NBA: James continues stellar play as Heat routs Oklahoma City

2013-02-15T00:00:00Z NBA: James continues stellar play as Heat routs Oklahoma CityThe Associated Press The Associated Press
February 15, 2013 12:00 am  • 

OKLAHOMA CITY - With LeBron James playing at his best level yet, the Miami Heat powered into the All-Star break with a reminder to the Oklahoma City Thunder that the NBA championship still resides on South Beach.

James had 39 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists, and narrowly missed extending his record-setting streak of high-scoring games combined with top-notch accuracy, as the Heat trampled Oklahoma City 110-100 in a Thursday night showcase.

James was in position to continue his NBA record run of games with at least 30 points and 60 percent shooting to seven, but missed from a couple steps beyond the three-point line as the shot clock ran down with just over a minute left and Miami up 10.

That dropped him to 14 for 24 in the game, or 58 percent. All that mattered to him, though, was that Miami's winning streak reached a season-best seven straight games - and the Heat beat the Thunder for the sixth time in a row, dating to last year's NBA Finals.

"Winning is hard to come by in professional sports. That's what it's about," James said. "Sixty percent doesn't matter. Winning is all that matters."

Chris Bosh chipped in 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Heat, who won the last four games of last season's Finals after losing Game 1 in Oklahoma City and continued their dominance in the series after winning on their home court on Christmas Day.

"I thought we imposed our will, playing our style of basketball," said Dwyane Wade, who had 13 points and eight assists before fouling out with 3:29 to play.

"But have their number? No, we're not feeling that way. We've just won two games against them. That's it."

Kevin Durant had 40 points and eight rebounds, but missed his first seven shots as Oklahoma City fell hopelessly behind. After the slow start, he wound up making half of his 24 shots - going 8 for 10 in the fourth quarter to get Oklahoma City within 108-100 after trailing by as much as 23.

It wasn't enough to measure up against James, who beat him in last year's MVP race and then the Finals before the two won a gold medal together at the London Olympics.

"It's fun. I take on the challenge every time we're playing," Durant said. "He had a great game. He was making some tough shots, man - one-leggers, fadeaways in corners, 3s. So, you've got to tip your hat to that.

"I just wanted to keep putting pressure on him. I missed a few and then I started to hit in the fourth. I just tried to will my team back in the game, but it didn't work."

Russell Westbrook had 26 points and 10 assists, with six turnovers, for the Thunder. He had 20 points in the first half to keep Oklahoma City from getting run out of its own gym.

Despite playing without injured starting forward Udonis Haslem (leg) and then losing two starters to foul trouble in the first 6 minutes, the Heat took control by scoring 11 straight points midway through the first period and went up 28-13 when Ray Allen made the free throw after Durant drew his 11th technical foul of the season.

"That was the game, that first quarter," said Durant, who surmised that the Thunder came out too nervous or too excited. "We just kept fighting and we kept fighting, battling uphill. That's tough to do against a championship-caliber team."

• Clippers 125, Lakers 101: In Los Angeles, Chris Paul scored 24 points, Blake Griffin added 22 and the Clippers scored the first 15 points of the game in their rout of the Lakers.

Chauncey Billups had 21 points for the Clippers (39-17), who led 64-42 at halftime.

Kobe Bryant had 20 points and 11 assists for the Lakers, who fell to 16-11 at home.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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