UNDATED (AP) – The Miami Heat have grabbed a half-game lead over New York in the NBA’s Eastern Conference standings with yesterday’s 103-97 win over Oklahoma and the Knicks 100-94 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. LeBron James finished with 29 points, nine assists and eight rebounds as the Heat improved to 19-6 to match the best 25-game start in team history. Lakers star Kobe Bryant scored 34, going over 30 points for the ninth straight game while appearing in his NBA-record 15th Christmas Day contest.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Jamal Crawford scored a team-high 22 points and the Los Angeles Clippers stretched their team-record winning streak to 14 games by beating the Denver Nuggets 112-110. Matt Barnes added 20 points for the Clippers, who now own the NBA’s best record at 22-6. L.A. hasn’t lost a game since Nov. 26 against New Orleans.
UNDATED (AP) – Rajon Rondo (RAH’-zhahn RAHN’-doh) had 19 points and rookie Jared Sullinger tied a season-high with 16 as Boston trounced New Jersey 93-76. James Harden scored 26 points and Chandler Parson added 23 as Houston ripped the Bulls 120-97 in Chicago.
CLEVELAND (AP) – NBA leading rebounder Anderson Varejao (VAR’-eh-zhow) will miss a fourth straight game when the Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Wizards in Washington on Wednesday. He stayed in Cleveland to receive additional treatment on his bruised right knee, and the Cavs had hoped the extra rest would help him return this week. Varejao is averaging 14.4 rebounds a game.
HONOLULU (AP) – Nick Johnson blocked a layup by Chase Tapley in the closing moments to secure third-ranked Arizona’s 68-67 win over No. 17 San Diego State. The Wildcats trailed by eight points in the second half and didn’t go ahead to stay until Mark Lyons drained a pair of free throws with 13 seconds left. Solomon Hill had a team-high 21 points for the Wildcats, who are 12-0 for the first time since the 1987-88 season.