Josh Howard had 29 points, nine rebounds and a career-best seven assists, leading Dallas to a 98-76 victory over the Clippers at Los Angeles on Sunday while Mavericks leading scorer Dirk Nowitzki served a one-game suspension.
The ban was announced by the NBA about three hours before the game. Nowitzki received a flagrant-2 foul and an automatic ejection in the fourth quarter of Friday night’s 97-88 loss at Utah. Marcus Camby returned to the Clippers’ lineup after missing the previous game due to his father’s death and had 16 points and 12 rebounds. Al Thornton also had 16 points.
For the third straight game, Los Angeles never held a lead.
•Anthony scores 32 in return: Carmelo Anthony scored 32 points after missing three games with a bruised right elbow, leading the Denver Nuggets to a 117-110 victory over the defenseless Knicks at New York.
The Nuggets blew the double-digit lead they seized by making 15 of 20 shots in the second quarter, but recovered behind Anthony’s flawless fourth and sent the Knicks to their sixth straight loss.
•Cavaliers cool off Heat: LeBron James scored 33 points — four more than good buddy Dwyane Wade, the NBA’s leading scorer — and the Cavaliers remained the league’s only unbeaten team on its own floor with a 93-86 win over the Miami Heat at Cleveland.
For the second straight game, the Cavaliers had to come back late at Quicken Loans Arena to extend their home winning streak, which is now at 16 straight.
Tar Heels rout Rutgers
Tyler Hansbrough had 26 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 1 North Carolina routed Rutgers 97-75 at Chapel Hill, N.C. for its school-record 12th straight double-figure victory.
Ty Lawson added 19 points, Danny Green had 18 and the Tar Heels (12-0) shot 51.5 percent.
They surpassed the previous mark of consecutive blowouts set by the 1992-93 team that went on to win the national championship.
No opponent has come within 15 points of these Tar Heels.
•Bruins win sixth straight: Josh Shipp returned from a two-game absence to score 16 points, and UCLA never trailed in beating outmanned Louisiana Tech 78-55 at Los Angeles.
Freshman guard Jrue Holiday added 12 points, a career-high 10 rebounds and five assists. Alfred Aboya had 12 points and freshman Jerime Anderson scored a career-high 11 for the Bruins (10-2), who took a 20-point halftime lead in breezing to their sixth straight victory. They have won those six games by an average of 26.3 points.
•Charles leads No. 1 UConn: Tina Charles bounced back from two straight subpar games with 21 points and No. 1 Connecticut opened 11-0 for the third consecutive season with a 77-48 victory over South Carolina at Columbia, S.C.
•North Carolina routs W. Michigan: Italee Lucas scored 17 points and Jessica Breland added 15 to lead five Tar Heels in double figures and help No. 2 North Carolina shake off the rust of an eight-day layoff with a 102-55 win over Western Michigan at Chapel Hill, N.C.
The Tar Heels have 28 straight wins in Chapel Hill and 75 straight over non-conference visitors.
Innerhofer wins downhill
Christof Innerhofer of Italy won the World Cup downhill on the physically demanding Stelvio course at Bormio, Italy.
Klaus Kroell finished second, 0.32 seconds behind, and fellow Austrian Michael Walchhofer was third, 0.95 back.
Bode Miller of the United States finished fourth, 1.15 seconds behind.
•Vonn Maintains overall lead: Kathrin Zettel of Austria won a women’s World Cup giant slalom in Semmering, Austria for her second title of the season and Lindsey Vonn of the United States finished eighth to remain atop the overall standings.
Julia Mancuso was the fastest American in sixth.
Blackhawks set record
Dustin Byfuglien led Chicago to its franchise-record ninth straight victory, scoring two goals and adding an assist in the Blackhawks’ 4-1 decision over the Minnesota Wild at St. Paul, Minn.
Chicago broke the team record of eight straight victories set in December 1971 and matched in January 1981. With the nine-game streak, the Blackhawks also tied San Jose for the longest run of the season.
•Boston wins eighth straight: Michael Ryder broke a tie with 6:04 left, and the Bruins beat the Thrashers 2-1 at Atlanta to extend their wining streak to eight games and tie San Jose for the overall NHL lead with 58 points.
The winning streak, which started with two victories over Atlanta, is Boston’s longest since the final eight games of 1992-93.
Speedskaters take titles
Nancy Swider-Peltz Jr. won her first all-around national title and Chad Hedrick won the men’s all-around at the U.S. Long Track Speedskating National Championships at the Pettit National Ice Center in West Allis, Wis.
Swider-Peltz Jr. and Hedrick should make the U.S. World Cup team that will be announced Tuesday.
•Villa will plead not guilty: The lawyer for Danny Villa says the former New England Patriots player and high school football coach will plead not guilty to child rape charges in Walpole, Mass.
Villa, who had been working as the football coach at Walpole High School, was arrested in Tucson on Saturday. Villa led one of the most successful high school football programs in the state, capping an undefeated season with a championship earlier this month.