Heat push streak to 8, top Nets 104-96

MIAMI: Miami Heat forward James Johnson (16) and guard Goran Dragic (7) battle for a loose ball with Brooklyn Nets forward Trevor Booker during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, in Miami. The Heat defeated the Nets 104-96. – AP

MIAMI: Led by James Johnson’s spectacular last-minute dunk, the Miami Heat won their eighth straight game, defeating the Brooklyn Nets 104-96 on Monday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. After a missed jumper by Rodney McGruder, Johnson soared, grabbed the rebound with his left hand and dunked all in one motion, giving Miami a 101-93 lead with 57 seconds left. The Heat (19-30), who has the longest active win streak in the NBA, got balanced scoring. Goran Dragic had 20 points and eight assists. Dion Waiters had 19 points and a season-high nine assists, and Johnson added 17 points. Johnson, though, appeared to hurt his right shoulder on the final play of the game.

Isaiah Thomas performed more of his fourth-quarter magic and Boston blew an 11-point lead but held off Detroit for its fourth straight victory. Thomas, who entered the game averaging a league-best and record-pace 10.0 points per game in the fourth quarter, scored 24 of his 41 points in the final 12 minutes. He scored on a three-point play to put the Celtics ahead to stay with 4:13 left in the game. Earlier in the quarter, Boston’s little big man scored 11 straight Celtics points. It was his 32nd straight game with at least 20 points as he closes in on John Havlicek’s club record of 40. He has scored under 20 just once this season and had 18 in that game. He has scored at least 20 points in the fourth quarter four times this season; while no one else in the league has done it more than once. He has also had nine 15-point fourth quarters.

Maybe LeBron James and Kyrie Irving should have just stayed in Cleveland after all. Wanting to build on the momentum of Sunday’s win, Cleveland stars decided they wanted to make the trip to Dallas and play on the second night of a back-to-back. But the Cavs were by far the more listless team Monday night and were ultimately blown out by hustling Dallas. For Dallas, the win completed a surprising two-night sweep of the San Antonio Spurs on the road and then the reigning NBA champions in front of a sellout crowd at the American Airlines Arena. Cleveland, which played without forward Kevin Love, dropped to 2-6 on the road against teams from the Western Conference.

Minnesota withstood a fourth-quarter rally from Orlando to escape with an overtime victory at Target Center. Andrew Wiggins led Minnesota with a game-high 27 points, including a game-tying jumper with 10 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to force overtime. Wiggins was big in overtime for Minnesota, scoring six points in the extra session. He also had a key block on defense, one of several blocks by the Timberwolves in overtime. Minnesota center Karl-Anthony Towns had 23 points-his 30th 20-point game of the season-and 12 rebounds, while point guard Ricky Rubio added 22 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

76ERS 122, KINGS 119
Robert Covington had 23 points and 10 rebounds as Philadelphia, playing without rookie center Joel Embiid, beat Sacramento. Dario Saric contributed 17 points off the bench for the Sixers, who rallied from a 16-point, second-quarter deficit and withstood the 46-point, 15-rebound, five-assist effort of Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins. Ex-King Nik Stauskas had 16 points, and Gerald Henderson and Jahlil Okafor chipped in 15 each for Philadelphia.

Mike Conley scored a career-high 38 points, and the Memphis Grizzlies hit 16 3-pointers while rolling to a 115-96 win over the Phoenix Suns on Monday. Conley tied a career high by hitting seven 3-pointers (on 10 attempts) and had nine assists for Memphis, which led by as many as 30 points and won back-to-back games for the first time since Jan. 6-8. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph added 18 points each for the Grizzlies, who sank 10 or more 3-pointers for the 24th time this season. Memphis (29-21) hit 16 of 28 in the game, one shy of the franchise record for made threes. – Reuters

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