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James scores 39 as Heat pound Thunder


OKLAHOMA CITY — LeBron James had 39 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists, and the Miami Heat trampled the Oklahoma City Thunder 110-100 in a Thursday night showcase before the All-Star break.

Chris Bosh chipped in 20 points and 12 rebounds as the Heat won their sixth straight against the Thunder dating to last year’s NBA Finals. Miami swept the season series after winning on its home court on Christmas Day, following up after taking the last four games of the Finals.

James was in position to continue his NBA record run of games with at least 30 points and 60 per cent shooting to seven, but missed from a couple steps beyond the 3-point line as the shot clock ran down with just over a minute left.

That dropped him to 14 for 24 in the game, or 58 per cent. James had said before the game that he didn’t care if the streak continued, as long as Miami kept winning.

“I’m not conscious about it. I’m just playing,” James said at shootaround. “I’m just going out and playing my game. I’m not conscious about the shots that I take. The shots that I take are good shots. ... If a guy is off of me, I shoot. If he’s on me, I drive. If one of my teammates is open, I pass the ball. It’s simple.”

Kevin Durant had 40 points and eight rebounds, but missed his first seven shots as Oklahoma City fell hopelessly behind. Russell Westbrook had 26 points and 10 assists, with six turnovers.

Dwyane Wade had 13 points and eight assists for the Heat before fouling out with 3:29 to play.

Miami never trailed and widened its lead to as much as 79-56 when James put back a missed jumper by Bosh with 5:07 left in the third quarter. That matched the largest deficit of the season for the Thunder, who also were down 23 in a home loss against Brooklyn last month.

Durant had a driving two-handed dunk and a runner as Oklahoma City got the deficit down to 108-100 in the final minute, but was never really in striking distance.

Oklahoma City fell to 23-4 at home and suffered back-to-back losses for only the second time all season — with the Heat responsible for the second loss on both occasions. The defeat also dropped the Thunder (39-14) to even in the loss column with Miami (36-14) as the two potentially jockey for home-court advantage if there’s a Finals rematch.

San Antonio has the best record in the league, and is the only team ahead of Miami and Oklahoma City. The Thunder had matched a franchise record by winning four straight games by at least 20 points before getting thumped at Utah on Tuesday night, and couldn’t keep up as Miami won its seventh straight game for the first time this season.

 
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