DETROIT — James Harden scored 44 points and Blake Griffin added 17 in his return to Detroit, lifting the Brooklyn Nets to a 113-111 victory over the Pistons on Friday night.
Harden was back after missing a game because of neck soreness, He added 14 rebounds and eight assists. Brooklyn was still without Kevin Durant (left hamstring strain) and Kyrie Irving (personal reasons).
Griffin spent three-plus years with the Pistons, but he reached a buyout agreement with Detroit earlier this month and went to the contending Nets. The Pistons played a tribute video for him during a first-half timeout, and he stood to acknowledge the small number of fans in attendance.
Jerami Grant scored 19 points for Detroit.
CELTICS 122, BUCKS 114
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Jayson Tatum scored 34 points, Marcus Smart had 23 and Boston beat Milwaukee to snap the Bucks’ eight-game winning streak and spilt the two-game series.
Kemba Walker added 21 points, and Jaylen Brown had 18 for the Celtics.
For the second straight game, the Celtics held Giannis Antetokounmpo in check, holding him to 16 points, well below his 28.6 average. Khris Middleton had 19 points and Jrue Holiday 17 for the Bucks.
Milwaukee won the opener 121-119 on Wednesday night.
SUNS 104, RAPTORS 100
TAMPA , Fla. (AP) — Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton each scored 19 points and Phoenix Suns held off Toronto despite not making a field goal in the last 3:50.
Paul and Devin Booker converted four free throws in the final 42 seconds. Booker had 16 points to help the Suns improve to 30-14.
Paul also had eight assists, and Ayton had nine rebounds and two blocks — the last block on Siakam in the final minutes.
Siakam had 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Raptors, and Fred VanVleet had 22 points. They fell two days after beating Denver to end a nine-game losing streak.
NUGGETS 113, PELICANS 108
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Nikola Jokic had 37 points and nine assists and Denver outlasted New Orleans.
Michael Porter Jr. scored 25 points, and Jamal Murray had 23 points and 11 assists for the Nuggets. They trailed by as many as 14 points in the game and 11 in the fourth quarter, but closed on a 24-8 run.
Zion Williamson had 39 points on 16-of-19 shooting to go with 10 rebounds and two blocks for the Pelicans. But Brandon Ingram had an off-night shooting, missing 12 of 17 shots, including a 3-point attempt from the corner that could have tied it in the final minute.
TRAIL BLAZERS 112, MAGIC 105
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Newly acquired guard Norman Powell scored 22 points and hit five 3-pointers in his Portland debut and Trail Blazers overcame the absence star guard Damian Lillard to beat Orlando.
C.J. McCollum scored seven of his 22 points in the fourth quarter. Portland won for a second night in a row and improved to 14-6 this season in back-to-back sets of games. Lillard sat out with a left knee contusion.
The Magic, who lost for the 12th time in 14 games, had just eight players available after trading franchise fixtures Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon and two others Thursday.
TIMBERWOLVES 107, ROCKETS 101
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Karl-Anthony Towns had 29 points and 16 rebounds, and Juancho Hernangomez had 19 points in Minnesota's victory over Houston.
Minnesota trailed by as many as 19 in the second half, but closed on a 22-0 run to stop a four-game losing streak.
John Wall had 14 points and a season-high 15 assists for Houston.
The teams will meet again Saturday night.
HORNETS 110, HEAT 105
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Malik Monk scored 32 points, Terry Rozier had 26 points and a career-high 11 assists and Charlotte handed Miami its sixth straight loss.
Devonte Graham added 16 points and two clutch free throws for the Hornets.
Jimmy Butler had 20 points and nine assists for Miami after missing the Heat's home loss to Portland on Thursday night with a stomach illness. Duncan Robinson also had 20 points.
PACERS 109, MAVERICKS 94
DALLAS (AP) — Domantas Sabonis had 22 points and 15 rebounds, Malcolm Brogdon also scored 22 points and Indiana beat Dallas.
The Pacers hit 20 3-pointers, led by Brogdon’s 6-for-9 effort, to match the franchise record they previously set this season. They have won four of five.
Kristaps Porzingis had 31 points and a season-high 18 rebounds for Dallas. The Mavericks played without All-Star guard Luka Doncic because back tightness.
The Associated Press