Clash of leaders: Heat beat Clippers
MIAMI (AP) – Miami’s LeBron James led the way as the Heat dominated the middle two quarters on the way to an easy 111-89 win over the Los Angeles Clippers in Friday’s clash of NBA divisional leaders.
James scored 30 points on 9 for 11 shooting and thanks chiefly to his own efforts he was able to sit out the fourth quarter. It was his fourth straight 30-point game, tying him with Dwyane Wade as the only Heat player with such streaks in the franchise’s 25-year history.
Among the day’s other key results, Memphis beat Golden State in a match of two Western Conference contenders, Detroit ended undermanned San Antonio’s 11-game winning streak, Chicago polished off a long road trip with victory at Utah, Oklahoma City put in a big third-quarter surge to beat Phoenix, and James Harden led Houston over Portland.
Miami’s Wade had 20 points as the Heat shrugged off the absence of Chris Bosh and Ray Allen, improving its home record to 21-3.
The Clippers got Chauncey Billups, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin back from injuries, but that trio of starters combined for only 23 points. DeAndre Jordan led Los Angeles with 17 points.
Memphis’ Marc Gasol scored six of his 20 points in the closing stages to seal the Grizzlies’ 99-93 win over the Golden State Warriors.
Gasol, who also grabbed 11 rebounds, was 9 of 14 from the field, while Tony Allen had 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting.
Stephen Curry had 32 points and eight assists for the Warriors, who lost their third straight.
The Detroit Pistons matched their highest score of the season to beat San Antonio 119-109, with the Spurs missing Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili.
Greg Monroe had 26 points and 16 rebounds for Detroit, which led by 21 points in the second quarter.
Tony Parker scored 31 points for San Antonio.
Chicago’s Carlos Boozer scored 19 points, including 11 straight in the fourth quarter, to seal the Bull’s 93-89 win against his old team, the Utah Jazz.
Boozer, plagued by foul trouble early, got rolling with about 5 minutes remaining. His layup tied the score 83-83 with 2:29 left and he scored the next five from the free throw line, including a pair with 27 seconds left.
Nate Robinson added 18 points for the Bulls, who rebounded nicely from a 32-point loss in Denver 24 hours earlier and ended a six-game road trip.
Al Jefferson had a season-high 32 points for Utah.
Oklahoma City Thunder went on a 21-0 points run in the third quarter to set up the 127-96 win over the Phoenix Suns.
Kevin Durant scored 21 points and Thabo Sefolosha had a season-high 18 for the Thunder, who brought up their third-straight big home win.
Phoenix even came out of a timeout with six players on the floor at one point during the Thunder’s run, but all that did was result in another point after Durant made the resulting technical foul.
Michael Beasley led the Suns with 25 points.
The Houston Rockets beat the Portland Trail Blazers 118-103, with Harden recording 35 points and 11 assists.
Chandler Parsons scored 20 for the Rockets but Harden was the key man, going 13 for 16 from the field and 4 of 5 from 3-point range. That performance justified his selection on the West’s bench for the All-Star game, which is the next game to be played at Toyota Centre.
LaMarcus Aldridge, another All-Star reserve for the West, scored 31 points for Portland.
New York’s Carmelo Anthony had 36 points and nine rebounds, scoring 12 late points to lead the Knicks over the Minnesota Timberwolves 100-94.
Anthony topped 30 points for the 17th time this season for the Knicks, who trailed by 11 with seven minutes to play. But Anthony did all his fourth-quarter damage in those final minutes, hitting a 19-footer with 1:10 to play that put New York up for good.
Toronto’s Rudy Gay scored 17 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, rallying the Raptors over the weary Indiana Pacers 100-98.
The game went into overtime after Amir Johnson’s buzzer-beating tip-in stood following a replay review. The Raptors won it when Gay hit a 17-foot jumper with 1.7 seconds left and Paul George’s 15-footer rimmed out as the horn sounded.
New Orleans’ Greivis Vasquez had his first career triple-double – 21 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds to lead the Hornets to a 111-100 win over the Atlanta Hawks.
Eric Gordon added 27 points for the struggling Hornets, who won back-to-back games for only the fourth time this season.
In other games, the Washington Wizards held the Brooklyn Nets without a field goal for nearly nine minutes at one stage and won 89-74, the Los Angeles Lakers overcame a 20-point deficit to beat the Charlotte Bobcats 100-93 and the Cleveland Cavaliers won 119-108 over Orlando to hand the Magic their 12th straight loss.