NBA scores, highlights: James Harden's 50-point triple-double fuels Rockets past LeBron, Lakers; Dirk makes season debut

It's only a four-game slate in the NBA on Thursday, but it's one heck of an exciting one. To start off the night, the Los Angeles Lakers ran into a buzzsaw Houston Rockets team that featured one of the best performances of the season from James Harden. 

Then things continued to go poorly for the struggling Los Angeles Clippers, as they were absolutely blown out by the Spurs in San Antonio.

The night was capped off by a nationally televised matchup between the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns, highlighted by Dirk Nowitzki's long-awaited season debut after ankle surgery. Nowitzki made NBA history, marking his 21st season with the Mavericks -- an NBA record for most seasons played with one franchise.

It also marked the second-ever meeting between 2018 No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton and No. 3 pick Luka Doncic

Here's everything you need to know about Thursday's NBA action, along with Friday's schedule.

NBA scores for Thursday, Dec. 13

*All times Eastern

NBA schedule for Friday, Dec. 14

*All Times Eastern

Suns get rare win

It doesn't happen often, so you better savor it, but the Suns picked up a win over the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday. TJ Warren led the team with 30 points with Devin Booker on the sideline.

Dirk sinks his first shot of the season 

Dirk Nowitzki made his season debut for the Mavericks on Thursday night, and it didn't take him long to look like his old self. On his first shot of the season, the future Hall-of-Famer banked in a jumper over Josh Jackson. 

Harden sets record with fourth 50-point triple-double 

James Harden had himself a monster game against the Lakers. The reigning NBA MVP did it all for the Rockets as he tallied 50 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists in Houston's victory. Harden now has the most 50-point triple-doubles in NBA history, with four. 

LeBron blows by Capela for the slam

The Rockets' strategy of switching a big man onto LeBron James wasn't working very well for them on Thursday night, as evidenced by this play where James simply blew by Rockets center Clint Capela for an easy dunk. 

Harden throws down ferocious dunk 

James Harden didn't waste time making a highlight reel-worthy play on Thursday night, as he blew by Lonzo Ball on the perimeter and then threw down a nasty dunk on JaVale McGee less than three minutes into the match-up between the Rockets and Lakers. 

Nowitzki to make NBA history with season debut

As mentioned earlier, the Mavericks veteran is scheduled to make his season debut tonight after missing the first 26 games of the season due to an ankle injury. There are just five players in pro basketball history to play 21 seasons in the league and Nowitzki will become the sixth.

While he's not alone in the aforementioned category, he will be alone in this one -- Nowitzki's 21 seasons played with the Mavericks franchise will surpass Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers for most seasons played in one organization.

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