Oklahoma City: LeBron James powered the Miami Heat to a 110-100 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday, but fell just short of extending a record-breaking scoring run.
James finished with 39 points and shot 58 per cent from the field in a rematch of last year’s NBA finals, which the Heat won in five games.
In Miami’s six previous wins, James did what no NBA player had ever achieved — scoring at least 30 points each game while shooting at least 60 per cent from the field.
“All good things have to come to an end at some point,” James said. “It was a good run but we got the win tonight and that is the most important thing.”
The reigning playoff MVP was his usual dominant self at Chesapeake Energy Arena as he grabbed 12 rebounds and had seven assists, leading the Heat to their seventh consecutive win. The forward appeared to be heading for his seventh straight 30-60 game but failed to connect on a three-point shot in the fourth quarter and had to settle for 14-of-24 shooting from the field.
Chris Bosh finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds, while Dwyane Wade had 13 points and eight assists for the Heat, who have won seven straight and 12 of their last 14.
James, Wade and Bosh will represent Miami in the 62nd All-Star Game on Sunday in Houston.
Thursday’s contest was the first of a four-game road trip for Miami and the last game before the all-star break.
Kevin Durant had 40 points on 12-of-24 shooting, while Russell Westbrook finished with 26 points, 10 assists and five rebounds for the Thunder, whose seven-game winning home run ended on Thursday.
At one point, Durant fell to the floor and landed with a heavy thud. He struggled early in the game and did not make his first field goal until with just more than four minutes left in the second quarter.
James said double-teaming Durant on defence was one of the keys to the win.
“You can’t guard him one-on-one,” James said. “You have got to have help behind you. Defensively we were able to pick up a couple of charges on him.”
It marked just the fourth defeat at home for Oklahoma City to go with 23 wins.
The Thunder were eliminated by the Heat in the playoffs and lost the first regular season rematch, 103-97, on Christmas Day in Florida.
Durant and Westbrook will represent the Thunder in the all-star showdown.
Results from the NBA games on Thursday (home team in CAPS) Miami 110 OKLAHOMA CITY 100 LA Clippers 125 LA LAKERS 101.