NBA Daily Rundown: Harden lifts Rockets over Nuggets, and LeBron-less Lakers get over the slump

Harden and Capela combine for 63 as Rockets beat West’s best, Nuggets

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Again without All-Star point guard Chris Paul and sixth man Eric Gordon, the Houston Rockets had to rely on James Harden and Clint Capela to topple the West-leading Denver Nuggets, 125-113. Harden, arguably the frontrunner for this year’s MVP award, impressed with a stat line of 32 points, 14 assists and 5 rebounds. Probably this season’s most underrated big man, Capela again did damage on the inside as he scored 31 points and grabbed 9 rebounds in the win.

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Nuggets’ all-around center Nikola Jokic had another excellent performance of 24 points, 13 rebounds and 4 assists, but had 8 costly turnovers. Harden’s offensive versatility was again on full display, highlighted by an ankle-breaking, four-point play against Denver point guard Jamal Murray.

Defense carries young Lakers to much-needed win in Dallas

With reports saying that head coach Luke Walton pushed his young players to exert more effort and desire to win in the absence of superstar LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers finally broke out of the slump as they defeated the Dallas Mavericks, 107-97. After being down by 13 entering the second half, the Lakers held the Mavericks to just 13 points in the third quarter, and led by six points at the end of the period. Brandon Ingram had a game-high 29 points on top of 6 assists and 3 rebounds. Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball atoned for a zero-point outing in their previous game with 21 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists.

Mavericks prized rookie Luka Doncic impressed with 27 points and 8 rebounds, but had little help from his teammates. Kyle Kuzma, who missed the last two games for the Lakers, returned and scored 13 markers.

AD’s scoring efficiency lifts Pelicans over visiting Grizzlies

All-Star center Anthony Davis was again in his brilliant form as the New Orleans Pelicans scored a much-needed win over the tough Memphis Grizzlies. Davis had his imprints all over the game as he produced 36 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 3 blocks. AD was again efficient in the offensive end as he finished 14-out-of-20 from the field.
Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley had 22 points and 10 assists as Memphis fall to a six-game losing streak. With the win, the Pelicans improve their record to 19-22, just a few games behind the West’s 8th spot.

Other games around the league

San Antonio Spurs defeat the Detroit Pistons, 119-107
Brooklyn Nets fall to the Boston Celtics, 95-116
Utah Jazz loses to the Milwaukee Bucks, 102-114
New York Knicks loses to the Portland Trail Blazers, 101-111
Orlando Magic falls to the Sacramento Kings, 95-111

A sports aficionado ever since he first held a basketball, Paul was a student athlete in school and college. Today, he teaches English in university by day and a freelance sportswriter by night.

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