Monday Sports In Brief

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NBA

MIAMI (AP) - LeBron James clearly isn’t ready to concede his MVP award to anyone yet.

Dazzling from inside and out, James put on the best scoring show of his NBA life, pouring in 61 points - a career high and franchise record - as the Miami Heat beat the Charlotte Bobcats 124-107. It was the eighth straight win for the two-time defending champions, who are starting to roll as the playoffs get near.

James made 22 of 33 shots from the field, including his first eight 3-point attempts.

NEW YORK (AP) - Jason Collins played the final minutes of a winning home debut with the Brooklyn Nets, who cooled off the Chicago Bulls with a 96-80 victory.

“It was cool. It was a lot of fun to go into the game,” Collins said. “The most important thing was that we got the win. Chicago’s been playing really well as of late and for us to come out and really be - I think we played more physical than they did tonight.”

Finally playing at home more than a week after returning to the NBA as the league’s first openly gay player, Collins checked in to a standing ovation from a sellout crowd of 17,732 that included former NBA Commissioner David Stern with 2:41 remaining. He grabbed a rebound and had one of the Nets’ NBA season high-tying 19 steals in their third straight victory.

OSCAR PISTORIUS

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) - The murder trial of Oscar Pistorius opened in South Africa with testimony from a neighbor who described the sound of what she said were four gunshots and recalled the “blood-curdling screams” of a woman who prosecutors say was the girlfriend slain by the onetime star athlete in his home.

“It’s the most helpless feeling I’ve ever had in my life,” university lecturer Michelle Burger said of listening to the screams. “I knew something terrible was happening in that house.”

The 27-year-old double-amputee runner, whose stature peaked at the 2012 London Olympics and then plummeted when he shot model and television personality Reeva Steenkamp in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine’s Day last year, stood in the dock in a dark gray suit and black tie, writing in a pad and sometimes passing notes to defense lawyers. At one point, he smiled at a person sitting behind him. Steenkamp’s mother, June, sat near Pistorius but there was no communication between them.

NFL

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Sixty touchdown passes. Fifteen wins. A fifth MVP trophy.

Peyton Manning is more productive than he’s ever been, and whether he’s deciphering defenses at the line of scrimmage on game day or on his iPad during the week, his love for the game hasn’t waned.

The final piece of evidence that Manning is as good as ever came Monday.

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