Masked James leads Heat past Orlando
(The Sports Xchange) – Indiana forward Paul George scored 10 points over the final four minutes, 20 seconds as the Pacers, the team with the best record in the NBA, beat the Boston Celtics 102-97.
George finished with 25 points and eight rebounds for the Pacers (45-13), while guard Lance Stephenson scored 16 points and made nine rebounds and six assists as five Pacers reached double figures.
Forward Jeff Green led the Celtics with 27 points.
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Heat 112, Magic 98
Forward LeBron James wore a new, clear mask to protect his broken nose but it did not change much of anything as the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat defeated the Orlando Magic 112-98.
James, who complied with the NBA’s wishes and discarded the black mask he wore on Thursday against the New York Knicks, scored 20 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
It was the seventh succcessive win for the Heat (42-14), who still trail Indiana by two games for the best record in the Eastern Conference.
Forward Chris Bosh scored 17 points in 18 minutes while guard Dwyane Wade added a game-high 24 points for the Heat, who never trailed after the first quarter in a relatively easy victory.
The Magic were led by forward Tobias Harris’s 20 points.
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Rockets 118, Pistons 110
Guard James Harden posted a double-double and all five Houston starters scored in double figures in the Rockets’ 118-110 win over the Detroit Pistons.
Harden finished with 20 points and 12 assists for Houston, while forward Terrence Jones scored 22 points and made 10 rebounds.
Detroit guard Rodney Stuckey cut the deficit to seven points with 1:34 left and had 23 points off the bench, but Detroit could not complete the comeback.
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Nets 107, Bucks 98
Forward Marcus Thornton scored 25 points off the bench to lead the Brooklyn Nets to a 107-98 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Thornton hit eight of 13 shots from the field in 23 minutes and connected on four of seven three-pointers and was one of five Nets to score in double figures.
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Grizzlies 110, Cavaliers 96
Power forward Zach Randolph scored a double-double of 23 points and 14 rebounds as the Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 110-96.
Randolph had plenty of help from center Marc Gasol who scored 22 points and added eight rebounds and six assists and point guard Mike Conley, who finished with 22 points and seven assists and two steals for the Grizzlies.
Point guard Kyrie Irving led Cleveland with 28 points.
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Wizards 122, 76ers 103
Trevor Ariza scored a career-high 40 points, 24 in the first quarter, to pace Washington to a 122-103 victory.
Ariza, who hit his first eight three-point attempts, finished eight of 12 from the arc and 14 of 23 from the floor.
Guard John Wall added 17 and 16 assists for the Wizards. Tony Wroten scored 19 points and forward Thaddeus Young 17 to lead Philadelphia, who lost their 13th successive game.
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Timberwolves 108, Kings 97
Minnesota guard Kevin Martin scored 26 points and center Nikola Pekovic had 20 points and nine rebounds in their first games back after lengthy absences as the Timberwolves registered a 108-97 victory over the Sacramento Kings.
The Timberwolves (29-29) won their second straight and moved back to .500 for the first time since a 109-99 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 4.
Forward Rudy Gay scored 24 points to lead Sacramento (20-39).