DENVER — Damian Lillard made up for the absence of fellow All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge by scoring 31 points in the Portland Trail Blazers’ 100-95 win over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night.
Lillard scored 12 in the third quarter when it looked as if the Blazers were headed for a blowout win, but he saved his biggest shots for late in the fourth after the Nuggets had trimmed an 18-point deficit to two.
Lillard helped Portland overcome a terrific performance by Denver’s J.J. Hickson, who pulled down a career-high 25 rebounds, including 15 on the offensive side.
The Blazers had six players score in double figures, including Nicolas Batum’s 16 points.
Randy Foye led Denver with 17 points.
Denver again was without Ty Lawson, who leads the Nuggets with averages of 18 points and 8.8 assists. He’s missed seven straight games with a broken rib.
Rockets 129, Kings 103
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — James Harden scored a season-high 43 points before resting for all of the fourth quarter, and the Houston Rockets routed the Sacramento Kings 129-103 on Tuesday night.
Harden shot 11 of 20 from the floor, made 15 of 16 free throws and added eight assists, three steals and two rebounds.
Dwight Howard left briefly after banging his right knee but returned to finish with 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Chandler Parsons had 10 points and eight rebounds for the Rockets.
DeMarcus Cousins had 16 points and six rebounds for the Kings before getting ejected for vehemently arguing with an official in the third quarter.
Rudy Gay had 25 points and six assists, and Ben McLemore scored 15 points for Sacramento.
Pacers 118, Lakers 98
INDIANAPOLIS — Paul George scored 12 of his 20 points in the third quarter, Evan Turner had 13 points in his Pacers debut, and Indiana improved its league-leading record to 43-13.
Kent Bazemore finished with a career-high 23 points and Jodie Meeks added 15 for the Lakers (19-38), who have the worst record in the West. The loss also ended Los Angeles’ three-game winning streak at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Lakers stayed closer than expected through the first 2½ quarters and trailed just 59-58 early in the third.
But George then scored 10 points in a decisive 14-5 spurt that gave Indiana an 80-68 lead with 2:58 to go in the period.
George had seven rebounds and six assists despite spending the entire fourth quarter on the bench.
Bulls 107, Hawks 103
ATLANTA — Mike Dunleavy scored 22 points and Joakim Noah had 20 points and 12 rebounds, helping the Bulls hold on for the road win.
Carlos Boozer had 17 points and 11 rebounds for Chicago, and Kirk Hinrich scored 14 points, including six free throws in the final 44 seconds. The Bulls have won six of seven.
Jeff Teague had 26 points but made two costly turnovers late in the game for the Hawks, who have lost nine of 10. Shelvin Mack had 17 points.
The Bulls led most of the second half but never pushed the advantage to double figures.
With 43.2 seconds remaining, officials reviewed and confirmed a questionable foul called on DeMarre Carroll on Hinrich’s 3-point attempt. Hinrich made the three free throws to give Chicago a 104-103 lead.
Timberwolves 110, Suns 101
PHOENIX — Kevin Love had 33 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, powering Minnesota to the win.
The Timberwolves trailed by eight with 7:57 to play, and then outscored the Suns 24-6. Love, who got his first career triple-double at Utah on Saturday, was 10 for 22 from the field.
Rookie Shabazz Muhammad had a career-high 20 points and Corey Brewer added 18 for Minnesota.
Markieff Morris scored 24 and Gerald Green had 19 for Phoenix. Goran Dragic scored 16 but fouled out with 3:46 to play, the third time he’s fouled out in his career and first this season. The Suns’ P.J. Tucker grabbed a career-best 16 rebounds.
Raptors 99, Cavaliers 93
CLEVELAND — DeMar DeRozan scored 16 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter, and the Raptors won for the sixth time in seven games.
DeRozan dunked on a baseline drive and added two free throws to give the Raptors a 94-91 lead with 1:23 remaining. The All-Star hit three more free throws in the final 27 seconds to put away the game.
Kyrie Irving, who played 45 minutes and the entire second half because of Cleveland’s depleted roster, had 25 points and nine assists. Cleveland has lost three straight after winning six in a row and fell 5½ games out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Cavaliers again played without center Anderson Varejao (sore back) and guards Dion Waiters (hyperextended left knee) and C.J. Miles (sprained left ankle).
Wizards 115, Magic 106
WASHINGTON — John Wall scored 27 points, and the Wizards survived their first game after Nene’s latest injury.
Trevor Ariza added 22 points and Marcin Gortat had 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Wizards, who made 10 of 16 3-pointers and have won a season-high four in a row to move one game above .500. They also improved to 2-6 this season without Nene, who sprained the MCL in his left knee Sunday in a 96-83 win at Cleveland.
Victor Oladipo scored 26 points for the Magic, who tied a single-season franchise record by losing their 16th consecutive road game. They remain without leading scorer Arron Afflalo, who missed his second game with a sprained right ankle.