Eastern Conference rivals ready to face off on Wednesday.
With eight games on the NBA schedule on Monday night, there was a shock in the East as the Indiana Pacers lost at home for the first time this season while the Miami Heat looked in good shape ahead of their meeting on Wednesday.
LeBron James finished with 30 points, nine rebounds and nine assists in the Heat’s comprehensive 117-94 win over the Utah Jazz, although there was a scare as he appeared to tweak his ankle.
Nevertheless, he was able to return thereafter and help Miami achieve their best shooting night in team history, as they connected with 63.4 per cent of their shots with James going 13-of-17 from the field.
“I’m excited I could go back out there, make some plays and finish the game off,” James said. “But I know in the morning, when I wake up, it’s going to be pretty sore.”
Dwyane Wade added 27 points while Chris Bosh scored 20 points as the Heat’s ‘Big Three’ were in good form for the second game in a row and helped close the gap to just two games between them and Indiana.
The defending champions host the Pacers on Wednesday, and they appear to be in the perfect shape to avenge their defeat in Indiana last week.
Meanwhile, the Eastern Conference leaders suffered their first home loss of the season, as the Detroit Pistons were able to dominate inside and on defense.
Josh Smith scored 30 points and Greg Monroe had 13 points and 12 rebounds to help improve the Pistons to 12-14 for the season and it also showed what it requires to beat the Pacers.
Coach Frank Vogel insisted his men weren’t looking ahead beyond this game, but he will have been made to think as Paul George and Roy Hibbert were largely nullified as Lance Stephenson’s 23 points weren’t enough to push them over the hill.
Elsewhere, Carmelo Anthony insists that coach Mike Woodson’s position is secure despite his error on Monday night which played a part in the 102-101 loss to the Washington Wizards.
The New York Knicks forward believes that there is nothing to discuss despite the team falling to 7-17 for the season, with Woodson failing to call a time-out in the closing stages of the game and ultimately he took the heat for the loss.
“I probably should have taken a timeout there at the end, but you know, Beno [Udrih] grabbed it [to inbound] and the ball is in Melo’s hands before I could even react, and I should have reacted a lot sooner once the ball went through the bucket. So, that’s on me,” Woodson said. ” …. I didn’t call the timeout so I’ve got to take the heat for that.”
City rivals the Brooklyn Nets grabbed an emphatic win over the Philadelphia 76ers with Joe Johnson scoring 37 points, while the Orlando Magic held off Chicago to inflict another defeat on the struggling Bulls.
Over in the West, the Los Angeles Clippers were too strong for the San Antonio Spurs, with Blake Griffin scoring 27 points and Chris Paul adding 23 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in the 115-92 win.
Detroit Pistons 101-96 Indiana Pacers
Los Angeles Lakers 100-114 Atlanta Hawks
Minnesota Timberwolves 87-101 Boston Celtics
Philadelphia 76ers 84-130 Brooklyn Nets
Utah Jazz 94-117 Miami Heat
Washington Wizards 102-101 New York Knicks
Orlando Magic 83-82 Chicago Bulls
San Antonio Spurs 92-115 Los Angeles Clippers