Manu Ginobili scored 20 points, Tony Parker made a surprise return to the starting lineup and the Spurs handed the skidding Miami Heat their most lopsided loss of the season, 125-95, last night in San Antonio.
In the first meeting between these NBA heavyweights, the Spurs (51-11) improved the league’s best record and kept the Heat in a tailspin. A night after blowing a 24-point lead in a stunning loss to Orlando, Miami trailed by 24 after just one quarter and lost for the fourth time in five games.
Parker had 15 points and eight assists. He returned less than a week after the Spurs feared their point guard might miss up to a month with a strained calf.
LeBron James scored 26 points and Dwyane Wade had 19.
San Antonio buried Miami from the opening tip. The Spurs tied a franchise record with eight 3-pointers in the first quarter; Matt Bonner was 4 of 4 and Ginobili went 3 for 4.
So stunning was the lopsided surge that the typically reserved Tim Duncan mouthed “game over’’ while the Heat sulked to the bench after calling another timeout.
It was still the first quarter.
Nets 116, Raptors 103 — Brook Lopez scored 25 points to help New Jersey snap a six-game losing streak in beating Toronto in the first regular-season game played in Europe.
Deron Williams added 16 points and 11 assists at the O2 Arena in London despite playing with injuries to both hands. It was the All-Star guard’s first win with the Nets since being acquired from the Utah Jazz last week.
Jordan Farmar hit two straight 3-pointers and Sundiata Gaines added 7 points off the bench. The Nets’ subs sparked a 20-6 run to start the fourth quarter for a 98-87 lead.
DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 30 points and Andrea Bargnani added 23. The Nets and Raptors will face each other again at the O2 Arena today, as the NBA decided to bring regular-season games to Europe for the first time as part of its push to increase its fan base on the continent.
The attendance for yesterday’s game was an announced sellout of 18,689, but there were some empty seats.
Lakers 92, Bobcats 84 — Kobe Bryant scored 27 points and host Los Angeles ended Charlotte’s inexplicable mastery over them, winning their sixth straight since the All-Star break.
The Lakers had lost eight of their previous 10 meetings with the Bobcats, the only team other than the Celtics with a winning record against Los Angeles.
Bulls 89, Magic 81 — Derrick Rose had 24 points and Luol Deng added 16 to help visiting Chicago hang on to drop Orlando in a matchup of two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
Dwight Howard led Orlando with 20 points and 10 rebounds, but also picked up his 16th technical of the season. He faces a one-game suspension Monday night against Portland if the foul is not rescinded.
Thunder 111, Hawks 104 — Kevin Durant scored 29 points despite a sore ankle and Russell Westbrook hit a clinching 3-pointer to lead Oklahoma City over host Atlanta.
Durant sprained his left ankle two nights earlier and wasn’t cleared to play until an hour before the game.
After Marvin Williams’s putback pulled the Hawks within 102-100, Westbrook (28 points) took a pass from Durant, picked up a screen from Nick Collison and swished a wide-open jumper from behind the arc.
Cavaliers 119, Knicks 115 — Baron Davis scored 18 points in his Cleveland debut, leading a stunning rally in the fourth quarter in Madison Square Garden as the Cavaliers beat New York for the 11th straight time.
J.J. Hickson scored 23 and former Celtic Luke Harangody also had 18, but the spark came from Davis in his first game since his trade from the Los Angeles Clippers. He scored 12 points in the final six-plus minutes after the Knicks had built a 12-point lead, including a 3-pointer that gave Cleveland a 116-112 lead with 10.6 seconds left.
76ers 111, Timberwolves 100 — Andre Iguodala had 22 points, 13 assists, and 10 rebounds for his second triple-double of the season, and host Philadelphia overcame 21 points and 23 rebounds from Minnesota’s Kevin Love.
It was Love’s 49th straight double-double, just two shy of tying Moses Malone’s 51-game streak set in 1978-79.
Suns 102, Bucks 88 — Channing Frye scored 20 points and visiting Phoenix used a blistering 19-0 run in the third quarter to flip an 8-point deficit into a big lead in downing Milwaukee.
Hornets 98, Grizzlies 91 — Chris Paul broke out of a scoring slump with 23 points and 14 assists, Willie Green keyed a fourth-quarter rally, and visiting New Orleans snapped a three-game skid.
Mavericks 116, Pacers 108 — Dirk Nowitzki scored 29 points, Jason Terry added 21, and host Dallas pulled away in the final three minutes to stretch its winning streak to eight.