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Paul has 31 as Rockets extend run to 11

(Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)

HOUSTON (AP) With the way Mike D'Antoni has handled Houston's rotation lately, there are times nine-time All-Star Chris Paul is left to run Houston's offense against second-team defenses.

That combination proved the difference on Wednesday night when Paul led the Rockets to a huge run in the first half that helped them extend their NBA-best winning streak to 11 games with a 108-96 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.

Paul scored a season-high 31 points and James Harden added 21 to help Houston to its 17th win in 18 games and improve to 22-4, the best record in the league.

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George quiet in Indy return but OKC wins

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Paul George struggled on homecoming night.

He still left town with the crown.

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Wall returns as Wizards defeat Grizzlies

WASHINGTON (AP) John Wall helped the Washington Wizards avoid a bad loss.

Wall had 13 points in his return from a sore knee, Bradley Beal scored 18 points and the Wizards held off the Memphis Grizzlies 93-87 on Wednesday night.

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Irving's 33 lift Celtics past Nuggets

BOSTON (AP) The Celtics expected to have their hands full with a Nuggets team that has had no trouble putting the ball in the basket this season.

Boston countered by having its best shooting night of the season.

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DeRozan scores 37, Raptors win 7th in 8

PHOENIX (AP) DeMar DeRozan had already matched his season high with 37 points. With his team up four in the closing seconds, he was needed on the defensive end.

DeRozan forced T.J. Warren to take a difficult one-handed floater from 12 feet out, and with the miss the Toronto Raptors sealed a 115-109 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night.

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Lillard rallies Trail Blazers past Heat

MIAMI (AP) The Trail Blazers and Heat began the night with identical records of 13-13, so a close game was to be expected.

For Damian Lillard to take over down the stretch was also no surprise.

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Cousins, Davis power Pelicans by Bucks

NEW ORLEANS (AP) When DeMarcus Cousins was asked about his soaring, one-handed, put-back dunk in the fourth quarter, the Pelicans star took the opportunity to have a little fun at the expense of Pelicans teammate Jameer Nelson, sitting two lockers away.

"Well, I saw that Jameer was going to miss, so something just told me to keep going," said a chuckling Cousins, who got a running start from about the 3-point line on the play. "But when it left his hand, it didn't look too good."

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Williams scores 31 as Clippers top Magic

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) The Los Angeles Clippers needed someone to provide points and Lou Williams filled that role.

Williams scored 31 points Wednesday night to lead the Clippers to a 106-95 victory over the Orlando Magic.

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Mirotic has 29, Bulls 4-0 with him back

CHICAGO (AP) Nikola Mirotic is smiling again. The shots are falling. All the weightlifting work he did in the summer is paying off. The Chicago Bulls are winning.

That infamous practice fight is beginning to fade into the background.

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Indianapolis to host 2021 All-Star Game

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Larry Bird's final drive through New York City paid off Wednesday.

Seven months after the NBA Hall of Famer hand delivered the Indiana Pacers' All-Star bid at league headquarters in an IndyCar, Commissioner Adam Silver returned the favor by showing up at Bankers Life Fieldhouse to announce the league's big midseason bash was coming back to Indianapolis in February 2021.

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