Pacers lose in Denver while Ross makes history with Raptors.
There were eight games on the NBA schedule on Saturday night, with Kevin Durant returning to action and helping himself to a triple-double in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s win over the Philadelphia 76ers.
Durant sat out the win over the Boston Celtics on Friday with a sprained right shoulder but had 32 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in the 103-91 win in Philadelphia.
The 25-year-old, the NBA’s leading scorer, has now scored at least 30 points in his last 10 games, while Serge Ibaka helped contribute with 25 points and 11 rebounds.
“I hate sitting out,” Durant said, “but it was best for me and my shoulder. I guess that day off was needed.”
Without Durant, the Thunder still managed to win in Boston, and now remain atop the Western Conference with a 35-10 record as this win stretches their lead ahead of the San Antonio Spurs who face the Miami Heat on Sunday.
Elsewhere, Terrence Ross had a team-record-tying 51 points, but it wasn’t enough to help the Toronto Raptors avoid defeat against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Jamal Crawford responded with a season-high 37 points and matched a season best with 11 assists, as the Clippers improve to 31-15 and inflict another home defeat on the Raptors who had been impressive in recent months before the loss to the Lakers last Sunday.
However, it was a night to remember for Ross who connected on 16 of 29 field goal attempts and made 10 of 17 from 3-point range as he joined Vince Carter on 51 points for the franchise record.
Meanwhile, the Indiana Pacers were finally stopped by the Nuggets, who snapped their three-game losing streak with Wilson Chandler’s season-high 25 points helping them to a 109-96 win.
Nate Robinson and Timofey Mozgov added 15 points apiece as Brian Shaw won in his first match-up against Indiana since leaving his role as a Pacers assistant in the summer.
However, despite the loss, the Pacers still have the best record in the NBA while the Nuggets move back to .500 at 21-21.
Paul George had 18 points, Lance Stephenson added 23 and David West had 16 but the unit lost for the eighth time in nine trips to Denver.
Elsewhere, the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves who matched their total wins from all of last season at 33, as LeMarcus Aldridge had 21 points in his showdown with Kevin Love as the debate rages on over who is the best power forward.
However, it was Kevin Martin who starred for the visitors with 30 points, although Love will be a starter for the Western Conference All-Stars following the results of the voting.
D.J. Augustin helped inspire the Chicago Bulls to a win over the Charlotte Bobcats, while the Houston Rockets suffered a defeat to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Chicago Bulls 89-87 Charlotte Bobcats
Los Angeles Clippers 126-118 Toronto Raptors
Oklahoma City Thunder 103-91 Philadelphia 76ers
Houston Rockets 81-99 Memphis Grizzlies
Atlanta Hawks 112-87 Milwaukee Bucks
Indiana Pacers 96-109 Denver Nuggets
Washington Wizards 101-104 Utah Jazz
Minnesota Timberwolves 104-115 Portland Trail Blazers