(The Sports Xchange) – Highlights of National Basketball Association games on Saturday:
Knicks 111, Thunder 96
Michael Beasley had 30 points on 11-of-18 shooting from the field to lead six New York players in double figures as the Knicks spoiled Carmelo Anthony’s return to Madison Square Garden with a 111-96 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night.
Anthony, who was with the Knicks for nearly seven seasons and ranks as the seventh-leading scorer in franchise history, finished with 12 points — including zero in the second half — on 5-of-18 shooting in his first game back in New York since being traded during the offseason for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a second-round draft pick.
Anthony received a mostly warm reception from the MSG crowd during a highlight video played during introductions. While there were loud cheers for Anthony, who averaged nearly 25 points during his nearly seven-year run but had little playoff success, there was also a smattering of boos.
Heat 90, Clippers 85
Erik Spoelstra became the Miami franchise leader for coaching victories in a win against Los Angeles.
Spoelstra passed current Heat president Pat Riley to set the record with 455 wins. Miami climbed above .500 for the first time in December.
Josh Richardson sank a career-high six 3-points and scored a career-high 28 points to lead the Heat. Clippers center DeAndre Jordan notched a double-double with 12 points and 20 rebounds. He has four consecutive double-doubles — his longest streak of the season — and seven double-doubles in his past eight games.
Rockets 115, Bucks 111
James Harden scored a game-high 31 points and Chris Paul produced 23 of his 25 points in the second half as Houston extended its winning streak to 13 games with a victory over Milwaukee.
Paul had just two points on 0-of-5 shooting before the intermission but opened the second half by drilling three consecutive 3-pointers. He was just as lethal down the stretch, nailing back-to-back mid-range jumpers off screens to lift the Rockets (24-4) to a seven-point lead with 33.7 seconds left.
The Rockets improved to 14-0 with Paul in the lineup.
Cavaliers 109, Jazz 100
LeBron James passed Larry Bird for sixth place in career triple-doubles and Cleveland beat Utah.
James’ 60th triple-double in 15 seasons included 29 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. It was his third triple-double in a now-completed four-game homestand — each game won by the Cavaliers.
James scored 10 points in the fourth quarter. He was 9 of 15 from the field and 10 of 10 from the free-throw line.
Trail Blazers 93, Hornets 91
CJ McCollum scored 25 points and Portland held on for its third straight victory with a win over Charlotte.
The Blazers led by 16 points early in the fourth quarter but had to go back to work after the Hornets fought back to tie at 87 in the final five minutes.
Ultimately, Portland held on when Charlotte’s Kemba Walker missed a 3-pointer at the final buzzer. The Trail Blazers didn’t make a field goal in the final four minutes.
Portland has defeated Miami, Orlando and Charlotte in the last four days on a five-game road trip. They are now 9-5 on the road for the season.
Spurs 98, Mavericks 96
Manu Ginobili hit a running left-handed layup with 3.1 seconds to play for the deciding basket as San Antonio scored the final 13 points to roar from behind and beat Dallas.
The Mavericks led 96-92 after the Spurs’ Bryn Forbes poured in 3-pointer from the corner with 2:13 to play.
After a pair of empty possessions from both teams, LaMarcus Aldridge brought San Antonio to within 96-94 on short jumper with 58.6 seconds to play. Aldridge then hit a contested turnaround jumper in the lane with 23.4 seconds remaining to tie the game.
Celtics 102, Grizzlies 93
A great first quarter and a solid burst to start the fourth kept Boston from back-to-back embarrassments, coming away with a victory over struggling, but still scrappy, Memphis.
Al Horford and Terry Rozier sparked a 16-0 run at the start of the fourth as the Celtics erased a 73-71 Memphis lead built largely on a third-quarter explosion from Marc Gasol, who had 21 of his game-high 30 points during the stretch.
Kyrie Irving led Boston with 20 points, rookie Jason Tatum had 19 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots. Horford had 15 points and seven boards, Aron Baynes added 13 points and six rebounds while Marcus Smart scored 11 and Rozier added 10 points off the bench.
Suns 108, Timberwolves 106
Phoenix overcame 27 turnovers to grind out a hard-fought win over Minnesota.
The Suns helped themselves with another dominating performance from their bench. One game after putting up 55 points on the Toronto Raptors, Phoenix’s reserves outscored the Timberwolves’ bench 69-20, led by 17 points apiece from Dragan Bender and Troy Daniels, Isaiah Canaan’s 15 points, and 12 points and a career-high 19 rebounds from Alex Len.
The Suns led 103-98 with 3:33 to play but consecutive baskets by Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague and Taj Gibson put Minnesota back on top by one with 1:22 to go.