THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published — Friday 21 December 2012
Last update 21 December 2012 2:42 am
NEW YORK: Carmelo Anthony scored 31 points in his return to the lineup and the New York Knicks beat the Brooklyn Nets 100-86 on Wednesday night in the third meeting this season between the city rivals.
After two tight games in Brooklyn, the Knicks turned the first one at Madison Square Garden into a rout by dominating the second half. Anthony, who missed two games with a sprained left ankle, moved fine and shot well, though his scoring average against the Nets this season actually dropped to 37 points per game.
J.R. Smith added 19 points and Tyson Chandler had 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Knicks, who bounced back from their first home loss Monday against Houston, improving to 11-1 at MSG.
Joe Johnson scored 17 points for the Nets, who have lost three straight and eight of 10. What once was a deadlock for the Atlantic Division lead after the first meeting is now a six-game advantage for the Knicks.
Deron Williams and Brook Lopez each had 16 points for Brooklyn.
THUNDER 100, HAWKS 92: In Atlanta, Kevin Durant set a season high with 41 points and had 13 rebounds as Oklahoma City held off Atlanta for its 12th straight win.
Russell Westbrook added 27 points — 21 in the first half — and 11 assists for the Thunder.
The Thunder (21-4) improved the NBA’s best record and atoned for a 104-95 home loss to the Hawks on Nov. 4. Oklahoma City is 20-2 since that loss.
The 12 straight wins matches the longest streak for the franchise since 1996, when it had a 14-game winning streak as the Seattle SuperSonics.
Jeff Teague scored 19 points to lead the Hawks.
CLIPPERS 93, HORNETS 77: In Los Angeles, Blake Griffin scored 18 points and Los Angeles beat New Orleans for its franchise record-tying 11th consecutive victory.
Jamal Crawford added 17 points, DeAndre Jordan scored 12, and Chris Paul had 10 points and 12 assists, surpassing 5,000 in his career for the Clippers.
They tied the franchise record set by the 1974-75 Buffalo Braves.
Robin Lopez scored 14 of his 22 points in the first quarter and rookie Anthony Davis added 16 for the Hornets. They lost their ninth in a row and 11th in their last 12 games while falling to 2-10 on the road. They were the last team to beat the Clippers on Nov. 26.
CELTICS 103, CAVALIERS 91: In Boston, Paul Pierce scored 25 of his season-high 40 points in the second half, hitting 10 of his 11 shots after halftime, and Boston beat Cleveland to snap a three-game skid.
Pierce made his first eight shots coming out of the break, including three 3-pointers. He finished 13 of 16 from the field.
Rajon Rondo added 20 points and eight assists for the Celtics. Jason Terry added 15 points.
Kyrie Irving scored 22 points for the Cavs, who played without Anderson Varejao, the NBA’s leading rebounder who sat out with a bruised knee. Rookie Tyler Zeller got his first career start in Varejao’s place and scored 20 points as Cleveland fell to 2-14 on the road.
KINGS 131, WARRIORS 127: In Sacramento, California, DeMarcus Cousins scored 24 points, Aaron Brooks added 23 and Sacramento snapped a five-game losing streak with a win over Golden State.
After blowing a 15-point lead, Brooks made a pair of 3-pointers in the final minutes to help the Kings pull away. Both teams shot 50 percent, while the Kings had a season high in points and scored more than any team had against the Warriors this season.
Stephen Curry scored 23 of his 32 points in the second half before fouling out, and David Lee had 29 points and eight rebounds in Golden State’s worst defensive outing of the season. Only Oklahoma City had shot at least 50 percent against the Warriors.
GRIZZLIES 90, BUCKS 80: In Memphis, Zach Randolph had 15 points and 17 rebounds, and Marc Gasol had 12 points and 12 rebounds to lead Memphis over Milwaukee.
Rudy Gay added 13 points for Memphis, which won its third straight. Mike Conley had 11 points and six assists, while Marreese Speights scored 10 points.
Brandon Jennings led Milwaukee with 26 points despite missing his first eight shots. Marquis Daniels was the only other Bucks player in double figures with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting.
Monta Ellis, the Bucks leading scorer at 19 points a game, missed his first 13 shots and didn’t score a field goal until 2:30 was left in the game. He ended the night with four points.
PACERS 104, JAZZ 84: In Indianapolis, Reserve guard Gerald Green scored a season-high 21 points, and Paul George had 20 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks to help Indiana beat Utah.
George Hill also scored 20 and had five assists for the Pacers, who matched their largest victory margin of the season and won for the fourth time in five games.
Derrick Favors scored 16 points, Alec Burks had 12 and Mo Williams 11 for the Jazz, who lost their third in the last four games.
Indiana scored more than 100 points for just the fourth time this season — and the Pacers have won all those games. The Pacers shot 51.2 percent from the field.
ROCKETS 125, 76ERS 103: In Houston, James Harden had 33 points and seven assists to lead Houston to a victory over Philadelphia.
Harden topped 20 points for the seventh straight game to send the 76ers to their fifth straight loss. He made 17 of 18 free throws, including six in the fourth quarter, as Houston improved to 9-2 in its last 11 home games.
Toney Douglas hit five 3-pointers and scored all 17 of his points in the fourth for Houston.
Nick Young scored 21 points for Philadelphia, which matched its most lopsided loss of the season. The 76ers also lost by 22 points against the New York Knicks on Nov. 5.
SUNS 121, BOBCATS 104: In Phoenix, Shannon Brown scored a season-high 26 points and Phoenix hit a season-high 17 3-pointers to send Charlotte to its league-worst 13th straight loss.
Goran Dragic added 21 points and Jared Dudley had 20 for the Suns, who have won a season-best four straight. Their 17 3s came on 28 attempts.
Kemba Walker scored 27 points and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist added 25 to match a career high for the Bobcats, who have not won since Nov. 24.
After taking a one-point lead at the end of the first quarter, the Suns outscored the Bobcats 22-6 over the first six-plus minutes of the second to take a 50-33 lead. Phoenix led by as much as 30.
RAPTORS 97, PISTONS 91: In Toronto, DeMar DeRozan had 23 points, Alan Anderson scored 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter and Toronto beat Detroit to extend its winning streak to four games.
Jose Calderon had 17 assists, one shy of his season high, and Jonas Valanciunas scored 12 points for the Raptors, who last won four straight from Nov. 17-24, 2010. Ed Davis added 11 points and nine rebounds for the Raptors, who had lost six of their previous seven meetings with the Pistons.
Anderson helped seal it for Toronto with a trio of 3-pointers in the final quarter.
Greg Monroe scored a career-high 35 points and Rodney Stuckey had 13 for the Pistons, who lost their sixth straight and dropped to 2-13 on the road.
MAGIC 90, WIZARDS 83: In Orlando, Florida, J.J. Redick scored 17 points and fellow reserve E’Twaun Moore had 15 to lead Orlando to a win over Washington.
Redick hit four 3-pointers and Arron Afflalo had 15 points as Orlando won its fourth straight.
Nene had 20 points in a reserve role for the Wizards, who lost their fifth in a row. Jordan Crawford added 19 points and six assists.
The Magic took a 76-63 lead into the fourth quarter but started the period shooting 3 for 15, giving the Wizards an opening they failed to capitalize on. Washington pulled to 85-81 with 4:02 left, but the Wizards couldn’t score on their next three possessions.