NBA roundup: LeBron James silences Madison Square Garden crowd

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Dec. 18 2010 12:19 a.m. MST

New York Knicks try to defend against Miami Heat's LeBron James (6) in the first half.

Associated Press

NEW YORK — LeBron James always said he loved playing here.

He must have really, really loved it Friday night — even with a deafening chorus of boos ringing in his ears.

James delivered another vintage performance at Madison Square Garden, scoring 32 points and finishing with his 30th career triple-double to help the Miami Heat beat the New York Knicks 113-91 for their 11th straight victory.

James had 11 rebounds and 10 assists, silencing a star-studded crowd that once cheered him lustily — in fact, he was always an MSG favorite — but jeered him this time because he snubbed the Knicks in free agency.

The frostiness didn't seem to faze him, certainly not his game.

"This is a great building," James said. "Myself and D-Wade talk about it all the time. Certain buildings in this league that you just thrive on and you're excited about, and this being the Mecca of basketball as a kid you always envision not only playing in the NBA but also having a chance to play in Madison Square Garden."

Though it was hardly a warm welcome, James' first visit in more than a year was heralded by nonstop hype on TV and in the tabs and was a must-see for celebrity fans including Spike Lee, Woody Allen, Liam Neeson and Tracy Morgan. What they saw was the league's MVP toying with a Knicks team hoping to prove it belonged with the big boys but was, instead, overwhelmed by his brilliance.

James is the active scoring leader in the arena with 30.5 points per game, the only visiting player besides Michael Jordan with multiple 50-point games.

Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh each scored 26 points, extending Miami's longest winning streak since winning 12 in a row from Feb. 26-March 19, 2005. The Heat beat the Knicks for the sixth straight time.

New York's Amare Stoudemire was limited to 24 points on 11-of-28 shooting, snapping his franchise-record streak of nine straight 30-point games. He grabbed 14 rebounds, and Danilo Gallinari scored 25 points, but the Knicks lost their second straight after an eight-game winning streak.

"We understand we're not far away but we still have to improve and get better," Stoudemire said. "I think playing these guys is a learning lesson for us. We've got to learn from these games and get better."

Shaking off some brief pain after his foot got stuck under the New York bench — the second Miami athlete to get tripped up along a New York sideline this week — James led a 27-7 run in the third quarter that turned a small Knicks lead into an 18-point Miami advantage.

LAKERS 93, 76ERS 81: At Philadelphia, Lamar Odom scored 28 points, Pau Gasol had 19 points and 13 rebounds and Los Angeles beat Philadelphia. Matt Barnes had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers, who rallied and broke the game open in the fourth quarter to win their fourth straight game. The Lakers trailed by four when Barnes and Odom sparked a 27-8 run.

TRAIL BLAZERS 107, TIMBERWOLVES 102: At Portland, Ore., Lamarcus Aldridge tied a career high with 36 points and Rudy Fernandez added a personal-best 26. Aldridge went 15 of 22 from the field, scored six baskets on dunks off lob passes and grabbed 10 rebounds to help the Trail Blazers win their 13th consecutive game over Minnesota. The Timberwolves haven't beaten Portland since March 25, 2007. Fernandez made four 3-pointers and shot 9 of 15 from the floor. He also had a season-high six assists. Wesley Matthews scored 21 points for Portland, which ended a three-game skid.

MAVERICKS 106, SUNS 91: At Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry scored 18 points apiece and Dallas took advantage of an injury to Phoenix guard Steve Nash. Caron Butler added 17 points, Shawn Marion had 15 and Tyson Chandler pulled down 12 rebounds for the Mavericks, who have won 14 of 15.

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