HEAT MAKE IT 11 STRAIGHT; KNICKS END LOSING RUN WHILE KOBE CONTINUES HOT STREAK IN DALLAS
Miami Heat (40-14) almost threw away a TWENTY-TWO point advantage before executing down the stretch at the right time to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers (18-38) 109-105. Dwayne Wade followed last night’s 38-point haul with FIFTEEN points in the final quarter to take him to 24 overall while LeBron James led all scorers with 28 points and provided EIGHT assists. Ray Allen (11p 3/3); Mario Chalmers (16p 4/5) and Shane Battier (14p 4/7) combined for 41 points on 11/15 shooting from 3-point range to propel Miami to their 11th straight victory.
The Cavaliers made an 11-5 start but the hosts powered on from there to lead 33-20 at the end of the first. The lead continued to grow in the second and a 14-2 burst from Miami helped them open up an 18 point lead at 64-46 going into half-time. Consecutive baskets from Chris Bosh and LeBron saw the lead peak at 22 points before Kyrie Irving netted a triple to spark a 10-0 spell for the visitors. C.J Miles then finished the quarter with a personal 11-0 run with a trio of triples, the last being converted into a ‘four point play’ before adding a fifth after coach Erik Spoelstra was given a technical as his side now trailed 82-81. Miles netted another half-way through the fourth to give the Cavs an eight point advantage at 97-89 before Wade inspired an 11-2 response with nine points to re-take the lead. Battier nailed a corner three before Wade‘s driving dunk all but secured the win in the closing stages.
STAT: Cleveland outscored their opponents 36-17 in the third quarter and it was the most points Miami have let up in that period all season.
Oklahoma City Thunder (41-15) powered to a 102-72 success at home to the Chicago Bulls (32-24) as Russell Westbrook led the way with a game high 23 points. Their main Western conference rivals San Antonio (45-13)returned to winning ways despite the absence of Tony Parker. Kawhi Leonard top scored with 16 points and collected nine rebounds as the Spurs defeated the Phoenix Suns 97-87 on the road.
STAT: Goran Dragic dished out 10+ assists for the fourth consecutive game for the first time this season.
Kobe Bryant led the LA Lakers (28-29) to their third straight win with a 38-point haul enough to edge his side past the Dallas Mavericks (25-30) 103-99. Portland (26-30) kept their play-off hopes alive as they triumphed over the Boston Celtics (29-27) 92-86 to snap a SEVEN game losing streak. Another team to end their losing run was the New York Knicks (33-20) but they were made to work hard to do so before collecting a 99-93 win over the 76ers (22-32). Carmelo Anthony led the hosts with 29 points while fellow All-Star Jrue Holiday enjoyed a 30 point night for Philadelphia.
STAT: It was the 5th time this season that Jrue Holiday posted 30+ points in a game.
Memphis Grizzlies (37-18) kept their winning run going with a low-scoring victory over the Nets (33-24) to make it seven in a row. Zach Randolph led the way with a 16p-14r double-double in the 76-72 win while Deron Williams led all scorers with 24 points for Brooklyn. In the Sky Sports Sunday game, the Golden State Warriors (33-23) came from behind to defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves (20-33) 100-99 on the road. Jarrett Jack stepped up from the bench once again with 23 points from the Warriors as they outscored their opponents 24-18 in the final quarter. In the final game, New Orleans (20-37) eased to a 110-95 victory over the Sacramento Kings (19-38) in a basement battle in the West.
STAT: Ricky Rubio came close to a quadruple-double for Minnesota w/ 16pts/11as/8rbs/6st.
CHECK-OUT the Spaniard in action below with more astonishing dimes from Rubio (NBA):