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NBA roundup: LeBron James brings up 9,000th assist to celebrate birthday

NBA roundup: LeBron James brings up 9,000th assist to celebrate birthday
© Reuters
LeBron James led the Los Angeles Lakers to victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

LeBron James became the ninth player in NBA history to reach 9,000 assists as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Dallas Mavericks 108-95 on Sunday.

A day before his 35th birthday, James reached the milestone midway through the first quarter through a long pass to set up an Anthony Davis slam dunk.

Davis scored 23 points, James claimed 13 points and 13 assists and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope recorded 19 points as the Lakers underlined their standing atop the Western Conference with victory over the fifth-placed Mavericks.

— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 30, 2019

Luka Doncic led Dallas with 19 points.

The second-placed Denver Nuggets kept up the pressure on the Lakers by beating the visiting Sacramento Kings 120-115.

Will Barton claimed 19 points including two free throws with eights seconds left to shore up the win, Denver's ninth in 10 games.

Michael Porter Jnr also scored 19 points with Jerami Grant (18) and Nikola Jokic (17) also contributing in a strong team performance.

Defending champions the Toronto Raptors succumbed to a one-point home defeat to the Oklahoma City Thunder to fall 98-97.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the visitors with an equal personal-best 32 points, while Chris Paul claimed 25 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.

Gilgeous-Alexander put the Thunder into the lead with a jump shot 3.6 seconds from full-time, then grabbed the rebound on a missed three-point attempt by Fred VanVleet.

The lead changed 20 times in the game and the teams were tied 10 times, with VanVleet and Kyle Lowry leading the Raptors with 20 points each.

Elsewhere, the New Orleans Pelicans claimed a 127-112 home victory over the Houston Rockets and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the visiting Charlotte Hornets 117-104.

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Kyle Lowry in action for the Toronto Raptors on December 22, 2019
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