Miami’s LeBron James scored 30 points to help the Heat grind past Toronto 102-97 in Sunday’s clash of NBA divisional leaders and move eight games clear atop the Southeast Division.
Michael Beasley came off the bench to add 17 in a key contribution, as the Heat rallied from five points down after three quarters. They went on a 7-0 run to open the fourth and never trailed from then.
DeMar DeRozan scored 26 points on 11-for-19 shooting for Toronto, who won their previous five games to open a four-game lead atop the Atlantic Division.
Elsewhere, Oklahoma City rediscovered their home-court form and moved a game clear in the Northwest by beating Boston 119-96.
Reggie Jackson scored a career-high 27 points to help secure victory for the Thunder, who started the season 13-0 at home, but had lost three of four since then.
They were guided back to home advantage by Kevin Durant, who added 21 points, seven rebounds and eight assists.
Jeff Green and Avery Bradley scored 19 points apiece for the Celtics, who have lost seven of eight.
Also on Sunday, Indiana’s Roy Hibbert made a putback and two free-throws in the final 1 minute, 9 seconds to help the Pacers hold on for an 82-78 win over Cleveland after seeing most of their seemingly comfortable lead evaporate.
Paul George scored 16 points for Indiana, who led an undermanned Cavaliers team by 16 in the fourth, before Dion Waiters brought Cleveland back by scoring 12 points in a 16-1 run that got the Cavs within a point with 3:35 left.
Hibbert’s free-throw with 7.9 seconds left put the Pacers up 81-78 and Indiana got the ball back when Cleveland’s Earl Clark stepped out on an inbounds pass 1 second later.
Waiters scored 21 for the Cavaliers, who played without All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving.
In Washington, Golden State’s Klay Thompson scored 26 points to lead the Warriors to a 112-96 win over the Wizards and extend their winning streak to nine.The tally is the Warriors’ longest run of consecutive victories within a single season since 1975.
In the league’s other games, Carmelo Anthony scored 15 of his 19 points in the first quarter to jumpstart the Knicks’ 92-80 victory over Dallas, Denver’s Ty Lawson and Timofey Mozgov had 20 points each as the Nuggets beat the slumping Los Angeles Lakers 137-115 and Memphis’ Jon Leuer matched a career-high with 23 points as the Grizzlies dominated the second half to win 112-84 at Detroit.