LOS ANGELES, United States, Dec 30 – Anthony Davis had 23 points and nine rebounds as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Dallas Mavericks 108-95 on Sunday at Staples Center.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope came off the bench to score 19 points while LeBron James, who turns 35 on Monday, finished with a double double, 13 points and 13 assists.
James became the ninth player in league history to reach 9,000 career assists.
Luka Doncic, who entered the contest as the NBA’s third-leading scorer at 29.1 points per game, had 19 points on five-of-14 shooting and seven assists.
The Mavericks got a scare in the second quarter when Doncic was slammed to the ground by Lakers Dwight Howard, who was hit with a foul on the play.
Doncic was driving to the basket and in the air when Howard reach in with his left arm sending Doncic crashing to the floor.
This is the second vicious hit by Howard on Doncic this season. In November, Howard bloodied the 20-year-old Slovenian with an elbow to the head.
Delon Wright added 14 points off the bench, while Kristaps Porzingis managed 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting.
The Lakers outshot the Mavericks 48.7 percent to 36 percent.
The Mavericks also played most of the game without Tim Hardaway who left the contest with 5:26 remaining in the first quarter after suffering a hamstring injury.
Hardaway, who had 25 points in the Mavericks’ win at Golden State on Saturday, seemed to hurt himself after a dunk.
– Champions beaten –
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander nailed the go-ahead jump shot with 36 seconds left and equalled his career best with 32 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder edged the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors 98-97.
Chris Paul scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half as the red-hot Thunder won their sixth game in their last seven.
Paul added 11 rebounds and eight assists, Nerlens Noel tallied 13 points and Darius Bazley scored 12 for Oklahoma City.
Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet each scored 20 points for the Raptors. Patrick McCaw added 13 points, Serge Ibaka had 12 and 14 rebounds while Terence Davis had 11 points in the loss.
Toronto led by six points halfway through the second quarter. After the Thunder cut into their deficit, VanVleet’s three-pointer pushed the lead back to eight with 3:44 left before halftime.
The Thunder went on an 11-0 run, capped by Gilgeous-Alexander’s three-pointer to lead by three points with 1:26 remaining. The Raptors pressed late and the game was tied 47-47 at halftime.
The Thunder led by eight with 9:35 left in the third quarter but Toronto bounced back to take a two-point lead on Chris Boucher’s three-pointer. Toronto led 80-76 after three quarters.
In the final quarter, the Raptors failed to hold their lead and the Thunder led by three points on Paul’s jumper with 9:04 left.
In New Orleans, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball scored 27 points each as the host New Orleans Pelicans defeated the injury-hit Houston Rockets 127-112.
Jrue Holiday and E’Twaun Moore added 25 each and Derrick Favors had 12 points and 16 rebounds as the Pelicans won for the fifth time in six games.
The Rockets played without Russell Westbrook and James Harden, who sat out with a sore toe. Harden is averaging a league best 38.3 points per game.
Westbrook sat out because the Rockets were playing two games in as many days after beating New Jersey 108-98 on Saturday.
Danuel House scored 22 points, Eric Gordon added 20 to lead the Rockets.