Rockets contain James, defeat Heat


By KRISTIE RIEKEN

AP Sports Writer

HOUSTON — Dwight Howard had 22 points and 16 rebounds, James Harden added 21 points and the Houston Rockets held LeBron James in check Tuesday night in a 106-103 win over the Miami Heat.

James had 22 points, one night after setting a club record with a career-best 61 against Charlotte. He acknowledged before the game that he was “extremely tired” and that he spent most of the day sleeping.

He had 19 points by halftime, but appeared to drag at times in the second half and spent the first half of the fourth quarter on the bench.

Still, the Heat cut their deficit to three when Michael Beasley hit a 3-pointer with 21.2 seconds left. Harden threw the ball away after that, and Howard accidentally hit James in the face when they both went up to try to grab a long pass.

James lay on the court holding his broken nose for a few seconds before getting up and slowly walking to the bench. He remained in the game after a timeout, but missed a desperation 3-point attempt at the buzzer that would have tied it.

The four-time MVP has been wearing a protective mask to protect his broken nose.

Dwyane Wade had 24 points for the Heat after sitting out Monday night. Beasley also scored 24.

Miami never led, but tied it twice in the fourth quarter. Houston used an 11-2 spurt to take a 104-95 lead with less than 3 minutes remaining.

Houston led by 13 early in the fourth before two separate runs by the Heat tied it at 91 with 7 minutes remaining. The also tied it at 93 before Houston used its late run to close it out.

The Heat had made consecutive 3-pointers to cut the lead to seven early in the fourth quarter when Chris Andersen blocked a shot by Donatas Motiejunas. Andersen stood under the basket after the block and taunted Motiejunas, drawing a technical foul.

Miami then used an 8-0 run, which included a 3 by Beasley, to cut it to 88-87 with 8½ minutes left.

Houston opened the second half with a 9-2 run capped by a dunk by Chandler Parsons over James. Shane Battier had a basket for Miami after that, but Houston reeled off six straight points to extend the lead to 68-56.

An airball on a 3-point attempt by Wade was one of three missed shots by the Heat in that span.

The Rockets were up by nine soon after that when Harden launched a long alley-oop to Howard, who barely grabbed it in time to sail over Chris Bosh for the dunk.

Howard picked up a foul with about 5 minutes left in the first half when he ran into James as he was driving to the basket, causing him to lose control of the ball, which bounced off James’ mask.

A reverse layup by James and a free throw by Wade in the last 20 seconds of the first half cut Houston’s lead to 53-52 at halftime.

The Rockets jumped out to a 7-0 lead and were up 39-32 at the end of the first quarter.

THUNDER 125

76ERS 92

OKLAHOMA CITY — Russell Westbrook had a triple-double in 21 minutes and Kevin Durant scored 42 points to help the Oklahoma City Thunder defeat the woeful Philadelphia 76ers 125-92 for their third straight win.

Westbrook wrapped up his eighth career triple-double on a rebound with 4:55 left in the third quarter. He left the game moments later and did not return. He finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists.

Serge Ibaka and Reggie Jackson each scored 14 points and Perry Jones added 12 for the Thunder, who shot 57 percent from the field in their most lopsided victory of the season.

James Anderson scored 20 for the 76ers, who lost their 15th in a row, their longest slide since a 15-game skid in 1994. Philadelphia shot just 34 percent.

Durant, who made 14 of 20 shots from the floor, did not play in the fourth quarter.

Caron Butler, the Thunder’s recent acquisition, entered for the first time as a member of the team with 5:26 left in the first quarter and received a loud standing ovation. He made his first basket, a jumper, with 2:18 left in the opening period.

Westbrook had eight assists in the first 6:34 to help the Thunder take a 24-15 lead. He got his 10th assist on a long bounce pass to Durant with 4:55 left in the second quarter. Westbrook finished the first half with 11 assists, a Thunder record for a half. He didn’t score until he made a layup with 1:50 left in the first half. His second basket was a 29-foot 3-pointer.

Durant scored 21 points in the first half on 8-for-11 shooting to help the Thunder take a 61-45 lead at the break.

The 76ers made 3-pointers on three consecutive trips down the floor — the first two by Byron Mullins and the third by Anderson — to cut what had been a 22-point deficit to 15 midway through the third quarter.

The Thunder bounced back and led 98-76 at the end of the period. Durant scored 21 of Oklahoma City’s 37 points in the quarter.

The crowd cheered loudly when Oklahoma City’s 7-foot-3 center, Hasheem Thabeet, stepped out of his usual element and drained a 17-foot jumper that put the Thunder up 110-79 with 7:33 to go.

WARRIORS 98

PACERS 96

INDIANAPOLIS — Klay Thompson made a 12-foot turnaround jumper with 0.6 seconds left, and the Golden State Warriors held off Indiana 98-96 Tuesday night to hand the Pacers only their fourth home loss this season.

Thompson scored 16 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter. Stephen Curry finished with 19 points for the Warriors, who have won five of six. It was their first win at Indiana in seven years.

David West led the Pacers with 27 points and Paul George added 26 as Indiana’s five-game winning streak ended.

The Warriors were in control most of the night and led 92-79 with 6:23 to play. But the Pacers tied it at 94 with a 12-0 run. After Thompson put Golden State ahead again, George’s long 3-pointer at the buzzer was short. George fell into the scorers’ table, but no foul was called and the Pacers didn’t complain.

SPURS 122,

CAVALIERS 101

CLEVELAND — Danny Green scored 24 points and San Antonio turned to its 3-point shooting to shake off a sluggish start in a victory over Cleveland.

Kawhi Leonard added 18 points, and Patty Mills and Boris Diaw had 16 apiece as the Spurs won their fourth straight. They did it with stars Tim Duncan and Tony Parker combining for just 14 points.

San Antonio, chasing Oklahoma City for the best record in the Western Conference, made 14 of 33 3-pointers. The Spurs trailed by 12 early in the second before making six straight 3s.

Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters scored 24 each for the Cavs, who have lost nine straight to the Spurs. Spencer Hawes added 20 points and 13 rebounds for Cleveland.

 

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