LeBron James scored 23 points on Thursday to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 114-88 victory over the Miami Heat that dimmed his former team’s playoff hopes.
James passed former Knicks center Patrick Ewing for 20th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with a hook shot in the first quarter.
His 23 points in the game gave him 24,837 for his career.
He also handed out seven assists and pulled down eight rebounds in the win over his former team, which turned even more damaging for the Heat with the departure of Dwyane Wade with a left knee injury in the second quarter.
The Cavs’ young star Kyrie Irving scored 23 points also, while Iman Shumpert added 17 points off the bench.
Tristan Thompson pulled down 15 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who moved three-and-a-half games ahead of idle Toronto for the second seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Luol Deng and Hassan Whiteside scored 17 points apiece for Miami, who are now in a virtual tie with Boston for the eighth and final playoff berth in the East, with seven games left in the regular season.
The Heat scored seven straight points early in the first quarter to take an early lead, but the Cavaliers took the lead for good on James’s jump shot with 5 minutes, 27 seconds left in the quarter.
Miami shot 54.5 percent from the field in the first half, but still trailed 61-50 at the break.
The Heat led 91-72 after three quarters and were never threatened in the fourth.
However, the biggest blow to the Heat could be the loss of Wade, who was dribbling near the baseline in the second quarter when his right foot slipped and his left knee buckled.
Wade slipped to the ground in pain, eventually rising and walking off the court to the locker room.
The Heat said the injury was a bruised left knee.
Wade has battled knee trouble for several years and just had the same knee drained on Saturday last week.
“It could have been worse,” said Wade, who said he still hopes he will be ready to play against Detroit today.
“I knew I was in trouble on my way down,” he said.
WARRIORS 107, SUNS 106
In Oakland, California, Harrison Barnes hit a running shot in the lane with less than a second remaining, lifting the Golden State Warriors to a wild 107-106 win over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night.
Barnes’ big shot came after Eric Bledsoe broke free for a reverse layup to put Phoenix ahead with 4.5 seconds to play. And Bledsoe’s layup followed Stephen Curry’s go-ahead three-pointer that seemingly put the Warriors up for good.
Instead, it took all 48 minutes for the NBA-leading Warriors (62-13) to extend their latest winning streak to 11 games.
They fell behind by four in the final minutes and traded scores with the fading Suns (38-38) the rest of the way.
ROCKETS 108, MAVERICKS 101
In Dallas, Texas, James Harden scored 24 points, former Dallas guard Jason Terry hit a tiebreaking three-pointer.
The Rockets (52-24) moved a half-game ahead of Memphis in the race for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference behind Golden State.
Even with the loss, the Mavericks (46-30) are likely to end up with the seventh seed after a win over Oklahoma City on Wednesday put them four games up on the Thunder and gave them the tiebreaker.
They are now three-and-a-half ahead, with six to go.
Trevor Ariza scored 19 for Houston, while Terry had 10 and Corey Brewer finished with 14.
Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 21 points.
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