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Monday, Dec. 24, 2012

James sinks 30 points as Heat run over Jazz


MIAMI — LeBron James' scoring streak is still going, as well as his uncanny run of not fouling anyone.

News photo
Order in the court: Lakers point guard Steve Nash dribbles past the Warriors' Stephen Curry on Saturday in Oakland. The Lakers won 118-115 in overtime. AP

And the latest Miami Heat winning streak lives on as well, just in time for a Christmas showdown with Oklahoma City.

James scored 30 points, Dwyane Wade added 21 points and seven assists, and the Heat rode the strength of a big third-quarter run to beat the Utah Jazz 105-89 on Saturday night.

James added nine rebounds and seven assists for the Eastern Conference-leading Heat, who won their fourth straight game. Their next game against Oklahoma City in a rematch of last season's NBA Finals. Shane Battier scored 15 and Ray Allen added 13 for Miami, which opened the second half on a 22-6 run to build a 69-49 lead.

"We look like a Miami Heat basketball team," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Marvin Williams scored 16 for Utah, which got 15 from Gordon Hayward and 11 from Paul Millsap.

The Jazz played the second half without Mo Williams, who had X-rays on his thumb and was concerned after the game about the potential severity — saying it reminded him of a serious injury in 2008. He said he expected to have an MRI exam on Sunday.

Miami was without Chris Bosh, home with what the team said was a cold. Even without their biggest starter, the Heat managed to outrebound the Jazz 39-38.

James has scored at least 20 points in all 24 Heat games this season, matching the longest run of 20-or-more efforts to start a year since Karl Malone did it for Utah in the 1989-90 campaign.

Maybe it was fitting that James tied Malone's mark in a game against the Jazz.

"Karl Malone's a great player," James said before the game. "Awesome player, by the way."

It also was the 29th straight regular-season game in which James scored at least 20 points and 45th consecutive overall.

That is just one of two streaks James has going as he didn't get called for a personal foul for a sixth straight game. James' most recent foul was an offensive call against New Orleans on Dec. 8. He has played 250 minutes, 4 seconds without being whistled for a personal foul, though he was hit with a technical for arguing a no-call late in the first half on Saturday.

"I'd be concerned if he was just standing around, if he was hiding and taking himself out of plays and taking mini-vacations on possessions," Spoelstra said. "But he's been activating our defense. And when you have his type of athletic, God-given ability and you add that to his mind and then the preparation, he can be one or two steps ahead of the play — which allows him to be a playmaker defensively."

Lakers 118, Warriors 115 (OT)

In Oakland, Kobe Bryant had 34 points and 10 rebounds, Steve Nash finished with 12 points and nine assists in his first game in almost two months, and Los Angeles rallied from 14 points down in the fourth quarter to beat Golden State in overtime.

Nuggets 110, Bobcats 88

In Denver, Kosta Koufos scored a season-high 16 points, and Kenneth Faried and Andre Iguodala added 15 points apiece as the Nuggets sent Charlotte to its 15th consecutive loss.

Hawks 92, Bulls 75

In Atlanta, Al Horford had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and every Hawks starter scored in double figures as the hosts routed Chicago to snap a two-game losing streak.

Pistons 96, Wizards 87

In Washington, Charlie Villanueva scored 19 points, Rodney Stuckey added 18, and Detroit earned its second win in two nights over the Wizards.

Rockets 121, Grizzlies 96

In Houston, James Harden scored 31 points with eight assists, and the Rockets earned their third straight win by topping Memphis.

Pacers 81, Hornets 75

In New Orleans, David West scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half and Indiana overcame a 22-point deficit to hand the Hornets their 11th straight loss.

Cavaliers 94, Bucks 82

In Milwaukee, Dion Waiters scored 18 points and Cleveland snapped a six-game losing streak by beating the Bucks.

C.J. Miles added 16 points, and Kyrie Irving had 15 for the Cavaliers, who played without starting center Anderson Varejao for the third straight game because of a bruised right knee.

Trail Blazers 96, Suns 93

In Portland, J.J. Hickson had 19 points and 15 rebounds for his seventh straight double-double, and the Blazers defeated Phoenix for their fifth straight win. Rookie Damian Lillard had 25 points, including 18 in the second half.

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