There were eight matches in the NBA on Saturday night with the Lakers beating Charlotte 88-85, the Clippers downing Washington 113-97, Miami beating Cleveland 114-107, New York holding on to beat Atlanta 111-106, Toronto thumping Chicago 99-77, Portland putting on a clinic in Philadelphia 139-105, Dallas downing Milwaukee 106-93 and San Antonio beating Utah 100-84.
The Lakers finally got their first win since the return of superstar Kobe Bryant from his ruptured achilles injury suffered late last season.
The Lakers beat the Bobcats in Charlotte by three points to improve to an 11-12 record with Bryant again forced to spend significant time in the point guard role in the absence of Steve Blake, Jordan Farmar and Steve Nash.
Bryant finished with 21 points, eight assists and seven rebounds as well while shooting 8-of-15 from the field in his best performance of his four games since returning.
Jordan Hill and Paul Gasol both added 15 points for the Lakers, and Nick Young 13 off the bench.
Kemba Walker did all he could for Charlotte finishing with 24 points and eight assists while Al Jefferson added 14 points and nine rebounds, Gerald Henderson 13 points and six boards, and Ben Gordon 10 points off the bench.
The Clippers then also won on the road defeating the Wizards in Washington by a comfortable 16 points on Saturday night.
Point guard Chris Paul had a massive night for the Clippers finishing with 38 points and 12 assists while shooting tremendously with 11-of-14 from the field, and 5-of-7 from long range.
Jamal Crawford finished with 17 points also for the Clippers, Blake Griffin 16, Jared Dudley 16 and DeAndre Jordan 15 to go with his 10 points and two blocked shots.
John Wall led the way for the Wizards with 24 points and 12 assists while shooting 10-of-16 from the floor.
Kevin Seraphin added 16 points off the bench with Trevor Booker finishing with 12 points, Martell Webster 12 and Trevor Ariza 11.
Miami blew a 19-point lead against Cleveland at home on Saturday night in a thrilling contest that had 14 lead changes along the way, but in the end the two-time defending NBA champions did enough to hold out the Cavs and win by seven points to improve to a 17-6 record on the season.
LeBron James led the way with 25 points, nine rebounds, nine assists and four steals for the Heat with Dwyane Wade adding 24 points and six rebounds, and Chris Bosh 22 points and 12 boards as the big three all hit 20-plus points for just the second time this season.
Kyrie Irving tried hard for the Cavaliers with 19 points and three assists with Tristan Thompson adding 16 points and seven rebounds.
Dion Waiters added 15 points off the bench, Jarrett Jack 14, Earl Clark 12 and Alonzo Gee 10.
Australian guard Matthew Dellavedova played 15 points and finished with five points and four rebounds while hitting both of his shots he took.
New York recorded a much-needed victory inside Madison Square Garden beating Atlanta by five points on Saturday night to improve to just a 7-16 record on the season.
Carmelo Anthony was outstanding for the Knicks with 35 points, six rebounds and four assists on the back of 13-of-22 shooting from the field, 3-of-5 from long range and a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe.
Andrea Bargnani also finished with 23 points and six boards for New York while Tim Hardaway Jr had 13 points, Pablo Prigioni 11 and Beno Udrih 10.
Louis Williams top-scored for the Hawks off the bench with 27 points while Paul Millsap had 18 points, Al Horford 17 and Kyle Korver 13.
Toronto inflicted Chicago with a dismal 22-point loss at home with both teams ending the night on 9-13 records.
The Bulls continue to sorely miss point guard Derrick Rose with his knee injury and have now not won consecutive games since November 18, and have won just three of 13 games in that period.
Kyle Lowry top-scored for the Raptors with 16 points and six assists with Jonas Valanciunas adding 15 points and 11 rebounds, DeMar DeRozan 15 points, seven boards and four assists, Amir Johnson 14 points and eight rebounds, and Patrick Patterson 12 points.
Luol Deng returned for the Bulls and led the way with 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists with Mike Dunleavy contributing 14 points, Jimmy Butler 11 and Joakim Noah 10 to go with 12 rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots.
Philadelphia quite simply had no answer for Portland's array of offensive firepower even though it was their home game on Saturday night, with the Trail Blazers scoring an incredible 139 points in four quarters to end up winning by a thumping 34 points.
The win improves the Blazers to a 20-4 record on the season to see them continue to lead the western conference and along the way they established a new franchise record with 21 three-pointers, shattering the previous mark of 17.
MVP-candidate LaMarcus Aldridge again starred for the Blazers with 20 points, 16 rebounds and five assists while shooting an efficient 10-of-15 from the field.
Nicolas Batum scored 17 points to go with his nine assists and five rebounds while hitting 3-of-7 from three-point territory.
Point guard Damian Lillard added 16 points and six assists with 4-of-6 from beyond the three-point arc.
Dorell Wright scored 15 points off the bench while nailing all five of his three-point attempts with Mo Williams scoring 14 points, Wesley Matthews 14, Robin Lopez 12 and Thomas Robinson 10.
The Sixers slumped to a 7-18 record with the loss despite 18 points and seven assists from Tony Wroten, 17 points from Hollis Thompson, 16 from Spencer Hawes, 15 from Thaddeus Young and 14 from James Anderson.
Dallas rose to a 14-10 record on the season with a comfortable win by 13 points over the dismal Milwaukee Bucks, who sit on just a 5-19 record.
The Mavericks racked up 25 assists for the night and they now hold a 10-1 record this season when doing so.
Brandan Wright top-scored for the Mavs off the bench with 19 points and six rebounds while Jose Calderon added 18 points, Vince Carter 15, Shawn Marion 13 and DeJuan Blair 11 with Dirk Nowitzki not suiting up.
John Henson led the way for the Bucks with 18 points and 13 rebounds with Giannis Antetokounmpo adding 13 points, Miroslav Radulijica 12 and Khris Middleton 10.
San Antonio improved to a 19-4 record with a comfortable 16-point victory over the Jazz in Utah.
It opened a four-game road trip for the Spurs and it was their fourth straight victory with those having come over the course of the last five nights.
Tim Duncan top-scored for the Spurs with 22 points and 12 rebounds with Tony Parker adding 15 points and seven assists, Kawhi Leonard 13 points, Marco Belinelli 11 and Australian guard Patty Mills 11.
Mills' fellow Australian Aron Baynes also played almost 17 minutes and finished with an impressive nine points, eight rebounds and two assists.
Trey Burke top-scored for Utah with 20 points and five assists with Gordon Hayward contributing 18 points and Marvin Williams 10.
NBA Results Saturday December 14
LA Lakers (11-12) 88 defeated Charlotte Bobcats (10-14) 85
LA Clippers (16-9) 113 defeated Washington Wizards (9-13) 97
Cleveland Cavaliers (9-14) 107 lost to Miami Heat (17-6) 114
Atlanta Hawks (12-12) 106 lost to New York Knicks (7-16) 111
Toronto Raptors (9-13) 99 defeated Chicago Bulls (9-13) 77
Portland Trail Blazers (20-4) 139 defeated Philadelphia 76ers (7-18) 105
Milwaukee Bucks (5-19) 93 lost to Dallas Mavericks (14-10) 106
San Antonio Spurs (19-4) 100 defeated Utah Jazz (6-20) 84