Heat 109, Bobcats 77
Playing without Dwyane Wade due to a sore knee, the Miami Heat fell behind the Charlotte Bobcats by 11 points right out of the gates on Sunday. But that's nothing compared to some of deficits the Heat have faced throughout the course of their winning streak, and they wound up running away and hiding in a 109-77 victory for No. 26 in a row.
LeBron James was dominant in the absence of Wade, nearly notching a triple-double with 32 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. James shot 11-of-14 from the field and 10-11 from the line while also notching three steals and three blocks.
The Heat (55-14) bench helped support James' dominance, with Norris Cole and Ray Allen doing most of the damage. Cole had 15 points and Allen had 14 as the two combined to hit seven of the 13 three-pointers Miami hit on the night. The bench hit 11 of the 13 threes.
Miami actually only led by five with just under five minutes to play in the third quarter, but then a 14-3 run to close the quarter created some separation. Things quickly got ugly at the start of the fourth, allowing James to take a seat early.
Rockets 96, Spurs 95
Harden scored 29 points on the night, with 18 of those coming in the second half. As it often does, much of his damage came from the free throw line, where he shot 15-of-17. He also added nine rebounds and six assists.
Harden's heroics came after Tony Parker had scored 10 straight points to put the Spurs (53-17) up three with just over a minute to play. Harden then made 2-of-3 free throws to trim the deficit to one, and after a couple of stops, delivered the dagger.
Chandler Parsons had 20 points and eight rebounds in support of Harden. Omer Asik struggled with his shooting, but he had 14 rebounds, with six of those coming on the offensive glass. Asik also tallied three blocks and did a solid job on Tim Duncan all night. Duncan did have 17 points, but it took him 18 shots to get there.
The Rockets (39-31) have won three games in a row and have built a little cushion for the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference.
Hawks 104, Bucks 99
The game went back and forth throughout before the Hawks (39-31) appeared to take control midway through the fourth quarter. But then Monta Ellis led the Bucks (34-35) on a run, grabbing a five-point lead with 2:45 to go. Horford and Smith helped Atlanta storm back, and several crucial Milwaukee errors down the stretch helped seal the deal. Dahntay Jones' free throw with 22 seconds left proved to be the game-winner.
Mavericks 113, Jazz 108
The Dallas Mavericks have caught the Utah Jazz in the standings thanks to a 113-108 victory. The Mavs (34-36) opened up a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter, but had to hold on for dear life as the Jazz (34-36) cut it to as little as three before the rally fell just short. Mike James led seven Mavs in double figures with a season-high 19 points.
Seven Jazz also scored in double figures, with Enes Kanter's 17 points leading the way. But it was not enough to avoid a fourth-straight loss, and now Utah and Dallas are both two games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.
Thunder 103, Trail Blazers 83
The Oklahoma City Thunder dominated the second half en route to an easy 103-83 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. The Thunder (52-19) trailed at half, but outscored the Blazers 58-36 in the second half to run away with the victory. Kevin Durant had 24 points and 10 rebounds to lead Oklahoma City.
Nets 102, Suns 100
The Brooklyn Nets escaped Phoenix by the skin of their teeth with a 102-100 victory over the Suns. Deron Williams had 20 points and 11 assists to lead the Nets (41-29), who led by as many as 16 in the third quarter before the Suns (23-48) came charging back.
Hamed Haddadi had a chance to send the game to overtime in the final seconds, but he blew a layup. Goran Dragic put forth a marvelous performance in the loss, with a line of 31 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds.
Bulls 104, Timberwolves 97
Nate Robinson led a balanced offensive attack with 22 points and 10 assists as the Chicago Bulls beat the Minnesota Timberwolves, 104-97. Taj Gibson and Carlos Boozer both had double-doubles, and Jimmy Butler fell one rebound shy of a double-double with 20 points and nine rebounds in place of the injured Marco Belinelli.
The Bulls (38-31) -- who were also without Joakim Noah -- started 4-of-18 from the field, but they quickly got it rolling and led throughout most of the game. The Wolves (24-44) threatened on numerous occasions thanks to 28 points from Derrick Williams and 15 points from both Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic, but they were never able to get over the hump.
76ers 117, Kings 103
Dorell Wright and Lavoy Allen both played well off the bench to help boost the Philadelphia 76ers to a 117-103 win over the Sacramento Kings. Wright scored a team-high 22 points on six three-pointers, while Allen poured in 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting. Jrue Holiday nearly notched a triple-double with 21 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. The Sixers (27-42) dominated play after falling behind by nine after one quarter.
The Kings' backcourt was phenomenal for most of the game, with Isaiah Thomas (25 points), Marcus Thornton (22 points) and Tyreke Evans (19 points) all delivering solid contributions. Unfortunately, DeMarcus Cousins only had eight points on 3-of-9 shooting and Sacramento (25-46) just could not get any defensive stops.