bulls 119-111 on Friday night.
Zach LaVine’s 3-pointer with 2:27 to play got Chicago within 110-109 before Draymond Green answered from deep moments later on the other end.
Klay Thompson added 26 points with a key 3-pointer with 6:03 to play on a pass from Curry after Chicago had pulled within 105-101. Curry had 19 points, 11 rebounds and six assists playing in foul trouble. He was whistled for his sixth foul with 1:19 left but the Warriors challenged the call and were successful.
Golden State Warriors shooting guard Jordan Poole (3) scores a three point basket vs. Chicago