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.
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.
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
- Houston Rockets 126, Los Angeles Lakers 111 (Box Score)
- San Antonio Spurs 125, Los Angeles Clippers 87 (Box Score)
- Orlando Magic 97, Chicago Bulls 91 (in Mexico City), 9:30 p.m. (Box Score)
- Phoenix Suns 99, Dallas Mavericks 89 (Box Score)
NBA schedule for Friday, Dec. 14
*All Times Eastern
- Atlanta Hawks at Boston Celtics, 7 p.m. (GameTracker) -- Watch on fubo TV with NBA League Pass extension
- New York Knicks at Charlotte Hornets, 7 p.m. (GameTracker) -- Watch on fubo TV with NBA League Pass extension
- Washington Wizards at Brooklyn Nets, 7:30 p.m. (GameTracker) -- Watch on fubo TV with NBA League Pass extension
- Milwaukee Bucks at Cleveland Cavaliers, 7:30 p.m. (GameTracker) -- Watch on fubo TV with NBA League Pass extension
- Indiana Pacers at Philadelphia 76ers, 7:30 p.m. (GameTracker) -- ESPN
- Miami Heat at Memphis Grizzlies, 8 p.m. (GameTracker) -- Watch on fubo TV with NBA League Pass extension
- Oklahoma City Thunder Thunder at Denver Nuggets, 10 p.m. (GameTracker) -- ESPN
- Toronto Raptors at Portland Trail Blazers, 10 p.m. (GameTracker) -- Watch on fubo TV with NBA League Pass extension
- Golden State Warriors at Sacramento Kings, 10 p.m. (GameTracker) -- Watch on fubo TV with NBA League Pass extension
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 isto 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.