Basketball: Davis scores 33 as Lakers cool off Heat in battle of the giants

Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (left) drives to the basket during an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat on Dec 13, 2019, in Miami. PHOTO: AP

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Anthony Davis scored a game-high 33 points and delivered a pep talk to LeBron James as the Los Angeles Lakers handed the Miami Heat their first loss at home with a 113-110 victory on Friday (Dec 13).

James scored 28 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds and leading scorer Davis also had 10 rebounds for the Lakers, who extended their winning streak to six games.

The match-up between two of the top teams in the league resulted in a National Basketball Association (NBA) play-off-type feel as the Heat suffered their first loss at home after going 11-0 to start the season.

"It was like a heavyweight bout," said James, who led Miami to two NBA titles in 2012 and 2013.

"It was like the old days, (George) Foreman and (Muhammad) Ali-type atmosphere. These are two teams that play physical and are both playing extremely well this season."

Davis said he had to reprimand James, who finished with eight turnovers, because he could see the future Hall of Famer was struggling in the first half.

"I had to get on him tonight, he was thinking too much," Davis said of James. "He was playing a little timid for me.

"I told him, 'We are going to ride with you whether you go two-for-20 or four-for-25, I don't care. You got to make an impact on the game'.

"We have great chemistry. Us two are the leaders of this team, we are the head of the snake." James agreed with that critique and said he needed a wake-up call.

"We were down today because of me," said James. "I was reckless. I am supposed to be the quarterback and my teammates got on me.

"They told me to be myself. Get my head out of my ass and just play basketball.

"I had seven turnovers in the first half. The second half I just got back to myself."

Jimmy Butler had a team-high 23 points for the Heat, who had won six of their previous seven games.

Elsewhere, James Harden made Orlando pay for covering him one-on-one, delivering another brilliant 50-point performance as the Houston Rockets trounced the Magic 130-107.

Harden pounded Orlando from the outside and under the basket by scoring 54 points and seven assists.

Orlando chose not to double team Harden in the first half and then half-heartedly attempted to do it in the second, but it was too late.

"I feel like we lost against just him tonight," said Magic guard Evan Fournier. "He's the MVP for a reason. We talked about in pregame that he'll take shots, and we'll just live with the results. He did not miss."

Harden scored 50 or more for the fifth time this season - including his 55 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers - and the fourth time in his past seven games. The rest of the NBA has combined for only five 50-plus games this season.

Harden nailed a franchise record 10 three-pointers against the Magic. He finished 10-for-15 from behind the arc against Orlando.

Evan Fournier led Orlando with 27 points for the Magic, who have lost three straight after winning four in a row.

In Minneapolis, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard combined for 88 points as the Los Angeles Clippers held on to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 124-117 for their fourth consecutive victory.

George scored 46 points and Kawhi Leonard had 42 as the duo became the first set of teammates in Clippers' history to each score 40 points. It was the 21st time in NBA history it has happened.

Also, Giannis Antetokounmpo returned from a one-game absence to post 37 points and 11 rebounds, and the visiting Milwaukee Bucks came from behind to post their 17th straight win with a 127-114 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Milwaukee now has the second-longest winning streak in franchise history, behind the record of 20 which was set in 1970-71.

In Philadelphia, Tobias Harris scored 31 points and the 76ers remained unbeaten at home following a 116-109 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Ben Simmons added 24 points and 11 assists as the Sixers improved to 14-0 at home. It's their longest winning streak at home to open a season since winning 22 in 1966-67.

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