The Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks used to be the laughing stocks of the NBA, but both picked up impressive wins on Monday.
Facing the Rockets for the second time in the young season, Philadelphia earned a tough 115-107 win in Houston thanks to solid defense and contributions from future stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid down the stretch.
The Rockets (5-3) scored four points in the final three minutes, 28 seconds of the game and missed nine of their last 10 shots as the Sixers (3-4) ended an eight-game series losing streak. Simmons dropped 24 points, nine assists and seven rebounds while Embiid added 22 points.
Eric Gordon, who knocked down a buzzer-beating three-pointer to beat the Sixers on October 18, scored 25 points and James Harden had 29 in the Rockets' loss.
The Knicks (3-3) recorded their third straight win Monday in a 116-110 victory over the Denver Nuggets at Madison Square Garden.
Kristaps Porzingis dropped a career-high 38 points with seven rebounds but the star of the game might have been bench player Kyle O'Quinn. The Knicks big man scored 15 in 21 minutes despite taking just four shots in the game. He was nine of 10 from the free-throw line with 12 rebounds and five blocks while registering a team-best plus-14.
GOBERT SHINES FOR JAZZ
Jazz center Rudy Gobert had 17 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, and six blocks as Utah topped the Mavericks 104-89.
Pelicans big man Anthony Davis, who was banged up last week, scored 39 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a 115-99 loss to the upstart Magic (5-2).
TRAIL BLAZERS STRUGGLE
The Trail Blazers (4-3) scored their first and only field goal of the second quarter with 5.4 seconds remaining in the half. Portland were just one of 17 from the field in the quarter en route to a 99-85 home loss to the Raptors. Al-Farouq Aminu and Maurice Harkless scored just four points each in a combined 71 minutes.
The Celtics (5-2) beat the Spurs (4-3) for their fifth straight victory as Kyrie Irving scored 24 points for the third straight game.
Boston Celtics 108-94 San Antonio Spurs
Minnesota Timberwolves 125-122 Miami Heat
New York Knicks 116-110 Denver Nuggets
Philadelphia 76ers 115-107 Houston Rockets
Charlotte Hornets 104-99 Memphis Grizzlies
Orlando Magic 115-99 New Orleans Pelicans
Utah Jazz 104-89 Dallas Mavericks
Toronto Raptors 99-85 Portland Trail Blazers
Golden State Warriors 141-113 Los Angeles Clippers
THUNDER AT BUCKS
Last season’s MVP and the odds-on favourite to capture the trophy this season square off to highlight a four-game Halloween slate on Tuesday. Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George have put up stellar numbers, but they have nothing on Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is averaging just under 35 points a game with 10.7 rebounds and 5.5 assists.