NBA: Spurs' DeMar DeRozan delivers first career triple-double to sink Raptors; James Harden rallies Rockets to beat Warriors

DeMar DeRozan delivered his first career triple-double as the San Antonio Spurs routed the Toronto Raptors 125-107 on Thursday to spoil the return of Kawhi Leonard to the Alamo City.

Agencies January 04, 2019 13:09:34 IST
NBA: Spurs' DeMar DeRozan delivers first career triple-double to sink Raptors; James Harden rallies Rockets to beat Warriors

San Antonio: DeMar DeRozan delivered his first career triple-double as the San Antonio Spurs routed the Toronto Raptors 125-107 on Thursday to spoil the return of Kawhi Leonard to the Alamo City.

NBA Spurs DeMar DeRozan delivers first career tripledouble to sink Raptors James Harden rallies Rockets to beat Warriors

San Antonio Spurs shooting guard DeMar DeRozan (10) dunks the ball against the Toronto Raptors during the first half at AT&T Center. Reuters

DeRozan finished with 21 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists as he dominated the battle against Leonard, who was making his first trip back since being traded to Toronto in the off-season.

"I just wanted to go out and have fun," said DeRozan. "I didn't want to put too much pressure on it. It was a great game.

"My teammates always find openings, they knock it down and they make me look good."

LaMarcus Aldridge scored 23 points for San Antonio, Bryn Forbes added 20 and Derrick White 19 for the Spurs who led by as many as 28 points and snapped the Raptors' three-game win streak.

But DeRozan stole the thunder, becoming the first Spurs player since Tim Duncan in 2003 to record a triple double at home.

Leonard scored 21 points on eight-of-13 shooting, but was showered with boos and jeers throughout the contest.

At one stage Leonard had to take a step back from the foul line as chants of "Traitor! Traitor!" and "Quitter! Quitter!" rained down from the sold out crowd of 18,500 at the AT&T Center arena.

Leonard played seven seasons with the Spurs before forcing his way out of San Antonio in a trade that brought DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl from Toronto.

The boos from the San Antonio fans continued during a video tribute that the Spurs had put together to honour Leonard.

At the end of the game, Leonard hugged former coach Gregg Popovich, then walked over to the Spurs' bench to say hello to assistant coach Ettore Messina.

"I felt badly about it. Kawhi is a high-character guy. We all make decisions in our lives, what we are going to do with our futures, and he has that same right as any of us. So I felt badly, honestly," Popovich said of the booing.

Toronto was without Kyle Lowry, who missed his fourth straight game due to lower back pain. The Raptors lost for the first time in that stretch.

After leading by as many as 26 points in the first half, San Antonio opened the second half on a 12-0 run to take a 79-51 lead.

James Harden rallies Rockets in OT to beat Warriors 135-134

James Harden hit a contested 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds left in overtime and finished with his second triple-double of the week and fifth straight 40-point game, rallying the Houston Rockets past the Golden State Warriors 135-134 in a thriller between Western Conference powers Thursday night for their sixth straight victory.

Kevin Durant's long 3-pointer missed as the buzzer sounded in what will go down as one of the best games this regular season — a rematch of the seven-game Western Conference finals won by two-time defending champion Golden State.

Stephen Curry put the Warriors ahead with 23.1 seconds remaining in OT on the way to 35 points — a basket that shouldn't have counted because Durant was clearly out of bounds when he flung the ball back in.

Harden, however, had one more improbable, acrobatic moment still in him. He released the ball with at least four hands in his face for the game-winner.

The reigning MVP finished with 44 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds, while Clint Capela contributed 29 points and 21 rebounds for Houston.

Harden also hit 3-pointers at the 3:52 and 2:02 marks of OT in a game featuring dazzling displays on both ends by some of the game's biggest stars.

Klay Thompson made a go-ahead layup with 40.6 seconds left in the extra period, then Harden tied it at 132 on a pair of free throws with 33.5 seconds left.

Durant added 26 points and seven rebounds.

Harden also had a triple-double Monday against Memphis of 43 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists but he was disappointed with nine turnovers he thought gave the Grizzlies too many transition opportunities.

Including his 50-point game Dec. 13 against the Lakers, Harden has scored at least 30 in 11 straight.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr's simple message about defending Harden, who went to the line 27 times Monday: "Don't foul him!"

Harden shot five free throws in the first quarter Thursday and nine in all.

His jumper with 5:37 left in regulation cut Golden State's lead to 112-111. He also got the Rockets close by knocking down two 3-pointers and assisting on another basket in the final 1:26 of the third as Houston cut its deficit to 98-92 going into the final quarter.

Thompson scored 26 points and hit consecutive 3-pointers late in the first half. After struggling to find his stroke from deep, Thompson is 10 for 17 on 3-pointers the past three games.

With his first 3 at the 7-minute mark of the opening period, Durant became the 32nd player in NBA history to reach 22,000 points.

Falling backward as he released the ball over Harden, Durant swished a 3 with 59.2 seconds left in the first half.

The cold-shooting Rockets fell behind 70-53 at halftime. Houston was just 6 of 23 from long range, 3 for 9 by Harden, while the Warriors shot 62.8 percent.

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