NBA: James triple-double lifts injury-hit Cavs over Bulls, Rockets power on while Spurs continue revival

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (left) backing down against Chicago Bulls forward David Nwaba during their NBA match on March 17, 2018.
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (left) backing down against Chicago Bulls forward David Nwaba during their NBA match on March 17, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS/USA TODAY SPORTS

LOS ANGELES (AFP, REUTERS) - LeBron James' 70th career triple-double propelled the short-handed Cleveland Cavaliers to a 114-109 National Basketball Association (NBA) victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday (March 17).

The win saw the Cavs finish a six-game road-trip 3-3 - despite the injury absences of Kevin Love, Rodney Hood, Kyle Korver, Larry Nance Jr, Cedi Osman and Tristan Thompson.

"For us to go 3-3 throughout everything as far as the injuries and available guys, I think it was a good trip for us," James said.

Coach Tyronn Lue also missed the second half of Saturday's game because of an undisclosed illness, but the Cavs - who led 69-52 at half-time - fended off the Bulls' late challenge to secure the win.

Trailing 81-85 going into the fourth period, Chicago tied the score twice in the final frame.

James' jump shot over Paul Zipser with 39 seconds left put the Cavs up by six, and on the Bulls' ensuing possession he rejected Cameron Payne's shot.

James finished with 33 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists, and became the sixth player to notch 70 triple-doubles in his career.

Meanwhile, Andre Iguodala had a three-point play and a three-point basket to trigger a 16-2, third-quarter burst that allowed the Golden State Warriors to turn a deficit into a lead en route to a 124-109 road victory over the Phoenix Suns.

Quinn Cook and Nick Young, replacing the injured Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, scored 28 and 20 points, respectively, helping the Warriors shake off a home loss to Sacramento on Friday night with just their second win in their last five games.

Josh Jackson poured in a season-best 36 points for the Suns, who were shorthanded as well, playing without leading scorer Devin Booker, who was out with a sprained right hand.

The Houston Rockets continued their push to claim the top seed in the West with a 107-101 victory over the Pelicans in New Orleans.

James Harden scored 32 points and pulled down 11 rebounds as the Rockets notched their 21st win in 22 games.

Chris Paul added 21 points and Clint Capela chipped in 13 with 11 rebounds for Houston.

Against a Pelicans team fighting for their play-off lives, Harden drained a three-pointer that put the Rockets up by nine with 1:31 remaining.

Harden's 11 fourth-quarter points included four from the free-throw line, and Rockets coach Alvin Gentry was angry at what he said was a disparity in foul calls.

He said Pelicans star Anthony Davis "never gets a call".

"We talked about them holding him, we talked about them grabbing him on rolls. We talked about them coming under him on post up - he never gets a call," said Gentry, who was whistled for a technical foul with 5:39 for disputing a foul called on Jrue Holiday.

He is just the latest coach to come out of a loss to the Rockets slamming the officials. Clippers coach Doc Rivers was fined US$15,000 (S$19,770) for his comments earlier this week.

Davis, with 26 points and 13 rebounds, paced the Pelicans, who occupy the final play-off spot in the West after losing four of their last five games.

Damian Lillard led the way, as the Portland Trail Blazers turned back the Detroit Pistons 100-87 to extend their NBA-best win streak to 12 games.

He collected 24 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for the Trail Blazers, who have won nine in a row at Moda Centre and 18 of their past 19 home games.

C.J. McCollum added 16 points for the Blazers, who had all five starters score in double figures. Andre Drummond scored 18 points and grabbed 22 rebounds for the Pistons, who have lost eight of their past 10 games overall and 15 of the last 16 away from home.

The San Antonio Spurs bolstered their bid to extend their run of 20 straight seasons in the play-offs with a 117-101 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Veteran forward LaMarcus Aldridge scored 39 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for the Spurs, who won their third straight.