Oklahoma City win clash of NBA title-favourites
Oklahoma City Thunder notched a comfortable 114-108 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, highlighting the gap that had grown between the teams since they entered the season among the co-favorites.
Oklahoma City's win was matched by victories for the Memphis Grizzlies and the San Antonio Spurs as the trio continued to set the pace in the early stages of the new campaign.
Thunder's Kevin Durant had 36 points and Russell Westbrook scored 27 of his 33 in the first half as the hosts burst out to a 19-point lead.
NBA scoring leader Kobe Bryant had 35 points to help the Lakers whittle that back to four in the final minute but they could get no closer.
Los Angeles dropped to a humbling 9-11 record, with three key players out because of injuries.
San Antonio never trailed in cruising to a 114-92 win over the Houston Rockets, with six players in double figures and matching their season high in 33 points.
Tony Parker topped the score sheet with 17 points and seven assists.
James Harden had 29 points for Houston. It was his first game in San Antonio since helping Oklahoma City beat the Spurs last season in the Western Conference finals.
The fans certainly remembered Harden, who was booed heartily during pregame introductions and every time he shot a free throw.
Memphis stayed atop the standings on winning percentage, moving to a 14-3 record with a 96-89 win over the struggling New Orleans Hornets.
Rudy Gay tied a season high with 28 points while former Hornets first-round draft choice Quincy Pondexter did the same with 16 points for the Grizzlies.
Ryan Anderson, Austin Rivers and Brian Roberts each scored 15 points for the Hornets, who were within one possession of tying or leading several times in the fourth quarter but still fell to their 11th loss in 13 games.
The Golden State Warriors moved within half a game of the lead in the Pacific Division with a 109-102 win over the Brooklyn Nets, who slipped three games behind Atlantic Division leader New York.
David Lee had 30 points and 15 rebounds for Golden State, including six straight points to break open a game that was tied midway through the fouth quarter.
Stephen Curry scored 21 of his 28 points in the second half as the Warriors made it five wins from six games.
Joe Johnson scored a season-high 32 points for the Nets, who dropped their third straight and are now only half a game ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Sixers closed on the Nets and moved a game clear of Boston by beating the Celtics 95-94 in overtime.
Evan Turner, who had 26 points and 10 rebounds, made the last basket with an off-balance shot with 3.9 seconds left.
Boston guard Rajon Rondo had a chance to snatch back the lead but he slipped and his ankles buckled on the last possession.
It was a bad end to a good game by Rondo, who had 16 points, 14 assists and a season-high 13 rebounds.
It was similarly close in Indiana, where the Pacers suffered a 92-89 defeat by the Denver Nuggets.
Denver led most of the second half but found itself in an 85-82 deficit with 3:32 left. That's when 36-year-old Andre Miller took over, scoring eight points during a 10-0 spurt that turned it around for the Nuggets.
Indiana had a chance to force overtime, but George Hill's 3 bounced off the rim. Paul George led the Pacers with 22 points.
The Chicago Bulls beat the Detroit Pistons for the 16th straight time but had to work to do so, edging the hosts 108-104.
Joakim Noah had career highs of 30 points and 23 rebounds for the Bulls, who trailed by 17 points in the second quarter.
Unlike the Pistons, the Milwaukee Bucks did not let an early lead slip, building a 13-point lead after one quarter to 25 after three and then beating the Charlotte Bobcats 108-93. Ersan Ilyasova scored a season-high 21 points and Marquis Daniels had season highs with 18 points and six rebounds. Charlotte has lost six straight.
The Utah Jazz put in an even-more complete performance, routing the Toronto Raptors 131-99 with 13 3-pointers.
Paul Millsap had 20 points and Enes Kanter added 18 in his first career start as the Jazz improved to 8-1 at home.
In other games, the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 91-73, with Kevin Love notching 36 points and 13 rebounds; the Atlanta Hawks downed Washington 104-95 to keep the Wizards winless on the road; while the Sacramento Kings were 91-82 winners over the Orlando Magic.