Spurs cruise to 12th straight triumph
PHOENIX — Kawhi Leonard scored 21 points to lead the San Antonio Spurs to their 12th straight victory, a 117-89 win over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night.
Leonard, selected as an All-Star starter for first time in his career earlier in the day, scored eight of his points in the third quarter for San Antonio. Boban Marjanovic added 17 points and 13 rebounds, and Jonathon Simmons had 13 points.
Having already tied the best start in franchise history, the Spurs moved to 37-6 and kept pace with the 2010-11 team, which also had a 37-6 mark. They got 66 points from their bench.
The Spurs cruised despite missing starters Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. Parker had right hip soreness and Duncan was given the night off to rest.
Devin Booker's 24 points led the Suns, who lost their sixth straight and 15th in 16 games. Archie Goodwin added 20 points and Tyson Chandler grabbed a season-high 20 rebounds.
The Suns were down to only nine available players to start the game, with starting guard Brandon Knight out due to an abductor strain. Forwards Mirza Teletovic (sprained ankle), Jon Leuer (back spasms) and Markieff Morris (shoulder strain) — all injured before or during Tuesday's loss to Indiana — also did not play.
All nine played Thursday, but forward P.J. Tucker took a shot to the chest midway through the first quarter trying to defend a drive by Leonard and didn't return due to a contusion.
CAVALIERS 115, CLIPPERS 102: At Cleveland, LeBron James had 22 points and 12 assists, and J.R. Smith made six 3-pointers to lead Cleveland. Kevin Love added 18 points and 16 rebounds for the Cavs, playing their first home game since being embarrassed in a 34-point loss to Golden State on Monday. The Clippers came in 11-1 in their past 12. Kyrie Irving had 21 points for Cleveland, which has won 13 of 14 against Los Angeles. Chris Paul scored 30 for Los Angeles.
PELICANS 115, PISTONS 99: At New Orleans, Anthony Davis scored 32 points and New Orleans notched its fourth victory in five games. Tyreke Evans had 22 points and 10 assists for the Pelicans, who raced to a 72-53 halftime lead and never allowed Detroit to get closer than nine points the rest of the way. The game was the first for New Orleans since starting shooting guard Eric Gordon was ruled out for 4-to-6 weeks with a broken ring finger on his shooting hand. Norris Cole was moved into the starting lineup and responded with 12 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
KINGS 91, HAWKS 88: At Sacramento, Calif., DeMarcus Cousins had 24 points and 15 rebounds to help the Sacramento Kings beat Atlanta for their fourth straight win and first against the Hawks in nearly eight years. Rajon Rondo made a clutch basket in the fourth quarter and had his fifth triple-double of the season with 11 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for the Kings.
GRIZZLIES 102, NUGGETS 101: At Denver, Marc Gasol had 27 points, including a go-ahead three-point play with 12.2 seconds left, and Memphis beat Denver. Mike Conley had 20 points as the Grizzlies won their fourth in a row. With Memphis trailing by one, Gasol hit a driving layup and was fouled. His free throw put Memphis ahead 100-98. Conley's two free throws sealed it.