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Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010
LeBron rocks Garden as Heat streak hits 11
NEW YORK (AP) LeBron James always said he loved playing here.
He must have really, really loved it Friday night — even with a deafening chorus of boos ringing in his ears.
James delivered another vintage performance at Madison Square Garden, scoring 32 points and finishing with his 30th career triple-double to help the Miami Heat beat the New York Knicks 113-91 for their 11th straight victory.
James had 11 rebounds and 10 assists, silencing a star-studded crowd that once cheered him lustily — in fact, he was always an MSG favorite — but jeered him this time because he snubbed the Knicks in free agency.
The frostiness didn't seem to faze him, certainly not his game.
"This is a great building," James said. "Myself and D-Wade talk about it all the time. Certain buildings in this league that you just thrive on and you're excited about, and this being the Mecca of basketball as a kid you always envision not only playing in the NBA but also having a chance to play in Madison Square Garden."
Though it was hardly a warm welcome, James' first visit in more than a year was heralded by nonstop hype on TV and in the tabs and was a must-see for celebrity fans including Spike Lee and Woody Allen.
What they saw was the league's MVP toying with a Knicks team hoping to prove it belonged with the big boys but was, instead, overwhelmed by his brilliance.
James is the active scoring leader in the arena with 30.5 points per game, the only visiting player besides Michael Jordan with multiple 50-point games.
Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh each scored 26 points, extending Miami's longest winning streak since winning 12 in a row from Feb. 26-March 19, 2005. The Heat beat the Knicks for the sixth straight time.
New York's Amare Stoudemire was limited to 24 points on 11-of-28 shooting, snapping his franchise-record streak of nine straight 30-point games. He grabbed 14 rebounds, and Danilo Gallinari scored 25 points, but the Knicks lost their second straight after an eight-game winning streak.
Hornets 100, Jazz 71
In New Orleans, David West scored 23 points to lead the Hornets in a rout of Utah.
Lakers 93, 76ers 81
In Philadelphia, Lamar Odom scored 28 points to lead Los Angeles over the hosts.
Hawks 90, Bobcats 85
In Atlanta, Al Horford assisted on a crucial basket by Marvin Williams with just over a minute remaining, and the Hawks held off Charlotte.
Thunder 102, Kings 87
In Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant scored 24 points and Serge Ibaka added 12 points and 10 rebounds as the Thunder won their fifth in a row.
Pacers 108, Cavaliers 99
In Indianapolis, Danny Granger had 30 points and a season-high 12 rebounds to help the Pacers beat Cleveland, extending the Cavaliers' losing streak to 10 games.
Raptors 98, Nets 92
In Toronto, Andrea Bargnani had 32 points and nine rebounds as the Raptors ran past New Jersey.
Clippers 109, Pistons 88
In Auburn Hills, Mich., Blake Griffin had 24 points and 17 rebounds as Los Angeles won its first road game of the season by beating lowly Detroit.
Rockets 103, Grizzlies 87
In Houston, the Rockets overcame the season-ending loss of All-Star center Yao Ming to defeat Memphis.
Kevin Martin scored 34 points for Houston, which disclosed earlier that its 229-cm center would miss the rest of 2010-11 because of a stress fracture in his left ankle.
Mavericks 106, Suns 91
In Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry scored 18 points apiece as the surging Mavericks beat Phoenix.
Blazers 107, T-Wolves 102
In Portland, Lamarcus Aldridge equaled his career high with 36 points and Rudy Fernandez added a personal-best 26 as the hosts beat Minnesota.