LeBron James scored 33 points before leaving in the fourth quarter with a bloody nose and the Miami Heat beat the Thunder, 103-81, Thursday night in Oklahoma City.
James went down with 5:50 remaining after he was struck by Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka on a drive to the basket. James finished the dunk, but was bloodied and left the court with a towel over his face.
Dwyane Wade had 24 points and 10 assists and Chris Bosh added 24 points for Miami, which won its fourth straight and avenged an earlier loss to Oklahoma City.
Kevin Durant scored 28 points for Oklahoma City. Russell Westbrook, who had missed the previous 27 games after having a surgery on his right knee, started and scored 16 points.
The Thunder overcame an early 18-point deficit Jan. 29 to roll past the Heat, 112-95, in Miami, and the home fans hoped for a regular-season sweep against the team that beat Oklahoma City in the 2012 NBA Finals.
The crowd erupted as Westbrook was introduced as a starter. His first minute of action was furious and had the crowd on its feet. His first basket was a two-handed, fast-break dunk 37 seconds into the game, and he got a steal 17 seconds later.
The excitement quickly evaporated. James scored 10 points in the first 3:11 on 5-for-5 shooting and Miami made 13 of its first 14 shots to take a 28-13 lead. James scored 16 points to help the Heat lead, 34-17, at the end of the first quarter.
The Heat extended their lead to 19 points in the second quarter before the Thunder rallied behind Westbrook. He scored 9 points in the final 1:55 of the first half, including a dunk in the closing seconds, to trim Miami’s lead to 54-47 at the break.
Miami took control early in the third quarter. James scored 6 points during a 10-0 run that helped the Heat take a 64-49 lead. The Heat extended their lead to 75-53 on a 3-pointer by James with just over five minutes left in the third quarter.
Durant scored 7 points in the final 2:46 of the quarter to trim Miami’s edge to 76-65 heading into the fourth quarter.
Miami reasserted itself in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. Bosh hit a 3-pointer to bump the Heat’s lead back up to 19 with just under 10 minutes to go.
Nuggets 101, Bucks 90 — Kenneth Faried continued his recent hot streak, scoring 26 points to carry visiting Denver past Milwaukee.
Wilson Chandler scored 15 while J.J. Hickson added 14 points and 10 rebounds in a matchup of two teams left shorthanded by deals they made before Thursday afternoon’s trade deadline.
Faried has been impressive this February. Coming off a 21-point, 10-rebound performance against Phoenix, the forward also scored a career-high 28 against the Los Angeles Clippers earlier this month.
With Denver leading, 78-67, going into the fourth quarter, Milwaukee got within 5 points on John Henson’s dunk off an alley-oop from Giannis Antetokounmpo, plus a pair of jumpers by Caron Butler.
But the Nuggets responded with a 12-2 run, including a powerful two-handed putback slam dunk by Faried, and put the game away.
. . .
In Wednesday’s late games: Patty Mills came off the bench to score 29 points, Marco Belinelli hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:34 remaining, and the San Antonio Spurs, playing without Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, rallied in the second half to pull out a 111-109 victory over the Trail Blazers in Portland . . . Dwight Howard had 20 points and 13 rebounds for the Houston in 134-108 rout of the Lakers that extended the Rockets’ winning streak to eight games in Howard’s first game back in Los Angeles since leaving the team for free agency last summer.