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June 29, 2017

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Bobcats burned by James, Heat

MIAMI -- Miami's LeBron James scored a career-high and franchise-record 61 points to lead the hosts to a 124-107 win over Charlotte on Friday, moving the Heat back within two games of NBA Eastern Conference leader Indiana.

James made 22 of 33 shots from the field, including his first eight 3-point attempts. His career best had been 56 points in 2004-05 for Cleveland against Toronto.

Among the day's other games, Memphis withstood a late rally and ended Washington's winning streak at six games, Brooklyn had a comfortable win over a sloppy Chicago, and an alley-oop dunk with 6.9 seconds left lifted the struggling Los Angeles Lakers over Portland.

James scored a staggering 25 points in the third quarter alone, and broke the Heat's franchise record with 5:46 left, passing Glenn Rice's 56 points scored in 1994-95.

When James was benched in the penultimate minute, the entire Heat roster met him near midcourt for high-fives and hugs, and the sellout crowd gave him a standing ovation.

Al Jefferson had 38 points and 19 rebounds for the Bobcats, but his huge night merely an afterthought. Charlotte has allowed the two biggest single-game scoring totals in the NBA this season. Carmelo Anthony had 62 points for New York on Jan. 24.

Memphis' Tayshaun Prince scored a season-high 21 points to lead the Grizzlies to a 110-104 win over Washington.

Zach Randolph added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who improved to a season-high nine games above .500 and pulled within one game of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Memphis shot 60 percent after the first quarter and outscored Washington 62-34 in the paint for the game.

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