OKLAHOMA CITY – Memphis Grizzlies guard Yuta Watanabe scored an NBA career-high 10 points and grabbed five rebounds in a 117-95 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday.
The 24-year-old rookie shot 3 of 8 from the field and sank all four of his free-throw attempts in 27 minutes off the bench, also a career high.
All-Star forward Paul George led the Thunder to victory with 27 points, while 19-year-old rookie Jaren Jackson matched him with 27 for the Grizzlies, who were playing their first game since trading star center Marc Gasol to the Toronto Raptors.
Watanabe said he needed to improve his shooting after missing opportunities in the second half of the road loss.
“You can’t miss shots in important moments,” said Watanabe, who praised the leadership of the departed Gasol.
“His professional attitude was a great example.”
The Grizzlies, currently near the cellar in the Western Conference, are likely to be a strong contender for the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft lottery in May.
Watanabe, a Kagawa Prefecture native, extended his record number of NBA games by a Japanese player to 10.
Lakers 129, Celtics 128
In Boston, Rajon Rondo hit a 6-meter jumper as time expired to lift Los Angeles to victory.
LeBron James had 28 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists. Kyle Kuzma added 25 points and Rondo had 17 points and 10 assists to help the Lakers bounce back after a 42-point loss at Indiana on Tuesday.
Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 24 points and eight assists.
Raptors 119, Hawks 101
In Atlanta, Pascal Siakam scored a career-high 33 points, Fred VanVleet added a career-best 30 and Toronto rallied after trailing by 17 points in the first half to beat the Hawks.
The Raptors were short-handed after trading four players in two deals before the trade deadline. They used only nine players and relied heavily on Siakam, who also had 13 rebounds, and VanVleet with All-Star Kawhi Leonard resting.
Rookie Trae Young and Taurean Price each had 19 points for Atlanta.
Trail Blazers 127, Spurs 118
In Portland, CJ McCollum had 30 points, including seven 3-pointers, and the Trail Blazers handed San Antonio its third straight loss.
Damian Lillard added 24 points and nine assists for Portland, which was coming off a loss at home to Miami but has won seven of its last nine games overall.
DeMar DeRozan had 35 points for the Spurs, who were playing the third game of an extended road trip because of the rodeo visiting AT&T Center.
Pacers 116, Clippers 92
In Indianapolis, Bojan Bogdanovic had 29 points and seven rebounds to lead Indiana over Los Angeles.
Myles Turner had 17 points and six blocked shots, while Thaddeus Young and Darren Collison each scored 14 points for the Pacers, who won their fourth consecutive game.
Montrezl Harrell had 19 points and Danilo Gallinari had 12 points and five rebounds for the Clippers.
Magic 122, Timberwolves 112
In Orlando, Terrence Ross scored 32 points and came up with a big defensive play to help the Magic beat Minnesota.
Nikola Vucevic added 21 points, Aaron Gordon 19 and Evan Fournier 18 for Orlando.
Karl-Anthony Towns had 27 points and 11 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who lost for the fifth time in six games.
Landry makes Japan debut
Veteran forward Carl Landry, a second-round pick of the Seattle SuperSonics in the 2007 NBA Draft, made his B. League debut with the Hiroshima Dragonflies on Sunday.
The 35-year-old Landry scored 33 points, including 11 of 18 at the foul line, and grabbed 10 rebounds in the second-division Dragonflies’ 90-85 home defeat to the Ehime Orange Vikings.
Upon his recent arrival in Japan, the 206-cm Landry brings extensive experience playing in the world’s premier basketball circuit.
From 2007-16, Landry, a Purdue alum, suited up for Houston, Sacramento, New Orleans, Golden State and Philadelphia. He appeared in 513 regular-season games and averaged 10.8 points and 4.9 rebounds. He played in 37 NBA playoff contests while scoring 9.9 points per game.