Carmelo Anthony equaled his best-ever score with 50 points as the New York Knicks won their ninth straight game with a 102-90 victory over the injury-depleted Miami Heat on Wednesday.
Anthony sank 18 of 26 attempts from the field, reaching 50 on a jump shot with 16.9 seconds remaining. J.R. Smith scored 14 and Raymond Felton added 10 for New York.
Chris Bosh scored 23 points for Miami, who played without LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers, all left out with injuries not believed to be serious.
Mike Miller scored 18, Ray Allen finished with 16 and Norris Cole had 14 for the Heat, whose 17-game home winning streak was snapped.
Miami’s magic number for clinching home-court throughout the NBA playoffs remained at five and the Heat already have the No. 1 spot in the Eastern Conference wrapped up. The Knicks now lead Brooklyn by five games in the race for the Atlantic Division title.
Los Angeles’ Kobe Bryant had 23 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in his 19th career triple-double to lead the Lakers to a 101-81 win over the Dallas Mavericks in a key game for two teams struggling to get into the Western Conference playoff picture.
Dwight Howard had 24 points and 12 rebounds, while hitting seven fourth-quarter free throws for the Lakers (39-36), who had lost four of six.
With former coach Phil Jackson in attendance for Shaquille O’Neal’s jersey retirement, the Lakers moved back into a share of eighth place in the West with the Utah Jazz.
Chris Kaman had 14 points for Dallas (36-38), who have a game in hand on the Lakers and the Jazz.
In Washington, John Wall had 27 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, while Emeka Okafor scored the go-ahead dunk in the final minute as the Wizards beat the Chicago Bulls 90-86 for their eighth straight home win.
The Wizards maintained the pursuit of their goal of being the best team not to make the playoffs. They want to pass the Philadelphia 76ers and finish ninth in the Eastern Conference.
Carlos Boozer had 19 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Bulls, who fell two games behind the fourth-placed Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference.
Chicago visit Brooklyn today.