LOS ANGELES – Tyson Chandler savored the ovations when he first took the court in downtown Los Angeles. The cheers at the end were even sweeter.
The Lakers’ newest big man got to represent his hometown Wednesday night for the first time in his 18 NBA seasons, and he came up bigger and better than even he expected in a hard-fought win.
LeBron James had 24 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, and Kyle Kuzma scored six of his 21 points in the final minutes of the Lakers’ 114-110 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
James, Kuzma and Josh Hart played major roles in the Lakers’ third win in four games, but they all directed praise toward Chandler, who joined the Lakers on Tuesday after reaching a buyout agreement with Phoenix. After LA’s savvy basketball fans welcomed Chandler to town with cheers, the veteran provided much of what the Lakers have been lacking this season.
“It’s honestly all love,” Chandler said. “I love this city the way they love me. When you’re homegrown from here and going to high school and all that and you’ve had these same fans, and now you represent the jersey that everybody has been cheering for their entire lives, you kind of become one. I’ve been on the other side and played the villain. Now it’s great to be on this side and actually rep them.”
With only a cursory knowledge of the Lakers’ plays and schemes, Chandler still provided defense, rebounding and hard picks while playing a surprising 23 minutes.
Chandler’s nine rebounds included two enormous offensive boards in the last minute. He then contested Derrick Rose’s final 3-point attempt, forcing a miss that essentially sealed the win.
“You can tell he’s a young-old guy that’s happy to be back home, and he played with a lot of energy tonight,” said Rajon Rondo, who was thanked by Chandler for vocally directing him around the court.
Hart scored 21 points and Brandon Ingram added 20 for the Lakers, who avenged a loss at Minnesota nine days earlier with a tenacious finish at Staples Center.
Kuzma’s fourth 3-pointer put Los Angeles up 111-104 with 1:51 to play, but Rose promptly hit back-to-back 3-pointers for the Wolves. After Chandler twice extended the Lakers’ ensuing possession, Kuzma hit one of two free throws with 9.5 seconds left.
Rose then missed his last 3 under heavy defensive pressure from Chandler, and Hart hit two free throws to seal it. Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau thought Rose deserved a foul.
“They’re not going to give me that call,” Rose said with a shrug. “They haven’t been giving me that call, so I’ve just got to get used to it.”
Rose scored 31 points and Jimmy Butler added 24 for the Timberwolves, who dropped to 0-7 on the road this season with their fourth consecutive loss overall. Minnesota had won five straight over the Lakers.
Raptors 114, Kings 105
In Sacramento, Kawhi Leonard, who missed the two previous games with a jammed foot, scored 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Toronto topped the hosts.
Serge Ibaka added 14 points and 14 rebounds, and Jonas Valanciunas had 11 points and 10 rebounds as the Raptors completed a four-game sweep of a western swing for the first time in team history to go to 11-1 in their best start in franchise history.
Pascal Siakam had 21 points for Toronto, Kyle Lowry had 16 points and eight assists, and OG Anunoby chipped in with 11 points.
Buddy Hield and Willie Cauley-Stein each scored for 24 for the Kings.
Heat 95, Spurs 88
In Miami, Hassan Whiteside posted 29 points, 20 rebounds and nine blocks to lead the hosts past San Antonio.
Whiteside, who missed the Heat’s previous game due to a knee injury, made 10 of 18 shots from the floor and fell one block short of what would have been the fifth triple-double of his career.
Miami guard Wayne Ellington, who had only played 12 minutes this season prior to Wednesday, made his first start of the season and provided 20 points. He shot 6-for-10 on 3-point attempts as the Heat stopped a nine-game losing streak against San Antonio.
Patty Mills led the Spurs with 20 points, while Davis Bertans added a season-high 19 points.
76ers 100, Pacers 94
In Indianapolis, Joel Embiid had 20 points and 10 rebounds to lift Philadelphia past the hosts.
Dario Saric scored 18 points and Ben Simmons added 16 points and 10 rebounds as the Sixers won for the first time in six tries on the road this season. The win also snapped an eight-game losing streak at Indiana.
Victor Oladipo scored a season-high 36 points for the Pacers. Domantas Sabonis added 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Pelicans 107, Bulls 98
In New Orleans, Anthony Davis had 32 points and 15 rebounds as the Pelicans halted a six-game losing streak with a victory against Chicago.
Davis, who missed three games and struggled in three others during the losing streak because of an elbow strain, looked his old self as he added seven assists. Jrue Holiday added 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.
Zach LaVine led the Bulls with 22 points, Jabari Parker provided 20 points and 13 rebounds and Wendell Carter Jr. had 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Jazz 117, Mavericks 102
In Salt Lake City, Donovan Mitchell scored 23 points to lead six Utah players in double figures in a victory over Dallas.
Alec Burks scored 18 points for Utah and Rudy Gobert had his 10th double-double in 11 games, contributing 17 points and 10 rebounds. The Jazz finally managed to record their first home win in five tries.
Rookie Luka Doncic was Dallas’ top scorer with 24 points.
Grizzlies 89, Nuggets 87
In Memphis, Marc Gasol hit two tiebreaking free throws with 4.6 seconds remaining as the Grizzlies survived two late misses by Denver to remain unbeaten at home.
The Nuggets had one shot at a win and a second at a tie in the final 2.4 seconds, but Nikola Jokic misfired on a 3-point attempt and Murray, after grabbing the rebound, failed to connect on a short jumper just before the final horn.
Gasol and Jaren Jackson Jr. finished with 20 points apiece for the Grizzlies, who improved to 4-0 on the season at home. Gary Harris had 20 points to lead Denver, which had won five straight.
Knicks 112, Hawks 107
In Atlanta, Tim Hardaway Jr. showed no ill effects from the bad back that caused him to miss the previous game, scoring 34 points to lead New York past the Hawks.
The Knicks also got 17 points and 11 rebounds from Enes Kanter. Allonzo Trier scored 16 points and Frank Ntilikina scored 14 before fouling out.
Atlanta was led by rookie Omari Spellman’s 18 points and 10 rebounds, career highs in both categories.
Thunder 95, Cavaliers 86
In Cleveland, Dennis Schroder scored a season-high 28 points as Oklahoma City picked up its sixth consecutive win by beating the Cavaliers.
Oklahoma City was playing without point guard Russell Westbrook, who turned his left ankle Monday in a win over the New Orleans Pelicans. Paul George finished with 18 points for the Thunder and Jerami Grant scored 12 points.
Rookie Collin Sexton scored 15 points to lead Cleveland, which dropped its fourth game in a row.
Pistons 103, Magic 96
In Orlando, Detroit overcame two double-digit deficits to earn a victory over the Magic.
The result snapped a five-game losing streak for the Pistons, who had started the season 4-0 before the skid.
Andre Drummond finished with 23 points and 19 rebounds, including 19 points and 12 rebounds before halftime, to lead Detroit. Blake Griffin scored 20 points, and Reggie Jackson added 15.
Orlando’s Evan Fournier, who hit a game-winning shot Monday night against the Cavaliers, scored a team-high 27 points, while Aaron Gordon and Terrence Ross had 15 points apiece.