WASHINGTON: LeBron James scored 31 points, Kyrie Irving added 26 and Kyle Korver had 22 to spark defending NBA champion Cleveland over the visiting Indiana Pacers 113-104 on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).
In their final game before Sunday’s 66th NBA All-Star Game, the Cavaliers won their third game in a row and seventh in eight starts to stand 39-16 and atop the Eastern Conference. At 7-1 in February, the Cavs matched their win total from a 7-8 January.
“We’ve played some good ball,” James said. “Obviously we know January wasn’t such a good month for us, but overall, for the season, we’re in a good place.”
Korver came off the bench to become only the seventh NBA player with 2,000 career 3-point baskets. He made 6-of-8 3-point shots, netting 13 points in the fourth quarter.
“It means something to me for sure,” Korver said. “I’ve always taken a lot of pride in shooting and studying it and thinking about it and trying to be better, and obviously I’m working on it every day.”
Klay Thompson scored 35 points and Kevin Durant added 21 as the Golden State improved the NBA’s best record to 47-9 by routing visiting Sacramento 109-86.
San Antonio, with the second-best record in the NBA behind Golden State, never trailed in routing host Orlando 107-79 behind 23 points from LaMarcus Aldridge and 22 by Kawhi Leonard.
Boston’s Isaiah Thomas scored 33 points, matching John Havlicek’s 45-year-old Celtics record with a 40th consecutive 20-point game, to spark the hosts to their fourth win in a row, a 116-108 victory over Philadelphia.
A Westbrook triple double
Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook scored 38 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and passed out 12 assists to power the host Thunder over New York 116-105. Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 30 points while Derrick Rose added 25 for New York.
Detroit never trailed in a 98-91 victory over visiting Dallas, with Reggie Jackson scoring 22 points and Jon Leuer adding 20 points and eight rebounds. German star Dirk Nowitzki had 24 points and 10 rebounds to pace the Mavericks, who lost both games against the Pistons in a season for the first time since the 1997-98 campaign.
Miami’s Hassan Whiteside had 23 points, 14 rebounds and five blocked shots in powering the Heat over host Houston 117-109. Miami never trailed as Dion Waiters added 23 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. James Harden led the Rockets with 38 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists.
Greek star Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 33 points and the Milwaukee Bucks held off a late rally to defeat host Brooklyn 129-125, inflicting the Nets’ 14th loss in a row and stretch their home losing skid to 16 games.
Kyle Lowry scored 21 points and sparked a Toronto rally from 17 points down to defeat visiting Charlotte 90-85. Lowry’s 3-point play late in the fourth quarter gave the Raptors the lead for good.
New Orleans forward Solomon Hill scored a season-high 23 points to power the Pelicans past host Memphis 95-91. Vince Carter closed the Grizzlies within 92-91 on a 3-pointer in the final minute, but Anthony Davis sank a jumper and Langston Galloway made a free throw to seal the victory.
Suns deliver record rout
Phoenix’s Eric Bledsoe had his third career triple double with 25 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists as the host Suns took their most lopsided win of the season by routing the Los Angeles Lakers 137-101. It was Phoenix’s most lopsided victory over the Lakers in 240 all-time meetings, surpassing a 135-100 win in 1973.
Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins scored 40 points, cracking the mark for the fourth time this season in a 112-99 Timberwolves’ victory at Denver. Karl-Anthony Towns had 24 points and a season-high 19 rebounds for the winners.
Utah’s Gordon Hayward scored 22 points, passed off seven assists and grabbed six rebounds to lift the Jazz over visiting Portland 111-88, while Blake Griffin scored 17 points to lead the Los Angeles Clippers over visiting Atlanta 99-84.