Thunder whip sluggish Bulls
OKLAHOMA CITY—Oklahoma City Thunder was helped to victory by some terrible Chicago shooting, beating the Bulls, 102-72, on Sunday in a surprisingly one-sided contest.
Russell Westbrook scored 23 points and Kevin Durant had 19 points and 16 rebounds for Oklahoma City, which moved 6-1/2 games clear atop the Northwest Division.
In other key games, Memphis extended its winning streak to seven games by beating Brooklyn, league-leading San Antonio ended a nine-game trip in victorious style by downing Phoenix, Miami won its 11th straight by defeating Cleveland and New York arrested a losing skid by beating out-of-form Philadelphia.
The Thunder, who had allowed an average of 113 points over their previous four games, broke out of a rough defensive patch by limiting Chicago to 29.1 percent shooting. Midway through the third quarter, Chicago had missed 44 of its 55 shots.
O.C. led 61-39 at that point, and the margin reached 32 with both teams’ starters sitting out the fourth quarter.
Memphis’ Zach Randolph had 16 points and 14 rebounds and Marc Gasol scored 14 points as the Grizzlies beat the Brooklyn Nets, 76-72.
Deron Williams led Brooklyn with 24 points, but with Memphis boasting an 8-0 record this season when holding opponents below 80, the Nets did not do enough.
The San Antonio Spurs had six players in double figures as they beat the Phoenix Suns, 97-87.
Patty Mills and Kawhi Leonard topped the scoring with 16 points for the Spurs, who finished their annual long journey—caused by a rodeo at their home court—at 7-2 to boost their NBA-best record to 45-13.
Miami’s LeBron James scored 28 points and Dwyane Wade scored 11 of his 24 in the final five minutes to lead the Heat to a 109-105 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Heat took a 22-point lead early in the second half, and scraped out their 11th straight win despite being outscored by a whopping 30 points over a 17-minute stretch. Miami was down by eight with 5:16 remaining, and still won.
Dion Waiters scored 26 points for Cleveland, which is 1-8 against the Heat since James left for Miami in July 2010.
Los Angeles’ Kobe Bryant had 38 points to win a scoring duel against Dirk Nowitzki as the Lakers beat the Dallas Mavericks, 103-99, in a clash of two teams staging late bids for a playoff spot.
New York’s Carmelo Anthony scored 29 points, and Amare Stoudemire had a season-high 22, as the Knicks ended a four-game skid with a 99-93 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. AP
OTHER RESULTS: Portland 92, Celtics 86; Golden State 100, Minnesota 99; New Orleans 100, Sacramento 95