Dwight Howard had 24 points and 18 rebounds in a bruising battle with Amar'e Stoudemire, and the host Orlando Magic beat the New York Knicks, 112-103, on Thursday for their fifth straight win.
Stoudemire finished with 30 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists but got into foul trouble early in a matchup of two of the NBA's best big men. Both were called for technical fouls and showed more offensive prowess than defensive pressure.
For the Miami Heat, July was about putting the roster together. August was about new faces getting to know each other. September was about conditioning. October was about installing systems. November was about growing pains.
And December was about winning.
The Heat were the NBA's best team in the last month of 2010 by going 15-1, the loss coming by two points to Dallas. In the last 15 years, only one other team has won more in a month - that was LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who matched the league's single-calendar-page win mark by going 16-1 in March 2009.
The Sacramento Kings finally found a way to pull out a game in the fourth quarter. Then they celebrated as if it was the franchise's heyday again. Chester's Tyreke Evans made a three-pointer from midcourt as time expired, then raced to the sidelines and jumped on the scorer's table while teammate DeMarcus Cousins screamed and beat his chest with both fists following Sacramento's 100-98 win over the visiting Memphis Grizzlies. . . . Al Jefferson had 31 points and 10 rebounds to help the Utah Jazz beat the Los Angeles Clippers, 103-95, on the road.