Heat Puts Hawks in Freezer
Philadelphia 76ers' Spencer Hawes, right, goes up for a shot against Detroit Pistons' Jason Maxiell in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, in Philadelphia. Philadelphia won 104-97. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Miami (ap) — LeBron James scored 27 points, Dwyane Wade had 26 and the Miami Heat pulled away in the second half to beat the Atlanta Hawks 101-92 last night.
James (10-16) and Wade (11-13) made 21 of 29 shots for Miami, which shot 58 percent overall to improve to 10-1 at home this season. Chris Bosh had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Norris Cole scored 10 for the Heat, who handed the Hawks only their second loss in 11 games.
Josh Smith scored 22 points and Al Horford finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds for Atlanta, which briefly held the lead midway through the third quarter before the Heat got rolling and moved 1½ games ahead of the Hawks in the Southeast Division.
Atlanta is 0-2 against Miami this season and 1-7 since March 2011.
A 17-4 run was the difference maker, turning a two-point deficit into an 11-point lead with 1:24 remaining in the third. Wade got it started with a jumper, and he wound up with eight during the burst, including a layup off a perfect pass by James from the right side of the lane.
Warriors 104, Bobcats 96
Charlotte, n.c. — Stephen Curry put on a show for his hometown fans, finishing with 27 points, seven assists and seven rebounds to lead Golden State over Charlotte.
Curry, who grew up in Charlotte and made a name for himself leading nearby Davidson College to the brink of the Final Four in 2008, shot 10 of 22 from the field and hit four 3-pointers. It was his eighth straight 20-point game, a career best.
David Lee had 25 points and 11 rebounds for the Warriors (14-7), who have won seven of their past eight games and improved to 4-0 on their current seven-game Eastern trip.
Kemba Walker scored 24 points to lead the Bobcats, who have lost eight straight.
76ers 104, Pistons 97
Philadelphia — Evan Turner had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Jrue Holiday scored 25 points to lead Philadelphia past Detroit.
Thaddeus Young added 20 points and Spencer Hawes 15 for the Sixers.
Greg Monroe missed a tip with less than a minute left that came back to haunt Detroit. Holiday sank a 19-footer for a 100-95 lead and the Sixers stretched the lead from the free-throw line.
Jason Richardson scored 13 points for Philadelphia.
Spurs 134, Rockets 126 (ot)
Houston — Gary Neal hit seven 3-pointers and scored 29 points, and Tony Parker had a triple-double with 27 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists to lead San Antonio over Houston.
Jeremy Lin had his best game since joining the Rockets, scoring a career high-tying 38 points with leading scorer James Harden sidelined by a sprained right ankle.
Neal’s last 3-pointer followed by a three-point play by Manu Ginobili put the Spurs ahead 130-122 with two minutes left in overtime, and they held on for the win. It was San Antonio’s fifth straight win overall and second over Houston in three days after a 114-92 victory Friday.
Houston is 0-2 since coach Kevin McHale returned to the bench after the death of his daughter.
Mavericks 119, Kings 96
Dallas — O.J. Mayo scored 19 points and Dallas took control with 31-3 run in the first half to win its 17th straight regular-season home game against Sacramento.
Chris Kaman, playing on a sprained left ankle he suffered last week, scored 16 of his 18 points in the first half for Dallas.
Francisco Garcia, who was 7 of 12 from 3-point range, and DeMarcus Cousins scored 25 points apiece for the Kings, who haven’t won in Dallas during the regular season since Feb. 27, 2003.
Mayo hit a jumper late in the first quarter to kick off the game-turning run for the Mavs, who led by as many as 28 in the first half and were up 65-43 at halftime.
Cavs’ Irving Cleared to Play
Cleveland — Sitting and watching his teammates play was torture for Kyrie Irving. Seeing the Cavaliers lose made it worse.
Back earlier than expected, Irving was cleared to practice after missing 11 games with a broken left finger and the star point guard will likely play tonight when Cleveland hosts the struggling Los Angeles Lakers.
“It’s been very difficult,” Irving said after Monday’s practice. “But I’ve gotten a chance to really break down the game and it’s given me a chance to get a different outlook being on the sideline. I’m really happy to be out there and be competing again.”
The Cavs are thrilled to have him back.
Cleveland went just 2-9 without last season’s rookie of the year, who broke his finger Nov. 17 in a game against Dallas. He played the following night at Philadelphia before medical tests revealed a non-displaced fracture. The Cavs thought Irving would be out for at least one month, but he’s returning after just three weeks. Irving will play with a protective splint on his finger, but said the brace won’t affect his play.
While he was sidelined, Irving kept in shape with cardio workouts he says he won’t miss.
“They were killing me behind the scenes,” he said. “I definitely stayed in shape over the last two weeks. I needed it and it felt good.”
With the Cavs just 4-17 and riding a five-game losing streak, coach Byron Scott said the news that Irving was ready to return was just what the team needed.
“I think all the guys are looking forward to having him back out there because he does make most of our guys’ jobs a lot easier because he can create so much for himself and for his teammates,” Scott said.
There’s no doubt the Cavs will benefit having Irving’s 22.9 points and 5.6 assists per game back in their lineup. They lacked his floor leadership and especially someone to take over games in the fourth quarter.
They were just 2-8 with Irving and one game worse than that without him.
“We’ve got to get better,” Scott said. “That’s the bottom line. We’ve just got to get better. We did some good things the last two games on the defensive end. We didn’t do a lot of good things on the offensive end, per se. But we made some progress in certain areas we wanted to. It’s just a matter now of trying to make sure we get a little bit better each month.”
While the Cavs are getting Irving back, they’re still without rookie guard Dion Waiters, who has missed four games with a sprained left ankle and will sit against the Lakers.
Scott said Waiters also has a bone bruise and is “still a little ways away.”
“He’s just now starting to do some running,” Scott said. “If it was a regular ankle sprain, he probably would have been able to practice, but the bone bruise obviously makes it a little more difficult for it to heal. It’s going to take a little time.”