MIAMI, Florida, December 16 – LeBron James scored 23 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and passed off five assists to spark the reigning NBA champion Miami Heat over the league-worst Washington Wizards 102-72 on Saturday.
The Heat improved to 15-6, moving one game ahead of Atlanta atop the Southeast division, while the Wizards suffered their 18th loss in 21 games, although one of those was a home victory over Miami last month.
Dwyane Wade added 13 points and six assists for Miami while Udonis Haslem contributed 13 points and seven rebounds. Chris Bosh added 12 points for the Heat.
Northern Ireland golf star Rory McIlroy was among the 19,724 spectators who watched the Heat jump ahead 26-14 after one quarter and outscore the Wizards 29-10 in the third quarter for a 79-46 lead that sent Heat starters to the bench.
Bradley Beal led Washington with 19 points while Cartier Martin added 18.
Meanwhile, With star forward Carmelo Anthony sidelined by a left ankle sprain, the New York Knicks held off a late rally to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers 103-102 in an NBA game on Saturday.
Knicks coach Mike Woodson, who pulled Anthony from the lineup a few hours before the game, said that Anthony’s status is uncertain for Monday’s game against Houston and former Knicks teammate Jeremy Lin.
Raymond Felton led New York with 25 points, Tyson Chandler added 23 points and J.R. Smith came off the bench to contribute 16. Felton led the Knicks with 10 rebounds. Jason Kidd added nine points and eight assists.
Rookie Chris Copeland, who made his first NBA start in place of Anthony at power forward, scored 11 points in just under 19 minutes on the court.
Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 41 points to lead the Cavaliers.
Anthony was injured last Thursday in a victory over the Los Angeles Lakers after an awkward landing when he fell following a third-quarter collision with Dwight Howard.
The Knicks, already missing playmaker Amare Stoudemire, are 2-1 without Anthony in the lineup this season. He missed two games earlier this month with a cut on his left middle finger.
New York improved to 18-5, stretching the Knicks’ lead in the Atlantic division, while Cleveland fell to 5-20, the second-worst record in the NBA, ahead of only fellow Eastern Conference divisional doormat Washington.