NBA | Lakers find life tough sans James

Sixers inflict fourth straight defeat on defending champion

Reigning NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers endured a fourth straight defeat since losing superstar LeBron James to injury, falling 109-101 to Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday.

Before the game, Sixers’ Dwight Howard and Danny Green received the championship rings they won last year with the Lakers.

Green starred for the Sixers against his former team, scoring a game-high 28 points as Philadelphia won despite the absence of star Joel Embiid, who is still nursing a left knee injury.

Los Angeles Clippers shrugged off the absence of star Kawhi Leonard and the trade of standout reserve Lou Williams to beat San Antonio Spurs 98-85.

Elsewhere, C.J. McCollum put Portland on the right track and Damian Lillard came through at the end as the Trail Blazers held off the depleted Miami Heat 125-122.

McCollum scored 29 of his 35 points in the first half and Lillard scored 14 of his 22 after the interval, including three free throws in the final second that put the Blazers over the top in a tight back-and-forth battle that featured 24 lead changes.

In New York, the Knicks rallied from a 17-point third-quarter deficit to beat Washington Wizards 106-102.

In Sacramento, De’Aaron Fox scored a career-high 44 points to lead the Kings over Golden State Warriors 141-119.

Fox made 16 of his 22 shots from the field and handed out seven assists, posting his second 40-point game of the season.

The results: San Antonio Spurs 85 lost to LA Clippers 98; Miami Heat 122 lost to Portland Trail Blazers 125; New York Knicks 106 bt Washington Wizards 102; LA Lakers 101 lost to Philadelphia 76ers 109; Sacramento Kings 141 bt Golden State Warriors 119.

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