Knicks, Nets Lose at Home as LeBron James Leads Heat Past Lakers

The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets both lost home games to National Basketball Association division leaders, while LeBron James set a franchise scoring record in leading the Miami Heat past the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Los Angeles Clippers withstood a 42-point effort from New York’s Carmelo Anthony in a 102-88 win over the Knicks yesterday at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The San Antonio Spurs improved their NBA-best record to 40-12 with a 111-86 rout of the Nets at the Barclays Center last night even though they were without Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili due to injury. Tony Parker had 29 points and 11 assists for the Spurs, who have won 12 of their past 13 games.

James scored 32 points in Miami to lead the Heat to a 107-97 win over the Lakers, marking the team-record fifth straight game he’s had at least 30 points. The NBA’s three-time Most Valuable Player is shooting 71.4 percent from the floor during that stretch, hitting 55 of 77 attempts.

“I say this to Miami fans, don’t take it for granted,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said at a news conference after his team’s fifth straight win. “He’s making greatness look easy.”

At Madison Square Garden, Jamal Crawford scored 27 points off the bench, while Chris Paul, in his second game since returning from a knee injury, added 25 points for the Clippers.

Blake Griffin had 17 points and 12 rebounds for Los Angeles, which improved to 36-17, the third-best record in the Western Conference. The Clippers are five games ahead of the second-place Golden State Warriors atop the Pacific Division.

Anthony had 40 or more points for the fifth time this season for the Knicks. Raymond Felton, who left the court with a head injury in the third quarter and returned in the final period, had 20 points for New York.

Four-Game Lead

The Knicks drop to 32-17 with their second defeat in three games and lead the Nets by four games in the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division. Brooklyn (29-22) managed 29 points against the Spurs during the second half last night in losing for the sixth time in its past nine games.

San Antonio hit 12-of-19 three-point shot attempts and pulled away by outscoring Brooklyn 30-14 in the third quarter.

The Heat sit atop the Eastern Conference with a 34-14 record after pulling away from the Lakers behind James and Dwyane Wade, who scored 16 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter. Kobe Bryant led the Lakers (24-28) with 28 points.

“Any time I can be linked with NBA history it’s humbling,” James told reporters. “And the best part is that we got another win.”

Also yesterday, the Boston Celtics pushed their NBA winning streak to seven games as Paul Pierce had 27 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists in a 118-114 triple-overtime victory against the Denver Nuggets. The Oklahoma City Thunder routed the Phoenix Suns 97-69 and the Orlando Magic snapped a 12-game losing skid with a 110-104 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

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