LeBron James returned to the Miami lineup and scored 22 of his 32 points in the first quarter, setting up the Heat’s 101-90 victory over the New Jersey Nets in the NBA on Saturday despite still being without Dwyane Wade.
Wade missed his third straight game with a bruised left foot, but James had the game under control by the time his All-Star teammate arrived at his seat on the bench.
James made his first seven shots and showed no effects from the sprained left ankle that forced him to miss a game. The NBA’s leading scorer added nine assists and seven rebounds.
Chris Bosh added 16 points after a slow start as the Heat won their third straight and ran the NBA’s best record to 8-1.
Kris Humphries tied a career high with 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Nets, who shot just 33.7 percent.
KNICKS 103, PISTONS 80
In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Amar’e Stoudemire scored 22 points to lead New York to an easy win over Detroit.
Mike Bibby added 16 for the Knicks, who led 64-42 at halftime and by 29 after three. Bibby has scored 27 points over his past two games after scoring just seven through New York’s first six.
Guard Brandon Knight led the Pistons with 19 points.
Detroit guard Rodney Stuckey sat out with a groin injury and the Pistons were also without forwards Austin Daye and Charlie Villanueva, who had sore ankles.
HAWKS 109, BULLS 94
In Atlanta, Josh Smith scored 25 points as Atlanta snapped Chicago’s six-game winning streak.
Joe Johnson and Vladimir Radmanovic each added 17 for the Hawks, who led throughout.
John Lucas III had 14 of his team-high 16 points in the fourth quarter for the Bulls, who dropped to 7-2.
Derrick Rose, last season’s league MVP, scored just eight points for Chicago — his lowest total since December 2010. He did not return to the game after leaving late in the third quarter.
SPURS 121, NUGGETS 117
In San Antonio, Danny Green scored a season-high 24 points as San Antonio beat Denver for their sixth straight home win.
Green hit two free throws with 3.6 seconds left to ice it for the Spurs after Danilo Gallinari had hit a three-pointer with 7.6 seconds left to pull Denver to 119-116.
Gallinari tied his career high with 31 points as the Nuggets’ four-game winning streak was ended.
Richard Jefferson, who was five-for-eight from long range, added 19 points for the Spurs.
76ERS 97, RAPTORS 62
In Philadelphia, Andre Iguodala had 14 points and 10 rebounds as Philadelphia cruised past Toronto and notched a fourth straight win.
Jrue Holiday also scored 14 points for the Sixers, who are 5-2 and the early leaders in the Atlantic Division — a marked contrast to last season’s 3-13 start. The Sixers blew the game open in the third quarter, using a 30-8 run to build a 25-point lead.
Andre Bargnani had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Raptors.
In other NBA action, it was:
‧ Mavericks 96, Hornets 81
‧ Thunder 98, Rockets 95
‧ Clippers 92, Bucks 86
‧ Jazz 88, Warriors 87
‧ Pacers 99, Bobcats 77