Heat scorch Cavs as NBA leading Rockets romp
LOS ANGELES - Agence France-Presse
The Miami Heat bolstered their playoff hopes with a 98-79 victory over LeBron James and the Cavs while the playoff-bound Indiana Pacers downed the injury-depleted Warriors 92-81.
Kelly Olynyk scored 19 points and Josh Richardson and James Johnson added 15 apiece for the Heat, who need two more wins in their last seven regular-season games to clinch a playoff berth.
Dwyane Wade blocked a pair of shots by old friend and former teammate James as part of a dominant defensive performance from the home team.
James, who won two NBA titles with the Heat before returning to lead Cleveland to the 2016 crown, led the Cavs with 18 points. But Cleveland’s 79 points were a season-low and they endured their 14th straight defeat at Miami’s AmericanAirlines Arena.
In Oakland, the reigning champion Warriors again felt the absence of All-Stars Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
The Pacers out-scored the Warriors 24-11 in the fourth quarter, handing them their sixth defeat in their last nine games.
Elsewhere, the league-leading Houston Rockets continued their strong run to the playoffs with a 118-86 rout of the Chicago Bulls.
With MVP candidate James Harden taking the night off, Eric Gordon scored 31 points and matched a career-high with eight three-pointers for the Rockets, who notched their 10th straight win.
In Washington, the Wizards used a 33-11 run in the second quarter to down the Spurs 116-106.
The Portland Trail Blazers strengthened their grip on third place in the Western Conference with a 107-103 victory over the Pelicans in New Orleans.