LOS ANGELES (AFP) – LeBron James’ 70th career triple-double propelled the short-handed Cleveland Cavaliers to a 114-109 NBA victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday.
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 halftime – fended off the Bulls’ late challenge to secure the win.
Trailing 85-81 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.
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 playoff 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.
Gentry 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.
Gentry is just the latest coach to come out of a loss to the Rockets slamming the officials. Clippers coach Doc Rivers was fined $15,000 for his comments earlier this week.
Davis, with 26 points and 13 rebounds, paced the Pelicans, who are fighting for their playoff lives in the West after losing four of their last five games.
The San Antonio Spurs bolstered their bid to extend their run of 20 straight seasons in the playoffs 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.