LeBron James and Anthony Davis picked up the pace when the Los Angeles Lakers needed them most, coming up big in the waning minutes of a 94-92 NBA victory over the Grizzlies in Memphis on Tuesday.
James and Davis scored 26 points apiece as the reigning NBA champions escaped with a victory that kept them unbeaten in four road games this season and improved their record to 6-2 overall.
James, who added 11 rebounds and seven assists, scored 21 of his points in the second half to make sure Los Angeles came out on the right side of the ledger on a night when both teams struggled shooting.
The Lakers trailed 79-77 with 5:18 remaining. Davis drained a three-pointer to put Los Angeles ahead, and he and James took over.
A steal by Davis led to a James jumper, and a block by Davis kept the momentum rolling as they combined for 15 straight Lakers points.
Each had a turnover in the closing span, but Kyle Kuzma’s layup, off a feed from James, pushed a three-point lead to five with 3.5 seconds left and Devin Brooks’ three-pointer for the Grizzlies wasn’t enough.
“We were able to close the game out, get some timely stops and some timely buckets,” James said.
Irving leads Nets
In Brooklyn, Kyrie Irving carried the load for the Nets in the absences of Kevin Durant, scoring 29 points on 12-of-19 shooting in a 130-96 romp over the Utah Jazz.
Irving made his first nine shots as the Nets raced to a 21-point lead at the end of the first quarter.
His performance, which also included six rebounds, five assists and three steals, was just what the Nets needed with Spencer Dinwiddie sidelined by a knee ligament injury and Durant ruled out this week by coronavirus safety protocols after contact with someone who tested positive.
Nets head coach Steve Nash shook up his starting line-up, and center Jarrett Allen, making his first start of the season, outplayed Jazz big man Rudy Gobert as he amassed 19 points, 18 rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots.
Caris LeVert, who added 24 points off the bench for the Nets, said Irving’s performance was no surprise to his teammates.
“We kind of expect that from him,” he said.
“That was a great start. He took the shots the defense gave him, and he was very efficient out there, great at leading as well, talking to us on the defensive end, talking us through plays, talking to us with the new group he was out there with … it looked very seamless out there. I think Ky should get a lot of credit for that.”
Mills paces Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs snapped a four-game losing streak with a 116-113 victory over the Clippers in Los Angeles.
Australian Patty Mills drained a career-high eight three-pointers as he led the Spurs with 27 points off the bench.
Dejounte Murray scored 21 points, Rudy Gay had 16 and LaMarcus Aldridge chipped in 14 for the Spurs, who tied a franchise record with 20 three-pointers.
But it was a closer-run thing than the Spurs might have liked. Up by 15 points with 5:15 left to play, the Spurs saw their lead cut to two points with 13 seconds left.
Clippers star Kawhi Leonard led all scorers with 30 points, but he couldn’t get his fadeaway three-pointer to tie the game with two seconds remaining to fall.
The Nuggets, fueled by Nikola Jokic’s 35 points, won a back-and-forth battle with the Minnesota Timberwolves 123-116 in Denver.
The Nuggets led by as many as 18 points in the first half, but the Timberwolves battled back to take an eight-point lead in the third quarter.
The visitors were up by seven early in the fourth when the Nuggets put together a 15-0 scoring run to turn the tide.