Roy Hibbert scored 24 points and Paul George had 15 of his 17 points during a second-half rally to lead the Pacers past Miami 90-84 on Tuesday night in a matchup of the Eastern Conference’s top two teams.
Indiana improved their league-best record to 19-3 and extended their lead to three full games by beating Miami at home for the fourth straight time.
LeBron James led the Heat with 17 points, 14 rebounds and six assists, but had only three baskets and nine points over the final 36 minutes. Miami have now lost three of five.
The Heat led by 13 in the first half and did not trail until Hibbert completed a three-point play with 6 minutes, 12 seconds left in the third quarter to put the Pacers ahead 58-57. However, with George heating up, Hibbert dominating the middle and Indiana’s bench playing solid, Miami could not tie it or take the lead again.
SUNS 114, LAKERS 108
In Los Angeles, Goran Dragic scored 31 points and Phoenix kept Los Angeles winless with Kobe Bryant back in the lineup.
Bryant led the Lakers with 20 points while playing 29 mostly sharp minutes in his second game back from a nearly eight-month absence with a torn Achilles tendon. He led a fourth-quarter rally by the Lakers, who got within four points with three minutes left, before Phoenix held on for their first three-game winning streak of the season.
Marcus Morris scored 22 points and Eric Bledsoe had 18 points and nine assists for the surprising Suns, who never trailed after the opening minutes. Phoenix held off the Lakers with superb fourth-quarter play from both Morris brothers. Markieff Morris added 15 points.
SPURS 116, RAPTORS 103
In Toronto, Manu Ginobili scored 16 points, Tony Parker had 15 and San Antonio beat Toronto for the sixth straight time.
Tim Duncan scored 14 points and Aron Baynes had a career-best 14 as the Spurs overcame a 14-point first quarter deficit to improve to 26-9 all-time against Toronto.
San Antonio has won three of six since their 11-game winning streak was halted with a loss at Oklahoma City on Nov. 27.
Danny Green had 14 points for the Spurs, while Marco Belinelli had 12 and Patty Mills 11.
DeMar DeRozan scored 19 points and Amir Johnson had 19 points and nine rebounds for the Raptors, who lost for the sixth time in seven games.
NETS 104, CELTICS 96
In New York, Deron Williams scored a season-high 25 points in his return to the lineup, Brook Lopez added 24, and Brooklyn beat Boston in the first matchup for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett against their former team.
Garnett had 11 points, just his third time in double figures for the Nets this season, and grabbed nine rebounds. Pierce finished with four points and seven rebounds in his first appearance off the bench in six years after making a quick recovery from a broken right hand.
Avery Bradley scored 22 points and Jeff Green had 19 for the Celtics, who have been competitive after trading away two of their most important players from their 2008 NBA championship team. Boston had a three-game winning streak snapped and their Atlantic Division-leading record fell to 10-13.
CAVALIERS 109, KNICKS 94
In Cleveland, Kyrie Irving scored 37 points and Jarrett Jack added 17 points, leading Cleveland past sinking New York.
Irving added 11 assists. The All-Star point guard had 12 points in the third quarter, when the Cavs outscored the defenseless Knicks 33-20 and pulled away. Tristan Thompson added 12 points and nine rebounds as Cleveland won their fourth straight at home.