Surprise in LA while Bulls stop the slide.
There were seven games on the NBA schedule on Monday night, with LeBron James and the Miami Heat taking centre stage once again.
Having missed the win over the Portland Trail Blazers with a groin injury, James returned to action on his 29th birthday and wasted little time getting back into his groove.
Scoring 26 points, James helped the Heat inflict a seventh consecutive loss on the Denver Nuggets, despite losing team-mates Dwyane Wade and Norris Cole during the game.
“No, it’s [his birthday] not special,” he told reporters after the game.
“It’s special to go out there with my teammates, to be back in good form and be out there and help them win a ballgame on the road.”
Chris Bosh added 17 points while Ray Allen had 13 as the Heat improve to 24-7 for the season while going 10-5 on the road.
Elsewhere, the Chicago Bulls were able to stop their slide as they sealed a morale-boosting win in Memphis against the Grizzlies.
Jimmy Butler had a game high 26 points as he admitted he’s getting comfortable within the team and is enjoying his basketball, while Carlos Boozer added 21 as the Bulls move to 12-17 but remain on the outskirts of the playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
There were wins for the Washington Wizards and New Orleans Pelicans over the Detroit Pistons and Portland Trail Blazers respectively, with John Wall posting up 29 points and seven assists, while Jrue Holiday had 31 points, seven rebounds and 13 assists for the Pelicans.
However, perhaps the biggest shock of the night came in Los Angeles, where the Phoenix Suns sealed a 107-88 win over the Clippers.
Goran Dragic had 26 points and eight assists before sitting out of the fourth quarter, while Gerald Green added 21 points off the bench in the rout.
The Suns are a dangerous outfit on the fast break, and they converted 20 turnovers into 20 points overall and the win means they have now won 10 of their last 12 after starting the season 9-9 and now trail the Clippers by a half-game for top spot in the Pacific Division.
“It was a huge win for us, especially in L.A.,” Dragic said. “We knew it was going to be a hard game. They’re a really good team, a playoff team, and they have a lot of stars. So our job was to play them strong — especially in the first half — and force them to play our rhythm. We did a good job of that.”
Washington Wizards 106-99 Detroit Pistons
Chicago Bulls 95-91 Memphis Grizzlies
Dallas Mavericks 100-98 Minnesota Timberwolves
Portland Trail Blazers 108-110 New Orleans Pelicans
Miami Heat 97-94 Denver Nuggets
Charlotte Bobcats 80-83 Utah Jazz
Phoenix Suns 107-88 Los Angeles Clippers