Los Angeles: Russell Westbrook's seventh straight triple-double put him in rare company, but it couldn't lift the Oklahoma City Thunder past the Houston Rockets on Friday.
Westbrook scored 27 points, handed out 10 assists and pulled down 10 rebounds to become the first player since Chicago Bulls icon Michael Jordan in 1989 to notch seven consecutive triple-doubles.
But the Rockets spoiled the party in Oklahoma city, with James Harden scoring 21 points with 12 assists and nine rebounds in Houston's 102-99 triumph.
Guard Eric Gordon came off the bench to score 17 points and Ryan Anderson chipped in 14.
Patrick Beverly grabbed 12 rebounds for the Rockets, who held a 52-46 advantage over the Thunder on the boards.
Beverly embraced the challenge of slowing down Westbrook, matching up with the Thunder guard in the waning seconds when Oklahoma City had reduced a 13-point fourth quarter deficit to one.
Beverly harried Westbrook as he dribbled and unleashed a three-point attempt that ended up an air-ball.
"We just tried to show bodies and force him into a crowd," Beverley said of Houston's plan for containing Westbrook.
"Make it real tough for him. We were fortunate. He's a really, really, really good player. We were fortunate to come up with a stop."
James rises on scoring list
There was no late-game stand required in Cleveland, where the reigning champion Cavaliers thumped the Miami Heat 114-84.
LeBron James scored 27 points with eight rebounds and eight assists against his former team. That saw him move into ninth place on the NBA's all-time scoring list with 27,315 points -- two more Elvin Hayes, who starred for Houston and Washington in the 1970s.
Kevin Love defied back spasms to score 28 points with 15 rebounds for the Heat. Kyrie Irving chipped in 23 points, but coach Tyronn Lue said that improved defense was the key to the Cavs' current three-game winning streak, which followed a rare three-game slump.
Friday's win was Cleveland's second straight by a margin of 30 points. They held the Heat to 34.8 percent shooting from the field -- a season low for a Cavaliers opponent.
The victory solidified Cleveland's hold on top spot in the Eastern Conference.
They're followed by the Toronto Raptors, who roared back in the second half to beat the Celtics 101-94 in Boston.
Kyle Lowry scored 21 of his 34 points in the second half and DeMar DeRozan poured in 16 of his 24 after the break as the Raptors erased a 10-point third-quarter deficit.
Norman Powell, playing in place of DeMarre Carroll who was resting on the second night of a back-to-back, added 20 points for Toronto.
"It was a very good team win for us," said Lowry, who sealed the win with five free throws in the final 30 seconds. "Everyone stepped up tonight."
The Celtics were playing their second game without injured leading scorer Isaiah Thomas. He will accompany the team on their two-game road trip, although it's not yet certain when he'll play again.
Mavs bounce back
The Dallas Mavericks, still without veteran star Dirk Nowitzki, gave their fans a rare victory, 111-103 against the Indiana Pacers.
Wesley Matthews scored 26 points and Harrison Barnes added 25, but the 5-17 Mavs remain in last place in the West.
In Sacramento, Carmelo Anthony scored 33 points to lead the New York Knicks to a 103-100 victory over the Kings.
Anthony became the 29th player in NBA history to reach 23,000 points.
He poured in more than 30 for the fifth time this season, and finished the game with 23,022 for his career.
Updated Date: Dec 10, 2016 12:25:57 IST