Spurs down Lakers; Jazz rout Pelicans

DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Kuzma
DeMar DeRozan of the San Antonio Spurs dunks in front of Kyle Kuzma of the Los Angeles Lakers at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. AFP

LOS ANGELES,  (AFP) - DeMar DeRozan finished with 30 points and 12 rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs overcame a 35-point performance from LeBron James to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 110-106 on Saturday.

DeRozan nailed a clutch fadeaway jumper with 16 seconds remaining to help secure the Spurs’ second victory over the Lakers in a week.

DeRozan also had eight assists while Rudy Gay scored 16 points and LaMarcus Aldridge had 15 for the Spurs, who improved to 3-2 on the season.

Kyle Kuzma finished with 15 points and Lance Stephenson added 14 points in the loss.

The Lakers shot 53 percent in the first half and led by as many as 14 points.

“The team is going to grow and get better,” said James, who also had 11 rebounds. “We are going to use these experiences for the better.

“I think we played very, very well besides that four or five minutes in third quarter where we offensively stalled.”

James extended his career points total to 31,202 to pass Dirk Nowitzki for sixth place on the NBA all-time scoring list.

The Spurs seized their first lead of the contest at 93-91 early in the fourth quarter, then extended it to eight points before James answered with a couple of baskets and an assist to cut it to just one, 106-105.

Elsewhere, Rudy Gobert and Ricky Rubio paced the attack as the Utah Jazz handed the short-handed New Orleans Pelicans their first loss of the season with a 132-111 win.

Pelicans star Anthony Davis was missing from the offence because of a strained right elbow.

Gobert, of France, finished with 25 points and 14 rebounds and Spain’s Rubio had 28 points and 12 assists for the Jazz, who beat the Pelicans three out of four times last season.

“When Ricky plays like that, it’s hard to lose,” said Gobert. “We’ve got a lot of guys that can score and when Ricky starts to make the right play and puts even more pressure on the defence, it’s hard to guard for sure.”

American Donovan Mitchell scored 22 for Utah, which led by as many as 28 points in the third quarter and were ahead 102-82 at the start of the fourth in front of a crowd of 16,300 at the Smoothie King Center arena.

Davis played through the elbow injury on Friday against Brooklyn but couldn’t go against the Jazz and his status for Monday’s contest in Denver will be determined after he visits the team doctor.

“There’s not any long-term concern,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “He came in today and tried to shoot at shoot-around, and there was a still a little bit of pain. I’m not going to risk anything over one game.”

The Pelicans cut the Jazz lead to 110-102 on Wesley Johnson’s three pointer with 6:34 left. But Rubio responded with six free throws during a 10-2 Jazz run.

Nikola Mirotic scored 15 of his 25 points in the first quarter and Jrue Holiday had 18 for the Pelicans, who had not trailed by more than 13 points in the previous four games.

In Milwaukee, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 21 points and Khris Middleton had 18 as the Bucks won their sixth straight game with a 113-91 win over the Orlando Magic.

Antetokounmpo also had seven rebounds in 19 minutes of playing time.

Nikola Vucevic had 16 points and nine rebounds for Orlando. D.J. Augustin added 11, all in the first half.

The Magic shot 32 percent from the field overall and 23 percent from three-point range.