Lebron James scores 25 as Heat win over Cavs 98-95
CLEVELAND — LeBron James scored 25 points as the Miami Heat overcame a 27-point deficit in the third quarter and won their 24th straight game, 98-95 over the short-handed Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night to extend the second-longest winning streak in NBA history.
Miami is within nine games of matching the record of 33 consecutive wins held by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers.
James and his teammates have insisted the record isn’t one of their goals, and for more than 30 minutes the defending champions seemed disinterested and on the verge of losing for the first time since Feb. 1. Miami trailed 67-40 with 7:44 left in the third quarter.
But behind the irrepressible James, who added 12 rebounds and 10 assists, the Heat inched closer to history by matching the biggest comeback in the NBA this season.
James had 14 points in the fourth as Miami completed its second straight comeback. The Heat rallied from 17 down — 13 in the fourth quarter — to beat Boston 105-103 Monday night and snap a tie with the 2007-08 Houston Rockets for the second-longest winning streak in NBA history.
Although the Cavs were missing All-Star guard Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Anderson Varejao — their top three scorers — they pushed Miami to the limit.
It wasn’t until James, playing his fourth game back in Cleveland since leaving as a free agent in 2010, made two free throws with 4.7 seconds left that Miami could relax a little. The Cavs had one last chance to tie it, but C.J. Miles was long with a 3-pointer in the final second, letting Miami off the hook.
GRIZZLIES 90, THUNDER 89, OT
Marc Gasol tipped in Zach Randolph’s miss with less than a second left in overtime, lifting the Grizzlies to the win.
In a game that had all the intensity of a playoff matchup, Jerryd Bayless connected from the top of the key for Memphis with 3.7 seconds left in regulation to tie it at 83. Bayless had 10 points in the fourth quarter.
After Gasol’s tip over Kevin Durant put the Grizzlies ahead, Russell Westbrook’s desperation shot from past halfcourt was off the mark and Memphis walked away with its 16th victory in 19 games.
Mike Conley led the Grizzlies with 24 points and Bayless had 20.
Durant led the Thunder with 32 points, including 15 in the third quarter.
KNICKS 106, MAGIC 94
Carmelo Anthony scored 21 points to lead New York over Orlando after missing the previous three games with a knee injury.
J.R. Smith had 22 points for New York, still short-handed in the frontcourt but looking much better with Anthony back. The NBA’s second-leading scorer hadn’t played since leaving the Knicks’ road trip last week to have fluid drained from the back of his right knee.
He said he felt much better after the morning shootaround and moved much better, shooting 7 of 14 and grabbing eight rebounds.
The Knicks shot 53 percent and won their second straight after dropping the first four games of their five-game trip. All-Star center Tyson Chandler is expected to miss about a week with a bulging disk, and reserve forwards Amare Stoudemire, Rasheed Wallace and Kurt Thomas all could miss the rest of the regular season. But New York had no trouble despite using a small lineup that featured 6-foot-9 Kenyon Martin as the center.
Tobias Harris and Andrew Nicholson each scored 14 points for the Magic in their fifth straight loss. They played without center Nikola Vucevic because of an illness in the second night of a difficult back-to-back, after losing by 22 at Indiana on Tuesday.
New York beat Orlando for the sixth straight time and swept the season series for the first time since 1997-98.
HAWKS 98, BUCKS 90
Jeff Teague scored 27 points and Al Horford had 26, taking control after a sluggish first quarter to lead Atlanta past Milwaukee.
Teague scored 11 points in the second quarter and a dozen more in the third as the Hawks pushed out to a 77-59 lead. Horford scored 10 points in the final period and finished with 15 rebounds, stepping up to help the Hawks hold off a Milwaukee comeback.
Led by Brandon Jennings with 21 points, the Bucks closed to 94-90. But Jennings missed a free throw that could have made it a one-possession game, then came up short on a tough jumper with Teague in his face. Josh Smith clinched it by making two free throws with 27.9 seconds left.
Smith also had a double-double, scoring just 12 points on 5-of-14 shooting but helping out with a season-high 16 rebounds. Devin Harris added 15 points.
BOBCATS 107, RAPTORS 101
Byron Mullens scored 25 points and Gerald Henderson had another solid all-around game as Charlotte beat Toronto to win consecutive games for the first time since mid-November.
Mullens scored 12 points in the fourth quarter. The reserve made his final eight free throws, including four with less than 13 seconds to go as Charlotte won its third straight at home.
Henderson scored 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting and added seven rebounds and five assists, continuing the best stretch of his four-year NBA career. He has scored at least 20 points in five of the last seven games.
Rudy Gay had 25 points and DeMar DeRozan added 19 points for the Raptors, who have lost seven of their last eight in Charlotte and fell to 9-25 on the road.
Ben Gordon finished with 16 points for the Bobcats and Josh McRoberts had 12 points and 12 rebounds.
NETS 113, MAVERICKS 96
Brook Lopez led Brooklyn with 38 points and Deron Williams had 31 in his first visit to Dallas since spurning his hometown team in free agency.
Williams scored 26 in the second half, repeatedly hitting shots and occasionally assisting on a basket by Lopez to prevent a Dallas rally in the fourth quarter.
Williams also hit a fadeaway jumper after a blocked shot by Lopez, running to his bench with a big smile after Dallas called timeout with the Nets up 97-88 midway through the fourth. The Mavericks didn’t get closer than six after that.
Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with 16 points and had a team-high six rebounds, compared to 22 boards for Reggie Evans of the Nets, who outrebounded the Mavericks 45-34.
HORNETS 87, CELTICS 86
Anthony Davis beat Kevin Garnett and Jeff Green for a last-second tip-in, helping the Hornets end a four-game skid.
Davis, who missed the morning shootaround with an illness, finished with nine points and eight rebounds. Ryan Anderson scored 21 points and Eric Gordon had 18 for the Hornets.
Paul Pierce scored 11 of his 28 points in the last six minutes to nearly lead Boston back from a nine-point deficit, but missed a jumper with 16 seconds left that could have put the Celtics up by three.
Garnett, returning from a two-game absence caused by a left thigh injury and the flu, had 20 points — not quite enough to prevent a second straight loss.
SPURS 104, WARRIORS 93
Tim Duncan had 25 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and four blocks, leading San Antonio to the win.
Tiago Splitter added 17 points, Manu Ginobili had 16 points and seven assists and fellow reserve Nando De Colo had 10 points for San Antonio (52-16), which is second to Miami (53-14) for the league’s best record.
Stephen Curry had 24 points for Golden State (39-31), which remains sixth in the West. Harrison Barnes added 13 points, Jarrett Jack had 14, David Lee finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Duncan was 11 for 17 from the field. It was his 13th game of at least 20 points and 10 rebounds this season.
ROCKETS 100, JAZZ 93
James Harden scored 29 points to help Houston improve its positioning in the Western Conference playoff race.
Jeremy Lin added 24 for the Rockets, who currently hold the No. 7 spot in the West. They lead the idle Los Angeles Lakers by 1½ games and are three ahead of the sliding Jazz.
The Rockets led by 19 points after three quarters and withstood a late surge by the Jazz to hold on for the victory.
Utah has lost 10 of its last 13 games. Gordon Hayward led the Jazz with 27 points and Al Jefferson added 18 points and 11 rebounds.