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Big games for NBA big guns

Cavaliers, Rockets, Thunder rumble on behind superstars.

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (AP) – LeBron James scored 17 of his 32 points in the first quarter as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Charlotte Hornets 121-109 on Saturday night.

Kevin Love added 28 points and 10 rebounds for Cleveland, which played without Kyrie Irving after the point guard injured his right hamstring during Thursday’s 124-118 victory over Boston. Jordan McRae had 20 points and Kay Felder finished with 13.

James was 6 for 7 from the field in the first quarter, including a perfect 3 for 3 from beyond the arc. Love scored 15 points in the second, helping Cleveland to a 71-59 lead at the break.

Kemba Walker scored 37 points for the Hornets, who had won five of six.

THUNDER 114, CLIPPERS 88
Russell Westbrook had 17 points, 14 assists and 12 rebounds for his NBA-best 16th triple-double of the season, leading the Oklahoma City Thunder over the depleted Los Angeles Clippers.

Westbrook played just 28 minutes as Oklahoma City put away Los Angeles with a big first half. Enes Kanter had 23 points and eight rebounds, and Victor Oladipo added 15 points.

The Clippers played without Chris Paul, who was sidelined by a hamstring injury, and Blake Griffin, who is recovering from right knee surgery. Brandon Bass and Marreese Speights each had 18 points, and Austin Rivers finished with 14 on 3-for-11 shooting.

BUCKS 116, BULLS 96
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 35 points and Jabari Parker added 27 as Milwaukee used a strong finish to secure the victory.

The Bucks outscored the Bulls 36-20 in the fourth to break open a tight game and come away with a lopsided win after dropping four of six.

Malcolm Brogdon had 15 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds for Milwaukee, and Greg Monroe added 15 points and 12 boards.

Chicago held out struggling point guard Rajon Rondo, hoping Michael Carter-Williams could provide a spark. But the Bulls lost for the eighth time in 11 games.

Jimmy Butler scored 26 points for Chicago, and Robin Lopez added 12 points and 10 rebounds.

GRIZZLIES 112, KINGS 98
Mike Conley had 22 points and eight rebounds, leading the Grizzlies to the road win.

JaMychal Green made four of Memphis’ 17 3-pointers and finished with 18 points. Zach Randolph and Vince Carter each scored 14, and Tony Allen and Troy Daniels had 11 points apiece.

The Grizzlies went 17 for 35 from long range while avenging an earlier home loss to the Kings.

DeMarcus Cousins had 26 points, eight assists and five steals for Sacramento, which has dropped two in a row after winning a season-high four straight. A frustrated Cousins, who finished with just four rebounds, got called for his eighth technical this season in the third quarter.

JAZZ 91, SUNS 86
Rudy Gobert had 18 points and 13 rebounds and Gordon Hayward added 18 points and nine rebounds in the Utah Jazz’s victory over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night.

Rodney Hood added 13 points to help the Jazz win their third straight and improve to 21-13.

Devin Booker scored 18 of his 20 points in the first quarter for Phoenix, and Eric Bledsoe added 19 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. The Suns dropped to 10-24, scoring just one basket over the final 6:45.

The game featured 20 lead changes and eight ties, until Hayward tipped in a missed basket to put Utah ahead for good. Gobert followed with a pair of dunks to give the Jazz an 89-84 lead with 1:46 left.

ROCKETS 129, KNICKS 122
James Harden had 53 points, 17 assists and 16 rebounds for his second straight triple-double as the Houston Rockets beat the short-handed New York Knicks on Saturday night.

Harden set career highs for points and 3-pointers with nine, and matched his career best for assists. He passed his previous career best of 51 points on a 3 with 1:16 left, leading to a standing ovation.

The Knicks got within three several times in the fourth quarter, with the last time coming on a layup by Joakim Noah with about four minutes left. Harden responded to Noah’s basket with three free throws before dishing to Ryan Anderson for a 3-pointer that made it 119-111.

Another 3 by Anderson with less than two minutes left extended the lead to 124-113.

Harden, who had 30 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in Friday night’s 140-116 victory against the Clippers, completed his eighth triple-double this season when he grabbed his 10th rebound with about 10 minutes left in the third quarter.

It was his 17th career triple-double and his fourth career 50-point game.

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