The surging Utah Jazz posts its 8th victory in 9 games
LOS ANGELES • The US NBA-leading Phoenix Suns and Western Conference rivals Golden State tumbled on Sunday as Joel Embiid and James Harden signalled the Philadelphia 76ers is a force to be reckoned with in the East.
The surging Utah Jazz, fuelled by 26 points from Donovan Mitchell, downed the Suns 118-114 to post its eighth victory in nine games.
Utah’s Rudy Gobert returned after missing six games with a sore right knee and non-Covid illness, scoring 16 points and pulling down 14 rebounds. That included a season-high eight offensive rebounds.
The Suns, who still own the best record in the NBA at 49-12, lost back-to-back games for the first time since dropping two on Dec 25 and 27.
Devin Booker led the Suns with 30 points. Cameron Johnson and Deandre Ayton added 23 apiece but Phoenix is clearly still finding its way in their third game since losing All-Star point guard Chris Paul to a broken thumb that could sideline him the rest of the regular season.
The Golden State Warriors, chasing the Suns for top spot in the West, couldn’t capitalise, surrendering a 21-point third-quarter lead in a 107-101 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in San Francisco.
On the eve of his 23rd birthday, Luka Doncic scored 34 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for Dallas, connecting on a pair of key baskets down the stretch and draining the clinching free-throws in the waning seconds.
Spencer Dinwiddie scored 24 points with four rebounds and five assists off the bench for Dallas, playing a key role in the fourth-quarter surge that overwhelmed the Warriors.
Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz rebounds the ball during the game against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday
Dallas out-scored Golden State 33-13 in the final period, when the Warriors made just four of its 18 attempts from the field.
Stephen Curry finished with 27 points and 10 assists for the Warriors but, without Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, Golden State had no answer to the Mavs’ late charge.
There was another embarrassing defeat for LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, who were beaten 123-95 by the New Orleans Pelicans.
CJ McCollum scored 22 points to lead six Pelicans players in double figures, and New Orleans easily withstood a 32-point performance from James to hand the Lakers its second straight defeat since the Allstar break.
In New York, Harden posted his first triple-double as a 76er and clicked again with star teammate Joel Embiid in ts 125-109 victory over the Knicks.
Former Most Valuable Player Harden, playing his second game for the Sixers since arriving in a blockbuster trade from Brooklyn, notched the 68th triple-double of his career with 29 points, 16 assists and 10 rebounds.
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