Blake Griffin scored 19 points in his first game against his old team Friday night, but the Los Angeles Clippers used a fourth-quarter flurry to overtake the Detroit Pistons 108-95 in Detroit in a duel of two teams involved in a big trade two weeks ago in NBA action.
The Pistons lost in the finale of what had been an unbeaten six-game homestand despite the all-around effort of Griffin, who was playing his fifth game for Detroit after having been acquired in a six-player deal involving Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley and a first-round draft pick.
Harris had 12 points and eight rebounds, and Bradley 10 points and eight rebounds in their first games against the Pistons since the swap.
The reunion between Griffin and the team for which he played his first 7 1/2 seasons wasn't all hugs and kisses. The four-time All-Star scuffled with Bradley just 6:15 into the contest, a run-in that drew each a technical foul.
Trail Blazers 118, Kings 100
Damian Lillard exploded for 15 of his 50 points in a 17-0 run to end the third quarter, helping Portland pull away from host Sacramento.
The 50-point game was the fourth of Lillard's career and just the 10th in the NBA this season. Backcourt mate CJ McCollum went for 50 last Wednesday against the Chicago Bulls.
Lillard's career high is 59, established last April against Utah. The All-Star connected on eight 3-pointers, including two during the game-breaking run that began with Portland leading just 75-74 after a Zach Randolph layup with 4:25 remaining in the third period.
Bulls 114, Timberwolves 113
Zach LaVine scored 35 points against his former team, including three free throws with 18.4 seconds left, and Chicago rallied to beat Minnesota at the United Center.
The Timberwolves' Jimmy Butler scored a game-high 38 points in his return to Chicago. Karl-Anthony Towns posted his 49th double-double in 58 games with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
LaVine and Butler traded big baskets down the stretch to set up a dramatic finish. Butler missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer that would have given the Timberwolves victory. Chicago snapped a seven-game losing streak with the win.
Cavaliers 123, Hawks 107
LeBron James recorded his second straight triple-double and Kyle Korver torched his former team as new-look Cleveland beat Atlanta at Philips Arena in Atlanta.
James finished with 22 points, 12 rebounds and 17 assists, and Korver scored a season-high 30 points, including seven 3-pointers, for the Cavaliers, who remade their roster ahead of Thursday's trade deadline.
It was James' 10th triple-double of the season, and his 17 assists tied a career high. The Cavs on Thursday acquired Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., George Hill and Rodney Hood and shipped away Isaiah Thomas, Dwayne Wade, Derrick Rose, Jae Crowder, Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye. None of the new acquisitions were in uniform against the Hawks, but James and Korver were more than enough.
Rockets 130, Nuggets 104
Clint Capela posted his first 20-point, 20-rebound game and Houston ran roughshod over Denver at Toyota Center, recording its seventh consecutive win.
Capela finished with 23 points and a career-high 25 rebounds in 29 minutes, dominating his matchup with Nuggets centre Nikola Jokic (14 points, seven rebounds, five assists). Capela added two blocked shots for the Rockets, who have won 11 of 12 games since All-Star guard James Harden returned from a seven-game injury hiatus due to a left hamstring strain.
Harden tallied 28 points, seven rebounds and 11 assists in the wire-to-wire triumph.
Heat 91, Bucks 85
Dwayne Wade made a triumphant return to Miami after a 21-month absence, helping his original franchise beat Milwaukee at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Wade did not put up big numbers - three points, two rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 22 minutes off the bench - but he provided an emotional lift that was needed by Miami to end its slump. He received a standing ovation from the home crowd upon taking the court.
Tyler Johnson scored a team-high 19 points as Miami snapped a five-game losing streak. Milwaukee, led by All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo's 23 points and 11 rebounds, had its three-game win streak snapped.
Pacers 97, Celtics 91
Victor Oladipo torched Boston's defence for 35 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to help Indiana hold off a late push from Boston at TD Garden in Boston.
Oladipo, who was sidelined for the Pacers' loss to Washington on Monday with an illness, notched his second 35-point game in the month of February after dropping 35 at Charlotte on February 2. He also recorded five steals against Boston.
Kyrie Irving had 21 points and five assists to lead the Celtics, who couldn't build off of Thursday night's 110-104 overtime victory in Washington. Boston had won five of its last six entering the game.
76ers 100, Pelicans 82
Joel Embiid had a double-double by halftime and rookie Ben Simmons nearly recorded a triple-double as Philadelphia never trailed and rolled over New Orleans at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
Embiid recorded his 27th double-double with 24 points and 16 rebounds on 11-of-18 shooting in nearly 24 minutes of playing time. He became the third player in the NBA to get at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in a half this season.
Simmons nearly finished with his sixth triple-double, as the rookie guard posted 10 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in 25 minutes.
Jazz 106, Hornets 94
Donovan Mitchell scored 25 points and Joe Ingles added a career-high 23 points to lead Utah over Charlotte at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City.
Rudy Gobert chipped in 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Jazz. Utah won an NBA-leading eighth straight game. Ingles gave Utah's offence an early spark in the first quarter. He scored four baskets in the first seven minutes to help the Jazz take a 16-8 lead. During that stretch, Utah slashed to the rim at will and scored 14 points in the paint.
Kemba Walker scored 19 points and Nicolas Batum added 13 points to lead the Hornets, who lost their third straight road game.