CLEVELAND – Dwyane Wade scored 20 points and Jimmy Butler recorded a triple-double, leading the Chicago Bulls to a 117-99 victory Saturday night over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who played without LeBron James.
James missed the game with strep throat, and coach Tyronn Lue said he wasn’t sure how long the Cavaliers would be without the four-time MVP. Cleveland struggled as it often does without its star – they are 4-19 without him since he returned to Cleveland in 2014, including 0-4 this season.
Chicago has won all three games against Cleveland this season. It took advantage of James’ absence to win its fourth straight overall.
Wade was 9 of 18 from the field and had 10 assists with eight rebounds. Butler had 18 points, including 13 in the third quarter, to go along with 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
Kyrie Irving led Cleveland with 34 points, hitting 13 of 25 from the field. Kyle Korver scored 14 points before limping to the locker room after taking a hard fall late in the fourth quarter.
Golden State 112, Brooklyn 95
OAKLAND, Calif. – Stephen Curry scored 27 points on a night Kevin Durant missed his first game of the season with a hand injury, and the Warriors beat the Nets to clinch a playoff berth.
Klay Thompson added 24 points. Curry converted a four-point play just before halftime to put his team up 62-51 at the break. The two-time reigning MVP had five 3-pointers and five assists.
This is just a first step for these star-studded, NBA-best Warriors (49-9): They want the No. 1 seed in the West. Oh, and a championship.
Durant sat out with a bruised left hand. He injured his pinkie in the first quarter of a 123-113 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night, and X-rays were negative. He practiced Friday with his left hand heavily taped and still had some discomfort Saturday.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 16 points in the Nets’ 16th straight defeat.
Heat 113, Pacers 95
MIAMI – Hassan Whiteside scored 22 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, Dion Waiters added 22 points and red-hot Miami pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat Indiana.
Goran Dragic added 21 points and James Johnson had 15 for Miami, which outscored Indiana 30-16 in the fourth. The Pacers played most of the second half without All-Star forward Paul George, who was ejected after getting two technicals on separate plays early in the third quarter.
Myles Turner scored 18 points and Jeff Teague added 16 for Indiana. George had 10 points in 19 minutes.
It was the 16th win in the last 18 games for the surging Heat, who moved within 1 1/2 games of idle Detroit for the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference. Miami also topped 100 points for the 16th consecutive game, extending the franchise record.
Rockets 142, Timberwolves 130
HOUSTON – James Harden had 24 points and 10 assists to lead Houston to a victory over Minnesota as both teams set season scoring highs.
Houston won for the sixth time in seven games, handing the Timberwolves their first road loss in more than three weeks.
Minnesota committed a season-high 25 turnovers that led to 38 points for the Rockets.
Playing against Houston’s guard-heavy rotation, Minnesota went inside all night and outscored the Rockets 68-44 in the paint. Karl-Anthony Towns had 37 points and 22 rebounds, and Andrew Wiggins added 30 points.
Still, the Timberwolves were ultimately outpaced by the hot-shooting Rockets.
Knicks 110, 76ers 109
NEW YORK – Carmelo Anthony made a jumper with 0.3 seconds left to give New York a victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Knicks blew a 17-point lead and fell behind by one when Jahlil Okafor scored with 9 seconds remaining. But Anthony dribbled left after a timeout, pulling up over Robert Covington to cap his 37-point performance.
The Knicks then intercepted the 76ers’ inbounds pass to hold on and snap their two-game losing streak.
Derrick Rose added 18 points and Justin Holiday had 14 for the Knicks, who won for just the third time in 11 games. They played without starters Kristaps Porzingis (sprained right ankle) and Joakim Noah (sore left hamstring).
Okafor had a season-high 28 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as the 76ers nearly pulled out the victory after beating Washington on Friday. Dario Saric had 19 points and 15 rebounds, and Covington finished with 20 points and 10 boards.
Magic 105, Hawks 86
ORLANDO, Fla. – Terrence Ross scored 24 points, Nikola Vucevic had 16 points and 14 rebounds and Orlando beat Atlanta to snap a two-game skid.
Ross played his second game with Orlando after coming over from Toronto in a trade for Serge Ibaka and gave Orlando the shooting touch it has lacked all season. He hit 10 of 15 from the field, including 4 of 7 from 3-point range.
Orlando also got double-digit production from Aaron Gordon (18 points) and Elfrid Payton (15). Payton was just short for his fourth career triple-double with nine rebounds and nine assists despite not playing at all in the fourth quarter.
Tim Hardaway Jr. led five Hawks in double figures with 15 points. Atlanta was playing the back-end of a back-to-back and dropped its third straight. The Hawks are trying to remain in the top five in the Eastern Conference.
Hornets 99, Kings 85
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Frank Kaminsky had 23 points and 13 rebounds and Charlotte beat Sacramento to end a five-game losing streak.
The Hornets went ahead late in the first quarter and led the rest of the way for their second win in 14 games. The Kings never got going offensively, and Charlotte led by 23 points in the second half while ending their 12-game road skid.
Marvin Williams scored 16 points and Nicolas Batum had 15 for the Hornets.
Ben McLemore led the Kings with 18 points and Buddy Hield had 15 in his second game since being acquired from New Orleans in a trade for DeMarcus Cousins. Anthony Tolliver and Tyreke Evans had 11 points each.
Mavericks 96, Pelicans 83
DALLAS – Harrison Barnes scored 19 points and Dirk Nowitzki had 18 points and nine rebounds as Dallas ended a three-game losing streak by beating New Orleans.
The Pelicans fell to 0-2 since trading for DeMarcus Cousins and pairing him with Anthony Davis.
Davis had 39 points and 14 rebounds but scored only 12 in the second half. Cousins finished with 12 points and 15 rebounds.
Seth Curry scored 10 of his 13 in the fourth quarter to help Dallas pull away. His 3-pointer with 4:49 to play gave the Mavericks an 84-72 lead, and the Pelicans never got closer than six after that.
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