Doug Collins has clearly showed frustration at times this season -- but his focus on serving as the Sixers' "fixer" has not wavered (see story).
And while the Sixers struggled in the first half, ex-Sixer Andre Iguodala put together a strong first half for the Denver Nuggets (see story).
Now, here's what happened in the NBA's pair of Thursday night matchups:
LeBron, Heat sweep Thunder
OKLAHOMA CITY -- With LeBron James playing at his best level yet, the Miami Heat powered into the All-Star break with a reminder to the Oklahoma City Thunder that the NBA championship still resides on South Beach.
James had 39 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists, and narrowly missed extending his record-setting streak of high-scoring games combined with top-notch accuracy, as the Heat trampled Oklahoma City 110-100 in a Thursday night showcase.
James was in position to continue his NBA record run of games with at least 30 points and 60 percent shooting to seven, but missed from a couple steps beyond the 3-point line as the shot clock ran down with just over a minute left and Miami up 10.
That dropped him to 14 for 24 in the game, or 58 percent. All that mattered to him, though, was that Miami's winning streak reached a season-best seven straight games - and the Heat beat the Thunder for the sixth time in a row, dating to last year's NBA Finals.
"Winning is hard to come by in professional sports. That's what it's about," James said. "Sixty percent doesn't matter. Winning is all that matters," (see full recap).
Clippers rip Lakers
LOS ANGELES -- Chris Paul had 24 points and 13 assists, Blake Griffin scored 18 of his 22 points in a spectacular first quarter, and the Clippers cemented their supremacy in Los Angeles with a 125-101 victory over the Lakers on Thursday night.
Chauncey Billups hit five 3-pointers while scoring 21 points for the Clippers, who never trailed as they roared into the All-Star break by clinching the season series in their city rivalry for the first time in 20 years.
The Clippers have won the Staples Center co-tenants' first three games of the year, with Los Angeles' longtime underdogs burying the 16-time champions in this latest meeting under a wave of 16 3-pointers.
Kobe Bryant had 20 points and 11 assists for the Lakers, who head to the break in 10th place in the Western Conference (see full recap).
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