Kings edge Heat, James injured

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Miami Heat hoped to rest three banged-up regulars and lean on LeBron James to steal a road victory before visiting one of the best teams in the Western Conference.

Instead, the Sacramento Kings spoiled those plans — and James hurt himself in the process.

DeMarcus Cousins had 27 points and 17 rebounds, Rudy Gay scored 26 and the Kings rallied from an early 17-point deficit to beat the short-handed Heat 108-103 in overtime Friday night.

"I thought our guys accepted the challenge," Sacramento coach Michael Malone said.

James said he strained his right groin before finishing with 33 points, eight rebounds and eight assists as Miami's six-game winning streak ended. Whether he plays at Portland tonight is uncertain.

"It ain't feeling too good right now," James said.

The two-time defending NBA champions played without Dwyane Wade (resting his knees), Ray Allen (right knee tendinitis) and Chris Andersen (sore back). James stayed mostly on the perimeter in the second half when his injury started to swell.

The Kings capitalized on the opportunity.

Isaiah Thomas had 22 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds to help Sacramento (9-19) upend the Heat (22-7) a week after a blowout loss in Miami. Gay made a tying jumper in the final minutes of regulation, and the Kings quickly pulled away in the extra period to bring the sellout crowd of 17,317 roaring to its feet.

"This is a new team, and for us to come out and perform against one of the best teams in the league, it's a pretty good feeling," Cousins said.

Malone even called out his players' mistakes publicly following a loss to New Orleans on Monday. He gave his players a couple of days off around Christmas and asked them, "What type of team do we want to be this season?"

"The biggest thing is we responded," Gay said.

The Kings overcame 23 turnovers and some lackluster defense at the start to pull off the comeback. Sacramento outshot Miami 49.4 percent to 44.2 percent and outrebounded the Heat 51-35.

A day after winning The Associated Press' 2013 Male Athlete of the Year, James helped the Heat build a big lead early but couldn't hold off a late Kings rally by himself. He also appeared to tweak his left ankle when he fell into the crowd after missing a layup in the second quarter, but he said his ankle felt fine.

Thunder 89, Bobcats 85

At Charlotte, N.C., Kevin Durant had 34 points and 12 rebounds, and Oklahoma City held on to defeat Charlotte.

Durant scored 14 points in the fourth quarter and finished 14 of 28 from the field. Serge Ibaka had 12 points and nine rebounds for the Thunder, who have won seven straight road games and 11 of 12 overall.

Reggie Jackson started in place of Westbrook, shooting 4 of 19 from the floor.

The Thunder escaped after Josh McRoberts missed a wide-open 3-pointer with 3 seconds left.

Warriors 115, Suns 86

At Oakland, Calif., Stephen Curry had career highs of 16 assists and 13 rebounds to go with 14 points, and Golden State beat Phoenix for its fourth straight victory.

Klay Thompson scored 21 points for the Warriors and David Lee added 17.

P.J. Tucker had 11 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Suns, who had won three straight and eight of nine. It was Phoenix's worst defeat of the season.

Magic 109, Pistons 92

At Orlando, Fla., Arron Afflalo scored 23 points to lead five teammates in double figures and Orlando snapped a three-game skid by beating Detroit.

The Magic led the Pistons by as many as 22 and cruised in the fourth quarter. Nik Vucevic added 20 points and 11 rebounds, and rookie Victor Oladipo finished with 16 points and a career-high 11 assists.

Kyle Singler tallied seven points in 26 minutes off the bench. Brandon Jennings led the Pistons with 21 points.

Pelicans 105, Nuggets 89

At New Orleans, Tyreke Evans had 19 points and 10 assists, and New Orleans handed Denver its fifth straight loss.

Jrue Holiday had 17 points and four steals, causing two turnovers that led to late fast-break points as the Pelicans slammed the door on Denver's comeback bid.

Raptors 95, Knicks 83

At New York, Jonas Valanciunas had 16 points and a career-high 18 rebounds, DeMar DeRozan scored 25 and Toronto rallied to beat New York.

The Raptors trailed by 12 in the third quarter, but outscored the Knicks 29-12 in the fourth to take the opener of the home-and-home series.

Jazz 105, Lakers 103

At Salt Lake City, Derrick Favors had 18 points and 14 rebounds and made a putback dunk with 2.1 seconds remaining to lift Utah over depleted Los Angeles.

With the game tied at 103, Gordon Hayward drove to the basket on Utah's final possession but missed his off-balance attempt as the Lakers converged. Favors grabbed the rebound and slammed the ball through the hoop to snap Utah's four-game home losing streak. Hayward finished with 24 points and nine assists.

Timberwolves 120, Wizards 98

At Minneapolis, Kevin Love had 25 points and 11 rebounds, and J.J. Barea scored 17 points off the bench to help Minnesota top Washington.

Ricky Rubio had 11 points, nine assists and eight rebounds in 26 minutes, and Nikola Pekovic added 18 points and 10 boards for the Timberwolves. Minnesota outrebounded Washington 44-35 and only turned the ball over five times.

Nets 104, Bucks 93

At New York, Shaun Livingston scored 20 points, Mirza Teletovic added 19 off the bench and Brooklyn rebounded from an embarrassing Christmas Day performance by ending its four-game losing streak with a victory over Milwaukee.

Paul Pierce added 13 points for the Nets, who lost by 17 in each of their previous two games.


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