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NBA roundup: Zion Williamson’s career night propels Pelicans

Dec 28, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) reacts to making a basket against Minnesota Timberwolves guard D'Angelo Russell (0) during the second half at Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Zion Williamson scored his team’s final 14 points as part of a career-high 43-point night as the host New Orleans Pelicans came from behind to defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves 119-118 on Wednesday night.

The Timberwolves led by five points before Williamson took over with 2:44 to play. His 3-pointer and hook shot on back-to-back possessions tied the score at 112-112 with 1:49 left.

After Anthony Edwards tied the game with a dunk with 29.2 seconds to play, Williamson was fouled and made one of two free throws to give the Pelicans a 119-118 lead with four seconds left. Edwards missed a baseline jumper as time expired.

Williamson made 14 of 21 field goals and 14 of 19 free throws in his return from a three-game absence due to health and safety protocol. Trey Murphy III added 21 points, CJ McCollum scored 20, Jonas Valanciunas had 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Naji Marshall scored 12 points as New Orleans won its fourth straight.

Nets 108, Hawks 107

Kyrie Irving scored 20 of his 28 points in the second half to help visiting Brooklyn hold on to defeat short-handed Atlanta and extend its winning streak to 10 games.

The Nets have the longest active winning streak in the NBA and are the first team this season to win 10 consecutive games. Brooklyn has also matched its third-longest winning streak in franchise history and improved its record in December to a league-best 11-1.

Brooklyn outscored Atlanta 12-2 to start the fourth quarter and led by as many as 13 points but couldn’t put the Hawks away. The Hawks had a chance to tie with 29.9 seconds remaining, but Dejounte Murray made only one of two free throws. Murray then missed a would-be game-winning shot at the buzzer.

Warriors 112, Jazz 107

Ty Jerome came off the bench to score 17 points and team with Donte DiVincenzo on back-to-back 3-pointers that pulled Golden State from a fourth-quarter tie and propelled the Warriors past Utah in San Francisco.

Playing the second night of a back-to-back without Stephen Curry, Andrew Wiggins and Klay Thompson, the Warriors — who own the NBA’s best home record at 15-2 — had enough energy to limit the Jazz to just six points over the final 7:21, enabling a rally that produced a fourth straight home win.

Despite missing eight of his 10 3-point attempts, Jordan Poole led the way for the Warriors with 26 points, including a short jumper with 1:27 to play after the Jazz closed within 107-106 on a 3-pointer by Jordan Clarkson.

Bulls 119, Bucks 113 (OT)

DeMar DeRozan scored a team-high 42 points to go with 10 rebounds and Nikola Vucevic added 15 points and 14 rebounds to help host Chicago defeat struggling Milwaukee, despite Giannis Antetokounmpo’s monster night.

The Bucks star had a game-high 45 points and a career-best 22 rebounds, and Bobby Portis added 20 points and 11 boards for Milwaukee, whose season-high losing streak reached four games. Milwaukee snagged 22 offensive rebounds, but the Bulls persevered to win for the fourth time in five games.

The Bulls closed regulation on a 13-2 run to force overtime before outscoring Milwaukee 13-7 in the extra period. Zach LaVine scored 24 points and Goran Dragic added 12 for Chicago.

Kings 127, Nuggets 126

Malik Monk scored 33 points, including a free throw with 0.7 seconds left, as Sacramento stormed back from down 11 to start the fourth to top visiting Denver.

Domantas Sabonis had 31 points and 10 rebounds despite playing with a fractured thumb, and De’Aaron Fox also scored 31 for the Kings, who split the two home games against Denver on back-to-back days.

Nikola Jokic had 40 points, Bones Hyland scored 20, Michael Porter Jr. 19 and Zeke Nnaji 14 for the Nuggets. Denver played without Jamal Murray (knee soreness), Aaron Gordon (right shoulder strain) and Bruce Brown (right ankle sprain).

Pistons 121, Magic 101

Alec Burks scored 32 points and host Detroit snapped a six-game losing streak with a win over Orlando.

The game was marred by a skirmish that resulted in three ejections. Orlando’s Moritz Wagner and Detroit’s Killian Hayes and Hamidou Diallo were tossed for an altercation in the final minute of the first half. Chasing after a loose ball, Wagner committed a Flagrant Foul 2 by shoving Hayes into the Pistons bench. Diallo and Hayes were tossed for retaliating by striking Wagner from behind.

Burks went 10-for-11 from the field, including six made 3-pointers. Saddiq Bey poured in 28 points and added eight rebounds and four assists, while Bojan Bogdanovic had 14 points with five assists. Franz Wagner led the Magic with 19 points. Wendell Carter Jr. had 16 points and Paolo Banchero added 15.

Wizards 127, Suns 102

Rui Hachimura matched a career high with 30 points off the bench to fuel host Washington to a blowout victory over Phoenix.

Hachimura made 11 of 13 shots from the floor and 7 of 8 from the free-throw line for Wizards, who have won three in a row and four of their last five games. They began the latter streak with a 113-110 victory in Phoenix on Dec. 20. Washington’s Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma each added 22 points.

Deandre Ayton had a season-high 31 points along with seven rebounds, and Chris Paul added 20 points and seven assists for the Suns, who have lost four of their last five games. Prior to the game, Phoenix confirmed that three-time All-Star Devin Booker will be sidelined at least four weeks with a left groin strain.

Heat 112, Lakers 98

Jimmy Butler scored 27 points, Bam Adebayo added 23 points and 14 rebounds and Miami handed visiting Los Angeles its fifth loss in the last six games.

Butler and Adebayo both returned to the lineup after missing Miami’s win over Minnesota on Monday — Butler from a sprained ankle and Adebayo from an illness — to shoot a combined 21 of 34 from the floor. Their efforts paced all five Heat starters to double-figure scoring, joining Tyler Herro with 18 points, Caleb Martin with 13 and Gabe Vincent with 12.

LeBron James matched Butler for a game-high of 27 points, and also added nine rebounds with six assists, but committed six turnovers. Dennis Schroder and Russell Westbrook each scored 15 points, with Westbrook dishing a team-high eight assists. Miami led for most of the contest, its advantage swelling to as many as 22 points in the third quarter.

–Field Level Media