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NBA scores, highlights, results: Blazers cruise past 76ers; Warriors take on James Harden-less Rockets

NBA action got underway early on Saturday with a stellar matinee that pitted the Portland Trail Blazers against the Philadelphia 76ers. Star center Joel Embiid missed his second consecutive game and it surely showed as the Sixers were outscored 71-59 in the second half in a convincing Portland victory.

The Golden State Warriors, coming off a close win over the Sacramento Kings out of the All-Star break, get a tough matchup against the Rockets. DeMarcus Cousins is set to see his minutes increase down the stretch, and that couldn’t have come at a better time as Houston Rockets has star center Clint Capela back in the lineup. He scored 12 points in his return against the Los Angeles Lakers and he gives the team another solid scoring option. However, Capela and company will have to get the job done tonight without James Harden as he has been ruled out of the game with an injury. After falling to the Lakers, the Rockets will definitely be hungry to win this one against the defending champions.

NBA schedule for Saturday, Feb. 23

*All times Eastern

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Kuzma rocks the rim

Most of the time, showstopping slams happen on the fastbreak, but Kyle Kuzma threw one down of the halfcourt variety against the Pelicans. 

Bryant rises for the rejection, almost accidentally KOs ref with celebration

Thomas Bryant hustled back for an incredible block in transition against the Pacers, but the excitement nearly turned scary during his celebration. He swung his arm wildly, and just missed the referee. 

Nurkic leads Trail Blazers with 24 points in win

Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic dominated the paint without Joel Embiid in the lineup for the Sixers. Nurkic finished the game with 24 points on a very efficient 9-of-13 shooting performance to go along with 10 rebounds. 

Harden ruled out against the Warriors

James Harden’s status leading up to this evening’s showdown was in question after he missed the team’s morning walkthrough with what the Rockets’ medical staff diagnosed as a cervical strain. Shortly before the opening tip, Mike D’Antoni confirmed that Harden would be held out of the lineup against the defending champions.

Davis won’t play against Lakers

The Pelicans have had to deal with a tricky situation when it comes to star center Anthony Davis. While they want to preserve their prized trade chip to avoid any unfortunate injuries, NBA has warned the Pelicans that they’ll be fined if they hold Davis out when he’s healthy. New Orleans, set to face the Lakers on Saturday, will not be playing Davis due to rest as the team plays the second leg of a back-to-back. The team recently made it clear of its plan to reduce Davis’ minutes and limit his availability on consecutive nights.

Dragic listed as probable against Pistons

The Miami Heat find themselves just one game out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference despite being without point guard Goran Dragic for a large portion of the season. Dragic has missed the last 30 games with a knee injury, but head coach Erik Spoelstra announced that Dragic is listed as probable for Saturday’s game against the Pistons. Prior to going down, Dragic was averaging 15.3 points per contest, which was second on the Heat behind only Josh Richardson.

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