Heat 112, Magic 98
LeBron James’ switch to a clear mask didn’t hinder his shooting eye, and he had 20 points Saturday to help host Miami earn its seventh consecutive victory by beating Orlando.
At the NBA’s request, James dispensed with the black mask he wore Thursday when playing for the first time since he broke his nose. He missed only four shots, grabbed nine rebounds and had seven assists.
Dwyane Wade scored 24 points and Chris Bosh 20 for the Heat, who shot 58 percent. Eleven players scored for the Heat, and their bench totaled 39 points.
The newer mask seemed to bother James more than the black one did, and he frequently took it off when the clock was stopped. But while it was a nuisance, it didn’t hinder his performance.
His streak of five consecutive games with more than 30 points came to an end, but he played only 31 minutes and took just 12 shots.
After sitting out a week because of his broken nose, he avoided another injury when he went stumbling into the third row after making a fastbreak layup and settled in an unoccupied seat.
The Heat improved to 10-1 since Feb. 1, and they’ve won their past four games by an average of 19 points. They completed a sweep of the four-game season series against their in-state rivals.
The game was the first for the last-place Magic since they broke a 16-game road losing streak at Philadelphia on Wednesday.
Tobias Harris led Orlando with 20 points, and Nikola Vucevic added 18.
Heat guard Mario Chalmers had the highlight play of the first half, fetching a loose ball while seated at midcourt with his back to his basket, then flipping a pass over his shoulder to James to set up a fastbreak basket.
James had a throw-down dunk after catching an alley-oop flip from Wade in the second half for another fastbreak score.
Wizards 122, 76ers 103
Trevor Ariza made eight 3-pointers and scored a career-high 40 points as visiting Washington beat Philadelphia for its sixth consecutive victory.
Ariza made all six 3-point attempts in the first quarter for 24 points and finished 14-of-23 from the floor overall.
The 76ers lost their 13th consecutive game.
Ariza had plenty of help for a Wizards team making a run in the Eastern Conference.
John Wall had 17 points and 16 assists, and Marcin Gortat had 13 points and 14 rebounds.
Ariza, averaging 14.3 points, seemed like he would top his career high of 33 in the first 12 minutes. The Sixers were helpless as the 6-foot-8 forward made his 3-point shots with the ease of a pop-a-shot contest.
Ariza silenced the crowd at stretches with six 3-pointers and 9-of-10 shooting overall, helping the Wizards storm out to a 15-point lead.
Wall had the assist on most of those looks and finished the quarter with eight.
Tony Wroten led the Sixers with 19 points and Thaddeus Young had 17.
The Sixers went on a 9-0 run in the third to trim the gap to 12 points. It just wasn’t enough.
Rockets 118, Pistons 110
Terrence Jones had 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Houston opened a big early lead and beat visiting Detroit for its third win in four games.
Jones finished 10-of-15 from the floor as the Rockets shot 50 percent for the game, including 61 percent in the first half.
Houston scored 41 points in the first quarter and finished 11-of-33 from behind the arc.
James Harden added 20 points and 12 assists, Patrick Beverley had 19 points and Dwight Howard chipped in 17 points and eight rebounds.
Reserve Omri Casspi scored 16 points and Jordan Hamilton had 13.
Rodney Stuckey had 23 points on 10-of-17 shooting off the bench, and Josh Smith added 21 points for the Pistons, who dropped their fourth in a row and seventh in eight games.
Andre Drummond had 16 points and 17 rebounds, Greg Monroe had 10 points and 14 rebounds, and Brandon Jennings chipped in 11 points and eight assists for Detroit.
Nets 107, Bucks 98
Marcus Thornton scored 12 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter to lead Brooklyn over host Milwaukee.
Thornton, playing in his third game for Brooklyn since being obtained in a Feb. 19 trade with Sacramento, came off the bench to make 8-of-13 from the field to help the Nets finish their seven-game road trip 4-3.
Andray Blatche had 19 points and 13 rebounds for Brooklyn, including eight points and 10 rebounds in the fourth quarter.
Khris Middleton and Ramon Sessions scored 16 points apiece for Milwaukee.
Pacers 102, Celtics 97
Paul George finished with 25 points, eight rebounds and three assists as visiting Indiana beat Boston for its fourth consecutive win.
Evan Turner had 17 points off the bench for the Pacers. Lance Stephenson had 16 points and Roy Hibbert finished with 15 points.
Jeff Green had a team-high 27 points for the Celtics. Kris Humphries had 18 points and Brandon Bass had 16 points.