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 nine-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.
Wade had 20 points as the Heat shrugged off the absence of Chris Bosh and Ray Allen, improving their home record to 21-3.
The Clippers got Chauncey Billups, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin back from injury, 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 nine of 14 from the field, while Tony Allen had 17 points on seven-of-eight 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, who 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 five minutes remaining. His layup tied the score 83-83 with 2 minutes, 29 seconds 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.
The Oklahoma City Thunder went on a 21-0 points run in the third quarter to set up a 127-96 win over the Phoenix Suns.
Kevin Durant scored 21 points, while Thabo Sefolosha finished with 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 four of five from three-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 Center.
LaMarcus Aldridge, another All-Star reserve for the West, scored 31 points for Portland.