PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Trail Blazers continued their mastery of the NBA Eastern Conference on Sunday night, defeating the depleted New York Knicks 101-79.
Portland’s Wesley Matthews led all scorers with 28 points, matching his season high. Nicolas Batum added a season-high 17 points for Portland.
The Blazers raised their record to 25-7. They are 14-2 at home, 14-1 against the Eastern Conference and now 8-0 versus the East at Moda Center.
Portland, which went 12-3 in November, is 12-3 in December going into Tuesday’s home game against Toronto.
For the Knicks (5-28), Carmelo Anthony got most of the night off with a sore knee as the Blazers steadily pulled away. He played only 19 minutes, scoring 13 points, with 5-for-14 shooting from the field. New York center Cole Aldrich had 12 points and 19 rebounds. Tim Hardaway Jr., had 17 points for the Knicks.
It was same old same old in the Portland-New York series. Portland has won six in a row, all under coach Terry Stotts, who hasn’t lost to the Knicks since taking over as head of the Blazers.
Mavericks 112, Thunder 107
DALLAS — Dirk Nowitzki overcame foul trouble and carried Dallas late to a victory over Oklahoma City at American Airline Center.
The future Hall of Fame power forward tied a career high with 30 in a rare start at center with regular starter Tyson Chandler out. Nowitzki made 8 of 13 shots, including 2 of 3 3-pointers, and all 12 of his free throws.
The Thunder (15-17) failed to reach .500 for the first time this season despite another valiant effort without star forward Kevin Durant. Oklahoma City is 3-3 in its latest significant stretch this season without the reigning MVP.
Spurs 110, Rockets 106
SAN ANTONIO — Guard Danny Green scored 24 points and had five steals, helping San Antonio defeat Houston.
Green hit four free throws in the final 22 seconds, enabling the Spurs to snap a six-game losing streak against Houston.
Forward Tim Duncan scored 16 points for the Spurs while guards Manu Ginobili and Cory Joseph had 15 and 14 points respectively.
The Spurs played without two injured starters, guard Tony Parker and forward Kawhi Leonard.
Pistons 103, Cavaliers 80
CLEVELAND — After Cleveland’s comeback win over the Orlando Magic on Friday, LeBron James said the Cavaliers were “nowhere near championship ball.” In Sunday’s loss to Detroit, the Cavs didn’t even look worthy of playoff consideration.
After going ahead by 15 points early on in the second quarter, the Cavs’ lead completely disappeared and then some as a 33-11 run by Detroit (including an 18-0 spurt in which point guard Brandon Jennings had eight of those points), gave the Pistons a 50-47 halftime lead.
Detroit carried the momentum over to the third quarter, starting the second half on an 18-6 run to boost its lead to 15. That cushion ballooned to as many as 27 points in the fourth, nearly matching the final margin of the Cavs’ last home loss — a 127-98 defeat at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks on Dec. 17.
Raptors 116, Nuggets 102
DENVER — Guard Kyle Lowry had 30 points and 11 assists, guard Lou Williams had 31 off the bench and Toronto beat Denver.
It was the Raptors’ eighth win in nine games and ended a nine-game losing streak in Denver.
Forward Kenneth Faried followed up his 26-point, 25-rebound game from Friday with 17 points and 19 rebounds for the Nuggets, who have lost three of four. Guard Ty Lawson led Denver with 28 points and forward Wilson Chandler had 20 points and 10 rebounds.
The Raptors (24-7) own the best record in the Eastern Conference and have started this Western Conference portion of their six-game road trip with two wins in as many nights. They beat the Clippers in Los Angeles on Saturday.
Suns 116, Lakers 107
LOS ANGELES — Guard Goran Dragic scored 24 points, and Phoenix captured its sixth straight victory with a win over Los Angeles at Staples Center.
Guard Eric Bledsoe added 22 points, eight assists and eight rebounds as the Suns (18-14) handed the Lakers their third consecutive loss.
Guard Nick Young scored 21 points and backup point guard Jeremy Lin finished with 19 points to lead Los Angeles (9-22).
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant returned after missing three games due to fatigue. Bryant seemed to labor at times in Sunday’s contest, scoring 10 points on four-of-10 shooting, pulling down eight rebounds and dishing out seven assists in 32 minutes.
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