PHILADELPHIA — Before he took a seat on the bench, LeBron James made sure to grab one more rebound.
James had 16 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for his 35th career triple-double and the Miami Heat cruised to their 10th straight win, 114-90 over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.
The three-time NBA MVP knew he was one board away from a special night so he went after it hard early in the fourth quarter. After Chris Anderson blocked Evan Turner’s shot, James hauled it in, drove up court and banked a shot in for good measure.
“I was going to stay out there until I got it,” James said. “I wasn’t going to let this one slip away. I’ve had too many games where I was one assist, one rebound away. I wasn’t coming out.”
Dwyane Wade had 33 points, Mario Chalmers scored 14 and Chris Bosh added 13 to help the defending NBA champions improve to 39-14. The Heat have a comfortable 5½-game lead over Indiana in the Eastern Conference.
They’ve won four in a row on the road, including impressive wins over Oklahoma City before the All-Star break and Chicago on Thursday.
“It was a professional win,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “LeBron started it with his unselfishness, finding the open guy, making it contagious. Then it was an efficient shooting night.”
Jrue Holiday scored 21 points and Nick Young had 19 for Philadelphia, which continues to fall further behind in the playoff chase. The Sixers entered 3½ games behind Milwaukee for the No. 8 spot in the East.
A rare sellout crowd turned out for the nightcap of an NHL/NBA doubleheader at the Wells Fargo Center to see James, Wade and Co. There were even scalpers outside the arena selling tickets before the game for one of the few big draws of the season.
Fans roared when Spencer Hawes rejected James’ shot late in the first quarter, swatting the ball back in his face.
Many of the same people jumped to their feet and cheered when James threw down a thunderous dunk off an alley-oop pass from Norris Cole late in the third quarter. By that time, the Heat were up 85-63 and the crowd was more interested in seeing James make a highlight play than rooting for the Sixers.
“He’s so big and strong and powerful. He decides when he wants to be a passer or a scorer,” Sixers coach Doug Collins said.
James got his first “Ooohs” and “Ahhhs” after a no-look backdoor pass to Bosh for an easy layup in the first. Chalmers followed with a rainbow 3-pointer and a reverse lay-up to give the Heat a 24-22 lead and they never trailed again.
“I get more pleasure out of kicking the ball than scoring,” James said.
After registering his third triple-double of the season and seventh since joining the Heat, James got a mixture of cheers and boos when he went to the bench with 10:15 left.
Wade came in after a brief rest and continued his hot shooting, scoring six straight points on a driving layup, two free throws and a long jumper. He was 12 of 14 at that point before missing a 3-pointer.
“I think we’re better than last season because we understand each other a lot more,” Bosh said. “Everyone is coming together as a team and we feel comfortable with each other. I think we’re starting to play like we know we’re capable of playing. It’s shown in this win streak. Even with the break, we’ve continued to play well. I think if we keep playing at this type of level, the sky is the limit for us.”
While the Heat are gearing up to make a run at a repeat, the Sixers have lost four straight to fall a season-worst nine games below .500 at 22-31.
“In the first half, we did a lot of things well,” Holiday said. “We have to sustain that for 48 minutes.”
It’s been a disappointing year for Philadelphia, which knocked off top-seeded Chicago in the first round of the playoffs a year ago and then took Boston to seven games in the conference quarterfinals.
A season that began with promise after the acquisition of center Andrew Bynum quickly fell apart. Bynum has yet to play a game this season because of bone bruises in both knees. He said earlier in the week he plans to play at some point. At this rate, it won’t matter much for the Sixers.
“Holiday is a great player, but he needs help,” James said. “We all thought Bynum would be a huge piece for them.”
CLIPPERS 107, JAZZ 94
LOS ANGELES — Caron Butler scored 21 points and Los Angeles rode a big third quarter to a victory over Utah, completing its first season sweep of the Jazz since 1978-79.
Blake Griffin and Lamar Odom added 18 points each, and DeAndre Jordan had 12 rebounds for the Pacific Division-leading Clippers, who have won six straight over Utah dating to last year.
Reserve Gordon Hayward led the Jazz with 23 points, Paul Millsap added 19 and Al Jefferson 16 as their three-game winning streak ended. They also dropped to 10-19 on the road.
Los Angeles shot 51 percent two nights after losing to San Antonio by 26 points in its worst defeat of the season.
PACERS 90, PISTONS 72
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — David West scored 16 points and Paul George added a double-double to help Indiana Pacers easily beat Detroit for the second time in as many nights.
The Pacers won 114-82 Friday night in Indianapolis, and led by as many as 21 in the return leg. George finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds for Indiana, which had five players in double figures and got Danny Granger on the floor for the first time this season.
After trailing by as many as 43 in Indiana on Friday, the Pistons started the second game of the home-and-home set by missing 16 of their first 17 shots. Will Bynum led Detroit with 15 points before getting ejected for striking Tyler Hansbrough in the groin in the fourth quarter.
NUGGETS 113, BOBCATS 99
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — JaVale McGee had 17 points, including seven dunks, and Denver snapped a four-game road losing streak with a victory over Charlotte.
The Nuggets hadn’t won on the road since Jan. 23.
Ty Lawson had nine of his 20 points in the final quarter and handed out five assists as the Nuggets broke open a close game early in the fourth with a flurry of fast-break points. Kenneth Faried finished with 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting, Corey Brewer had 14 points and Andre Iguodala chipped in with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Kemba Walker had 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting for the Bobcats.
HAWKS 103, BUCKS 102
MILWAUKEE — Al Horford’s hook shot with 5.9 seconds remaining lifted Atlanta to a victory over Milwaukee in a game that was close throughout.
Horford’s shot came after a driving layup by Monta Ellis had given the Bucks a 102-101 lead with 10.8 seconds left.
Horford had 23 points and 11 rebounds, Jeff Teague also scored 23 and added nine assists, and Devin Harris contributed 21 points for Atlanta, which rallied from a late seven-point deficit.
Ersan Ilyasova had 19 points and newly-acquired J.J. Redick added 16 points and seven assists for Milwaukee. Larry Sanders had 12 points and 19 rebounds, one off his career high.
CAVALIERS 118, MAGIC 94
ORLANDO, Fla. — Marreese Speights scored 18 points, Alonzo Gee added 17 and Cleveland used a big fourth quarter to run past Orlando.
Kyrie Irving chipped in with 12 points and nine assists for the Cavaliers, who have won two straight overall and snapped a six-game losing streak in Orlando.
Arron Afflalo scored 16 points for the Magic in their first home game since a trade deadline deal last week that saw the departure of four players. Two of their three new additions, Tobias Harris and Beno Udrih, finished in double figures with 14 and 10 points, respectively.
Orlando has lost five consecutive games and 28 of its last 31.
WIZARDS 105, ROCKET 103
WASHINGTON — Emeka Okafor had 17 points, 11 rebounds and made the go-ahead free throw with 5.2 seconds remaining to help Washington overcome a 3-point barrage for a win over Houston.
Bradley Beal scored 21 points, Trevor Ariza added 18, and John Wall had 12 points and 11 assists for the Wizards, who came back from a 17-point deficit for their second straight win. Washington scored 54 points in the paint and has won 10 of its 12 home games.
James Harden scored 27 points and Chandler Parsons had 24 for the Rockets, including five of Houston’s 19 3-pointers. Houston attempted 46 3-pointers, the most in the NBA this season. The Rockets made 13 from beyond the arc in the first half, one off the NBA record.