LOS ANGELES: The Boston Celtics’ 16-game winning streak came to an end with an upset defeat against the Miami Heat on Wednesday as Russell Westbrook won his duel with Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City’s rout of Golden State.
Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters were the stars for Miami as the Heat claimed a 104-98 win in front of their home fans to stun Boston.
Dragic scored 27 points while Waiters added 26, including a crucial pair of late three-pointers, as the Heat held on the win. “Those guys didn’t win 16 games for nothing,” Waiters said. “It was a battle.”
Miami improved to 8-9 with the win while Boston fell to 16-3. It was the first loss for the Celtics since they succumbed in the opening two games of the season.
In-form Celtics star Kyrie Irving meanwhile had an off-night by his recent standards, finishing with a relatively modest 23 points.
Irving missed all three of his three-point attempts and made only 11 of his 22 field goal attempts.
“Teams are coming out and giving us their best shots,” Irving said. “They made shots and got into a bit of a rhythm. You can tell they were locked into this game. They wanted it and proved it.”
Boston had trailed 63-79 at the end of the third quarter but stormed back to get within one point at 91-90 in the fourth. However, back-to-back three-pointers from Waiters gave Miami a seven-point cushion which was good enough to see them home.
Westbrook, Durant duel
Elsewhere on Wednesday, there was little Thanksgiving cheer on show in Oklahoma City as the Thunder gave former hero Durant and the Warriors a rough ride in front of their home fans.
Durant, who left the Thunder in 2016 in a blockbuster move, was subdued as former team-mate Westbrook piled on 34 points in a 108-91 win.
Durant’s entrance to the arena before the game was greeted with a hail of boos, and tensions almost threatened to boil over late in the game as Westbrook and Durant went forehead-to-forehead in a heated exchange.
Golden State were always chasing the game after trailing 65-48 at half-time. Westbrook was backed with hefty performances from Carmelo Anthony with 22 points and Paul George with 20 points.
New Zealander Steven Adams had a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds as OKC improved to 8-9.
Stephen Curry led the scoring for the Warriors (13-5) with 24 points. Durant finished with 21 points.
In Cleveland, LeBron James produced a devastating late scoring burst as the Cavaliers rolled to their sixth straight win in 119-109 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.
James scored 23 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter, a run which included 18 straight to break the Nets’ resistance at QuickenLoans Arena.
James made four three-pointers with six rebounds and five assists as the Cavs improved to 11-7 to continue their climb up the Eastern Conference standings.
“It’s times when you wish you can do it and sometimes when the ball just doesn’t go in,” James said. “But I put a lot of work into my craft and I believe that every shot I take is going to go in.
“But without my team-mates setting screens and defending, getting the rebounds, cutting, and things of that nature, then none of that is even possible for me, so, they get the most credit.”
The two sides had been evenly matched at 77-77 heading into the final quarter before James’ scoring spree tipped the game in the Cavs favour. Kevin Love had 18 points with 10 rebounds while Dwyane Wade also weighed win with 18 for the Cavs.
Jae Crowder added 14 points while Kyle Korver came off the bench to chip in with 12 points.
Brooklyn, who fell to 6-11 with the loss, had four players in double digits.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson led the scoring for the Nets with 20 points while Joe Harris had 18 points. — AFP
Sacramento bt LA Lakers 113-102
Milwaukee bt Phoenix 113-107 (OT)
Utah bt Chicago 110-80
Houston bt Denver 125-95
Dallas bt Memphis 95-94
Minnesota bt Orlando 124-118
New Orleans bt San Antonio 107-90
Oklahoma City bt Golden State 108-91
LA Clippers bt Atlanta 116-103
Miami bt Boston 104-98
NY Knicks bt Toronto 108-100
Charlotte bt Washington 129-124 (OT)
Cleveland bt Brooklyn 119-109
Philadelphia bt Portland 101-81