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Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2009

Wade, Beasley lead Heat against Pacers

MIAMI (AP) Michael Beasley was under siege in the Miami Heat postgame locker room. Some teammates went with verbal jousts, more daring ones tried to unbraid his hair.

News photo
Just passing through: Cleveland's LeBron James drives past the Rockets' Shane Battier during the first quarter of their game on Sunday. AP PHOTO

All in good fun, a reward of sorts for taking his first charge of the season.

"Felt like we won a championship," Beasley said afterward, braids still attached.

Yep, just about everything seems to be working for the Heat these days.

Dwyane Wade scored 25 points in only 28 minutes, Jermaine O'Neal added 19 points on 6-of-7 shooting against his former team and the Heat enjoyed their largest victory margin this season by topping the Indiana Pacers 114-80 on Sunday night.

Beasley scored 16 points and Udonis Haslem added 13 for Miami, 5-1 in its last six games since a 28-point loss to Memphis two weeks ago sparked a team meeting, a long and ugly film session and plenty of soul searching. The Heat started 8-of-8 from the field for a 17-3 lead and never looked back, building a 66-44 advantage that was their largest at halftime since January 2007.

"Defense has been the biggest change since the Memphis game, and just our overall approach and effort to the game and commitment to each other," Wade said. "It's been there ever since our team meeting."

Troy Murphy scored 16 for Indiana, which dropped its sixth straight. It could have been so much worse for the Pacers, too — they actually outscored Miami 14-0 during one first-half stretch, a brief blip in what was otherwise a Miami romp.

The dominance was thorough. Miami shot 49 percent to Indiana's 31 percent, held a 55-40 rebounding edge and outscored the Pacers 54-24 in the paint.

"We competed when we got behind tonight," Indiana coach Jim O'Brien said. "After that, everybody just played bad basketball."

One bright spot for the Pacers, sort of: Tyler Hansbrough scored 10 points on 0-for-5 shooting, becoming the first NBA player since Andre Miller on Nov. 28, 2005, to have a double-double without a field goal, according to STATS LLC. Hansbrough was 10 of 10 from the foul line and added 10 rebounds.

"It's odd," Hansbrough said. "But it's a double-double whatever way you look at it."

Spurs 95, Knicks 88

In New York, Tony Parker scored 22 points, Manu Ginobili added 17, and the duo made the key plays in the final minutes to power San Antonio to a victory over the Knicks.

Tim Duncan finished with 13 points while being outplayed by David Lee, but Parker and Ginobili combined for all of San Antonio's points after the game was tied at 84 with under 3 1/2 minutes remaining.

The Spurs won for the eighth time in 10 games following a three-game skid earlier this month.

Cavaliers 108, Rockets 83

In Cleveland, LeBron James scored 29 points and Mo Williams added 20 points as the Cavaliers used a flurry of 3-pointers and a stifling defense for their ninth win in 10 games.

James and Williams combined to make five 3-pointers in less than three minutes early in the third quarter, stretching Cleveland's lead to 68-53. The margin didn't dip below 15 the rest of the way.

Raptors 102, Pistons 95

In Toronto, Chris Bosh had 25 points and 16 rebounds.

Mavericks 104, Nuggets 96

In Denver, Drew Gooden scored 19 points and Dirk Nowitzki hit a clutch 3-pointer late in the game, lifting Dallas to a win over a Denver squad missing All-Star guard Chauncey Billups.

Clippers 92, Celtics 90

In Los Angeles, Baron Davis hit a fallaway jumper at the buzzer for the Clippers.



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