Eastern Conference Result in Brief

The San Antonio Spurs continue to find ways to win. The third-best record in the Western Conference was hardly what the franchise expected with an expected roster filled with castoffs who have been fresh…

Eastern Conference Result in Brief

The San Antonio Spurs continue to find ways to win. The third-best record in the Western Conference was hardly what the franchise expected with an expected roster filled with castoffs who have been fresh to basketball under first-year coach Gregg Popovich. But San Antonio’s tight defense, playing at a high level over recent weeks, was once again on display, allowing only 43 points after intermission in a 123-111 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night at the Pepsi Center.

With the victory, the Spurs (8-5) have won back-to-back games for the first time this season, ending a two-game losing streak. Rudy Gay was a key component for San Antonio with 27 points and nine rebounds in 30 minutes of playing time after missing the previous two games with a left quad contusion. LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, and DeMar DeRozan added 21 points and five assists off the bench.

LaMarcus Aldridge was a key component for San Antonio with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

James Harden bounced back from one of his worst games of the season, struggling early with five points in the first half, but the Houston Rockets guard recovered with 22 points in the second half to help lead the Rockets to a 119-107 win over the Dallas Mavericks.

Harden has six triple-doubles this season after averaging a career-low 4.1 last season. DeMar DeRozan added 18 points, and San Antonio forward Rudy Gay had a season-high 17 points off the bench.

For the Mavericks, Dennis Smith Jr. had a career-high 35 points and Dallas had four players in double figures with Dirk Nowitzki adding 15 points.

Nikola Jokic had 20 points and 12 rebounds, Jamal Murray scored 18 and held Damian Lillard scoreless on 0-for-8 shooting, as the Portland Trail Blazers bounced back from an 0-2 road trip by ending a three-game losing streak with a 111-96 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night at the Moda Center.

While the Blazers might have scuffled in road losses to Sacramento and Golden State in recent weeks, they also had big wins against the Denver Nuggets and Denver Nuggets, who handed them a pair of blowout losses during the trip.

Portland also won a close game against the Clippers on Nov. 6 and it was Jokic’s 21-point, eight-rebound, seven-assist effort against Los Angeles on Tuesday that gave Portland the confidence it needed.

Jokic’s big second half helped his team re-establish a 10-point lead entering the fourth quarter, just enough cushion for Damian Lillard’s 22 points to propel the Blazers to the win. Portland came into the game second in the Western Conference, and third in the NBA.

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